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How do NGOs change people’s lives? Read Joyce Mary’s heartening story

 

Hear other people’s stories…

Maximpact presents War on Want – an NGO celebrating this year its 56th anniversary of working with poor communities in Africa.

By Eithne McNulty Overseas, Officer for War On Want Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland, December 27, 2017 (WOWNI) War On Want Northern Ireland (WOWNI) is a small, independent International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) based in Belfast Northern Ireland. WOWNI implements programmes in Uganda and Malawi focusing on supporting local groups of farmers to reduce poverty and promote equitable and sustainable development through building their capacity to produce more food to feed their  families and have a surplus to take to market. Fostering entrepreneurship and building income generation are important aspect of how the organization works and special care is taken to target the most vulnerable of the poor such as orphans, women, elderly, child headed households and  people living with HIV/Aids. Care for the environment is central to WOWNI’s work ethic as is gender equality.

Joyce Mary’s story is a heartening one. It shows how a little help can go a long way when there are people as enterprising and entrepreneurial as she. And the vast majority of people in poor communities in Africa have this amazing ability to be business people in their own right. Joyce Mary talks about her “business dream coming through” with the help she got from WOWNI. She now has her chicken rearing farm! She talks too about the training she received on business development and agricultural technologies. WOWNI hears this said all the time.

Training is such a key element of the success of the projects (visit Maximpact Advisory for training services).

Joyce Mary references borrowing from her local Village Savings and Loans Scheme (VSLA) – a kind of credit union set up and managed by local people. VSLAs are a lifeline to people and form part of every intervention WOWNI designs with local people. VSLAs provide a safe savings scheme locally, they provide borrowing facilities for business set up and importantly, they become a lifeline when a ‘rainy day’ hits. Ironically, a ‘rainy day’ in the East African context more typically means drought!. This leads to failed crops as does other disasters such as floods and pest invasion like the army worms which are sweeping Sub Saharan Africa at the moment and destroying poor peoples’ livelihoods. So, the challenges are many. Fortunately, the resilience and talent Joyce Mary exudes, as do so many other of the poor, sees communities through the tough times. Ironically too, when you visit these communities what you meet is not despondency and desolation – not at all. It is always song, dance, ceremony and celebration. Always a smile and a welcome.

WOWNI has a deep belief in the capabilities and capacity of local communities in the developing world. They  know best how to respond to the needs and challenges they face; how to lift themselves out of the poverty that surrounds them. Their challenges and obstacles are manifold;  the structural nature of poverty; did you know that the developed/rich world takes more in  taxes from the developing world than it gives to it in aid?. Other major challenges include climate change, lack of resources, education, jobs, land, gender inequality. Because local people and their communities are best placed to plan and implement development projects, WOWNI  operates the ‘partnership approach’, meaning it identifies locally based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and work through them. They become the delivery mechanism for development projects.  They invariably know what’s needed by way of planning, budgeting,  training, raw materials, tracking, monitoring and much more. They get results. WOWNI is simply the conduit between its Northern Irish  donors and its governmental donors, who generously give to the organization, and the farmers groups who, when they receive that assistance, work innovatively, imaginatively, diligently and with unbelievable resourcefulness and resoluteness.

Do you want to help War on Want or have your story to tell? Contact us at info@maximpact.com

Maximpact provides support services to public and private organizations, visit www.Maximpact.com to find out how we can help you, or contact us at info@maximpact.com

 

The Story of Joyce Mary

By Eithne McNulty Overseas Officer for War On Want 

Northern Ireland, EU July 19, 2017 (Guest Contributor) War On Want Northern Ireland (WOWNI) is a small, independent International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) based in Belfast Northern Ireland. This year, 2017, it celebrates 56 years of working with poor communities in Africa. WOWNI implements programmes in Uganda and Malawi focusing on supporting local groups of farmers to reduce poverty and promote equitable and sustainable development through building their capacity to produce more food to feed their  families and have a surplus to take to market. Fostering entrepreneurship and building income generation are important aspect of how the organization works and special care is taken to target the most vulnerable of the poor such as orphans, women, elderly, child headed households and  people living with HIV/Aids. Care for the environment is central to WOWNI’s work ethic as is gender equality.

Joyce Mary’s story is a heartening one. It shows how a little help can go a long way when there are people as enterprising and entrepreneurial as she. And the vast majority of people in poor communities in Africa have this amazing ability to be business people in their own right. Joyce Mary talks about her “business dream coming through” with the help she got from WOWNI. She now has her chicken rearing farm!. She talks too about the training she received  on business development and agricultural technologies. WOWNI hears this said all the time. Training is such a key element of the success of the projects.

Joyce Mary references borrowing from her local Village Savings and Loans Scheme (VSLA) – a kind of credit union set up and managed by local people. VSLAs are a lifeline to people and form part of every intervention WOWNI designs with local people. VSLAs provide a safe savings scheme locally, they provide borrowing facilities for business set up and importantly, they become a lifeline when a ‘rainy day’ hits. Ironically, a ‘rainy day’ in the East African context more typically means drought!. This leads to failed crops as does other disasters such as floods and pest invasion like the army worms which are sweeping Sub Saharan Africa at the moment and destroying poor peoples’ livelihoods. So, the challenges are many. Fortunately, the resilience and talent Joyce Mary exudes, as do so many other of the poor, sees communities through the tough times. Ironically too, when you visit these communities what you meet is not despondency and desolation – not at all. It is always song, dance, ceremony and celebration. Always a smile and a welcome. 

WOWNI has a deep belief in the capabilities and capacity of local communities in the developing world. They  know best how to respond to the needs and challenges they face; how to lift themselves out of the poverty that surrounds them. Their challenges and obstacles are manifold;  the structural nature of poverty; did you know that the developed/rich world takes more in  taxes from the developing world than it gives to it in aid?. Other major challenges include climate change, lack of resources, education, jobs, land, gender inequality. Because local people and their communities are best placed to plan and implement development projects, WOWNI  operates the ‘partnership approach’, meaning it identifies locally based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and work through them. They become the delivery mechanism for development projects.  They invariably know what’s needed by way of planning, budgeting,  training, raw materials, tracking, monitoring and much more. They get results. WOWNI is simply the conduit between its Northern Irish  donors and its governmental donors, who generously give to the organization, and the farmers groups who, when they receive that assistance, work innovatively, imaginatively, diligently and with unbelievable resourcefulness and resoluteness. 


Akwi Joyce Mary

Joyce Mary feeding her chickens.

Testimony of Akwi Joyce Mary

“My dream has been to become a prosperous entrepreneur” She said. Akwi Joyce Mary is a 45 year old married woman with six (6) children. She also takes care of 4 grandchildren. Joyce Mary has 6 acres of land and with the support of group oxen they received from WoWNI, she is now able to cultivate all. Joyce Mary relies purely on farming as a source of livelihood.

“Before the Project support, I used to work like a donkey, hiring out my labour in order to get food and little income to support the family. My husband was a well known drunkard in the community; my family could only afford one meal a day during hunger month and we had no hope of educating our children” she narrated.

She further explained that, despite the fact that family had land, they were not utilizing it effective because they had no oxen but however, her life is now much more better, she feels empowered as a woman because her children are going to school, have their own oxen that she bought, have 250 local chickens; she is also an active member in her savings group, has100 plastic chairs that she hires out and her family eats 3 meals a day during hunger months. Her husband now respects and loves her.

Joyce Mary said that, the most significant change she is proud off in the project is the knowledge received through the trainings especially farm planning and farming as a business. This enabled her not only diversify her food production but also enabled her divides gardens to ensure that family grows crops for income and food separately. In 2016 she planted 2 acres of groundnuts, one acre for food and the other for income; she was able to earn £349 but also have food at home. The money helps her pay school fees for her children, meet family medical bills as well as household necessities. “Every year now make sure that I have at least 3 acres specifically grown for food and 2 for income” she said with confidence.

Joyce also with her business dream, started rearing 5 local chicken that she bought using the money she borrowed (£24) from her village saving group, chickens have multiplied and she now has 250. She sold 15 chicken was able to buy an ox and two sheep. The chicken not only provides her with daily income but also balance diet inform of eggs, the meat. Besides the chicken, Joyce grows vegetables at her backyard and she able to eat fresh vegetables to supplement her diet.


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167 Nations Adopt New Urban Agenda

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Ecuador’s capital, Quito, population 2.1 million, is distinguished by the Cathedral of Quito, first opened in 1567. (Photo by Al Tuttle) Creative Commons license via Flickr

By Sunny Lewis

QUITO, Ecuador, November 1, 2016 (Maximpact.com News) – Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, has wrapped up in Quito, Ecuador, as delegations adopted the New Urban Agenda, a new framework that details how cities should be planned and managed to best achieve sustainability.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, attends the opening of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, HABITAT III, with Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Eskinder Debebe / UN) posted for media use.

Up to 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, experts project.

 Hosted by the city of Quito from October 17-20, and attended by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Habitat III conference drew around 36,000 people from 167 countries.

 Habitat III brought together mayors, local and regional authorities, civil society and community groups, the private sector and urban planners.

The New Urban Agenda is contained in the Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All. It states, “By 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends. As the population, economic activities, social and cultural interactions, as well as environmental and humanitarian impacts, are increasingly concentrated in cities, this poses massive sustainability challenges in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety, and natural resources…

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Joan Clos, secretary-general of the Habitat III conference and executive director of the UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, Oct. 31, 2016 (Photo by Mark Garten / UN) posted for media use.

We have analyzed and discussed the challenges that our cities are facing and have [agreed] on a common roadmap for the 20 years to come,” said Joan Clos, secretary-general of the conference and executive director of the UN Human Settlements Programme, usually called UN-Habitat.

 Clos, who was mayor of Barcelona, Spain from September 1997 to September 2006, said the New Urban Agenda should be seen as an extension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by 193 UN Member States in September 2015.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the power of cities and towns to be the engine for sustainable growth in the future, a concept further emphasized in the New Urban Agenda.

The ambitious New Urban Agenda is guided by these interlinked principles:

  • (a) Leave no one behind, by ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including the eradication of extreme poverty, by ensuring equal rights and opportunities, socio-economic and cultural diversity, integration in the urban space, enhancing livability, education, food security and nutrition, health and well-being; including by ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, promoting safety and eliminating discrimination and all forms of violence … and providing equal access for all to physical and social infrastructure and basic services as well as adequate and affordable housing.
  • (b) Sustainable and inclusive urban economies, by leveraging the … benefits of well-planned urbanization, high productivity, competitiveness, and innovation; promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all, ensuring decent job creation and equal access for all to economic and productive resources and opportunities; preventing land speculation; and promoting secure land tenure and managing urban shrinking where appropriate.
  •  (c) Environmental sustainability, by promoting clean energy, sustainable use of land and resources in urban development as well as protecting ecosystems and biodiversity, including adopting healthy lifestyles in harmony with nature; promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns; building urban resilience; reducing disaster risks; and mitigating and adapting to climate change.

On the sidelines of the Habitat III formal discussions, dozens of side events and parallel events brought partners together to debate the more intricate areas of urbanization, such as the right of women and youth to the city, the importance of public space and how to finance the New Urban Agenda.

Among its 175 sections, the New Urban Agenda states, in Section 66, “We commit to adopt a smart city approach, which makes use of opportunities from digitalization, clean energy and technologies, as well as innovative transport technologies, thus providing options for inhabitants to make more environmentally friendly choices and boost sustainable economic growth and enabling cities to improve their service delivery.

 Section 75 states, “We commit to strengthening the sustainable management of resources – including land, water (oceans, seas, and freshwater), energy, materials, forests, and food, with particular attention to the environmentally sound management and minimization of all waste, hazardous chemicals, including air and short-lived climate pollutants, greenhouse gases, and noise – in a way that considers urban-rural linkages and functional supply and value chains vis-à-vis environmental impact and sustainability, and strives to transition to a circular economy, while facilitating ecosystem conservation, regeneration, restoration and resilience in the face of new and emerging challenges.

Above all, Clos said, the New Urban Agenda is, “A commitment that we will all together take the responsibility … [for the] direction of the development of our common urbanizing world.

To further reach out to cities, foster the exchange of best practices and the development of urban strategies, the European Commission has launched a new web portal for cities.

Answering a need expressed by numerous cities, the new portal provides up-to-date information on EU policies such as climate change adaptation, mobility or circular economy that directly impact cities and urban areas.

Urban stakeholders can also get clear information on financing opportunities under the different EU funding instruments and on events related to urban development.

The new portal is intended to help cities to address challenges such as affordable housing, energy efficiency or accessibility, by making the most out of EU funding opportunities.

In addition, the new Urban Data Platform, hosted on the Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies operated by the Joint Research Centre, provides a single access point to common indicators on the status and trends in over 800 European urban areas – on demography, economic development or access to services.

This database will enable urban authorities and stakeholders to compare data, benchmark and monitor, which is one of the aims of the New Urban Agenda.

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefcovic said, “Over 70 percent of the EU’s population lives in urban areas; it is here where the transition to a green economy is being decided.”

Cities play a crucial role in the activation of citizens and consumers and in promoting change by investing in energy-efficient renovation of buildings, making transport more sustainable, raising citizens’ awareness, implementing new technologies, supporting vulnerable consumers and much more. Therefore we are launching instruments which will enable cities to experiment with new ideas and see if they are feasible and useful,” Šefcovic said.

Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu presented the EU’s Urban Agenda at Habitat III in Quito.

In partnership with UN Habitat, the Commission has released the State of European Cities Report. It supports the New Urban Agenda by assessing the performance of European cities with regards to its priority themes: jobs and skills, fight against poverty, shift towards a low-carbon economy.

At the heart of the EU’s Urban Agenda, 12 partnerships allow cities, Member States, EU Institutions, NGOs and business partners to work together on an equal basis to find common solutions to improve quality of life in European urban areas.

Four pilot partnerships have already started: on the inclusion of migrants, coordinated by the city of Amsterdam; on air quality, coordinated by the Netherlands; on housing, coordinated by Slovakia; and on urban poverty, coordinated by Belgium and France.

By January 2017, four new partnerships will be launched: on circular economy coordinated by Oslo, Norway; on digital transition coordinated by Estonia; Oulu, Finland; and Sofia, Bulgaria; on urban mobility coordinated by the Czech Republic and Karlsruhe, Germany, as well as on jobs and skills coordinated by Romania, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Jelgava, Latvia. The Commission will report back to the Council on the partnerships by the end of 2017.

To transform our world, we must transform its cities,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement commemorating World Cities Day, which is observed each October 31 since 2014.

Local action is essential to realizing the potential of these global agreements,” Ban said. “On World Cities Day, let us renew our resolve to confront urban problems and forge lasting solutions. Together, we can show how success in cities inspires change across the world.


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State-of-the-Art Social Investing: Bringing the Homeless Home to a Green Community

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The piecemeal approach to ending homelessness using temporary housing and shelters has long proven inadequate in the face of America’s formidable battle against this social issue, especially for American veterans. Nonprofit American Family Housing (AFH) has launched a new project that will provide permanent support — a powerful solution to help break the cycle of chronic homelessness. Potter’s Lane — the nation’s first multi-family permanent supportive housing project built with recycled shipping container — is bringing the way communities solve homelessness into the 21st Century. Built from converted cargo containers, Potter’s Lane features green architecture, aesthetic appeal and a design that encourages a sense of community pride all while addressing an important social issue.

Located at 15171 Jackson Street in Midway City, Calif., the complex is in the heart of Orange County, adjacent to American Family Housing’s offices. The eco-friendly housing at Potter’s Lane is prefabricated off-site. This approach has reduced development inefficiencies, while increasing sustainability and energy efficiency. It provides increased access to permanent supportive housing without the long development cycles associated with conventional site-built construction and financing.

GrowthPoint Structures: Modern Modular Homes

Potter’s Lane will offer both indoor and outdoor spaces, with beautiful gardens and native plants to provide a sustainable environment that is soothing and enjoyable. Through tranquil common areas, residents have a space to be together or alone while building a sense of community.

“The container units exceed the state’s criteria for energy efficiency,” says Lisa Sharpe, senior vice president of GrowthPoint Structures, a Los Angeles-based company that has built schools in California and custom homes from what could be called “gently used” cargo containers that carried dry goods to the area’s ports. Benefits include:

  • Cool roof technology reduces heat absorption by over 90 percent, reducing air conditioning electricity bills by 20 percent.
  • Ductless system eliminates potential air quality hazards that cause over 14 million cases of asthma in the USA.
  • The GrowthPoint lighting systems save 33 percent in energy costs compared to standard lighting
  • 85 percent of all components are reclaimed/recycled materials reducing landfill impact by 22-tons per unit.
  • LEED Platinum achievable.
  • Exceeds LEED Platinum requirements for reclaimed content by 55 percent.
  • Achieves 100 percent of LEED Innovation and Design Process criteria.

The entire complex is about 11,902 square feet and boasts attractive indoor and outdoor community spaces. Built on land owned by the organization, the 16-unit project will provide permanent housing and support services to 15 chronically homeless-10 set aside for veterans and 5 with veteran preference- plus one onsite manager. This affordable housing complex is part of a comprehensive program that works with the tenants on psychological, social, medical, employment and financial issues to climb out of the spiral of chronic homelessness by achieving long term housing stability and self-sufficiency.

Homes That Are Safe, Durable and Built to Last

Each unit at Potter’s Lane is being built using three 8-by-20-foot containers, with several sides removed for interior space to accommodate a bedroom/dining area, kitchen and bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls let in plenty of light. With each unit providing approximately 480 square feet of living space, a single person can live comfortably in a private unit.

  • Withstands 112-tons of compressive force and 17-tons of lateral force
  • 106 times stronger than building codes require
  • Resists weathering over 100 years
  • Interior wood walls systems resist damage and hold up to 250 lbs. at any point
  • Continuous door hinges eliminate failing standard hinges removing the need for repair
    and replacement
  • Inherent safeguards to resist vandalism and increase security

The Big Ideas Behind Little Spaces

The idea to explore the use of shipping containers was first proposed by AFH’s former housing development consultant, Gerald Turner, and AFH agreed to lead the innovation for the field.  It’s not a completely novel idea, and the movement toward micro-homes extends beyond housing the homeless. With books, photo albums and music stored on phones instead of on shelves and TVs reduced to flat screens, today’s homes do not require the same amount of living space to provide many of the expected comforts and amenities.

Shifting focus on permanent, modular, sustainable housing offers three important benefits to the community:

  • It saves money. Costs for emergency medical treatment, incarceration, detox programs and emergency shelters can be reduced if the homeless population is given regular treatment in a permanent home.
  • It frees resources for other uses. Emergency rooms can return to their original intended purposes, for example, when chronic homelessness is reduced and people live in a safer environment.  In addition, funds previously used for frequent users of emergency systems can now be used for homeless adults and families that need preventative or short term solutions.
  • It changes lives. Prospects improved dramatically for success in curing a person’s chronic homelessness due to mental illness, the ravages of wartime experiences or other factors.

Only the Beginning

This model can be replicated and other organizations across the country are in planning stages. It’s an innovative approach to development, because the structures are manufactured off-site while site work is simultaneously being completed. Then, the units are delivered to the site and are assembled to create housing— shortening the time it would normally take to build a structure. The units are designed to be very strong, sustainable and energy efficient.

This project has already drawn wide support from corporate and other large-scale donors who will be recognized for their contributions with their names on structures in the community. AFH welcomes additional donors, and in gratitude for their assistance, AFH is offering further naming opportunities within the Potter’s Lane development.

For more information or with interest in getting involved, visit www.afhusa.org/potterslane or call +1 (714) 897-3221. 



Donna Gallup
ABOUT DONNA GALLUP: Donna Gallup, M.S.W., L.S.W., is president & CEO of American Family Housing and a lifelong human services advocate who has tenaciously worked to benefit disadvantaged individuals and communities. With decades of experience in housing and community development, fundraising and social services, Donna possesses a unique and comprehensive understanding of the issues affecting the homeless population in California and across the USA. A New Jersey native, Donna holds a Master’s Degree in social work from New York University and has worked extensively with special needs populations, including the homeless, adults with mental illness, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, vulnerable families, and persons living with the challenges of addiction. Within the last decade alone, she has helped secure over $21 million for property acquisition and rehabilitation, operations, and services to develop supportive housing for the homeless and mentally ill. Prior to joining AFH, Donna served as CEO of the LAMP Community located on Skid Row in Los Angeles and in December 2013, the ACLU SoCal honored her at its Bill of Rights Dinner with the Human Rights Advocate award.

Featured image: Homeless, Creative Commons license via Pixabay

Honors to Women and Girls Who Feed the World

  • AbedQatar

By Sunny Lewis

DES MOINES, Iowa, October 28, 2015 (Maximpact News) – Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chair of BRAC, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, was honored earlier this month as the 2015 World Food Prize Laureate for improving the world’s supply.

And for building one of the world’s largest and most effective anti-poverty organizations.

Sir Fazle is first to acknowledge that the success of BRAC is built on empowering women and girls.

“We have focused attention on women so far because we felt that women could actually play a much bigger role than they have in the past,” Sir Fazle said in his Laureate Address in Des Moines October 16.

“If there is no food in the household and there are children hungry, what is the mother going to do? We deliberately focused our attention on women as change agents in our societies,” he said.

Empowering and educating women and girls has been central to BRAC’s success in confronting hunger and malnutrition and releasing millions of people from poverty in Bangladesh and 10 other countries.

The global reach of BRAC is unique, with more than 110,000 employees around the world, and a further 150,000 BRAC-trained entrepreneurs providing low-cost seeds, medicines and training to their rural neighbors.

“It is difficult to express in words how honored and deeply touched I am by this recognition,” Sir Fazle said upon receiving the award.

“The real heroes in our story are the poor themselves and, in particular, women struggling with poverty who overcome enormous challenges each day of their lives,” he reminded the audience.

“Through our work across the world we have learnt that countries and cultures vary, but the realities, struggles, aspirations and dreams of poor and marginalized people are remarkably similar.”

AbedGirl

Sir Fazle, who was knighted by the British Crown in 2009, has grown BRAC from a 1972 wish to help Bangladesh recover from a deadly tropical cyclone and war of independence, until today it employs over 100,000 people, 70 percent of them women.

BRAC now operates 18 financially and socially profitable enterprises, across the health, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, education, green energy, printing and retail sectors.

BRAC enterprises that reduce hunger and poverty are seed production and distribution, feed mills, poultry and fish hatcheries, milk collection centers and processing factories, tea plantations and packaging factories.

These enterprises generate income that is used to subsidize primary schools and basic healthcare.

In these ways, BRAC has been a leader in empowering women and girls through microfinance, education, healthcare, and encouraging their active participation in directing village life.

BRAC has just increased its commitment to girls’ education in low-income countries with a five-year pledge to reach 2.7 million more girls through primary and pre-primary schools, teacher training, adolescent empowerment programs and scholarships.

World Food Prize President Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, appreciates the emphasis BRAC give to women and girls.

“At a time when the world confronts the great challenge of feeding over nine billion people, Sir Fazle Abed and BRAC, the organization he founded and leads, have created the pre-eminent model being followed around the globe on how to educate girls, empower women and lift whole generations out of poverty,” said Quinn.

The World Food Prize award ceremony and Laureate Address are part of the annual Borlaug Dialogue, a food security conference named for Norman Borlaug, who was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to feed the world.

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Chelsea Clinton, vice president of the Clinton Foundation, was one of the keynote speakers during this year’s Borlaug Dialogue, held in downtown Des Moines. Her focus was the empowerment of girls and women.

“Women are a crucial, vital and necessary part of solving the challenge of alleviating hunger,” said Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

About 800 million people “aren’t getting the nutritious food they need. And we’re not on track to feed the nine billion people we expect to have on our planet by 2050,” she said.

“We’re squandering our potential,” Clinton said, when we send signals to young girls that their looks are more valuable than their brains.

Through BRAC, Sir Fazle has been a leader in empowering women and girls not through their looks, but through microfinance, education, healthcare, and encouraging their active participation in village life and community cohesion.

“We have always used an approach to development that puts power in the hands of the poor themselves, especially women and girls,” he said. “Educated girls turn into empowered women, and as we have seen in my native Bangladesh and elsewhere, the empowerment of women leads to massive improvements in quality of life for everyone, especially the poor.”


Award-winning journalist Sunny Lewis is founding editor in chief of the Environment News Service (ENS), the original daily wire service of the environment, publishing since 1990.

 Featured image: Sir Fazle Hasan Abed speaks at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative, New York City (Photo by Taylor Davidson / Clinton Global Initiative via Flickr)
Slide-show images: A) At the World Food Prize Award ceremony Oct. 16, 2015, from left, Mrs. Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi (2012-2014), Sir Fazle Hasan Abed holds the World Food Prize, John Ruan III, World Food Prize Chairman. (Photo courtesy The World Food Prize) B) His efforts are respected in the Arab world. Here, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed receives the first-ever WISE Prize for Education given by the Qatar Foundation, a windfall of $500,000. From left: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalife Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar; Sir Fazle, Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of the World Innovation Summit for Education, WISE. Doha, Qatar, Nov. 1, 2011. (Photo courtesy WISE Qatar)
Image 01: Sir Fazle Hasan Abed reads with a girl in Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy World Food Prize)
Image 02: Chelsea Clinton speaks at the C2MTL Montreal, May 28, 2015, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Photo by Mila Araujo@Milaspage via Flickr)

Transforming Poverty into Sustainable Prosperity through Agri-business and Agro-processing

Guest port by Dave Wreford, Hermanus Rainbow Trust

This blog post is part of a series of posts, introducing latest deals within Maximpact’s portfolio, written by our members. To register and promote your own sustainable profit or non-profit initiatives and projects looking for investment, grants or other types of collaboration, please register with Maximpact.

 

“An innovative solution to a complex problem”.

 

Like in many regions around the world, Poverty is the scourge that’s destroying our disadvantaged communities in the Overstrand region of the Western Cape – South Africa. It is important that we utilize every available resource to eliminate Poverty, which is the cause of broken families, malnutrition, hunger, child mortality, crime and the lack of “early childhood development” and education for our children.

 

The Challenges of Living in an Impoverished Community.

 

Imagine living in a community where about 80,000 people live under terrible conditions, with 50,000 living in small shacks with no fresh water, electricity or sewerage available in the shacks. The unemployment levels are very high (71%) and the literacy levels low, with 59% earning less than R1,200 per month ($110) and 4% not having any form of income at all. It is estimated that 45% are “infected” with HIV, but the reality is that virtually every family is “affected” by HIV in one way or another. Tragically this is further aggravated by widespread crime, gangs, drugs, violence, rape, teenage pregnancies, spread of HIV, neglect and the abuse of women and children.

These devastating conditions have resulted in the breakdown of society and family structures causing single parent families and “child-headed” households with hundreds of orphans, vulnerable children and disadvantaged families. Many of the people have been forced to join gangs and resort to crime to survive the ravages of poverty and inequality.

“Community and Social Development”

 

The Hermanus Rainbow Trust was founded as a non-profit organisation in 1999. Since then the Trust has been providing community and social development; services and support to hundreds of orphans vulnerable children and disadvantaged families affected by HIV and poverty. These services have been funded through “grant funding” from government, business and private individuals. Unfortunately over the last few years the recession has resulted in a significant reduction in “grant funding”.

“Wake up Call”

This seriously impacted the delivery of services and support and prompted the Board of Trustees to develop an innovative “sustainability strategy”. The strategy is based on the establishment of a “Social Enterprise”with commercial business activities, whose surplus revenue (profits) will fund and grow the existing “social purpose programmes”.

The Dawn of a New Era

The “Social Enterprise” has established a number of small revenue generating pilot projects over the last year while researching and developing an innovative long term sustainable solution to the complex problem of “Poverty”.

The Agri-business Solution

Agri-business and Agro-processing solution focuses on 5 integrated initiatives that provide training, skills development and mentoring, the creation of business opportunities and jobs, and the production of unique functional foods and nutraceuticals. These initiatives will go a long way to eliminate poverty in our communities.

  • - The Agri-business Training College, Training Farm andNursery
  • – The “Business Development Services” and “Supply Chain Management” Incubator
  • – The Agri-business Co-operative and Production Farm
  • – The Agro-processing Centre with 4 commercial “FunctionalFoods” and “Nutraceutical” production lines
  • – The “Rainbow of Hope” Shop and Tourist Centre.

Social Impact Benefits

The mission is to rebuild the family structures, enabling children to develop fully and become future leaders, while enabling the family members to participate in the various poverty alleviation business activities.

The current programmes that incorporate over 1,000 people, include:

  • – Parenting Worx; providing comprehensive parenting, life’s kills and “early childhood development”.
  • – Children’s Circle of Support; provides psycho-social support to orphans, vulnerable children and child headed households
  • – Sponsor a Child; provides support and enables disadvantaged children access to education
  • – Special Support Groups; Support and counseling for adults and children with terminal and chronic diseases (mainly HIV/AIDS)
  • – Grade R Edu-care Centers; providing formal Grade Reduction as a foundation to primary school education.

Financial Requirements

The total financial requirements for the 3 year roll out of the “Social Enterprise” commercial Agri-business projects, including all of the infrastructure, facilities, equipment, vehicles, systems and operational costs through to break even, is $4.3 million (£2.6 m, € 3.12 m, R47.0 m), for the 5 integrated businesses. The “Social Enterprise” is looking to establish a balanced funding portfolio. This will consider a combination of sub-market debt and equity from Social Impact Investors, Corporate Social Investment, Corporate Enterprise Development, Foundation grants, Venture philanthropists, and Social VC funder.

About Dave Wreford: Dave Wreford is the General Manager / Administrator of the Trust. Dave is a social entrepreneur, visionary and strategist, with over 15 years; experience in community and social development programmes and Agri-business and Agro-processing projects. Dave has expertise in natural medicine, health and wellness, “Functional Foods” and”Nutraceuticals”, with over 10 years; experience with Moringa growing and production. Worked for IBM, both locally and internationally for 27 years, the last 10 years in senior management positions.

Photo credit: All pictures have been taken by staff members of the Trust and belong to the Trust.