The impact of poverty is complex. Local and international politics, climate change, food insecurity, and culture are just a few of the influencing factors. This makes implementing development projects difficult as there are many factors creating the situation. Secondly, it is almost impossible to anticipate all the outcomes of these projects. That is why the Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) was created. It allowed organizations to study innovative approaches. World Neighbours Canada was lucky enough to receive funding for their partner in Burkina Faso, Association d’Appui à la Promotion du Développement Durable des Communautés (APDC), to test an innovative solution aimed at increasing women’s full and equitable economic participation and empowerment in both household and the livestock smallholder sector.
The following impact story, posted on the FIT website, gives a sample of the different ways the program impacted the community, and one couple in particular. Some of the ways were expected, while some were pleasantly unexpected.
We have some very good news to share regarding new projects in Nepal. We have received a substantial grant from the Gay Lea Foundation, a foundation created by Gay Lea Foods (a leading Canadian co-operative owned by dairy farmers). The matching grant will enable us to undertake the building of 2-3 new piped water systems which will provide safe, accessible water to remote villages in Ramechhap district of Nepal.
We work in partnership with a local organization called Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti (TSS). When a village requests help from TSS in building a water system, the village is asked to form a committee and TSS requires that there be a minimum number of women on the committee. Planning and implementing of the work of bringing the water from a local spring into the village is done by this committee with help from TSS, which provides trained technicians to oversee the project.
Once in place, with a secure reservoir and taps within the village, the women and girls of the village (the traditional carriers of water) no longer have to carry water from some remote source. This makes a marked change in their health and well-being. There are other benefits stemming from the process of building their own system. Some of the younger villagers can learn skills such as mixing concrete, which can lead to employment. Women in the village have an increased say in the politics of the village and have more time to devote to other things such as gardening and marketing produce.
We would like to thank the Gay Lea Foundation for this opportunity to further our work. To find out more about the foundation go to https://www.gaylea.com/foundation
Cases of COVID-19 are on the decline in the major cities across the country, but villages are becoming the new hotspots for the infection in the country. Villages in Ramechhap are also no exception.
COVID infection is spreading at an alarming rate in rural areas of the district. In most of the villages, testing is very slow and virus is spreading very fast, putting more lives at risk. To make matters worse, the infected people are also wandering freely in the villages. Ramechhap District Health Officer Bhuwan Thapa said that the number of infections has been increasing in rural areas. He said that COVID cases were increasing due to lack of awareness of health protocols.
Patients staying in home isolation, are dying at home as they fear to visit hospitals.
According to statistics with the health office, around 80 per cent of people have tested positive in the villages.
Chief at the District Health Office Jitendra Karna said that of the 115 people who underwent tests, 98 were found infected in Sunapati Rural Municipality.
Chairman Kaman Singh Moktan in Doramba Sailung Rural Municipality said that the infection rate in rural areas had increased due to social functions such as marriage and bratabanda. He said patients with COVID like symptoms were there in most of the houses in rural areas.
Vice-chair Gita Bista of Sunapati Rural Municipality said the rural municipality was at high risk of COVID infection.
CDO Gaulochan Sainju said public awareness programmes had been launched to stem the virus spread. As many as 1,581 people have been infected with the virus in the district so far. Currently, the district has 563 active cases of the virus.
By Sabin Shrestha, World Neighbours Canada volunteer
The first COVID-19 positive case was detected in Nepal on 13th January 2020. Even though the second positive case was not confirmed until two months later on 23rd March, Nepal immediately implemented a countrywide lockdown and border closure, and adopted health measures to contain COVID-19 cases. The lockdown lasted 4 months and caused many social and economic crises especially for poor, marginalized people and small and medium-sized business enterprises.
Nepal has paid a high cost for COVID-19. The central bank says 22.5% of those employed in the country lost their jobs in the lockdown, which accounts for 1.5 million people. The World Bank estimated that more than 2 in 5 economically active workers reported a job loss or prolonged work absence in 2020. Further, the World Bank estimated Nepal GDP growth was 1.8% for fiscal year 2020, compared to 7% in fiscal year 2019.
The country started inoculation against COVID-19 on 27th January 2021. The plan is to expand vaccine coverage in four phases.
Phase Two: security officials, bankers, government officials, diplomatic officials, and senior citizens.
The country has successfully completed first and second phase vaccine campaigns.
Phase Three: everyone between 40 and 55 years of age
Phase Four: the rest of the population.
Nepal has successfully vaccinated 1,791,606 people. It is the first country in Asia–Pacific to vaccinate refugees against COVID-19 vaccine. The country is optimistic in expanding its vaccination coverage. However, vaccine supplies are a critical bottleneck, which needs to be tackled by through “vaccine diplomacy” with neighbouring countries.
COVID-19 Positive case by Age Group as of 5th April, 2021
On the vaccine supply side, Nepal largely depends on its neighbours India and China. In January, the country received one million doses of the vaccine called Covishield as a donation from India (developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India). In a second batch, Nepal got 348,000 doses of Covishield. Recently in March 2021, Nepal got 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine developed by Sinopharm and donated by China.
As of April 5, 2021, Nepal has done 2,289,824 RT-PCR (COVID) tests, which is 7.75% of its total population. Among total RT-PCR tests, 278,210 cases were found as COVID-19 positive or 12.15% of tests done so far. Among the positive cases, Nepal has a high rate of recovery (98.3%). 3036 deaths by COVID-19 are recorded to date.
Nepal rapidly developed 84 facilities with RT-PCR laboratories throughout the country, 48 in the public sector and 36 in the private sector.
Our contacts from TSS (Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti) in Nepal informed us that the Nepalese government has extended their lockdown from May 24 until June 2nd. This is following the first couple deaths due to Covid19 and an increase in cases.
Originally Nepal reported very few cases with no more than 11 by April 10th but it was also not in a good position to test for Covid. Now, of May 25, the government has pledged to test 600,000 people, or 2 percent of the population. Currently they have only tested 51,642 people with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology, while 95,192 people have been tested with rapid test kits, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population.
In the last week the numbers of confirmed cases has more than doubled to 682 confirmed cases. The restrictions are tighter than before.
Suresh Shrestha, the Executive Director of TSS told us “Now a person is required two approvals from government administration offices both from origin and destination districts (if they wish to travel). However, it is still flexible to transport medical personnel, security persons, media persons, commodities suppliers and emergency medical services without any prior approval. Kathmandu and Ramechhap was considered safe zone (green zone), but due to movement of people from Terai and other affected areas into these districts, it has become a risk zone as well.”
The government is claiming the increase of cases is because of a failure to test Nepalese migrant workers who returned home from India.
Nepal plans to conduct COVID-19 test among 2 percent of population – Xinhaunet.com
At World Neighbours Canada we are waiting with concern to see how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect our partners and the communities they work. Unfortunately, the countries they are located in are ill prepared to deal with the crisis. This is certainly the case in Nepal where health care funding has been traditionally low, they lack the basic health care equipment to test and treat Covid positive patients, and complaints of corruption have stalled getting proper safety equipment to health care workers. As a result, very few people have been tested so the current number of confirmed cases of 9, as on April 10th, is not an accurate assessment of the situation.
In order to limit the spread of the virus the government closed it borders and enforced a mandatory lockdown. Suresh Shrestha, the Executive Director of our partner NGO, Tamakoshi Sewa Sameti (TSS) puts it this way:
“Since 24th March, we are under the official lockdown period. About 90% people are confined within their homes. All offices and shops are closed nation wide. As per the government order, it has been prohibited all public movement outside the home, except for medical & purchase of food stuffs. All public and private vehicles without special permission are forbidden in the streets. All national and international flights have been suspended until 30th April. The daily necessary food selling stores are open for 2-3 hours only. Anyone defying the government order will be punishable according to Infectious Disease Control Act.”
The lockdown has not stopped many Nepalese who were stuck working abroad in India to return home to their communities. There is an increased risk that they are bringing the virus with them to remote communities.
On April 7th Nepal reached an agreement with the World Bank to access $29 million dollars to improve testing facilities, equip health facilities with personal protective equipment, create new ICU, beds, and isolation facilities, and strengthen public institutions to coordinate the response.
This is good news as without testing, and certainly without testing outside of Katmandu, there is no way to assess the seriousness of the situation, or to deal with it.
We are hoping the communities we work with are able to weather the storm. At least they have access to water and improved sanitary conditions thanks to the work of TSS and those communities.
World Neighbours Canada takes a practical approach – we want to help people achieve tangible improvements in their lives. Nonetheless it is useful to keep track of trends in international development from a wider perspective. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of attention paid to the “Sustainable Development Goals”. These goals were adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015. There are 17 goals. Goal 1 is no poverty, Goal 2 is zero hunger, Goal 10 is reduced inequality and Goal 13 is climate action, to name a few. They are intended to apply to all countries, not just developing countries. And a key part of the concept is that all the goals are interconnected. The goals (often referred to as the “SDGs”) seem to be mentioned in just about every meeting and document that touches on international development. The high profile of the sustainable development goals has helped to draw attention to the struggles faced by people around the world who are trying to grow enough food for their needs, find enough water, and survive drought and other natural disasters.
World Neighbours Canada supports the goals, especially the ones central to our mission like no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and climate action. But we look at the goals from a “results on the ground” perspective. If our programs can be stronger by taking a more integrated approach – for example, the gender equality implications of increasing food crop production – we embrace the concept of the “SDGs.” Our partner organizations have a deep understanding of the connections between the different goals. For example, in Nepal our partner organization has been focusing on goal 6 – clean water and sanitation – but the outcomes they are aiming for are goals 3 (good health and well-being) and 6 (gender equality; women and girls do most of the water-carrying). In Burkina Faso, food security and child malnutrition are critical issues. Our partner organization works in an integrated way towards zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality and no poverty. In Honduras, our partner is embarking on a new initiative to provide entrepreneurial training and support for young people in rural areas, touching on goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) and goal 4 (quality education). In every country, we have a long history of ecological approaches to agriculture, which fits with the environmental goal called life on land (number 15).
The Sustainable Development Goals provide a useful framework for a coordinated approach to the alleviation of poverty and better management of finite resources. World Neighbours Canada is inspired by these goals to support our partners in ensuring that people’s lives are impacted in meaningful ways, rather than focusing narrowly on specific outcomes.
We at World Neighbours Canada feel blessed and this New Years we wanted to share 20 reasons we feel so lucky. These are the reasons as submitted by our board members and volunteers.
I am grateful to all the people in Canada who support World Neighbours Canada year after year. Every donation, large and small, is appreciated and the moral support means as much to us as the financial support.
I am grateful to the staff and volunteers associated with our partner organizations in Nepal, Honduras and Burkina Faso for their tireless dedication to the alleviation of poverty. They are remarkable people who deeply understand the communities where they work and know how to help villagers achieve self-reliance and avoid dependency.
I’m grateful that the staff of our partner organization in Burkina Faso, (Association d’Appui à la Promotion du Développement durable des Communautés – APDC) AND those of our project villages have, to date, escaped being targeted by the Islamist insurgents in the Eastern region of the country. This is a huge concern for all living there and demonstrates the commitment of staff and villagers to implement changes that will improve their lives.
When our younger daughter died in 2006 she had said that she wanted some of her money to go to Nepal. We were thankful at that time and still are thankful to find World Neighbours. We knew right away we had found the right place to donate Rachel’s money. Water systems seemed so basic and the idea that all the money went to the people and the projects was very satisfying for us. It gave us a purpose and made us see some good coming out of the death of someone in the prime of her life.
I’m grateful for the opportunities my husband and I have had in the past to visit the Fada region of Burkina Faso to see firsthand the work this small local NGO is doing, teaching new skills to the villagers and sharing new ideas so that the beneficiaries are able to become more independent and improve the quality of their lives.
I’m grateful to be a part of World Neighbours Canada as I truly believe that the philosophy of “neighbour helping neighbour”, “a hand up not a hand out” is how lasting change can be achieved.
I’m grateful that World Neighbours Canada’s philosophy includes the notion that change occurs slowly, over generations, and as such we are committed to support our partner NGOs for the long haul.
I’m grateful for the friendships I’ve developed with the staff of APDC and admire and respect the commitment they all demonstrate in continuing to support the villagers during these turbulent and difficult times.
I’m grateful for the support I receive from the other directors of WNC, as this support enables me to complete the necessary reports that need to be submitted.
I’m grateful that Excel spreadsheet is still an acceptable form for accountants and government officials for tracking donations and expenses.
It is wonderful to have different directors responsible for each country project to liaise with and to solve any money transfer issues within their assigned country.
I am grateful I got to visit the projects in Honduras and meet the staff of Vecinos Honduras, who my father had worked with, admired, and told me so much about over the years.
I am grateful for the many service groups, and schools who have allowed us to come in and talk about our organization and the work of our partners.
I am grateful Suresh Shrestha, Executive Director of TSS, and Govinda Ghimire, Director on the TSS Board, were able to visit BC in 2019 and give presentations.
I am grateful for our member organization BCCIC (BC Council of International Cooperation) for the training sessions and other educational opportunities they offer. I have learned a lot.
I am grateful for those who read the articles (print or online), and click on the social media posts.
I am grateful for a federal government that understands that small NGO’s are some of the most effective groups in the world to affect positive change in the world, and continues to fund us. As with all funding, it could be greater and it could come with a little less paper work, but I am very grateful for what we get.
I am grateful for groups like Rotary in Oliver, Kamloops and Aldergrove who have been supportive and generous for many years.
I am grateful for my wife who lets me go traipsing through the mountains of Nepal on bad roads and in suspect vehicles.
I am grateful to know that the future can include positive change and I look to the upcoming year with hope.
With a donation to us you know that 100% of your donations will go to our projects run by our partners in Nepal, Honduras or Burkina Faso as we have no paid Canadian staff and our limited overhead is covered by the directors and GAC. Also , we will send out a personalized hand made card to the person of your choice!
The Canadian dollar goes a long way in our program areas. So, for the price of some chocolates you help someone build a smokeless stove. It is important to note that we do not just give items, our partners teach communities how to build and repair their own stoves and water systems as well as work to build capacity, gender equality, micro-lending opportunities, and improve maternal and child health.
An example of Material Costs:
$10 – Stovepipe for a smokeless stove (Honduras)
$25 – Materials for a family toilet (Nepal)
$50 – Treatment for one severely malnourished child (Burkina Faso)
$100 – Materials for one community market garden (Burkina Faso)
$100- One community faucet (Nepal)
$100 – Screening children in one village for malnutrition (Burkina Faso)
$300 – Training for a volunteer health monitor or mother guide (Honduras)
In late 2017, villagers from the Sunapati rural municipality requested that TSS help with the installation of a water system. The system is different from others we have been involved with in a number of ways:
The system will actually go through 8 small villages and one or two stand pipes will be place in each village.
The local government will help with the cost and will have branch lines and stand pipes into a number of their government office locations.
The system will also service a school that has 465 students.
So even though the Hiledevi Water System, on paper, services 81 households and 346 people, during the school year it actually services over 800 people daily.
It is a large system, with 2 intake tanks, 2 reservoirs, 15 public and 11 private tap stands and a total of 8.6 km of hand dug ditching that is 2-3 ft deep. Virtually all of the labour was provided by the local communities at no cost. All local materials – rock, gravel, sand – was provided by the communities at no cost. Money from donors purchased the pipe, cement, fencing and fixtures.
This is yet another example of how WNC and TSS work together with small groups of people to facilitate change, improve health and empower communities. Thank you for your help in doing this.