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Feb 14, 2018

Community healthcare builds resilience in Nepal

Kalika, a community health worker in Nepal
Kalika, a community health worker in Nepal

Nearly three years after an earthquake devastated Nepal, your contributions continue to make a meaningful impact. Although the initial shock is long past, the recovery process carries on.

Over the past two years, BRAC’s work in Nepal has transitioned from meeting immediate response needs such as water, shelter, and medical response to building resilience in affected communities. Through programs that invest in the livelihoods of community members and integrate disaster preparedness components, BRAC aims to strengthen communities’ capabilities to withstand future shocks.

So far, BRAC programs in Nepal have:

  • Established 20 clubs to empower over 400 adolescent girls.
  • Connected unemployed youth to small businesses for skillbuilding professional practicums.
  • Trained more than 20 female community health workers.

One such community health worker is Kalika. A single mother who separated from her husband 13 years ago, Kalika participated in BRAC community health worker trainings and learned how to deliver primary healthcare services to households in Shyampati, Nepal.

Through her training, not only has Kalika provided herself with a sustainable livelihood that allows her to support her family, but she has also come to be seen as a respected leader in her village.

“I am honoured to be a community health worker because everyone in my community knows me and they know that I can help them with their health-related queries,” says Kalika.

With these new skills, Kalika  provides her community with primary healthcare services, playing a crucial role in the rehabilitation of her village.

Kalika’s work is particularly important during the monsoon season, when her community faces an epidemic of diarrheal diseases. In the past, when families suffered from diarrheal diseases, they would be forced to walk long distances to stores that sold expensive packet oral solutions. In Nepal, these critical treatments never reach nearly half of all children under five.

Now, thanks to her training, Kalika teaches others how to make oral rehydration solution at home – with one pinch of salt, one fist full of sugar, and a half-liter of water.

“Today, I can proudly say that all 81 households under my coverage know how to make oral rehydration solution at home,” says Kalika. She ensures that patients in her community receive timely and affordable care.

Kalika has also learned to care for pregnant mothers, newborns, and children. She runs mothers’ groups and conducts monthly meetings to discuss health issues. In a country where a third of pregnant women never receive prenatal care of any kind and nearly half of all births are not attended by skilled health staff, Kalika is a trusted source in her village for maternal and child healthcare.

“I am called in immediately when an infant is born underweight in the village. Once, I stayed with a mother and monitored her baby for days,” she says with pride. “Today, the baby is healthy with a normal weight.”

Kalika is one of more than twenty women in the region that BRAC has trained as community health workers. BRAC continues to train community health workers, empower adolescent girls, and provide livelihoods and skill trainings for youth.

In the coming year, BRAC plans to expand its programs by providing livelihood training for 100 adolescent girls and agriculture and livestock training for 110 farmers.

Thanks to your contributions, we will continue to work with the communities most affected by the earthquake to recover. Nepal still has a long road of recovery ahead of it, but the resilience of people like Kalika reminds us that there is hope.

Kalika promotes maternal health in the community
Kalika promotes maternal health in the community

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Jan 19, 2018

Social Enterprises Play Key Role in Empowering Farmers

Aliyah Explains Agriculture Techniques
Aliyah Explains Agriculture Techniques

Pictured here is a participant in BRAC’s agriculture program in Liberia. After an intensive training in agriculture best-practices, Aliyah is the chairwoman of a group of fifteen other farmers. She teaches sustainable methods of cultivating seven nutritious crops, including cucumber, corn, pepper, eggplant, plantains, potatoes, and cassava. Together, she and her cooperative group cultivate these crops on land donated by the local community.

With the help of generous donors like you, the seed farm, feed mill, and poultry hatchery have become thriving social businesses over the past few years. In 2016 alone, the poultry farm produced nearly 40,000 day old chicks and more than 200,000 pounds of feed. Now, these enterprises complement other BRAC projects by providing affordable and quality resources for smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on their produce. The seed farm, feed mill, and hatchery provide farmers like Aliyah with the inputs they need for their farms, and businesses, to thrive.

As the seed farm, feed mill, and poultry hatchery continue to serve Liberians, new projects are expanding and strengthening these enterprises. We recently began a new project that will grow the feed mill and poultry hatchery so its goods can reach more smallholder farmers. It will also support local businesses in the region that produce other necessary agricultural inputs like gardening tools, fertilizer, and vaccines for animals.

This project will both expand the community’s small businesses and train more farmers and community-based promoters in agriculture and livestock techniques and nutritious food practices.

The program will train 720 local groups of smallholder farmers from 15,000 new households on poultry and livestock rearing, climate-smart agriculture, nutritional homestead gardening, and skills to market their products. Nutrition awareness campaigns will teach the community, especially pregnant women and mothers, how to follow a healthy and balanced diet. Locally trained agriculture and livestock promoters will also spread this knowledge through their communities on a grassroots level.

In total, the project will benefit an estimated 155,000 people within three years. Evidence shows participants will leave the program empowered with skills and knowledge that enable them to produce more food, improve their families’ health and nutrition, raise their incomes, and build sustainable livelihoods for themselves. Thank you for your continued support!

Our Feed Mill in Action
Our Feed Mill in Action

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Dec 28, 2017

A New Year's Resolution with BRAC

Students celebrated Independence Day of Pakistan.
Students celebrated Independence Day of Pakistan.

As we near the end of 2017, it feels difficult this year to celebrate with family and friends. It has been an arduous year. And yet, thanks to your support, there is lots to celebrate. The good work goes on – here, from a Pakistani village.

Located in Sindh, Pakistan, the village of Karo Mallah is comprised of about 160 households, or roughly 1,300 people, most of whom are farmers and laborers. Despite the village’s needs, there is a paucity of infrastructure, and no government schools. Only a small number of boys receive an education, and access to schooling for girls is virtually nonexistent.

“We had lost hope, particularly for girls’ education, as we cannot afford to send them faraway for school,” said Mallah, a community member.

When BRAC first visited the village, it discovered that about 70 children between, ages five and 12, studied in extremely poor conditions. They sat in an open space, and were taught by two volunteer teachers. There was little furniture, and no sanitation. The complete lack of sanitary facilities posed a serious challenge, especially for girls, who might not come to school without a gender-sensitive facility.

BRAC’s approach towards sustainable development starts with the community. A new school, no matter how well built, would not operate long nor grow to reach many children if the effort did not belong to the community. BRAC’s local staff held forums with community members to discuss their concerns and discover solutions that reflected the village’s priorities.

After finding agreement, the community and BRAC collaborated to construct two classrooms. The village provided half of the funding (around $350), designated a location, and helped with the physical construction. Thanks to your support, BRAC provided matching funds to construct sanitary toilet facilities and supply classroom materials.

The two classrooms and accompanying toilets are now open and operating, and more children in the community enjoy access to a quality education. Samad, who was one of the voluntary teachers before the schools were built, is thankful to see such support for children’s education in the community. Mallah added, “I’m happy for this golden opportunity.”

This project originally started as part of BRAC’s resolution to provide access to an education for more Pakistani children. At the end of 2017, BRAC is glad to report that we have built 1,700 community-based schools, like the one in Karo Mallah, and enrolled more than 52,000 students, 66 percent of whom are girls. As we head into 2018, the BRAC team would like to wish you a warm holiday season, and invite you to make a resolution with us: Let’s continue to create educational opportunities for Pakistani children.

Students sat in an open space before construction
Students sat in an open space before construction
Two classrooms are now operating.
Two classrooms are now operating.
 
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