Power of Love Foundation

Our Mission is: To turn back the tide of the global AIDS epidemic through innovative community responses that increase the effectiveness of prevention and care efforts. Our Vision is: A world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV/AIDS have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.
Nov 6, 2016

"Safe Parks" Makes the Children in Matero Happy and the Community Stronger

Children enjoying a new set of dolls
Children enjoying a new set of dolls

You are making a difference! As a result of your generosity we are able to provide a safe and learning environment for orphans and vulnerable children from Matero – a community that is characterized with a high incidence of HIV, TB and malaria. Most residents in this community are poor and live on less than $2 per day – defined as extreme poverty by the UN.  

Given below is a story of a typical child who has benefitted from regular participation in "Safe Park" activities and is on track to become a role model for younger children.

Peter is a 12-year old orphan who enrolled in our “Safe Park” program about two years back but started participating regularly 12 months back. He lives with his aunt and cousins in Matero. At the time of enrollment, Peter was quiet, withdrawn, did not smile, missed school regularly and had few friends. Over the last year or so, Peter’s personality has changed and he is a different boy in many ways. He now interacts well with his peers, attends school regularly, has several friends, and like most children his age loves playing soccer. Peter’s aunt is happy as he is doing well at school. She said that the “Safe Park” program has made a significant impact on Peter. Also, his aunt said that Peter is turning into a responsible young boy as he helps with chores at home. Peter participates in all “Safe Park” activities, expresses himself freely, and likes playing with the other children. In addition, he proudly shares his report card with the counsellors during educational activities. We are confident that he will be a wonderful role model/mentor for other kids as he gets older.

This program is making a positive impact on the children from the community of Matero. The children seem happy while playing and learning and better adjusted to home and school. Almost all children who participate regularly show a significant improvement in their overall health. And with better health they are able to attend school, learn and make their families and the community stronger. 

More important, “Safe Park” activities are having a greater impact on children who have been traumatized and/or abused. In these cases, there has been a reduction in grief and trauma, and the child’s relationship with the family has been positively reinforced. In addition, the children develop a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

Your gift of fun and learning, continues to benefit more than 650 children from the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. Thanks!

Children playing and learning
Children playing and learning
Best friends
Best friends
More playtime
More playtime

Links:

Oct 30, 2016

Failing Forward was the Right Decision

Malaria Bed Nets being Provided
Malaria Bed Nets being Provided

This report is different from others as it shares a story about failing – yes we failed to complete an extension to our malaria prevention project in Zambia. Here is the scoop:

Our Goal: The goal of Project Mosquito Nets is to reduce the incidence of malaria in the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. This goal is achieved through the provision of long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to thousands of children and families vulnerable to malaria.

Need to Empower Community Residents: The community of Matero is characterized with a high incidence of malaria and HIV; high co-infection rates between malaria and HIV can prove fatal for young children, expecting moms, and older people living with HIV. In addition, this community is characterized with low incomes due to low education and an unemployment rate upward of 60%. Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day – defined as extreme poverty by the UN. And hence there is a huge need for the provision of malaria bed nets (as most residents cannot afford to purchase them), and to create sources of income for community residents.

Malaria Prevention and Community Empowerment: Given these characteristics of the community, we thought it makes sense to prevent malaria and make the community stronger by teaching them how to make malaria bed nets for use at home or for sale. Our plan for the first few months, was to assure an income to residents by purchasing nets from them. After a few months as the quality of nets improved, residents could sell them in the market for income. This project seemed like a perfect solution to the twin problems of malaria and low incomes due to lack of marketable skills. We decided to implement the project in two phases.  

Phase 1: As a first step we connected with the creator of DNP technology that uses waste plastic to make malaria nets, and plastic sheets (to cover windows to keep out mosquitoes). Other items that can be made include cell phone covers, hand bags, school bags, rain coats etc. which can be used at home or sold for an income. In addition, recycling plastic waste helps keep the community clean. This unique project could achieve several goals at a relatively low cost.

We selected a dynamic lady from the community to be trained in DNP technology. The training was completed successfully and the trainee went home to Zambia super excited about this new technology.

Phase 2:  In this phase our goal was for the trained community member to conduct 4-5 workshops that would provide training in manufacturing mosquito bed nets from waste plastic. Our goal was to train a total of 200-225 residents and make these workshops an annual feature of our malaria prevention program.

Our team on the ground then spent 3-4 weeks trying to collect the right equipment to make bed nets. We discovered that the equipment required (for example, special needles, electric sewing machines, boards) to manufacture mosquito nets was simply not available locally or if available was too expensive to make the project viable. Second, we discovered that the community was not ready to learn this technology. We had to take the decision to fail forward by cancelling the proposed workshops even though a significant amount of time and resources had been invested during Phase 1 of this project.

We are hopeful that we could implement Phase 2 in the future (2017?) when we have collected the right equipment and when the community is ready to learn this new technology.

What we Learnt? Our experience with this extension project taught us that:

  1. It is critical to plan and visualize all phases of a project well before embarking on the project. We learned that we should have created a comprehensive list of equipment needed, if all the equipment was available locally and at what cost.
  2. It is important to involve community members from the very beginning; for example, community members can play an active role in brainstorming, idea testing and subsequently planning stages of the project.
  3. Failing forward can save resources down the line that can be used for other life-saving projects or extensions to projects.    
  4. Once the decision to fail forward has been taken, project leaders and community members should brainstorm on making improvements on the original idea and how to do things differently next time.

Thanks for helping eradicate malaria in Zambia.

mbia.

At the venue for distribution of nets
At the venue for distribution of nets
Nurse answering questions
Nurse answering questions
Education on Malaria Prevention
Education on Malaria Prevention

Links:

Oct 30, 2016

Exciting Developments in our Loans Program in Zambia

A typical business is selling dried fish
A typical business is selling dried fish

Thanks again for your continued support for our work in the area of women's empowerment and community strengthening in Zambia. As you know our goal is to empower women by teaching them marketable skills so they can take better care of their families, keep their children in school, and become role model for others in the community. Today we would like to share a few exciting developments in our micro loans program.  

Exciting developments in the past 12 months: 

  • Program expansion: A record number of 100 new loans were provided in 2016 bringing the total number of active loans to 372.
  • Business Training: A record number of 372 women were provided with business training since November 2015. This implies that 372 new women are now equipped with marketable skills that will enable them to take better care of their families and make their communities stronger as they share their learning with others. 
  • Business Club: Some of our graduates formed a business club with the goal of mentoring current loan recipients whose businesses are not doing well and encouraging others. Proud of these dynamic ladies.
  • Higher value items: Many women have started businesses with higher value items such as jewelry, bed sheets, pre-paid cell phone cards, wedding accessories etc.
  • Repayment rates:  Repayment rates continue to be in the range of 90-92% in spite of the difficult circumstances of our loan recipients. Most loan recipients are taking care of family members living with HIV, and many are HIV+ themselves. In addition, many loan recipients are grandmothers taking care of multiple orphaned grandchildren. 
  • Businesses in the community: More than 300 businesses are being run by women who have graduated from our program over the last 8-10 years. These women continue to work hard to build their capital and expand their businesses. Businesses run by graduates are in addition to the 372 businesses being run by current loan recipients.  

Thanks as always - we could not have achieved any of this without your support. 

A lady outside her store
A lady outside her store
A loan recipient with her grandson
A loan recipient with her grandson
Business Training session in progress
Business Training session in progress
A lady with her pop corn stand
A lady with her pop corn stand

Links:

 
   

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