Tag Archives: Oxfam

Projects for Fiscal Year 2015–16—Part 3 (of 6)

BGR Staff

11. Ethiopia: Promoting Crop Intensification

 

Our partner on this project is Oxfam America, a relief and development organization that works to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. This is a one-year addition to a previous two-year pilot project in the System of Crop Intensification (SCI), which aims at increasing food production in ecologically sustainable ways. The effort, focused on Ethiopia’s Central Rift Valley, seeks to promote environmental friendly, economically feasible, and climate-smart agronomic practices among small-scale farmers by increasing the uptake of the SCI methodology. Our partners will identify 250 target farmers willing to adopt SCI (40% female); train 20 experts; train farmers in SCI; provide trial inputs (seeds, fertilizer); organize farmer-to-farmer learning and showcasing events; provide technical support to farmers; and document practices and lessons learned. Oxfam will be working with a local partner in Ethiopia, Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA). A one-year addition to a previous two-year project.
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Battling Climate Change in the Himalayas, One Woman at a Time

by Jennifer Russ

The Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the lower Himalayas, holds the fifteenth rank in agriculture in the country. Almost 88% percent of the land holdings come under the small and marginal category, which is about 55% of the area under cultivation. In the past three years, Uttarakhand has received less-than-normal rainfall, which has affected crop production and adversely impacted the livelihood of the almost 78% of the State’s population dependent on agriculture.

On these mountainous farms, the families’ survival depends on their ability to adapt to increasingly erratic weather patterns. About 90% of agricultural lands in Uttarakhand are fed by rain and are thus highly vulnerable to climate change and degradation due to erratic and unpredictable rainfall and severe erosion of soil nutrients. This has posed a major threat to agriculture in the region, the life support for the state’s population.

1,  , thaheli village, bhilangana block, tehri district, MVDA (Kirti Nautiyal)

Meeting of seed bank group

Women play a crucial role in hill agriculture, as they undertake up to 90% of the total work in agriculture and animal care. The impact of decline in productivity due to climate change and degradation of natural resources has affected the food security of women the most.
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Projects for the Next Fiscal Year—Part 4 (of 6)

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

12. India: System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

Badlao Foundation aims to empower people for social transformation and help them achieve self-reliance and gender justice. The organization promotes an equitable social structure and helps women and other socially disadvantaged peoples to claim their rights. Last year BGR completed the second year of a three-year partnership with Badlao to improve the economic status of 150 marginalized families in the Deoghar district of Jharkhand state, one of the most impoverished districts in the country.

The grant for the third year will enable Badlao to extend the program to an additional 50 families, for a total of 200 beneficiary families. The project aims to improve the economic status and financial independence of women, 88% of whom are moderately to severely malnourished. The selected farmers will be taught how to improve their livelihoods by making more effective use of their land. A women farmers’ association (Mahila Sabha) will be established to sell produce and manage finances.  Regular meetings for the beneficiary families will cover agricultural training as well as rights and responsibilities, gender issues, and the importance of education and health. Year three of a three-year project made possible by a generous grant from the India Charitable Trust.

13. India: A Girls’ Hostel and Women’s Community Center bcttanov2014 010

Bodhicitta Foundation is a socially engaged charity established in 2001 by the Australian Buddhist nun, Ayya Yeshe, to help Dalits (scheduled classes) and slum dwellers in the state of Maharashtra. Last year, a two-year partnership between BGR and Bodhicitta culminated in the establishment of a women’s vocational training and community center in Nagpur, one of the largest cities in the state. Now Bodhicitta plans to create a girls’ hostel for thirty girls aged 14–20, who will be trained as social and health workers or to qualify in a vocation. The girls will be selected from Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, from rural Maharashtra, and from the urban slums of Nagpur—ten from each region. They will be trained for three years, after which they will return to their villages with the skills to empower other young girls, create their own businesses, and pass on their knowledge. In this way, thirty girls will become agents of change and establish institutions that will benefit hundreds of girls and women in the future.Such a project is especially important in India because investing in girls’ education can alleviate poverty and the ignorance that oppresses poor girls and women.

The  BGR grant will also go to support the women’s job training and community center. At the center, the women will receive education, loans, and business training to empower them to start their own businesses and gain income that will directly increase the well-being of their children, families, and communities, lifting them out of poverty. The community center creates space for awareness-raising, health workshops, counseling, career guidance, and quality education that is currently lacking in the difficult environment of a large industrial slum. Year one of a three-year project.
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Projects for the Next Fiscal Year—Part 3 (of 6)

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

8. Ethiopia: System of Crop Intensification (SCI)

Sofia 1-2Last year, BGR entered into a partnership with Oxfam America on a project to improve food production in the Meki-Ziway area of the Central Rift Valley in Ethiopia, a region affected by increased costs of farming, excessive use of pesticides and water, and decreasing water levels.

The project aims to meet these challenges by applying the System of Crop Intensification (SCI) to such crops as tomatoes, peppers, onions, cabbage, and potatoes. SCI draws on the methods that have already proved successful in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), extending them to other crops. SCI emphasizes growing bigger, healthier root systems, and enhancing soil fertility. The method should increase vegetable production while reducing water use and reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Producing more while reducing costs will increase income and enhance household nutritional security among the Ethiopian farmers of the Meki-Ziway area. This second year of the two-year project will focus on building the capacity of local partners to continue SCI training. It will also organize workshops to share knowledge with other regions and develop manuals and videos to make the methods more widely available to Ethiopian farmers. Year two of a two-year project.

9. Haiti: System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

20131203_160353Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, with nearly 90% of Haitians in the countryside living in poverty and two-thirds in extreme poverty. Haiti was once self-sufficient in rice, a staple in the national diet, but rice production has sagged and it now imports over 80% of its rice. To increase the output and income of rice farmers in Haiti, Oxfam America is promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a method of cultivation which lowers inputs but results in rice plants that are more resistant to climate extremes, pests, and diseases. Yields can increase by 50%-150% within one or two cropping seasons.

Last year BGR teamed up with Oxfam America on a two-year project to enhance the use of SRI in Haiti. The first-year of the BGR grant enabled the training in SRI to be extended to thirty additional farmers, both women and men, for a total of 300. In the second year, the grant will extend the training to still more farmers. It will also establish financial support for farmers, improve a local processing mill, and train youth to use cultivation and harvesting machinery. Year two of a two-year project.
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BGR ED Kim Behan Honored by Oxfam America

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Kim-Close UpThis year Oxfam America is celebrating International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8th, by asking their staff and supporters to share stories of “women who are making a difference in the fight against hunger, poverty, and injustice.” One of their staff members chose as her inspirational model BGR Executive Director, Kim Behan! The writer is Oxfam America’s Manager of Strategic Alliances Elizabeth Carty, whom Kim and I first met in Washington DC in 2010 and who helped us establish an ongoing partnership with Oxfam America.

 In the covering email, the Oxfam America team wrote to Kim: “Thank you so much for all the work you’ve been doing to make a difference in your community and in the world. You’re an inspiration to us.” And, I would add, she is an inspiration to all of us at BGR—truly one of the world’s outstanding Buddhist women.

Here is the text of Elizabeth’s submission, the original of which can be found here:

Kim Behan – Westminster, CO

Submitted by Elizabeth Carty – Newton, MA

I am honoring Kim Behan, Executive Director of Buddhist Global Relief, because of her dedication to helping end hunger, poverty, and injustice. I first met Kim at a White House briefing for Faith Leaders in 2010. Her friendly and warm personality immediately drew me in, and we became fast friends. We were thrilled when Kim agreed to become an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador. Not only has she and Buddhist Global Relief partnered over the years with Oxfam on World Food Day and International Woman’s Day, but they have also donated over $131,800 to Oxfam partners and projects over the past 3 years.

Like all staff at Buddhist Global Relief, Kim takes no salary but donates her time and expertise to the organization. She is truly dedicated to ending hunger, poverty, and injustice, and understands well how this vision will only be achieved by investing in women.

Kim, I am proud to honor you this International Woman’s Day!

Improving Vegetable Cultivation in Ethiopia

by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

In the spring of 2013, BGR entered into a partnership with Oxfam America to pilot a system of crop intensification (SCI) in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. The aim  is to increase income from vegetables and enhance the household nutritional security of the participating families. 

Ethiopia-OxfamAmericaLast spring BGR entered into a partnership with Oxfam America to pilot a system of crop intensification (SCI) in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia.  SCI applies to other crops the principles and methods already being employed in other countries by the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Like SRI, SCI raises the productivity of land, labor, water and nutrients. It results in growing bigger, healthier root systems, and enhances soil fertility by promotion of soil biota (the life in the soil). The method is described as an “economically feasible, environmentally friendly, and climate smart irrigated vegetable production system.”
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Intensified Rice Cultivation in Haiti

By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

A 2-year grant from Buddhist Global Relief is enabling Oxfam to expand its program in Haiti providing  training in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a method of rice cultivation developed specially to benefit poor farmers. 

Haiti is one of the poorest and most food insecure countries on earth. It is exposed to natural disasters—especially hurricanes and flooding—and suffers from a legacy of neglect, exploitation, and marginalization. The country’s plight was made even more severe by a powerful earthquake that struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010. The quake  demolished homes, ripped apart families, and left much of the population in utter destitution. Rural Haiti, home to the majority of the country’s population, is even more impoverished. Nearly 90% of rural Haitians  subsist on $2 a day, and two-thirds on $1 a day.
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Super-Typhoon Devastates the Philippines – Emergency Aid Needed Now

World Food Programme Emergency Aid for the PhilippinesTyphoon Haiyan has caused massive loss of life and destruction in the Philippine Islands. The typhoon – described as perhaps the largest tropical storm ever to hit land in recorded history – has left nearly half a million people in the Philippines homeless and without basic necessities.  Those children and families need your help.  Please consider making a donation to the United Nations World Food Programme – the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. You can make a donation at: https://www.wfp.org/donate/typhoon

Oxfam International is accepting donations for emergency relief at: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan

You can also make a $10 donation to UNICEF USA by texting “RELIEF” to 864233

A Buddhist teaching  from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition is to think of all beings as our mothers. Recognizing that all of these suffering beings have been our mothers and in every other close relationship with us since beginningless time, we urge you to help as generously as possible.

Preserving the Fecundity of the Earth

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Among the many things that the Buddhist principle of conditionality teaches us, three are particularly pertinent to any endeavor to diagnose and alleviate suffering on a global scale. The first is that events and processes that appear remote and disconnected from one another may be intimately connected through subtle chains of influence operating subliminally across the systems that generate them. The second is that conditions that appear slight and insignificant on their own can converge to produce effects massive in their impact. The third is that human volition is an important factor in the web of conditions and can thus transform even processes driven by the weight of physical laws.

These three principles are evident with startling clarity in the acceleration of climate change. As to the first, science teaches us the basic chain of conditions involved in anthropogenic global warming. We use coal to generate electricity, burn petroleum derivatives to power our vehicles, ship goods across continents, raise cattle for food, and we thereby release gases that trap heat and warm up the planet. Continue reading

A New Slate of Projects–Part 3

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

This is the third of a four-part series on BGR projects approved for fiscal year 2013–14. Thanks are due to Patti Price, chair of the Projects Committee, and Jessie Benjamin, Carla Prater, and Jennifer Russ for preparing the material.

11. India: Improving the Livelihoods of Poor Farmers

India-BADLAO

The Badlao Foundation aims to empower people for social transformation and help them achieve self-reliance and gender justice. The organization strives to promote an equitable social structure and to enable women and other socially disadvantaged peoples to claim their rights. Last year BGR entered into a three-year partnership with Badlao to improve the economic status of 150 marginalized families in the Deoghar district of Jharkhand state, one of the most impoverished districts in the country. The project aims to improve the economic status and financial independence of women, 88% of whom are moderately to severely malnourished. In Year 2 of the project Badlao staff will continue to teach the selected farmers how to improve their livelihoods by making more effective use of their land. A women farmers’ association (Mahila Sabha) will be established for the distribution of saplings, seeds, and organic manure.  Regular meetings for the 150 beneficiary families will cover agricultural training as well as rights and responsibilities, gender issues, and the importance of education and health.

12. India: A Women’s Community Center in Nagpur

India-Bodhicitta-MarchThe Bodhicitta Foundation is a socially engaged charity established in 2001 by the Australian Buddhist nun, Sister Yeshe, to help Dalit and slum dwellers in the state of Maharashtra. Last year BGR entered into a two-year project with Bodhicitta to support the establishment of a women’s vocational training and community center in Nagpur, one of the largest cities in the state. This is Year 2 of the project. The center has already started to provide services to women, which include parental training, nutritional support, day care and health camps, computer training, sewing classes, beautician training, literacy classes, and career and financial counseling. The center also offers counseling to women affected by domestic violence, runs a program for malnourished children, and offers basic medical and housing assistance.

The projects with the Badlao Foundation and the Bodhicitta Foundation were both made possible by a generous grant to BGR from the India Charitable Foundation, for which we are deeply grateful.

13. India: Enhanced Food Security for Women Farmers

This is the second year of a three-year partnership with Oxfam India on a project being implemented in 13 villages in the Tehri Gharwal district of the Uttarakhand region. The project is designed to benefit over 6500 people in 1200 households of small and marginal farmers. Its focus is on enhancing food security for women farmers by building a sustainable production system that can prove resilient in the face of a changing climate. The project will: (1) strengthen integrated farming systems; (2) increase the use of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI); and (3) teach non-pesticidal sustainable agriculture.

14. Rwanda and Malawi: Training in Organic Agriculture  NEW

Rwanda-Eco-ActionEcology Action of the Mid-Peninsula is a U.S.–based organization that disseminates a system of organic agriculture called GROW BIOINTENSIVE. Ecology Action has taught this system to small-scale farmers in Mexico, Russia, Kenya, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. BGR is sponsoring a two-year project with Ecology Action that will impart training in Grow Biointensive to farmers from Rwanda.  In the first year, four community leaders from Rwanda will be sent to Kenya to learn the Grow Biotensive system. On their return they will train 3,600 Rwandan farmers in the techniques: 1,200 in year 1 and 2,400 in year 2. The project includes continuing support for trainers in Malawi, who are ready to start their second year. The expected outcome is improvement in the health of malnourished children, increase in the diversity and quantity of household food, and better knowledge of health and care-giving. Farmers should also be able to increase their earnings through sale of surplus produce on the market.

15. Sri Lanka: Empowering Young Women

CENWOR WomenCENWOR (Centre for Women’s Research), founded in 1984, aims to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in Sri Lanka. One of its major missions has been providing girls from poor families with education and vocational training. For the third time, BGR will be sponsoring a year-long project with CENWOR intended to remedy inadequacies in the public education system that result in a high dropout rates for girls. The project will enroll sixty young women, ages 17–25, for six months in courses run by the State Vocational Training Authority. After finishing their training they will receive six months of placement assistance. CENWOR will also offer the women complementary courses in English, basic IT, personality development, and gender issues.

16. Vietnam: Meals for Hospital Patients

In Vietnam, the price of hospital stay does not include food.  Already challenged by the hospital expenses, most patients and their families are hard pressed to buy food.  With a grant from BGR, the Tam Binh chapter of the Red Cross of Vietnam, in collaboration with the local government, has stepped forward to feed poor patients in need. The BGR grant suffices to provide two meals a day to  patients throughout the year. This is one of BGR’s initial projects, which has been renewed annually for the past four years.

17. Vietnam: Scholarships for Poor Children

For the past four years, BGR has been sponsoring scholarships to students in elementary and middle schools in both the Cam Duong and the Tam Binh areas of Vietnam. The scholarships are given by the Red Cross of Vietnam to 150 students in each of the two school districts. These are children from the poorest families who achieve good grades and display good conduct. Without this aid, these students would not have the means to continue studies at the primary and middle school levels. The scholarship provides each student with an enrollment kit that includes the annual enrollment fee, educational materials, and basic health care during the school year.

18. Vietnam: System of Rice Intensification

This project, renewed for the third time, is conducted in partnership with the International Cooperation Center of Thai Nguyen University. The program expands training in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to village farmers in three villages of Vo Nhai district, Thai Nguyen province. SRI results in increased yields with smaller inputs of water and fertilizer.

To be continued