Throughout our website we have provided information about our various programmes of work in West Africa and Eastern Europe. If you would like to support one of these programmes, here is a reminder of what they are:
1 Education & Leadership for Women
Context: As a result of war and extreme poverty over 90% of the women in the north of Sierra Leone have had little or no education. Illiteracy puts women (and their families) at greater risk of sickness and disease because of poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition and unsafe activities, including unprotected sex. Women cannot count money, read notices and signs or write their names; and they cannot understand or help their children with their homework. Moreover, they live in ignorance of their rights as wives, mothers and citizens.
Programme: The aim of our Education & Leadership Programme is to enable women to exercise their right to education and information on healthcare and play a more active part in local decision-making. We are focusing on selected chiefdoms in Bombali and Koinadugu (in the north). The work involves village-based education and training and a co-ordinated sensitization programme with local meetings, community theatre and other events and regular radio broadcasts to sensitise the public. The photo shows Learners in Mabureh Village with their slates, practicing writing their names.
We would like to expand our programme to providing education in 100 villages. Outputs include: over 2,500 women who are functionally literate, with 200 trained in leadership and advocacy; changes in local practices that threaten the health and well-being of women and girls and deny them their rights; and increased operational effectiveness for three community-based organisations.
Partners: EFW and GEDEW; Timescale: 4 yrs.
2 Education & Training for the Disabled
Context: Few people who are blind or crippled in Sierra Leone go to school or learn a trade. Most end up on the streets where they beg from people who are themselves poor. The situation is particularly difficult for women and girls.
Programme: The aim of this programme is to provide functional literacy and skills-training for 250 people who are blind or crippled so that they can support themselves and their families and no longer have to beg for food or small change. We will help them set up in business by providing start-up kits, mentoring and follow-up support. The photo shows blind women in Makeni learning Braille. Some are using Perkins Braillers; others, Marburg frames.
Partners: Vision for the Blind & Disability Awareness & Action Group; Timescale: 4 yrs.
3 Empowering Rural Communities
Context: Poverty in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc takes a different form from that in Africa, but it is still poverty and it blights the lives of millions. We have been particularly concerned about those living in rural areas who are suffering from poor health and where depression and alcohol abuse are prevalent, and divorce and suicide have risen dramatically. Many communities are fragmenting and the young are leaving in droves to seek a better life elsewhere.
Programme: This initiative will help inform and motivate rural communities in poor regions in Albania, Moldova and Ukraine to respond to threats posed by globalisation, pollution and climate change, and help them capitalise on funding opportunities created by the European Union. It will also help rekindle community spirit, protect local heritage and preserve local culture and traditions, and promote and celebrate local distinctiveness. We will also encourage networking within and between communities to build contacts and experience and bring new ideas and fresh perspectives. A longer term goal is to encourage social integration and beneficial economic development, for example initiatives that promote local crafts, specialist foods and rural tourism.
We will work to help communities build the information and skills-base they need to develop Local Action Plans and resource and implement local projects to improve facilities and services (access to healthcare, safe water, etc.). This will involve training in proposal writing, fundraising, project management and advocacy. We will also explore ways in which trust, communication and understanding can be improved and fairer, more democratic processes encouraged to grow; and we will support initiatives that help stem the tide of young people leaving rural areas.
The photo shows the drilling a new public well in Chircani (Moldova): a church may seem a strange place to site a well, but the land is in the centre of the village and public property - 10 local families (60 persons) will have better access to safe water, and the land around is kept clean (ie no animals). This project is being run by Prietenii Pamantului with 2 school-based CBOs (The Messengers & Valea Bestemac).
Partners: CONTACT & WCSSC; Timescale: 4 yrs.
4 Environmental & Civic Education in Schools
Context: Many teachers in Eastern Europe still rely on chalk-and-talk and rote learning in the classroom. This does little to engage students and encourage creative thought, strategic thinking and personal initiative. Over the last six years we have trained several hundred primary and secondary school teachers in Romania and Moldova in more interactive approaches to education. We have also provided guidance on how to plan and implement environmental projects in the community and how to teach about civic education, and we have supported over 70 student projects.
Programme: This project will build on this work, providing training for 500 teachers in Albania, Moldova and Ukraine, and support 100 student projects concerned with civic education, lifestyles and environmental protection.
Partners: PP, CONTACT & EDEN; Timescale: 4 yrs.
These are all practical things that you can do to help others help themselves and Make Poverty History. Your contribution can make a real difference. Thank you!