Strengthening sanitation and livelihoods in Rwanda

Strengthening sanitation and livelihoods in Rwanda

rwandaInsights into GO’s efforts to empower communities in Rwanda to have access to good sanitation education and facilities and to be self-sufficient through sustainable partner projects in the region.

As part of our efforts to empower communities and strengthen people’s knowledge of hygiene practices, Global One supported three different projects in Rwanda. These projects were delivered in partnership with the Rwanda Village Concept Project (RVCP), a non-profit, voluntary organization run by passionate students of the University of Rwanda. Their mission is to improve the standard of living in underprivileged communities and build the capacity of participating students.

The projects focused mainly on WASH practices, with the construction of VIP latrine facilities and the house to house teaching of sanitary practices such as handwashing. In addition, the livelihood beekeeping project enabled 30 beneficiaries to improve their living standards.

The beekeeping project

rwandaAt Global One, we believe that empowering women is key to transforming their communities, and this project is a clear example of how it can be done. In fact, the beekeeping project has reached 30 beneficiaries, mostly widows and young single mothers, and is providing them the means to support themselves.

Bees are critical to the ecosystem and a fantastic livelihood means for many. Their importance is particularly high in Rwanda, where our beekeeping project improves the standard of living in a chosen community in the Huye Sector, Huye District.

Before the starting of the practical activities, the beneficiaries attended a training session, in which they learnt how to maintain the hives and increase the harvest. Later, the modernised agriculture activities started with beneficiaries creating protective outfits and modern hives. Currently, the project has reached the final stage, and there are regular meetings to keep sure everything is running well.

House to house handwashing

One of the WASH projects implemented included a Hygiene and Water Sanitation Program, which was divided into two projects. The first being the House to House project, aimed at promoting health through the awareness of proper hygiene practices.

Hygiene teaching sessions were run in four primary schools in the Huye District, reaching over 700 children. The lessons were organized in two days of teaching, to avoid overloading children with information, and the RVCP volunteer used materials prepared by the WET Project Foundation. Young students are also engaged through the “happy hand washing song”, which ensured that the children memorised the lesson learnt.

RCVP is still implementing this project and continue to provide training session in primary schools while also aiming to deliver family outreach events.

Building sustainable toilets

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In addition to the efforts of spreading hygienic practices through house to house teaching, the second part of the Hygiene and Water Sanitation Program was aimed to fill the lack of toilet facilities in Mpungwe village. The shortage of toilets has resulted in a vast number of the population suffering from diarrhoea, dysentery, intestinal worms and other water-borne diseases, which spread rapidly due to unhygienic practices and unsanitary latrines facilities.

The construction of the site took place between November and December 2016. During this occasion, our programmes team, Terri and Jessica, flew to Rwanda to help the construction of the latrines. We also assisted a family of six who did not have health insurance by paying their medical fees. The RVCP also ran a hygiene teaching session in the village, reminding communities to maintain the hygiene practices learnt during this lesson.

The project made a very large impact on the families of beneficiaries in a short amount of time. Thanks to our effort, 46 of the 125 households in Mpungwe village now have access to a VIP latrine. The construction of toilet facilities, associated with better hygiene practices, helped to reduce the rate of health diseases. However, a large proportion of families still require assistance in Mpungwe village, and there is an urgent need to deliver this kind of sustainable project. Toilet facilities and proper hygiene practices are crucial to empowering isolated and disadvantaged communities. Thus, our aim – with your support – is to widen our reach and continue supporting communities in Rwanda.

 

Abdia can now send her children to school!

Abdia can now send her children to school!

Our sustainable Islamic Farming project has empowered women like Abdia Mursal in Garissa County, the sole breadwinner for a family of five, to become self-sufficient, support her family and even send her children to school.

Not only has the project improved livelihoods of the local community but it has also implemented eco-friendly farming methods to preserve our planet!

Download Global One’s Islamic Farming toolkit at this link.

The training has allowed Abdia to connect with her faith and as a result, she now believes, “Farming is an act of worship”.

The income generated from farming allows Abdia to educate her children and provide adequate food and shelter for the whole family.

Through your generous donations, women like Abdia don’t have to worry about providing for their families and whether they can afford to send their children to school.

Together, with your help, let’s continue supporting families with our Islamic Farming project and provide them with the training they need to remove themselves from cycles of injustice.

Happy International Women’s Day from Nigeria

Happy International Women’s Day from Nigeria

Our country officer in Nigeria, Chioma, shares what International Women’s Day 2017 means for women in Kano State, Nigeria.

It’s International Women’s Day, and what does that mean to the average woman in Magami, Kano state who is not even aware that such a day exists? Only one of the women was aware of the day from the radio earlier in the day, but she didn’t understand what it meant and the reason why women were being celebrated. They say, if their Sarki Magami (King) would let them, they would love to celebrate the day by having a gathering of women to discuss the rising rates of divorce and rape in the community.

As the world celebrates the achievements of influential women, Global One Nigeria chooses to celebrate the lives of rural women – relatively unseen, unheard women, with no political positions or no financial strength. Their scope of influence is limited to their homes and their children, by virtue of the circumstance and environment of birth, may also go on to be relatively unheard and unseen.

In a developing country like Nigeria, these rural women far outnumber their national and globally influential counterparts, on whose shoulders we can stand and have hope of making such worthy accomplishments. These are the women we choose to bring to fore.

The women for whom we fight for gender equality; however, remain relatively unknown. These are the women who often have no access to education and are witnessing the next generation grow up in this same way; in many northern states more than 50% of young women ages 15-24 have no experience with formal education. These are the women who were forced to undergo genital mutilation and have lived with it. These are the women who often compromise on their choice and power and live a life fuelled by inequality and injustice.

Every woman has a choice

At Global One, we believe that women everywhere have a choice. And in having a choice, they are capable of transforming their communities and implementing positive behavioural changes to improve health and economic outcomes not only for themselves, but also their families.

Hence, in wake of International Women’s Day, you can help empower woman in Magami, Kano and raise their profile by supporting our projects in Nigeria: Saving Mother’s Lives and Pumping Sunshine.

Using the Sun to Clean Water in Nigeria

Using the Sun to Clean Water in Nigeria

Mrs. Isyiaku is a young mother from Magami village, in Sumaila local government of Kano state, Nigeria. Like many other women in her village and in fact rural Kano, water supply is a luxury good and not one they can afford especially during the dry seasons.

They drink their water directly from source, without any form of purification because, well, it looks clean to the eyes. Diarrhoea is a disease that has claimed the lives of many, young and old in her community due to the lack of potable water, no drinking water purification, and poor personal and environmental hygiene. Global One is working with the Magami community to bring about attitudinal change with respect to personal hygiene and also, teach the women and children about SODIS (SOlar DISinfection), an easy and cost efficient way of purifying their drinking water in order to reduce and in the long run, eradicate the occurrence of diarrhoea amongst them. We understand that attitudinal change is not achieved overnight, and with the community, we are working gradually towards inculcating the attitude of handwashing, environmental sanitation and drinking water purification in their daily routine. This would help reduce the occurrence of water borne diseases. As part of the move to effect attitudinal change towards water, sanitation and hygiene in the community, Global One partnered with Lighthouse humanitarian foundation, a local NGO, to deliver 2 sets of trainings in June and July. The trainings were aimed at educating the women and children on the importance of regular handwashing, a clean environment and treating their drinking water. This training so far, has been delivered to about 100 women and 200 children from the Magami community. The trainings were well received as the women and children has lots of questions about water related diseases and alternatives to soap for handwashing. The aim of these trainings is to reduce the occurrence of water borne diseases and eradicate deaths as a result.

Planting the Seeds of Domestic Production

As you drive into the valley of Arabsiyo, you are struck by how baron the land has become. Somaliland’s prolonged drought, which has left the country without rain for four months, has taken its toll on the once vegetated landscape. Triggered by the effects of the El-Nino phenomenon the drought has affected more than 240,000 people[1]. Affecting, Marrodi-Jeh and Gabiley regions the most, the drought is hitting traditionally agro-pastoralists and Pastoralists the hardest. These regions are known as the food basket of Somaliland, and so the droughts impact are far-reaching throughout the whole of Somaliland.

Global One began its journey to visit its partner’s farm through the arid lands of Arabisyo, but as the farm came into sight it stood in stark contrast to its surroundings. The farming land was luscious, filled with a variety of crops; from herbs to fruit trees. To see such an abundance of vegetation in such harsh conditions was truly remarkable. Aqua Gardens for Africa (AGA) is the creator of this farm, in the middle of a desert. Utilising aquaponics and permaculture, AGA has changed the face of farming in Somaliland. AGA has provided a positive change in agriculture by implementing sustainable farming concepts which safeguards water supplies and the environment. The results have been extraordinary, with the farms abundance of crops evident of its successes.

Somaliland imports the vast majority of its foods. In 2010, Somaliland imported 11,094 tons of fresh vegetables and 4,411 tons of fruits from Ethiopia to fill the gap in local demand[2]. As part of its national strategy Somaliland aims to implement food self-sufficiency and self-reliance by 2030, by ensuring that domestic production is improved. However, climate conditions and the prolonged drought have made this vision difficult. The move from traditional farming techniques to genetically modified organism (GMO) farming from most farmers in Somaliland, has added to the issues in domestic production, with the vast majority of farms being unable to reuse GMO seeds for new harvests.

AGA understands these issues, and has the scientific knowledge to reverse their impact. Through aquaponics and permaculture AGA has revitalised its farming land and utilised the minimal amount of water to produce an abundance of crops. By implementing organic practices, AGA has ensured that seeds can be rotated and stored for future purposes, reducing the costs and risks involved with farming. And finally, it has grown a variety of crops, from those traditional in the Somaliland diet and those not, to ensure that domestic production can support food insecurity but also export to international markets.

Bridging AGAs successes and GOs own, a GO and AGA partnership aims to bring an agricultural project with a difference to Somaliland. GOs Islamic-Farming project follows similar techniques, by diversifying crops and implementing a sustainable water system. GOs pilot project in Garissa, Kenya has increased the yield of farmers by 49%. By implementing a faith based approach, alongside agricultural techniques, the programme has illustrated to farmers the benefits of water sustainability and bio-diversification through the Prophet’s (PBUH) word.  Building upon AGA and GOs successes the partnership will merge AGAs modern scientific agricultural techniques with GOs sustainable and faith based approach, to bring organic-Islamic farming to Somaliland.

As the day came to an end we were gifted with a lunch made from the farms own organic produce. The array of dishes evidenced the positive impact organic-Islamic farming could have on the local community, by restoring a once abundant land of its ability to farm. The Organic-Islamic farming partnership will sow the seeds to ensure domestic production can improve food securitisation.

[1] http://www.actionaid.org/somaliland/2016/01/somaliland-drought-update

[2] http://slministryofplanning.org/images/Reports/Somaliland%20Food%20and%20Water%20Security%20Strategy.pdf

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

      In Korogocho, Kenya 70% of families suffer from severe food insecurity, and a further 11% are severely hungry[1]. That means for most households within the slum, days are spent searching for food and income in order to nourish families. Now imagine, as a mother, having to take this as your sole responsibility because your partner is recently deceased; not only must you feed yourself but your children too. Widows, such as these, will spend the majority of their day begging on the streets outside of the slum, in order to gain some income to purchase food. These stories are common amongst women in Korogocho.

            In January of this year Global One’s Winter Widow’s Parcels distribution, in partnership with Orphans in Need, aimed to alleviate these issues for some women within the slum, by providing 80 women, and their families, with a month’s supply of food. With parcels in hand, our team, alongside a group of volunteers was ready to assist women in their greatest area of need; food securitisation. The parcels provided a variety of nutritious goods, from rice to tea, but they also inspired a feeling of support amongst the women.

            The distribution itself was not the beginning. The Global One team in Kenya worked extensively with local religious and community leaders to ensure they were helping those most in need. By incorporating these leaders, and working with the grassroots community, we ensured that they successfully alleviated the issues faced by these women. In understanding this local context, we were able to select the right food for those community members most in need. Such work, is at the heart of our work encouraging grassroots action which inspires both the community and its leaders to implement change for the better.

            Our work was noticed by all local community members and leaders, who highlighted the huge difference this one parcel would make to the women and their children. One Chief went so far as to say that the project was: ‘The best and smoothest food distribution ever done in our area’. Though the aim of the programme was to alleviate food insecurity for the women, the outcomes were much more than solely providing food. By engaging and working with local leaders we were able to build upon strong local relationships to ensure future help for these women.

[1] https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/media/resource/idsue_july-15_update.pdf