From desert dates to soap

The challenges of development in the Sahel

soapImagine what a difference it would make to a woman’s life if she were able to earn a little money of her own through the creation of a saleable product and then sell that product at a local market. That’s just what some Burkinabe villagers have been able to do: they have learned how to extract oil from desert dates and then use that oil to make soap.

Recent reports from APDC, World Neighbours Canada’s partner organization in Burkina Faso, have provided details about the project. In addition to the forest products initiatives such as the soap making, the villagers are pleased with the achievement of a local radio broadcast about forestry clearing laws and protection measures, improvement in agricultural yields through the use of green manure, and animal health improvements.

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Nepal Political Update

Nepali Congress President was elected as the 37th Prime Minister yesterday. He has secured 405 lawmakers votes while 148 voted against him including the Maoist lawmakers.

He has been administered the oath of office and secrecy by the President today. The newly elected Prime Minister has expressed to give a full-fledged constitution in the next one year.

Likewise, the Chairman of the interim election government has been automatically released and he has been also resigned from the post of Chief Justice. When he was elected he was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and he was holding the both posts until today.

Honduras Free Trade Agreement Alert

Canada signed a free trade agreement with Honduras on 5 November. The agreement has had little coverage by Canadian media, despite the violence that is pervasive in Honduras. Our partner organization in the country reports that violence is a serious impediment to rural development. Note also that elections are scheduled in Honduras on 24 November. We urge Canadians to learn about the situation in Honduras and the implications of a free trade agreement with Canada. For more information please check out the following links.

Announcement from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada:

Editorial by the Americas Policy Group of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation:

Articles on the free trade agreement and the Honduras election by the American-Canadian organization Rights Action:

Motorcycles and machetes make a big difference – Burkina Faso

Though we at World Neighbours Canada are only able to contribute what some might think a minuscule amount to support the local NGO (APDC ) in the Fada province of Burkina Faso, the reports we receive from this group let us know that that drop in the bucket is able to provide tangible support for them.

The 15000$ Canadian dollars we sent in allotments over the past year has helped to purchase, after much discussion and thought, TWO motorcycles. This has allowed two local permanent employees to more easily reach distant villages that are part of the program more often and to provide support and re-training of women and community leaders in those villages when it is needed. Prior to this, the existing motorcycle was declared unsafe and irreparable and reaching those villages on foot often meant that visits were not made when requested.

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Chorti update

Indigenous women’s project on track despite ‘state of siege’ involving mining companies

It’s been almost a year since the launch of the Chorti Project, on the border between Guatemala and Honduras, and things are on track despite a few early setbacks, said Bruce Petch, President of World Neighbours Canada.

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A 2013 Visit to Nepal

In April, 2013, I had the good fortune to visit Nepal to view the work of a Nepalese NGO, Tamakoshi Sewa Samiti (TSS).  I travelled with Dale Dodge of World Neighbours Canada (WNC) and Jack Nicholson of the Rotary Club of Aldergrove – together with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), we work with TSS to support water systems, sanitary latrines and smokeless ovens in Nepal.

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