Good progress has been made in launching the activities in the five new villages. The initial emphasis is always on building the capacity of the community to manage the project activities as this is absolutely crucial for the sustainability of the development initiatives. Hence we always ensure that this is done thoroughly and only move forward when we are sure that the community has attained the required level of understanding of its responsibilities and adequate management competency. To this end training has been provided for all the villages for the members of the Village Development Committee which spearheads the overall development and the Animal Loans Committee which is responsible for managing the cornerstone of the development activities supported - the provision of loans for goats and donkeys to the poorest families. This training has covered committee procedures (minutes, agendas, voting systems, etc.), administration (record keeping, reporting, etc.), management skills including monitoring and financial skills including maintenance of accounts and transparency. In addition the members of the Animal Loans Committee have received detailed training in the management of the loans scheme.
Following this the paravets have received their training to ensure that there is adequate help on hand when the beneficiaries receive their goats and donkeys. The beneficiaries and the members of the Village Development Committee and Animal Loans Committee have all received a thorough training in animal husbandry. Arrangements are now in hand to source the goats and donkeys for the beneficiary households.
In the meantime discussions are ongoing with the provincial Ministry of Health and with the head of the Midwives Training School to arrange for the next training programme for the women who have been selected by their communities to be trained as village midwives. The training course lasts for a year and this means that there can be some delay in slotting a new course into the schedule given the limited numbers of trainers and facilities. However, we hope that a new training course will start within the next few months. All the names of the trainees have been submitted to the Midwives Training school and the women are eagerly awaiting the call to El-Fasher to commence their training. They are an incredibly dedicated group of women - it is an immense step to go away from the village for a year for women from a very conservative society - many will never have left the village before, so it is both exciting and daunting for them. It is only possible for the women to go because of the fantastic support provided to them by their families and the wider community - many of the women leave behind young children to be cared for by relatives - this represents a huge sacrifice on the part of the women to be separated from their children for such a long time.
The Chairman and CEO of Kids for Kids, Patricia Parker, is currently in Darfur, both to review the progress of the projects and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Kids for Kids.The celebrations have included a workshop attended by representatives from all the 59 Kids for Kids villages providing an opportunity for exchange of views on the various elements of the programme and to provide pointers as to the future path