We are pleased to announce that KIDS FOR KIDS has recently selected the 60th village to be supported with our integrated programme of activities. The village is Mugabil which is located 40 kms north of the provincial capital, El Fasher. Our local Project staff will be working closely with the village over the coming weeks to explain our ethos of self-reliance and community responsibility for managing all the activities and helping the community to put the necessary structure of village committees in place to manage the project.
In the meantime we are moving ahead on the activities which help to improve children's health for the 5 villages which were brought into the programme in 2011. We have today received three quotations obtained by our Project Manager for the purchase of mosquito nets for distribution to the poorest families and so will shortly be making our selection of the supplier. These mosquito nets have a huge impact on the health of children significantly reducing their exposure to malaria which is a major killer of young children. We will clearly move as quickly as possible in getting the mosquito nets to the villages to provide protection for the children. The same applies to the blankets which will keep the children warm during the winter and will help to reduce the incidence of respiratory infections. Through reducing sickness amongst the children their school attendance improves significantly which is clearly a very positive outcome from the provision of the blankets.
The other activity which contributes significantly to improving children's health is the training of volunteers as first aid workers as these people also do a lot of health education activities with the mothers specifically covering nutrition for children including encouraging them to grow vegetables for their families and how to cope with common childhood illnesses like diarrhoea through making sure that they know about the importance of preventing dehydration. Our Project staff are in discussion with the Sudanese Red Crescent who undertake the training of the first aid workers for us but we are still awaiting a firm date for the next course - we hope it will be in the very near future. The next training course for the village midwives will start on 15 January 2012 for 40 trainees including 2 volunteers from each of the 5 new villages. The village midwives also have an impact on children's health by ensuring that mothers deliver healthy babies and working in partnership with the first aid workers on health education.
Once again I wish to emphasise that we are only able to bring about these changes in the lives of the poorest children in the villages in Darfur through the support of all our donors and we, and the families and communities in Darfur, are eternally grateful for your support.
Good progress has been made in launching the programme of activities in the five new villages adopted in 2011-12 - Um Layouna, Amar Jaded, Hilat Kabir, Elfaki Ali and Siwailinga. All the villages have formed their Village Development Committees and Animal Loans Committees who will be responsible for managing the project activities. These committees are the key to the sustainability of the development in the villages and hence Kids for Kids places great emphasis on training these committees in management, decision making, record keeping, accountancy, committee procedures and monitoring and evaluation techniques. In addition the members of the Animal Loans Committee are trained in the loaning procedures. With the completion of this essential capacity building phase we are now able to move on to the development activities. These are launched in a sequential manner focusing initially on enhancing livelihoods with the initial emphasis on the provision of goat and donkey loans. In preparation for the distribution of the livestock 2 volunteers from each village have been trained as paravets and a revolving veterinary drugs fund has been established in each village - this ensures that the beneficiaries of the livestock loans have access to basic veterinary care in the village. In addition all the beneficiary families have received thorough training in animal husbandry to ensure that they are able to look after their animals properly. The animals are now being sourced for the families who can look forward to being able to provide better nutrition for their children through having ready access to the goats' milk. This will contribute to improving the health of the children.
Other activities to improve the children's health are in hand. The volunteers from the villages to be trained as first aid workers have been selected by the communities and the arrangements are being made with the Sudanese Red Crescent to provide the necessary training. In addition, a new training course for the volunteers who have been selected to be trained as village midwives is expected to commence in November. Project staff are also in the process of procuring blankets and mosquito nets to be distributed to the beneficiary families. The mosquito nets will help to significantly reduce the incidence of malaria which is a killer disease for children whilst the blankets help to reduce respiratory infections amongst children through providing warmth without the need to keep the fire alight at night which has meant children are sleeping in a smoky atmosphere which is very damaging to their health.
Last week has seen celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Kids for Kids. A key part of the celebrations was a workshop attended by representatives from the 59 Kids for Kids' villages. This has provided an opportunity for the communities to provide valuable feedback on the usefulness of the project activities and to provide guidance on the way ahead.
We are most grateful to all our loyal supporters who make all this possible and make such a difference to the lives of these families and communities.
The most important news since the last report is that Kids for Kids has extended its activities to a further 5 villages - Um Layouna, Amar Jaded, Hilat Kabir, Elfaki Ali and Siwailinga. These villages have a total population of 9,455 people in 1,661 households. This means that some 5,000 additional children will benefit from the services which help to improve their health. Our Project staff have begun the preliminary visits to the villages to explain the overriding philosophy of Kids for Kids of self-help and focus on ensuring that the needs of the poorest families are met first and contents of the programme. In some villages the follow-up meetings have already taken place at which the communities confirm their commitment to the principles and begin to select the community members who will be responsible for providing leadership for the various project activities. This includes the selection of volunteers to be trained as first aid workers. These people play a crucial role in improving children's health as they provide education to mothers on nutrition and general child care and the management of such illnesses as diarrhea which can take their toll on young lives. Our Project staff are in the process of arranging a new training course for the first aid workers and the volunteers from the new villages will be able to participate in this training course.
Once the management committees are fully established and working well in the villages, plans will be made for providing blankets and mosquito nets to the poorest families. These again will have a significant impact on children's health. The mosquito nets significantly reduce the incidence of malaria whilst the availability of blankets means that it is no longer necessary to keep the fire alight at night to provide warmth for the children which meant that children were suffering from smoke inhalation. Ensuring that the children are warm also significantly reduces the incidence of respiratory infections and this increases school attendance. So children benefit hugely all round. And all this is only possible because of the generous donations from our loyal supporters. You really do make a difference to the lives and life opportunities of these children - thank you so much.
One of the principal activities to have taken place since the last report is the procurement of blankets and mosquito nets by the Communities Marketing Network - these will be distributed to the poorest families in the new villages - Tikailat, Abu Nala and Kheirban B - in the next few weeks. The provision of blankets and moquito nets has proven to have a very significant impact on improving the health of children. Most of the poorest families do not own any blankets and at night they keep the fire in the hut alight to provide warmth for the children. This means that the children are sleeping in a very smokey atmosphere and this contributes markedly to the high incidence of chest infections and eye problems amongst the children in the villages. With the provision of blankets by KIDS FOR KIDS families no longer need to keep the fire alight at night which is also a benefit for the environment as families need to collect less firewood. One of the unexpected outcomes of the provision of blankets has been a marked increase in school attendance by the children as illness with respiratory problems has been reduced - this is clearly a huge benefit for the future of the children enabling them to obtain education which can help them towards a better future. The provision of the mosquito nets significantly reduces the incidence of malaria which is a major cause of death amongst children.
Another activity which KIDS FOR KIDS is promoting to improve the health of children is the provision of jumpers for toddlers - by ensuring that children are kept warm this again helps to reduce illness from respiratory infections. The Women's Development Network is currently investigating the procurement of the jumpers. In order to make the activity sustainable KIDS FOR KIDS will establish Mothers' Knitting Circles to teach mothers to knit so that they are able to make jumpers for their older children and also possibly for sale to the wealthier families in the village. The Women's Development Network is preparing a proposal detailing how the proposed Knitting Circles will work covering such issues as finding teachers, supplies of wool, when and where the Circles would meet, etc.
Re the progress of the overall KIDS FOR KIDS programme, we are proposing to provide support to an additional 5 villages during 2011/2012 and we have asked our Project staff, in consultation with the Communities' Networks, to identify suitable villages.
Activities are progressing well in the three new villages in which the KIDS FOR KIDS' programme has been launched in the latter part of 2010. The villages have appointed their Village Development Committees and Animal Loan Committees and these committees are currently receiving training in management techniques as they will be responsible for running the various activities in the villages. Most importantly for the health of the children each village community has identified two of its community members to be trained as first aid workers and two women to be trained as village midwives. The first aid workers are particularly important for improving the health of children as they are heavily involved in health education in the villages and a very important part of this is training mothers in improved nutrition for their children thereby helping to give them a better start in life. The first aid workers also provide training in oral rehydration therapy and this is vital in saving the lives of children suffering from diarrhoea. Our Programme Manager is currently making arrangements for the training of the first aid workers which will take place in the next few weeks.
The communities have also selected the poorest households who will receive goat and donkey loans and these families are receiving training in improved animal husbandry before being assisted to go to the local market to purchase their animals. Once the families have their goats there will be milk available for the children which will have a major impact on the ability of the families to provide better nourishment for their malnourished children. The goats' milk provides many minerals and vitamins essential for the growth of the children. In time the goats will have kids and this will provide the families with a potential source of income from the sale of kids which will enable them to buy medicines if their children fall sick.
Once the purchase of the livestock has been successfully completed we will turn our attention to the purchase of blankets and mosquito nets for the poorest households. This is an activity which has a major impact on the health of the children through reducing the incidence of malaria which is a major killer of children and providing the children with warmth at night which significantly reduces the prevalence of respiratory infections amongst the children. In appreciation of the great benefits to the health of children in providing them with warmth during the surprisingly cold winter, KIDS FOR KIDS is launching a new activity to provide jumpers for toddlers in the poorest families. We are also planning to establish Mothers' Knitting Circles to teach them to knit so that they can make jumpers for their older children and also for sale to richer families in the village. This is all part of our emphasis on ensuring that all the activities which we support are sustainable.
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CEO & Chairman of Trustees