Palms for Life works in countries where it has an in-depth understanding of the local environment and where it has established unique partnerships with organizations who are able to implement projects locally. Palms for Life also supports the local capacity of its implementing partners. This guarantees Palms for Life projects are of the highest quality and generate maximum impact and potential for scalability.
Reducing Vulnerability of Children at the Grassroot
Location: Swaziland: Hhohho and Manzini Regions
Participants: 3,000 vulnerable children; 90 NCPs; 27,000 community members;
Main funding provided by the European Union with Euros 1.5 M over 40 months;
The project is executed by Palms for Life Fund, Swaziland.
In late 2014, the EU awarded Palms for Life Fund a grant to contribute to the wellbeing of most vulnerable children in Swaziland by strengthening and enabling community organizations, namely Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs), to provide sustainable quality services to these children. Using participatory methods and anchored in a policy framework, the project began the pre-positioning phase of implementation in January 2015.
The project’s core objectives include:
Strategic Objective 1:
Strengthening community ownership of 90 NCPs by mobilizing and building NCP capacity and assisting NCPs to establish sustainable micro-democracies.
Strategic Objective 2:
Improving critical community assets and lifeskills at marginalized NCPs, which improves service delivery and infrastructure for vulnerable children, focusing on health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, with the full participation of community members.
Strategic Objective 3:
Strengthening and support NCPs’ abilities to provide and maintain reliable food systems for themselves, in a hygienic and safe environment, leading to changes in behavior/practices.
Reducing unsafe sexual practices of vulnerable adolescent girls in Burkina Faso
Location: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Participants: 120 adolescent girls (2 groups of 60)
Funding: Marble Collegiate Church and Collegiate Church Corporation
Executing Partner: ADEP
Burkina Faso is one of the least developed countries in the world and ranked 181 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) 2011 Human Development Index. One major limitation is the weakness of its national capacities, in particular the human capital. About half of the population lives in poverty and the severity of poverty is higher for women than for men. Burkina Faso is poor in natural resources, has very limited rainfall, averaging about 350 mm in the north and 1000 mm in the southwest, and has no coastal access.
Palms for Life has been supporting the Association of Support and the Awakening Pugsada (ADEP) since 2012. ADEP works with vulnerable adolescents and has identified a number of factors influencing the perception of sexuality among adolescents. These are: a lack of communication, misinformation, and low self-esteem of adolescents in their relationships. This awareness is particularly important in a country where sex is a taboo topic in society and between parents and children.
This project aims to better equip vulnerable adolescent girls by creating a framework to train and inform them on the risks and consequences of sexual practices and, ultimately, provide them with more choices in how to manage their sexuality.
- Train vulnerable adolescent girls in adopting responsible sexual practices
- Strengthen the knowledge and skills of vulnerable adolescent girls on sexual and reproductive health, STDs, and HIV / AIDS; to train and equip them to adopt responsible sexual behavior, to increase their self-esteem, and to negotiate in their relationships.
- Influence participants and promote change of attitudes and behaviors in terms of adopting more sexually responsible behavior
- Reduce prostitution and inform adolescents about abortion and HIV/AIDS.
- Participants have increased awareness about HIV/AIDs, hygiene, the menstrual cycle, and the anatomy and physiology of the female genital organs.
- Participants also feel better prepared to communicate about their sexuality with their parents, friends, and employers.
- Participants also share their new knowledge with friends who seek advice about dealing with men.
Palms for Life Fund working in Namibia for the San people: the Oldest Inhabitants of Namibia. (1)
In early 2016, as Palms for Life developed a strategy to radically change the framework of Early Childhood Development in Swaziland, I became coincidentally aware of disturbing facts affecting children among the San communities in another African country, Namibia. I heard about the San people very early on during my college life at the Université Libre de Bruxelles thanks to my anthropology professor Luc de Heusch and the readings of Claude Levi Strauss. Now, as my work brings me closer to possibly helping the San children in Namibia, I feel highly motivated to try to do my share.
Therefore, after several days of doing my research, I discovered one dedicated organization called the Kalahari Peoples Fund and contacted them. Soon after, an amazing network opened up to me of people who currently work with the San communities or have worked in the past, people who have done comprehensive research and written rich testimonies of their work and other papers, people who annually volunteer to work in local San schools. A world of gems! I contacted them and presented a plan for Palms for Life to coordinate a Participatory Rapid Assessment of ECD among San communities. This was very well received since such research has not been done in the last 5 years. A document was drafted jointly with folks at the Kalahari Peoples Fund and is now being presented to potential funders. We are all amazed by our combined capacities and dedication to do something that might impact the lives of thousands of poor children in Namibia. Many reports state that thousands of San children do not attend school in Namibia and for the few who do attend school they have severe dropout rates; San children remain marginalized with poor life opportunities. If we are successful and can push for a new attempt to develop a sensible, participatory, community-based, differentiated, culturally-friendly ECD plan for the San children in Namibia, using local languages and framed within the local culture, then we will have given back to these people and their children the right to be part of the future of their nation. And for that matter, for humanity because of what the San people represent: the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa. http://www.krugerpark.co.za/africa_bushmen.html
President of Namibia, Hage Geingob: What is even more encouraging for us to pursue this new program is reading about the current President of Namibia. What a special person and a fantastic ally to support our ECD proposal with the San communities. From Wikipedia I read that “Hage Geingob received his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds. His thesis was entitled “State Formation in Namibia: Promoting Democracy and Good Governance”. In his thesis, he examined significant events in the process of state formation in Namibia and provided an insight into the role played by various actors involved in shaping the evolution of Namibia as a state. He also examined the efforts of Namibians to build a reconciled society out of ethnically and racially stratified, diverse and often antagonistic groups, to promote democracy and a policy of reconciliation, to improve the life condition of the previously disadvantaged groups through affirmative action, to encourage good governance, to promote a culture of human rights, and to build state institutions to support these policies. Finally, he carried out a democratic audit of Namibia.”
“All children of the world are little Princesses and Princes. They deserve to start life on an equal foot, to grow with joy and dignity. And this is everyone’s business.”
(1) San are among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic diversity among 121 distinct African populations (Wikipedia)