Project Monitoring Audit Trips
GDG Monitoring Trip - Kenya & Ehiopia September 2014
In mid-September, Greg Cadman (Compliance Manager) travelled to East Africa to attend meetings on behalf of GDG in Kenya and Ethiopia. In Nairobi, Kenya, Greg met up with Australia’s High Commissioner to Kenya, HE Mr Geoff Tooth, and Mrs Leisa Gibson (First Secretary, Development Cooperation) and discussed various matters including some excellent GDG projects in Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania.
In Ethiopia Greg joined Daniel Watts (GDG Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant) and Tessema Beleke (GDG Representative for Ethiopia) to visit our project J850N with Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. Meeting with the CEO, Martin Andrews, they were impressed by a truly impressive project – the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (and head office) and then later The Hamlin College of Midwifes and Desta Mender (sustainability/training centre); HFE also has another 5 centres throughout regional Ethiopia!
Dr Catherine Hamlin co-founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital with her late husband, Dr Reg Hamlin, in 1974, and it was a wonderful privilege for them to meet her at the HFE head office, and in the cool, peaceful, and invigorating garden surrounds which she also helped to create. She is an inspirational person and a wonderfully deserving nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Next Daniel and Greg had a meeting with Australia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, HE Ms Lisa Filipetto, who was not long from completing her term in office and would soon be returning to Canberra. She provided an insightful commentary on the Ethiopian culture and history, along with the challenges and opportunities for future development engagement.
Overall, it was an entirely impacting, challenging and worthwhile trip! Global Development Group is privileged to partner with Dr Catherine and her team at Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) Limited in the project J850N Hamlin Fistula Medical and Maternal Health Program which is working towards the goal of eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.
On the 26th August 2014, Australia's High Commissioner to Tanzania, H.E. Geoff Tooth visited the GDG project J677 Tanzanian Biogas Project in Nronga, Tanzania. He was accompanied by GDG representative Carey Westwood and J677 In-Country project manager Edward Ulicky and his wife Victoria. They were able to meet and hear from women who – because of a DAP funded grant in 2013 – had received household biogas. Their stories were laced with gratefulness and thanks. Significant output and outcomes include:
- time management/income generation from less time collecting firewood;
- the biogas had helped with their health (eyes and lungs previously affected from cooking fire smoke);
- greater crop growth (from fertiliser);
- husband’s now cooking on stoves;
- greater animal health from cowshed upgrade and feed improvements and therefore milk production has increased
- as well as an overall improvement in their quality of living
The High Commissioner was also able to visit another GDG project – J239 School Milk Project – also in Nronga. This project is a group of women called the Nronga Women’s Dairy Coop who supply milk from their cows to a factory that processes and distributes it to local schools. H. E. Geoff Tooth was able to participate by handing the milk out to a group of school children before tasting the milk himself. The High Commissioner then spoke and commended the project and what it had achieved which he was very impressed with.
In mid-August, Flora Chong and Craig Tunney visited GDG projects in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for monitoring. At J739N Gateway Children’s Fund project, we joined with the Australian partner volunteer team. This project is embedded in a settlement area of high need and poverty. The project is effectively delivering community pre-school education and mother’s support. We saw children’s basic health practice like hand washing, and basic nutrition in action, and we heard stories from mothers of the improvement in their home life as a result of the project activities.
The Gateway Children’s fund project has a number of strengths. This work is community based, and includes holistic attention to basic health, water and sanitation (WASH) and pre-school education, which are all needs of the most vulnerable beneficiaries. Local leadership is motivated and strongly led, with resources put into staff training and equipping. The project has educated the donors that many children are helped by this work, not just individual sponsored ones. There is good accountability and reporting back to the Australian partner and GDG. And local sponsorships for school buildings and local partnerships for the program costs have been developed which grows its sustainability.
We also visited J573 Teacher Training project in Waigani, a project aimed at training teachers from the provinces who will improve the quality of education. Currently four teachers from the province of Goroka were in training. The project is exploring ways of delivering the training into the provinces, to avoid the cost and time and disruption of travelling to the coast. Based in a strong school community, this project has plans to become a model school for child-centred education.
In June 2014, Josh Edwards (Project Officer - Africa) had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda to monitor 5 of GDG’s projects. Linking up with 2 of GDG’s Representative Kelly Chisholm (based in Perth ) and Carey Westwood (based in Kenya), it was a great week of visiting and monitoring projects. The trip encompassed many visits to project locations to the south, east and north-west as well as around Kigali passing by the incredible countryside on the way. The first 2 days were spent visiting J507 Child Development Program; the following days included visits to J798 Fruits of Hope Academy; J702 New Hope Homes; J793 Village of Hope and J566 Empowering Rwanda.
The projects visited ranged from a comprehensive program for orphans and vulnerable children, including catch-up schools and vocational training; to a children’s home operating with a special permission from the government; to a village constructed for widows and their children in addition to orphans and child headed households; a trauma rehabilitation program and an Early Childhood Development (ECD) and primary school. While each project was different, they were all managed by amazing and selfless people, passionately serving the poorest of the poor in their community. The team was fortunate enough to visit numerous schools and training centres associated with the projects and meet many beneficiaries that have had their lives transformed by GDG projects.
The GDG team was able to spend time establishing good relationships and strengthening the partnership between GDG and In-Country Partners. Rwanda truly is a fascinating country with incredible people and stunning scenery – what a privilege it is to be able to work with such amazing, inspirational people in a beautiful country!
Over October and November, Uppi and Daniel Watts (GDG Consultant) visited Watoto and the Irene Gleeson Foundation in Uganda and went onto to Mozambique and South Africa to visit our partners there. Across the majority of these projects the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children, youths and adults are being changed through education, temporary care, nutrition & health programs and associated projects.
In Uganda, time was spent planning future growth with two of our largest and long standing partners Watoto (J210, J416 & J329) and the Irene Gleeson Foundation (J746 & J&47). GDG is confident in the competence, focus and passion of the executive team at the project.
In Mozambique a small amount of time was spent visiting a Micro-finance institution (J495) that assists the poorest of the poor entrepreneurs in its surrounding locality – a much needed service.
South Africa, though clearly displaying progress in the last two decades, showed the disparity between the rich and poor. Our partners there through a variety of services selflessly address this growing disparity, engaging their wider community and local governments to do so (J586, J780, J682, J826). For the Africa Team, this monitoring trip closed the year, and we look forward to working with all of our partners in the coming year.
In October, Uppi and Carey spent a successful two weeks monitoring with our Ethiopian partners. The level of poverty in Ethiopia is terribly confronting but a needed reminder of the value of the work GDG with the partners is doing. From Debre Zeit, Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar & Arba Minch; across the board both Uppi & Carey were impressed with the calibre of the partners and their passion. They were all young, intelligent and very hospitable. From projects in health like the Hicks project (J714N) and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (J850, J251), the multiple in agricultural & animal husbandry projects coops (J655N & J567), to the many in education and early childhood development (J251, J750) – the two left inspired. The beneficiaries were all so ready to learn and hear from you instead of just receiving a hand out. They each came from varying stories and walks of life, taking time out of what must be their manic worlds to spend time with the team at each stop which only reminds us all to serve them whole heartedly.
The GDG mandate to help the ‘poorest of the poor’ still has much work to be done to fulfil it and we are all ready for the task at hand!
In July, our East Africa team (Carey Westwood & Martha Waithaka), travelled from their Nairobi office to Njelela in neighbouring Tanzania to visit Project J768. The team travelled with the project’s Australian partners Les & Bronwyn Mutton.
This would be one of the remotest projects within the GDG partnership, travelling by train for 20 hours from Dar es Salaam to Makambako then 5 hours drive to Mundindi and then onto Njelela. The school, Njelela Environment Secondary School (NESS) opened in January 2013 with a focus from the start on financial self-reliance, through a pine tree harvesting program over 200 acres of school land. The major development objective is to alleviate poverty through education and at the same time, provide clean drinking water to the Njelela community.
In June 2013, our Indian Subcontinent team monitored GDG projects in Sri Lanka for almost two weeks. The monitoring team included Samantha Robb (Project Officer - India, Sri Lanka and Nepal), Flora Chong (Assistant Project Officer), as well as MV and Leena Thomas (GDG India Representatives).
The team visited the following projects: J779N HON Methodist Development Project at Colombo, J585 Hope Builders Sri Lanka at Avissawella, J791N Kidsreach Development Project at Kandy, J696 Child Action Lanka at Kandy, Batticoloa and several places, J712N Oori Community Development Project and J133 Bethel Children’s Home.
Most of these projects assist disadvantaged children who are living in extreme poverty. Training centres, sewing classes, childcare centres, kindergartens and tuition centres for school students are provided. They spent many hours with each project and as a result not only built great relationships and strengthened the partnerships between GDG and in-country partners and management staff, but also spent some time with beneficiaries to hear about their personal testimonies of how these projects have impacted their lives.
In April 2013, Uppi and Hailey Wang (GDG In-Country Representative – China) monitored our partner’s projects in Hong Kong and China.
Our partners in China find themselves in a precarious situation as although the country has grown in leaps and bounds pulling over 90% of its people out of poverty; 400million still live below $2/ day. The country is seen as rich and with decreasing donor interest, though the projects were all running their activities fantastically, the sustainability of the projects was the central focus of GDG and the partners over their time together monitoring. It quickly became apparent that employing local staff is needed, not only for sustainability of projects in general (i.e. empowering and capacity building); but also in helping with relations with the Chinese government. Additionally, China projects have begun offering combined training to government departments and staff, and through this avenue positive relationships as well as gifts in kind & funding has been released into the projects. There is a lesson to be learnt in the move to become self-sustaining, i.e. engagement and buy-in from the local government regardless of perception or experience is integral in China and across all of our partners.
Geoff and Betty Armstrong and Lisa Low visited Cambodia in February. The first event was a get together with the Cambodian staff, Peta Thomas, Nigel and Debbie Doughan and Makara Kin.
The major event was a great network meeting with 60 Global Development Group partners present and a highlight was the Global Development Group World view – although we also had other great partner speakers
Lisa went back to Australia while Geoff and Betty and Peta went onto Laos mainly visiting World Food Program J753 and Cope J553 (for victims of UexO ) both these projects are supported by AusAID for government money but their public Australian funding comes from Global Development Group. We then went to the MiVAC project J715 (Phonsovan) where we are doing water, biogas and community development for the Hmong People. Peta Thomas spent a further 3 days up in Luang Prabang monitoring the WFP program.
This report is a personal account written by GDG's Southeast Asia Project Officer, Craig Tunney. This three part series of his Monitoring Trip recounts the sustainability intiatives our projects in Timor Leste.
My descent from the mountain in Maliana to Dili started at 6am. It was cold, rainy and dark, but some of the girls were already up and carrying water the short distance from the project well to their shower block to begin ablutions for the day.
We re-fuel at a small house where we have to wake up the owner. No pumps, just pour the diesel into the tank with a funnel.
We are carrying a piglet for the driver: it’s in a rice bag with its snout poking out of a hole in the corner. Half way back we stop at another local market. There are lots of people there and much on sale if you want various forms of garlic, spinach, eggs, fruit, and pigs. Our project manager buys a black piglet for about $20. It goes into another rice bag and he slings it squealing into the back of the blue ute.
We stop about 4 hours later down on the beach at a bamboo walled outdoor resto for lunch. There is a plate of crispy beach fried fish and a pot of strong sweet Indonesian coffee. The restaurant owners are excited about growing their business here in a very remote stretch of beach. Several motorbikes pull up and the travellers stay for lunch. There is even a corrugated iron shelter around the back for an outdoor toilet.
Arriving in Dili around 2pm, we plan to go to the Ahisaun Disability project, J639N. But it seems the blue Nissan ute has cracked up and would not re-start after getting us all the way down the mountain. So we take a cab and find a small industrial yard with a roof and brick office. Here the employees from the disabled community make pre-fabricated concrete door and window frames, and a cylindrical wood stove called "Ahi Matan" meaning "Eye of the Fire".
Ahisaun set out to be sustainable from the beginning: it has a business plan to be profitable within eighteen months. Already the business has branched out into the wood stove fabrications because they saw a market opportunity that was moving faster than the original idea of pre-fabricated door and window frames.
SUMMARY - SUSTAINABILITY in Timor Leste
I saw these key ingredients in action for sustainability: training and equipping young people, getting participation and ownership from parents and government, and setting out to make a business prosper. With these examples in our three projects in the very young and poor country of Timor Leste we have every hope for a strong future.
This report is a personal account written by GDG's Southeast Asia Project Officer, Craig Tunney. This three part series of his Monitoring Trip recounts the sustainability intiatives our projects in Timor Leste.
In Part 1, we saw the element of youth training and enterprise as a key to sustainability in Dili, the ramshackle capital of Timor Leste.
My second project visit involved driving 150km up the mountains to Maliana near the West Timor border. At breakfast when I met my host and driver and asked "How long will this take?", he just smiled. The front seat of our blue Nissan ute is broken and propped up with extra cushions for the driver. The seatbelts don’t work. My new friend explains that he cannot drive this ute on the mountain road anymore because of the broken driver's seat and the bad roads have injured his kidneys, and so he has to employ a driver. The driver dons some scratched sunglasses and looks grimly at me. I tell him we are not in a hurry, just take your time, we want to arrive alive.
The road is dusty and potholed as we leave the main city environs. Then it just gets worse and worse. Bigger potholes, big sections cut out of the tarmac, and then rock falls and missing guard rails. There are lots of roadworks going on, but there is no attempt to warn drivers of conditions. It’s just very slow crawling travel, sharing one lane with other trucks and motorbikes going in both directions.
We stop for lunch about half way, and have sticky rice and fried local scrawny chicken. Then we stop at Balibo to see the fort and the memorial to the 5 Australian journalists killed by the Indonesian soldiers during the invasion in 1979.
We arrive at Maliana mid-afternoon, pretty battered, glad to stop. Then it rains. We go out to meet some of the students and begin to inspect the project. Then as night comes on we have simple meal of rice and curry vegetables.
Next morning we walk to the local market along roads that are wet and muddy, but it’s cool because we are high in the mountains. This town has signs of hopeful civilization: a new fire station, a small hospital, police station and two of the schools. Kids are coming in to school on buses and vans from the villages. Back at the house we have fresh buns and thick sweet black Indonesian coffee for breakfast.
J540 Encouragement House is a sustainable dormitory project because the parents of a remote village community are participating in its operation. They needed help which they found in their Australian partner, and with GDG's governance the project has completed its construction phase. Now the 160 high school students are self-managing their dormitory while they attend high school, and their parents provide the funds for building maintenance and the small staff.
The Timor Leste government is also participating. A government official arrived who we had met earlier on the road at Balibo. He was friendly and eager to get a list of new student names so he could increase the rice supply given to support the dormitories.
Sustainability comes from ownership and shared responsibility.
This report is a personal account written by GDG's Southeast Asia Project Officer, Craig Tunney. This three part series of his Monitoring Trip recounts the sustainability intiatives our projects in Timor Leste.
Timor Leste is a small country, very young and quite poor. Populated with 1.2 million people in just 15 square kms, the median age is 16.6 years, and the annual income per head is $USD930.
So what hope does Timor Leste have for sustainability? In January this year I saw three GDG projects that had built in sustainability from their beginning.
Arriving in Dili, the crumbling capital of Timor Leste, I took a battered yellow taxi to J517 Casa Vida to meet the Project managers at Kafe Aroma. The cafe is well known, and gets a mention in the Lonely Planet Guide. Until recently the customers have been primarily ex-pats and local businesses. I saw it was a great catering business, with good staff morale – a good example of sustainability in action. They have turned into profit in recent months, and plan to become self-sufficient for their training program (funded by profits alone). Their plan has always been to rebuild lives of young people and set them up for prospering and leading in their community.
This project is generating long term sustainability for Timor Leste, by training young people in employable hospitality skills. The remarkable thing is that the young people have come from severely traumatized backgrounds of abuse or the effects of the civil war. Our partner, Casa Vida, has excelled at this and been recognized by the Government and asked to extend the courses to vocational students from the nation's education system.
Kafe Aroma and several cottages set up to attract traveller accommodation are enterprises that are aiming for sustainability. They are facing typical business challenges, like the reduction in customers since the pull-out of the United Nations mission in December last year. But their confidence in business opportunity remains high, as the whole country of Timor Leste strives to get on its own footing.
This project shows us the way to sustainability is through vocational training and equipping of young people.
GDG Monitoring Trip - Indonesia - August 2012
In August, Geoff (Executive Director) and Betty Armstrong (Administration) along with Ofelia Luscombe (Senior Project Officer) monitored GDG projects in Indonesia.
They visited with our in-country partner Mercy Indonesia where they saw some great examples of Capacity Building (training) as well as inspecting some building structures. Later in the day they visited Denpasar Community Development Project. It was remarked that it “was great to see such a well-run project”.
Next, they visited Bali Kids (J718) which was excellent. The centre helps look after sick and orphaned children in Bali. Every year they reach out to more than 7000 disadvantaged children. The work involves providing much needed health education, and offering a wide range of medical services including expert treatment for children that are HIV, have TB and other medical needs. The Centre is a fine example of a well designed and built special purpose building
GDG Monitoring Trip - Africa – July 2012
In July 2012 I had the thrilling opportunity to go on my first monitoring trip to Rwanda, Kenya and Zimbabwe with Carey Westwood (Senior Project Officer – Africa). Being new on the Project Team (just under 10 months), the lead up to the trip and its extensive preparation was filled with much excitement. The months looking over almost every detail of the trip flew by and before I knew it I was boarding a plane at the Brisbane International Airport.
We left with the expectation of not only monitoring the projects, but building relationships and strengthening our partnerships; and over the course of a month Carey and I visited project after project, ALL doing nothing short of AMAZING work. We visited with: J298 Revival Palace, J294T Hope Education, J294 Hope Rwanda, J507 African Evangelical Enterprise, J566 HopeBuilders, J592 Improving Youth & Young Adult Outcomes, J396 Kenyan Neighbours Aid, J693 MCF Capacity Building & Community Empowerment, J525 Bethlehem Community Centre, J269 Mothers for Orphans, J710N Vana Childcare Development Program, J685N Water for the People and J301 Our Neighbours Community Development Project Zimbabwe.
At each project spent hours with the management staff, walking through the projects in the most remote locations through to suburbia, villages through to city townships and slums; all the while meeting beneficiaries receiving such a wide range of aid from water, health and sanitation assistance, HIV & women assistance, food, education, vocation training and income generation training, peace and reconciliation, medical care, agricultural training and assistance (and even visited my first greenhouse!)
This entire experience was one of the most humbling that I have ever had; not only being able to meet with the beneficiaries of these projects but also the amazing men and women who selflessly and tirelessly work to provide the best development aid they can to the different communities.
Thank you GDG for an experience of a lifetime, thank you Project Partners (both Australian and In-Country) for your amazing hearts and work, and thank you donors for continuing to give to your passion – you truly all are making a difference.
GDG Monitoring Trip - India – March 2012
In March, Samantha (Project Officer) and M.V Thomas (GDG Representative) monitored GDG's projects in India.
We visited the Bridge of Hope program which provides a nutrition program, medical care and supplementary education to children enrolled at a BOH centre. The centres also address the needs of the local community and implement a range of activities such as English classes, literacy and numeracy classes, vocational training ect. BOH also organise gifts such as seeds, water filters, wells and livestock to specific members of the community. The centre’s run programs to educate the community on various social issues including health, sanitation, domestic violence and financial advice. The children at the centre’s participate in these activities and are the voices that educate their community.
Samantha also visited an agriculture project that works in 6 Tibetan settlements across India. GDG has partnered with The Charitable Foundation and the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) on promotion of organic farming with further aims to introduce cash crops, increase crop yield, produce organic compost, train farmers on various topics, gain organic certification and a dairy co-op initiative.
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.