News Behind the News April 2012
A summary of news and reports from the field staff and interns of GHNI, Geneva Switzerland.
Through the generous gift from a donor, GHNI was able to distribute winter food aid to 117 families in the Yakawlang region. The communities in this region experienced a summer drought in 2011 which limited the wheat harvested in the autumn. Each family received 9 liters of cooking oil, 25 kg of rice and 50 kg of flour. The distribution was done with the blessing of the Governor of Yakawlang, with whom GHNI has a very good relationship.
Poverty levels have risen 7% in the last two years. Rural Armenians are moving by the villages to Russia where free or cheap housing is offered along with employment opportunities. This is causing Armenia’s small business sector to decrease even further. GHNI has conducted Transformational Community Development training in rural Armenia that will help villagers become more self sustainable.
Kalpana Rani Pal is a rural woman in Bangladesh who enrolled for a three-month pottery-making course through the Noakhali Rural Development Society. She has since started her own pottery business is that is modest, yet bringing in about $72 a month. It is small enterprises like these that are helping to reduce poverty in Bangladesh. GHNI recently trained village leaders form Bangladesh and we are hoping this will spark a movement of transformation in rural areas.
GHNI staff and volunteers just returned from helping launch community based projects in rural Burkina Faso. The villagers were thrilled as they joined hands with the Geneva based team to repair a flood prone road and learn how to do basic public health care.
Burkina Faso has become the host nation for over 2000 refugees from Mali since March 22. These refugees are entering the country at a rate of over 400 people per day.
The people of Chad are beginning to encounter serious food shortage across their country. Since October, a deadly combination of drought, failed harvests, high food prices, and poverty have unleashed a food crisis across Chad and its neighboring countries. GHNI is recruiting village workers and volunteers to help rural poverty in Chad.
GHNI workers in China are focused in some of the poorest hillside villages in the West. Women are many of the leaders in our work as we seek to train children and women in skills for work and education. GHNI is helping build a school library for one of the poorest schools in the region.
Nasser Ali Hossan Morsy, who worked as a porter in central-northern Egypt, knew he needed another source of income when he suffered lower back problems last year. So he decided to take a loan. Before he could repay the loan the protests erupted. Now he and his family are fighting a serious battle against malnutrition and rapidly increasing poverty. GHNI Geneva is sending in a team of staff and partners to view the results of our first year of working in the “Garbage City” with the poorest of the poor. Community Health, literacy and an effort to bring real hope is changing lives there.
GHNI Ethiopia has just been granted permission to work in another impoverished area of the country. Villages are responding with leaders taking initiative to help their communities. The members of the communities are being trained in lessons on health, water and sanitation, elementary education and micro business.
GHNI Computer Center for the lowest castes changing lives, one person at a time. Here is a first-hand account from one of the students, Raj Kishor Mandal:
I am Raj Kishor Mandal from a village in Dumka, Jharkhand. The computer theory and the practical classes are being taught by an experienced teacher. That is why I learned many things about the computer in a short time. It’s hard to believe this for me because I had been learning in other another centre but failed to lean. But now I am very much satisfied in the GHNI computer institute. I am very thankful and grateful to GHNI, who helps to change my life.
Thanks to all of you who purchased from Coffee Without Borders in February and March! A well is being funded in a poor village because of you!
Indonesia has made large strides in its effort to educate the rural poor. This month a rural school in Sarmi, Papua enrolled its students in an early education program that blends local culture with traditional subjects to make it relevant to their lives. The government of Makassar has welcomed the work of GHNI amongst the urban slums as well as rural agricultural villages. An international food company has recently adopted a village under the Transformational Community Development program of GHNI in rural area that is trying to grow cocoa.
Tribal conflict continues in the North, outside the town of Isiolo, where GHNI is working. Yet the staff continue on as the villagers have hope and keep returning to their village after each security threat. A partnership in Shambani is producing a solar powered water pump for the village. Hope continues to transform these villages.
Fierce fighting between militias from the northwestern towns of Ragdalein and Zwara broke out earlier this month. At least 22 people died from the fighting that included the use of tanks and artillery.
GHNI is assembling several partnership teams who will go to Libya this summer and help with children’s sports, medical education and teaching English as a Second Language.
The Huffington Post released an article stating: “The international community is coming together to help Myanmar improve the lives of its 60 million citizens. One-third of these people are mired in poverty. Several national and international conferences on economic development were convened in recent weeks to establish a starting point. These gatherings identified priority areas for ensuring that the country’s poorest communities and varied ethnic groups share in Myanmar’s coming prosperity”.
GHNI now has pilot projects in several villages that are focused on teaching the community members how to become self-sustainable. The response of the village leaders has been tremendous.
GHNI Staffer Jessica Marchand recently returned from Nepal and will be working with our partners to help villages prevent human trafficking. Transformational Community Development will not only help villages escape poverty by way of income generation, clean water, adequate food security, wellness training, and education for every boy and girl, it will also reduce the risks of human trafficking.
GHNI has launched knowledge transfer programs in a number of villages as we would rather teach people to fish, than just give them a fish, so to speak. We are now seeing the results in healthier people, clean water and education increasing. The villages are also improving their agricultural output so the increased income will pay for the children’s education.
Syria, Jordan and Lebanon
GHNI staff in Jordan and Lebanon are now working with others to help the more than 120,000 Syrian refugees with food, tents, and counseling (we hope to soon bring Arabic speaking counselors). We desperately need help for these refugees who have lost everything in the fighting and now live in camps. Click here to give now.