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Nov 19, 2007

Harvesting Hope: Overcoming Hurricane Felix

In the past year, Harvesting Hope has held trainings on sustainable agriculture and women’s rights; provided seeds that project participants used to plant community gardens; provided chickens so that families have a reliable source of protein in their diet; helped participants sell their surplus produce, eggs, and meat in local markets; and introduced participants to other Wangki Tangni programs that improve the quality of life for Indigenous families in the region.

This year, the project faced a devastating setback when Hurricane Felix, a Category Five storm, struck the North Atlantic Coast on September 3. Just weeks before collecting the harvest of a bumper year and reaping the rewards of their hard work and newfound knowledge, Indigenous Miskita women saw their crops destroyed by winds, rains, and floods. The Nicaragua Network Hotline reported that 99 percent of the crops in the region were destroyed.

However, Harvesting Hope participants are encouraged by the supply of seeds in their newly created seed bank, and by their knowledge of MADRE’s commitment to support their communities, and have already begun to replant their gardens.

Beneficiaries of Harvesting Hope include over 2,000 Indigenous women and families in the village of Waspam and 104 surrounding communities, as techniques learned in Harvesting Hope trainings are shared with remote communities by project participants. Rose Cunningham, Wangki Tangni’s Director, reports that women from neighboring communities continue to attend Harvesting Hope trainings in record numbers, sometimes walking two or three days to get there, and participants say that the income-generating aspects of the project are helping them come closer to meeting their families’ immediate needs.

Nov 19, 2007

MADRE HIV/FGM Workshops Replicated in Surrounding Areas

The workshops funded by MADRE and the Indigenous Information Network, our sister organization in Kenya, have been successful. As detailed in the last project update, during MADRE’s 2006 delegation to Kenya, staff members conducted interactive workshops which focused on education about HIV/AIDS prevention and the dangers of female genital mutilation (FGM). MADRE delegates used a methodology called “Train the Trainer” to ensure replication of lessons learned.

MADRE staff returned from another delegation to Kenya in November 2007, and reports that similar workshops are indeed being replicated in sixteen Samburu communities. Women, men, and teens of both sexes are reported to participate in the classes.

MADRE is pleased to share with Samburu women the educational tools needed to help their families understand more about the issues that affect their lives, and we thank the GlobalGiving community for all that they have contributed to help MADRE carry out this goal.

Nov 12, 2007

Update on MADRE’s Work in Lebanon, November 2007

Update on MADRE’s Work in Lebanon November 2007

Support from Global Giving members was instrumental in helping MADRE provide humanitarian aid to women and families affected by violence in Lebanon last year. In the midst of Israel’s attacks in July and August 2006, MADRE quickly linked up with the Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTDA)—a social justice organization committed to equality for women—to offer food, shelter, medical care, and trauma counseling to displaced Lebanese women and families (who made up almost one quarter of the civilian population). With this established progressive women’s organization, we worked to ensure that humanitarian relief reached those most in need while simultaneously building CRTDA’s outreach ability.

Health and Sanitation Kits, consisting of basic necessities such as drinking water, diapers, soap, sanitary pads, and other materials not included in relief kits provided by government agencies, were distributed to 1,000 female-headed households over the course of several months. Distribution was carried out by an extensive network of local women’s groups and volunteers in Beirut, Saida, Metn, Jbail, Kesrwan, and Tripoli. Volunteers visited each household prior to distribution in order to identify specific needs, and conducted follow-up visits after women had received their kits.

In addition to delivery of kits, MADRE and CRTDA ensured that women were empowered to meet their own and others’ needs and sustain this initiative. Together, we emphasized women’s active participation and representation on environmental health committees in the internally displaced people (IDP) centers and schools housing refugees to ensure cleanliness of common spaces and appropriate distribution of clean water.

During this time, MADRE also called on governments to protect civilians in the region and helped provide a desperately needed message of hope and solidarity to our sisters in the Middle East. We thank Global Giving members for their support for this important project.

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