Dec 9, 2020

Building Resilience for the New Year

Happy to receive her new egg-laying baby chickens
Happy to receive her new egg-laying baby chickens

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, to say the least. However, all of these unforeseen difficulties have not stopped the Community Finance Guatemala team from finding ways to continue to support the 15 communities we work in. As you know, towards the beginning of the pandemic we responded by providing helpful information about the pandemic to the families we support --- some of whom don’t have television or internet access. We encouraged them to wash their hands regularly, keep a safe physical distance and always wear a mask when around other people.

Along with the informational support, we also helped them to start their own home gardens by providing them with seed packets and instructional pamphlets. Their gardens have flourished this year and the multiple harvests of leafy greens, cauliflower, radishes, and more, have greatly supplemented their typical diets of corn tortillas and black beans. As the weeks passed and the pandemic showed no signs of going away, the local team came up with a new idea for increasing the food security of the families: egg-laying chickens!

After shopping around at nearby farms, the team found a great deal and purchased more than 1500 chickens to distribute among the families. Each family received about six baby chickens and a few pounds of chicken feed to get them started.

One of our Community Finance Advisors, Doña María, who is always thinking about ways to promote sustainability in the communities, came up with a simple chicken feeder design made from recycled two-liter bottles. As the team visited the families, they facilitated short workshops on how to make the chicken feeders, best practices for raising chickens, and how to plan their small homesteads to be as sustainable as possible.

Now, as we look ahead to 2021 we are seeing potential to continue along this same path towards greater resiliency. We have big plans to help our families achieve greater health financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. From new projects such as designing composting chicken coops to new workshops on holistic stress management. We believe the incredible resilience of the families we work with will provide a solid foundation upon which they will continue to develop themselves and their communities in 2021 and beyond.

Showing off her new home-made chicken feeder
Showing off her new home-made chicken feeder
Receiving her new chickens
Receiving her new chickens
Admiring her home garden
Admiring her home garden
Listening during a workshop about raising chickens
Listening during a workshop about raising chickens
Dec 4, 2020

Deactivating the Clean Water Project

We are deactivating the “Clean Water for Dominican & Kenyan Communities” project because Project Hearts in the Dominican Republic has received full funding for their subsidized water tank and filter program and the Watha Project has built its first two wells in Kenya.

Here are some of Project Hearts’s Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) accomplishments in 2020, according to their Executive Director Marissa Doiron:

“We impacted 63 homes in 19 different communities—that's 207 individuals, including 54 children—by facilitating 59 water tanks and 7 water filters. More than $9,000 was provided in discounts, funds which can thus be reinvested in the communities.”

We would like to thank everyone who supported this project and made it a success!

Nov 18, 2020

Update From the Field

Below is a report from the field from Project Hearts (one of GRACE Cares’s partners in Baitoa, Dominican Republic that has been distributing bags of food to needy families during the coronavirus lockdown):

 

"The situation has been difficult. Not all the families are able to receive help, but we're sharing the food. The bags have been so important. Really, we see them as being life itself."

* * *

The couple pictured above are two leaders from the Haitian community here in Baitoa. Using a loaned "community car," they helped to distribute bags of food to Haitian families each week throughout the Dominican Republic's quarantine period, and were also receiving a bag. I think they said they have six people in their home: them two, the woman's mom (who is older and not in good health), and three kids. 

The economic impact of the virus on Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic has been the worst. The men usually don't have fixed jobs, and often work in construction whenever they can. They don't earn as much as Dominican workers, but tend to work at least twice as hard. These families struggled more economically even before work was halted for three months. When businesses did start reopening, it was only with limited numbers of employees, and the Haitian workers were not the first selected to return. Now they seem to be working normally again, but if the country does close down again—which is looking very likely—they will face more difficulties.

P.s. Look out for emails from GRACE Cares! This #GivingTuesday on December 1st on GlobalGiving (specifically for this project: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/covid-19-relief-guatemalan-and-kenyan-communities/) we will be raising funds to help Community Finance Guatemala and the Watha Project (in Kenya) to address the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities. GlobalGiving as well as generous donors will be matching donations made to the project “COVID-19 Relief: Guatemalan & Kenyan Communities” on #GivingTuesday December 1st!

 
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