// May 30th, 2014 // No Comments » // News Behind the News
Content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.
Nepal – Community unity and leadership led to the partnership that put in several new wells in South West Nepal. We rejoice in this as it truly produces ownership and leadership!
Section One: Focus Countries
Can Farmers Overcome Drought?
Ghor province lost thousands of its inhabitants in 2013, according to an IRIN report. Some fled because of conflict, but many others were driven out by lack of food, occasioned by a combination of prolonged drought and flash floods in the planting season.
Some low cost interventions have been made by some agencies, one of which propagated improved storage techniques for the potato crop on which 80% of farm families are dependent. Another project focused on training and improved seeds for wheat and potatoes. The success of the project was attributed to community participation and engagement.
GHNI is helping community-based projects in 3 provinces.
Unwanted Unaffordable Pregnancies
Startling figures on abortion are revealed by an IRIN account of the situation in Burkina Faso, which claims that one third of pregnancies are unintended and one third of these end in abortion. Health NGOs point out that if contraceptive services were more readily available, 100,000 unwanted pregnancies and 30,000 abortions would be avoided.
GHNI takes two approaches to help in this area. We teach youth on ethics and health and we help launch micro-businesses in the villages, thus raising the financial resiliency of the families.
Malaria Therapy Resistance
During the long period of military rule, public expenditure on health services stagnated at a very low level, so that according to an IRIN report 80-90% of services are currently provided by the private sector.
In the case of pharmaceutical services, most drugs are obtained from untrained drug sellers who sell on the basis of what their customers can afford, rather than what is medically indicated. Hence a malaria therapy resistance has grown in many victims. An intervention by a government/NGO partnership with therapy drugs subsidized to make the retail price $0.50.
Another important step was the decision by the government to ban imports of monotherapy formulations. The takeaway message from this experience is “the pervasive and dominant private sector is a serious threat if ignored, but a powerful ally if utilized.”
GHNI is in remote villages teaching malaria prevention whenever appropriate.
In Spite of the Violence, Follow- Up Goes On and is the Key for Poor Women!
Our GHNI Egypt team writes, “After distributing sewing machines for women last January, we are currently pursuing women to help them and teach them more about how to maintenance machines if crashes happened through home visits.
“At each visit, we could see women’s delight because sewing machines helped each woman to increase her income, which helps her family in their living.
“Our colleague, Lydia reports, ‘We currently help ladies in the repair and maintenance of some of the faults that occur with the sewing machine. This care from us gave them a feeling and a strong sense that we are interested. They estimated how much we love them, which helped them to open their homes and accept us.’
“We will continue to follow monthly for each woman in her home to see how effective and beneficial sewing is and also to maintain of the machine as well as share hope not only for the lady but also with her family.”
Rural Poverty Can be Transformed, One Village at a Time!
Our GHNI Ethiopia team writes, “Zewditu is 32 years old and she is lives in Tuka Village. She has six children. Her husband used to work as a Transformational Community Development (TCD) Worker with GHNI. Even though he is no longer employed by GHNI, the family still applies what it learned in TCD training.
“After she came back from that training she started working in one of the Women Committees and is an active member of that committee. Her group produces different vegetables and fruit trees.
“From this activity, her income has increased and she can help her children, especially with school expenses. This year alone she got 5,000 Birr (almost $260). She said she has been encouraged highly. To increase her earning potential, she bought four goats and she has eighteen chickens. She is very happy in life.”
Transformational Community Development Coalition Launched in Kolkata
GHNI’s National Leader is chairing a committee of volunteers from all over Bengal and Jharkhand. Some of the major topics were: Fighting human trafficking, Good Health, Community, Building Community Ownership, Relief and Development, World View, and Why Children?
GHNI is teaching and encouraging the committee members to bring help to the villages where they work by using the Transformational Community Development (TCD) model. The committee members are all strong leaders and have great influence in their regions. This has greatly increased our ability to bring help and hope to the poor of India. We are seeing the multiplication of GHNI’s TCD model taking place.
Learn about one village’s transformation in India!
Villagers building a water tank
Water Saves Villagers
Many islands in this country are very unsure of their water supply. Villagers in Cambaloe on the island of Tanakeke are working hard to make the most out of the coming rainy season. With their own families and friends they have learned how to construct affordable water catchment tanks!
Severe Drought is Exacerbating the Chronic Water Shortage Situation in Jordan
IRIN reports that Jordan received only 31% of its long-term average rainfall this winter (the rainy season). Jordan is dependent on groundwater for 54% of its total supply, but in 10 of 12 groundwater schemes extraction exceeds recharge rates. There is increasing demand for water for agriculture and for human habitations, swelled by the recent influx of refugees from Syria.
So desperate is the situation that the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is contemplating a solution fraught with political and technical problems. It involves extracting and desalinating water from the Red Sea to supply participating countries (Jordan, Israel and OPT reached an agreement after decades of discussion) and pumping brine by pipeline and canal to replenish the Dead Sea, whose level is falling at the rate of a metre (3 feet) a year. According to the agreement, Israel will be able to purchase water from Aqaba for its southern regions, and in return, Jordan will be able to purchase water from Israel (the Sea of Galilee) to supply its northern provinces.
Although there is a feasibility study undertaken by the World Bank, there is as yet no financing identified for the project, and there are a number of critics of the project on environmental grounds.
Livestock Insurance and Islam
IRIN is carrying a report of the successful introduction of an Islamic compliant livestock insurance scheme in Wajir District. Pastoral communities are extremely vulnerable to the ravages of drought and disease among their flocks, but conventional insurance schemes had previously attracted few customers, allegedly on the grounds that many thought that they were inconsistent with the principles of Islam.
Takaful (from Arabic kafalah “helping one another” or “mutual guarantee”) is an acceptable form of insurance that has already paid out benefits to over 100 pastoralists. Among these beneficiaries, there was a 50% drop in distress sales of livestock and a 33% reduction in reliance on relief food.
IRIN is carrying a report about the widespread abuse of pesticides. As the majority of farmers are illiterate, they have little or no appreciation of the dangers in the use of powerful pesticides and take no precautions. Officially the import of the more dangerous chemicals is banned, but the borders are porous, and unscrupulous traders from neighbouring countries are undeterred.
GHNI has a focus on teaching organic pesticide, a much safer form of non-chemical pesticide.
Nigerians Sacrificing to Educate Rural Children! Young Teachers Lead Volunteerism!
Our GHNI Nigeria team writes, “The Dogon Gada community school, the new and only school for many miles, has enrolled over 25 children. Classes are held weekdays between 8am and 1pm daily. Unfortunately, out of this number, only 15 attend classes consistently. We have the challenge of some parents who still ask school-age children to accompany cattle for grazing and babysit their younger siblings while classes are going on. We are talking to the parents with a view to solving this problem.
“The former trainer for the Tailoring Center, Jemima, who was doubling up as the schoolteacher has gone back to Kaduna. We had an uphill task getting another teacher as qualified teachers rarely want to live and work in the village. We just got another teacher, Matthew, who has now moved to Dogon Gada and started teaching the kids.”
Pakistani woman with her newborn
Reduced Infant Deaths
WHO reports very high mortality for mothers giving birth and infants in Pakistan, where GHNI has worked for many years. Through GHNI’s partnership with nurses and midwives, a BLiSS (Birth Life Saving Skills) program began. For several months, BLiSS trainers lived within the villages, training women in midwifery. This way many women would be trained as a midwife, allowing each of the villages to experience an increase in safe, live births. One village reported zero birth-related deaths the following year!
Rape Victims Shamed
IDP camps in Somalia are not places of safety for women and girls. Cases of rape are commonplace, and there is a climate of almost complete impunity. Victims are shamed and sometimes intimidated into silence. Far from protection from the judicial system, IRIN reports two cases in which those bringing claims of rape were themselves charged with defamation and sentenced for that offence. There are few points at which victims could obtain a sympathetic hearing and effective treatment.
GHNI leader with Syrian woman in Jordan
Bringing Sustainability to Refugees
In an unprecedented move, GHNI is now training Syrian refugees in micro-business! From the desk of Jamal Hashweh, Regional Field Leader of the Middle East, “Marking progress with the Syrian crisis is like counting water droplets in a thunderstorm. The work is never ending and the problems remain. We are trying to help stabilize the lives of the families as they will be here for a long time and are training men and women in small business. They love it!”
Section Two: Feature Article of the Month
Lansantha and Sandanam children in front of their shop
Transformation in Sri Lanka Village!
Lansantha and Sandanam’s Dream Come True
Our GHNI National Field Leader writes, “Lansantha and her husband, Sandanam, are residents of Nallathanniya. Their love bloomed to a marriage. They have three children of the ages 12, 11, and 2.
“When we first visited them, we were surprised to hear of their humble beginnings. They had a small hut covered with tarred sheet roof leaking in many places. They had only a few food items for sale. The average income per day was Rs.300 (about $3).
“As days went by, they found it difficult to support the children with their school books, clothing, and food. The hut was impossible to live in during the rainy season so they decided with the little savings they had to build a market with a good roof to protect them from the rain and attract customers. However as the work was in progress, they were short of money and unable to complete the market, make homemade eatables, and purchase other picketed products for sale.
“They tell us that they came to know about the GHNI micro-financing program through other villagers. They applied for a loan which they received speedily.
“They were proud to show us their completed market with various items on sale. Sandanam tells me that as the shop has a beautiful appearance, his sales have shot up from Rs.300 to Rs.600 ($3 to $6).
“He tells me that he expects to increase his sales to Rs.1,000 ($8) a day which will be sufficient to provide for the whole family and save for a rainy day. He tells me that this was made possible because of GHNI who gave him a helping hand when most needed. He wishes GHNI and all those concerned long life. He wants GHNI to carry out the micro-financing program as this will help other villagers of Nallathanniya.”
Committees Staying Busy
“The Committee reported that the micro-financing loans work well. The loans pay-back monthly collection fund was used to give loans to another four village families. The committee requested that those who take loans pay the monthly loan installment on or before the 12th of each month to make the loan collection easier.
“The Education Committee requested that we start a tutoring class for the primary students. The committee was asked to forward proposals to include payment for teachers for the number of days the tutoring class will be held, the subjects that will be taught, and the number of teachers who will be involved in the teaching.
“We also spoke about human trafficking. The parents were requested to arrange a date and time and then come with their daughters so that we can make them aware of human trafficking and the dangers.”
Learn how you can help people like Lasantha and Sandanam!
News Behind the News content was provided by Swiss-based GHNI Geneva, the operational seat of GHNI’s international field programming.