Project Monitoring Audit Trips
Education Development Initiative
In February, Carey Westwood - Senior Project Officer and Martha Waithaka - African Representative of GDG, along with Michelle Shaw of HOPE Education met with several key Global Development Group Partners in Kenya and Uganda to inform and launch an Education Development Initiative. The attendance of delegates was outstanding with over 300 participants in meetings held in Kitgum and Gulu in northern Uganda, Kampala and Nairobi. We are most grateful to delegates who travelled 8+ hours by road to attend the seminars.
The GDG HOPE Education Development Program commences with a pilot program in late June 2011 and is already supported by many Australian Educators. The focus of the program is developing skills and increasing knowledge in areas of critical need within Early Childhood Development, Primary and Secondary, along with administration and management principles.
Thank you to all of our Kenyan and Ugandan Partners who supported this program. We have received great feedback and look forward to working with you as we implement the Education Development Initiative in mid 2011. This program has already been highly successful in Rwanda and Cambodia.
A tale of ‘two’ India’s
39% of the population (15 and over) are illiterate, 127 million people do not have access to an improved water source, 33% of the population has access to improved sanitation and 46% of children (below 5 years) are underweight. India is the second fastest growing economy in the world with an 8.8% increase in GDP in the last financial year and has emerged “as a global player in information technology, business process outsourcing, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals”. However, beneath India’s impressive growth is a tale of ‘two India’s, while one India is on a rapid development trajectory, the other has 300 million people living below the poverty line, and wide gender, caste, ethnic and regional disparities”₁.
GDG has responded to the need in India by developing a country program to specifically address poverty, education, capacity building, water, sanitation and sustainability. In December, Samantha (Project Officer for India), Carey (Senior Project Officer) and M.V Thomas (GDG Representative in India) travelled to India to monitor GDG's projects.
In Tamil Nadu, they visited a women’s micro enterprise project that has established 80 self help groups (SHG) with 20 members in each group. They met with approximately 100 women who have used the loan/s to start a business or expand their current business. They also visited many of these businesses which included electrical stores, various meat stalls, tailoring, clothing and many more. The SHG provide an important support base where the women are strengthened and encouraged by each other. The women have also discovered strength in their unity and have been able to instigate change in the community when the SHGs have come together to present issues to local leaders. Women testify that the increase to household income has afforded them the ability to pay for children’s education, pay for rent and general living expenses, save money and at the same time pay out debt from previous loan sharks. The women are very proud of what they have accomplished and are visibly excited and happy when they talk about their business and their ability to provide for their families.
Working with indigenous Muslim villages in the Philippines
Fe and Jade undertook project monitoring audits in early January 2011 to eight projects in the Philippines.
One of these projects was located in the isolated tribal mountain villages in the foothills of Mount Apo, which has an estimated population over 18,000 people who belong to two tribal groups of Manabo and Tiruray people. Much time and effort have been spent strengthening relationships with local government leaders, tribal chiefs and councils to guarantee that the project will meet the needs of the indigenous peoples.
The project provides clean water, quality basic education, health services and micro enterprise. A kindergarten school has been established in the village of Miniyongan and the plan is to establish a full primary school by adding a further grade each year.
Capacity building initiatives include the training of the 3 school teachers in Davao City by the Australian Government Funded BEAM Program through the Dept of Education of the Philippines; training seminars on water use and hygiene delivered to tribal council and Barangy leaders; and two volunteers trained to facilitate health, sanitation and hygiene education throughout the villages.
Holistic Community Development in Myanmar
Monitoring Visits of five GDG projects have been recently conducted by Craig Tunney in Myanmar (formerly, Burma). One of the highlights was to visit possibly the largest school of any kind operating in Myanmar, based in Mandalay.
This K-12 school benefits more than 7,000 students directly and provides excellent education that incorporates the Government curriculum plus a child centred delivery of English classes, vocational training and critical thinking - and is building capacity of more than 280 teachers and staff. The school is a significant contact point for the poor community surrounding it, also providing facilities for a medical clinic conducting eye operations and dental care, conducting screening and clinics that reach beyond the student to the community as well.
Attacking the root causes of poverty
In the slum areas west of Yangon, we visited a project centre around a busy medical clinic which is seeing 150 patients a day. This clinic is dealing with the complex problems of HIV/AIDS and associated illnesses amid social pressures of poor housing, poor sanitation and low employment.
This project is attacking the root causes of poverty in this area, and combines medical, counselling and diagnostic microscopy in a project that is building better lives directly for very poor and marginalised people. In addition it is also increasing local capacity among local doctors, counsellors and technicians employed in the clinic. GDG would like to see this project replicated elsewhere in Myanmar using this partner’s expertise and low cost per patient model.
Meeting with the Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs/International Affairs
In October 2010, Carey Westwood Senior Project Officer for Africa and Martha Waithaka African Representative met with the Honorable Oryem Henry Okello, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs/International Affairs Uganda. The meeting took place with Irene Gleeson, Founder of CKS and John Paul Kiffasi, CEO of CKS at the Minister's main residence in Kitgum, northern Uganda.
Discussions centred around how Global Development Group and Childcare Kitgum Servants can work with the government in building better lives for the poorest of the poor in northern Uganda, with key development areas of increasing household income, education, employment opportunities, agriculture and food security. We welcomed the Minister's invitation to continue with our In Country Partner - CKS in bringing best practices of sustainability and community empowerment to the people of northern Uganda.
Disability Projects Building Capacity in China
Global Development Group has some very successful and well-run disability and capacity building projects in China. Recently, Geoff, Fe and Hailey went to China to monitor some of the project under our disability program. These projects work with children living with debilitating disabilities such clubfoot, cleft palates and cerebral palsy.
Our project partners work closely with the local governments to establish centers of care which deliver key medical and rehabilitation programs to rebuild the lives of these special children. The critical component of these development projects is to build capacity amongst local medical and care staff to ensure skills are built and retained by staff and ensure local knowledge and expertise can be transferred to foster parents in conjunction with the local Children’s Welfare Institutes.
It is exciting to see the impact this development Program is making. One project has been able to transfer its medical and rehabilitation management and training program model to several local government owned disability facilities. One of projects inspected is managed by our partner who happens to be an Australian doctor, and who was awarded the Order of Australia last year.
Vocational Training and Education in Northern Thailand
Carey and Wendy spent time in Northern Thailand to work alongside a project delivering a whole range of development activities. These activities are focussed on building local capacity and provide vocational training and education for young people and their families from northern hill tribe communities who are often displaced, without citizenship and unable to access to basic services.
The project has proved successful in providing viable economic alternatives to participants allowing them to break free of high risk and illegal activities such as prostitution and drug trafficking – creating positive futures and direction for those who have had no hope.
Teacher Training and Accelerated Learning for Disadvantaged Tribal Communities
One of the predicaments facing hill tribe communities in Northern Thailand is accessing education for their children in the Thai education system. With no Thai language spoken at home the classroom becomes a daunting place where most students from the hill tribe minorities struggle to comprehend and are overwhelmed, experiencing significant learning delays compared to their Thai speaking class mates.
During a recent Monitoring Audit Carey and Wendy witnessed firsthand the success of training existing teachers in targeted village government schools and community based day-care facilities with large proportions of hill tribe children, in accelerated teaching and learning programs to rapidly improve their Thai literacy and numeracy, creating a solid education foundation.
A land flowing with milk (and honey?)
There’s a Women’s Dairy Co-Operative Society in Northern Tanzania, near Moshi that is a very exciting development. Carey Westwood, Grace Mulli and Martha Waithaka had the opportunity to inspect this project first-hand and meet with several women from the Co-Op, as well as with some local dairy farmers who supply milk to be processed, and school children who benefit from the provision of milk.
This project provides long term and sustainable nutrition for school children in the region by working with parents and teachers to develop a regular school-milk program. It also assists in alleviating poverty in the area by proving a reliable market for small holder dairy farmers providing regular income that has a flow on effect to their families and communities.
Nepal shining in a ray of hope
Carey and Fe travelled to Kathmandu - the place, not the shop - to then travel about 170 kilometres (or 30 minutes by plane) from Kathmandu to the Ray of Hope Society. This registered social community has established a medical and health clinic (Hope Medical Centre), and developed two model farms to demonstrate how to increase produce yields and profitability.
Micro businesses are being established through training and the provision of a small loan to locals, with the goal of creating food security and self-sufficiency for the local community.
Building hope in Nagpur slum areas
In the slum areas in and around Nagpur, India, is a project providing education for children living in the slum communities as part of a comprehensive community development program - including WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiatives, which in turn enables them to break out of the cycle of poverty. Wendy & Alan Benson conducted a onsite monitoring report for Global Development Group to inspect the project and its outcomes, and met some of the children returning from school (see below).
As part of its integrated development focus, which embraces capacity building and training for local residents, the project includes a preschool program, technical training and medical assistance to at risk members of the community - particularly children. A medical van and at least one of two volunteer doctors visit the slum areas twice a week. Health Camps are held in the slum areas, and the Medical Van also goes out into the country side visiting the Tribal people, as well as the AIDs/HIV population. Teams go into the slum areas with the aim of empowering the slum residents to change their lives, giving them some dignity to their lives by teaching them health & hygiene techniques as well as convincing the parents of the benefits of allowing their children to go to school.
Special Education in Karen Refugee Camps
Amongst the Karen people group in a refugee camp in Thailand not far from the Myanmar (Burmese) Border, Craig Tunney and Greg Cadman witnessed a remarkable humanitarian project. This project helps develop those most disadvantaged in the midst of a whole city of disadvantaged people, disabled children living in the midst of a Karen Refugee camp of over 15,000 people. Disabled children are assisted with physical therapy sessions and mental stimulation activities to help in the development of their cognitive and motor skills. We were especially privileged to be able to participate and actually sing the words to the nursery rhymes which the musical toy above made; those gathered had heard the tunes before but never the words! This project has helped many children become integrated into the local school system so that they can participate at some level.
Audit Visits in China
Geoff Armstrong and David Pearson recently travelled to China to audit several of our China projects, including some excellent projects working on physiotherapy and skills training with disabled people; others focussing on child development and education particularly to disadvantaged minority people groups; another which builds development through the supply of needed goods; through to disaster relief projects. One project suffered some minor damage due to the typhoon in Hong Kong.
Flowers from India
Travelling in Andra Pradesh, India, during our inspection of some 14 of our Indian aid and development projects, Geoff and Greg had the opportunity to inspect the native flora - up close and personal - literally, 'in your face', as they were welcomed with a traditional greeting of floral leis and thrown flower petals. The Indian people were very welcoming and gracious and are doing some wonderful work in a greatly impoverished and desperate nation. Much good work is going on and the opportunities for expansion are endless. This project is doing fantastic broad-based community development work which includes multiple models of micro business projects and training - from dress making to food carts; HIV aids prevention and hygiene training, and childhood education and vocational trainging programs; amongst others. It was so encouraging to see the wholistic approach to community development that they have adopted, and know that they are assisting some of the most disadvantaged and culturally downtrodden people groups.
About to board the Cessna to travel to
From Kampala Uganda, Geoff, Betty and Carey travelled to Pader, Gulu and Kitgum in Northern Uganda. Now that the rebels have left and the war is over, the people are leaving the IDP camps and returning to traditional lands. The opportunities are exciting but there are many problems as well and this requires a special effort by NGO’s such as Global Development Group.
Some of our AIDS orphans are getting bigger
The feisty one in red was very small when we last saw him. These are some of the 8,000 looked after at J146 kitgum.
On the Queens birthday – Irene Gleeson of CKS Kitgum (North Uganda) was one of 24 Australians to receive The OA.
Irene has worked in Uganda since 1991, often in appalling conditions despite deprivation and discouragement but never with any ambition of receiving any award for her work. However we hope that this will give her huge encouragement and strength to continue the great work. Although conditions in Kitgum have improved considerably in the last decade, Irene continues to live a very sacrificial life and devotes all her resources to the welfare of the children and the future of the school.