News Behind the News March 2012
A summary of news and reports from the field staff and interns of GHNI, Geneva Switzerland.
Pressure is building against the poor as refugees enter Burkina Faso. At least 8,000 Touaregs have fled fighting in neighboring Mali and are finding refuge in Burkina Faso. The government stated that they are arriving “in a dire humanitarian condition.” This is putting strain on an already struggling region. In the last quarter of 2011, GHNI identified three key people who will help launch Transformational Community Development in Burkina Faso to help villages overcome acute poverty.
After years of steady growth we are so excited about our invitation to start Transformational Community Development in a village deep in the hills of Western China. So we are calling this our Hillside Village TCD project.
This minority group, living in the rugged mountainous region of West China are notoriously scorned for being the “lowest of low”. Their reputation is that of thieves and scoundrels. The rate of single-parent homes is extremely high. Young women are encouraged to leave the village to go to the cities and often get trapped in the sex trade in order to send funds home for survival.
During the revolution many of you responded financially to help GHNI’s team and partners feed 1000 families who live in the “Garbage City”. Thank you! GHNI has continued to serve this community and the response has been very positive. One woman living in desolation told us that it is the first time in her whole life that someone came and cared about her and asked about her health. Thank you for allowing us to bring help and hope to the people of Egypt.
In the village of Mudiyambo there has been some exciting progress in the income generation aspect of TCD. There are two women’s groups each with 15 members and 3 men’s groups. In total we have 34 members working on different activities to support themselves by creating income generation activities.
GENEVA INSTITUTE FOR LEADERSHIP AND PUBLIC POLICY
GHNI will host its third Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy (GILPP) conference this upcoming June. Through discussion and guest lectures from several leaders with experience in post conflict rebuilding of their countries, this conference will provide attendees with proven examples of public policy in a changing world and legislation that is already showing pragmatic and fruitful results. The program sessions will help leaders return to their nations with transformational ideas for shaping public policy goals, as well as more effective strategies in implementing policy.
In Bangalore, India, two million impoverished citizens live on the margins of this city. Life is a daily struggle for survival. Finding solutions to the nations poor while sustaining economic growth is a growing issue for India.
Up to 30 new villages want help toward becoming self-sustainable. Many of these villages will become models of transformational and begin to attract likeminded partners from their regions and states. Our vision is to help many partners learn how they can do what we do via training in these model villages. We are seeking help to fund seed projects that partner villages will seek to match with labor or loans.
INDONESIA: Multiplication in Community Micro-enterprise
For next three months, our TCD team in Indonesia has hired a professional seamstress and experienced teacher named Bunda Osly to teach sewing from “A to Z” the women from the TCD Sewing Enterprise Program. Bunda explained to the group that only in the third month of the course will they actually be using their sewing machines. The next two months will be an intense training, laying the groundwork for taking measurements, cutting patterns etc.
Severe food shortages continue across Kenya as lack of food production is accompanied by a lack of protective agricultural policies. “We may be facing starvation as a country in the next few months,” the Prime Minister informed parliament in part of his statement about food security in the country.
GHNI is helping farmers meet this challenge with sustainable activities. One of the villages GHNI is working with, Ola Nagele, will plant drought-resistant fruit-bearing trees. Ola Nagele has been a stark, barren village, with no shade or plant life. Our team has been teaching them about strong, drought-resistant, fruit-bearing trees like avocado, papaya, mango, etc. We recently purchased and gave out many hundreds of young trees, several to each family, and trained them how to plant and nurture the trees.
A short-term team of professionals in the areas of English, sports and medical support recently returned from Libya. Among the highlights of the trip was meeting with the Libyan Olympic Committee.
GHNI’s partner team in Morocco was able to restart literacy classes and health lessons for the women in Bir Sfan, and made good progress toward starting an agricultural training for the men of this same village.
Assistant Field Director, Richard Holt, went to Burma last May to train some 20 nationals in principles and practices of Transformational Community Development. Many of those we trained are part of a like-minded organization who have been actively involved in the community for several years now. He was so excited and encouraged to see that they had already taken the lessons they had learned and started implementing them in some of the remotest rural villages across Burma. Some of these villages are only accessible by river and the nearest available clinic is a full day’s travel away. They see that the training we provide, which incorporates community-based ownership and preventive healthcare, is a tremendous resource to their lives.
GHNI is responding to help victims of the recent terror attacks in northern Nigeria through food relief. Read more about it here. Coffee Without Borders is pledging to give $2 of each bag of coffee sold on their website to GHNI’s relief efforts in Nigeria. http://www.coffeewithoutborders.com/.
GHNI continues to help with food relief and development efforts in the midst of the continued food crisis. About 43 per cent of the population lives on less than $1 per day. Extreme poverty is more acute in the rural areas, with 53 per cent of people living on less than $1 a day.
On the 27th of January, two wells and a water catchment were completed and opened to the communities of two different villages in Sri Lanka. These wells were the villagers primary concern as they did not have access to clean water year round. They are ecstatic to have enough clean water for their use, as well as their animals and agriculture!
SYRIA: Refugees Pouring into Jordan and Lebanon
The U.N. High Commission for Refugees and the Higher Relief Council in northern Lebanon estimated that 7,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into Lebanon since the uprising in Syria started a year ago.
GHNI staff in Jordan and Lebanon are poised to help with food and blanket relief. Your gift today will help a family receive warmth and food!