17. Kenya: Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition NEW PROJECT
In Kenya, undernutrition is a major problem among children. According to a 2014 survey, the rate of stunting among children in Kenya is 26%, wasting 4% and underweight 11%. Undernutrition is also a major contributing factor to the country’s high infant and maternal mortality rates. Helen Keller International (HKI), a long-time BGR partner, is working together with the Ministry of Health and Action Against Hunger to improve access, delivery, and utilization of essential nutrition-related services for mothers, newborns, and children (MNCH) in five counties in Western Kenya.
Among these, Kakamega County, which is densely populated with more than 1.6 million people and a poverty rate of over 50%, requires additional support in improving health and nutrition outcomes for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable women and children. A grant from BGR, the first in a three-year program, will enable HKI to provide critically needed technical support, improve access to nutritious food and supplements for mothers and young children, and strengthen accountability.
During the first year, HKI will increase demand for health services in Kakamega County and improve service delivery by the Ministry of Health. HKI will identify and promote locally appropriate mother, infant and young child feeding practices (e.g., the promotion of nutritionally dense locally available complementary foods) and improve the access and uptake of nutrition supplements provided by the Ministry of Health. The project will also strengthen Health Information Systems (HIS) through improved data collection and analysis of data in order to inform local and national decision-making.
This project has been made possible through a generous grant to BGR from the Chao Foundation. Year one of a three-year project.
18. Kenya & Malawi: Improving Food Security & Nutrition
Our partner, Ecology Action of the Midpeninsula, founded in 1971 and based in California, disseminates the GROW BIOINTENSIVE system of agriculture worldwide through publications, classes, workshops, internships, apprenticeships, and outreach programs. GROW BIOINTENSIVE improves agricultural productivity and soil building methods, using less land area and water in degraded areas. Using this methodology, Ecology Action has helped start sustainable agriculture projects in Mexico, Russia, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Africa, providing solutions to the challenges confronting small farmers.
With BGR support, a couple in Kenya, Samuel and Peris Nderitu, who have 13 years experience training farmers at the Grow Biointensive training center in Kenya, will train hundreds of farmers from African countries in the system. In Malawi, now in the grip of a severe drought, Ephraim and Charity Chirwa, trained at the Grow Biointensive center in Kenya, will work to train other farmers in the village of Mbowe. Many of the trainees are widows and their families include young children. The projects are expected to improve the health and life-expectancy of malnourished children, increase diversity and quantity of household food, and facilitate knowledge of health and care-giving – increasingly important as drought ravages crops in southern Africa. Annually renewable project.
19. Nicaragua: Sponsoring the Education of Poor Girls
BGR’s partner in this project, the North Country Mission of Hope, is a spiritually-based humanitarian organization committed to fostering hope and empowering relationships with the people of Nicaragua. The organization began in 1998 as a direct ministerial response to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Mitch on the impoverished villages of Chiquilistagua and Monte Verde in Nicaragua. The first mission team immediately recognized that direct, long-term assistance was vital in order to improve the lives of the people. Working hand-in-hand with local community leaders, the Mission’s primary objective is to empower the people to help themselves.
In Nicaragua families with limited financial resources choose to send their sons to school rather than their daughters. This leaves another generation of young females uneducated and at increased risk of rape and childhood pregnancy. Mission of Hope aims to break the cycle of poverty by sponsoring the education of as many girls as financially possible. In partnership with Mission of Hope, BGR will sponsor the education of 94 girls ranging in age from prekindergarten to university level. The girls are currently on the waiting list.
With BGR sponsorship, each student will receive coverage of tuition and/or registration fees; the schoolbooks appropriate for their grade level; an insignia, which every student must have sewn on their school shirt; and the government-mandated school uniform, along with black shoes and white socks. Additionally, each student will receive bi-annual parasite medicine treatment and a free physical at the medical clinic located on the Mission of Hope compound in Chiquilistagua. Females on the waiting list will be sponsored on a first in – first out basis, with no preferential treatment to any particular person(s).
This partnership with North Country Mission of Hope is BGR’s first in Latin America.
20. Sri Lanka: Education in Technology for Girls from Low Income Families NEW PROJECT
Founded in 1984 the vision of CENWOR—the Centre for Women’s Research—is gender equality and the empowerment of women in Sri Lanka. Its mission is to promote research, training, lobbying, advocacy and monitoring gender-related issues facing women and girls in Sri Lanka.
This project is intended to provide financial support to female students seeking to enroll or continue in middle level technical education courses to facilitate their access to higher technical education, upward career mobility, and sustainable employment. The project will provide financial support to: (1) twenty women in low-income families with the appropriate qualifications who are seeking entry to—or are enrolled in—the Diploma in Technical Education (level 5) and Advanced Diploma in Technical Education (level 6) programs of the state Colleges of Technology in each province; and (2) twenty women in low-income families enrolled in the second year of the Bachelor of Information Technology program conducted by the University School of Computing (UCSC) of the University of Colombo. The program will also conduct complementary gender sensitization sessions to motivate the women to challenge negative gendered norms that limit their opportunities for upward career mobility.
To be continued