5. Cambodia: Food Scholarships for Girls to Stay in School
Lotus Outreach, a trusted BGR partner since 2009, is dedicated to ensuring the education, health, and safety of at-risk and exploited women and children in the developing world, especially in Cambodia. The long-standing BGR-Lotus Outreach partnership provides rice support to primary, secondary, and tertiary students receiving scholarships via the GATE and GATEways programs. This year the grant to GATE will provide rice support to 52 impoverished families so their girls can attend primary and secondary school. The grant will also provide food support to 89 university students enrolled in the GATEways scholarship program–an extension of GATE for those students who go on to higher education.
An extra year of primary school in Cambodia increases a girl’s eventual wages 10-20%; and an extra year of secondary school will boost wages 15-25%. Students enrolled in GATE program are more likely to attend and stay in school, lowering their likelihood of turning to exploitative labor. In 2013, 90% of GATE scholarship recipients passed their exams and advanced to the next level. These girls, chosen from the poorest families, can now look forward to a bright future of hope and opportunity.
6. Cambodia: Non-Formal Education for Former Sex Workers
This ongoing project, also with Lotus Outreach as partner, provides non-formal education and training to girls and women in the sex industry in Cambodia; enabling them to leave the industry. The BGR grant will support 33 of a hundred women seeking skills training. Classes, given 2–3 hours a day for a full year, cover health, literacy, and life skills. The grant will also fund scholarships to three highly motivated students to undertake advanced training and apprenticeships. The children of sex workers living in brothel-based communities are at high risk of entering the sex trade before age 15. The NFE scholarship program provides money for the children to obtain books, bicycles, supplies, and uniforms so they can attend school, thus breaking this vicious cycle.
7. Cambodia: Expanding the System of Rice Intensification
In Cambodia, 80% of the country’s residents are farmers, and the majority of the labor is done by women who are excluded from family decision-making. This project, with long-time BGR partner Rachana, is designed to spread SRI and thereby empower women. Thanks to prior BGR grants, 1,483 families across 13 villages in two communes (Angkanh and Sanlong) have already adopted SRI and SCI (System of Crop Intensification). The goal of this grant is to phase out the Angkanh commune and continue spreading SRI and SCI in 12 villages in the Sanlong commune. The project aims to increase the incomes of target farmers by 150%. It will increase collaboration between local authorities and poor farmers, encouraging local authorities to adopt SRI and spread the technique. It will build the capacity of 524 farmers by teaching SRI techniques and allowing them to share skills with another 1,048 family and community members.
8. Cameroon: A Food Program for Poor Children
This is a new project with a new partner, CENCUDER (Centre for Community Development and Environmental Restoration), in a new project country, Cameroon. The mission of CENCUDER is “to especially enable rural youths and women to acquire survival skills in order to secure a better future for themselves through education and training in life and vocational skills.” The project is a feeding program for poor and disadvantaged children attending Ebase-Bajoh community primary school. Funding will cover kitchen equipment, consultants, and food for the students, increasing primary school attendance and improving the children’s learning capacity and general health. The project is expected to bring increased income for the community and increased capacity to address its problems through learning to work with NGO assistance.
9. China: First Job Experience Training for Young Women
The Shambala Foundation is a collaborative organization, registered in Hong Kong, working to alleviate poverty in China. This project is intended to benefit women of Tibetan ethnic stock living mainly in Qinghai province. Many women who receive high school or vocational education are still unable to find work; schools are inadequate and do not connect students to employers. The project aims to provide women with employable skills, work experience, and increased social responsibility. In winter 2015-2016, Shambala will select ten women to participate in the First Job Experience program. The training will provide work skills, social skills (work ethic, self-esteem, interviewing skills), and financial literacy. The women will complete a 6-week internship with a business of their choice. After receiving training, women will return to villages and conduct an educational session for children on their experiences and a financial workshop for forty other women.
10. Côte d’Ivoire: Enhanced Food Production
Côte d’Ivoire is ranked 170 out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index (UNDP 2011). Over 48% of the 22 million population lives in poverty. Six million are children under the age of five. The under-five mortality rate in Côte d’Ivoire is 195 per 1,000 live births. The average lifespan is 54 years. Malnutrition, including vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies, contribute to the high child mortality. Chronic malnutrition affects 33% of children under five years, while 16% of children under five are vitamin A deficient, which compromises the immune system and, in turn, increases the risk of death.
This is the third year of a three-year project with partner Helen Keller International. This year the project will expand HKI’s Enhanced Homestead Food Production into Lokakro Village in the District of Bouaké. It aims to increase the availability and quantity of micronutrient-rich vegetables such as sweet potatoes, especially for young children and pregnant women. It will teach the production model to 30 women, who will then spread their learning to a total of 300 village women. It is expected to result in improvements in gardening practices, irrigation systems, income generation, and gender empowerment. Year three of a three-year project.
To be continued