It’s one thing to increase the crop yields of vulnerable, smallholder farmers in a climate-challenged corner of the world. Lots of organizations are working – and bearing fruit – in this capacity. It’s another thing entirely to transform these smallholder farmers into major agricultural producers, connect them with buyers, and strengthen the value chain of a commodity for an entire region. In my most recent assignment with Lutheran World Relief, I was commissioned to take a brief look at the SESAME project, a US Department of Agriculture-funded initiative that works not only to increase the quality and volume of sesame farmers in Burkina Faso, but also to strengthen the cooperative system in sesame growing regions of the county. By working in cooperatives, everyday farmers can negotiate higher prices, streamline quality, access inputs and enhance overall market conditions, all of which create a sustainable, private-sector led framework for the sale[…]Read More
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Healthy livestock can mean make-or-break for those who rely on them for their livelihoods in the developing world. In addition to distributing livestock to vulnerable women in Niger, LWR ensures that these income-boosting assets remain healthy and productive for years to come. They do this by training para-veterinarians who make house calls throughout the communities where the project is implemented. In the video story above, Boubacar is one such vet who allows us to accompany him on his rounds for the day.Read More
A story of community and maternal and child health in remote Senegal thanks to ChildFund / USAID.Read More
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to poverty alleviation, especially when working with communities for whom living off the land is their sole form of sustenance. Problems here in northwestern Nigeria are complex, and the diverse challenges create a devastating domino effect by which families are often overwhelmed. Poor agricultural production leads to malnutrition and to communities that lack income. Desertification and the expanding Sahel lead to fewer water sources and make it more difficult for communities to observe proper sanitation and hygiene practices. These factors impact everything from livelihood, to health, to education, and form the boundary between mere survival and success. Only a holistic, multi-pronged approach can address the myriad of obstacles faced here. Feed the Future Nigeria Livelihoods Project is funded by USAID and is being implemented over a period of five years by Catholic Relief Services in some of the country’s most vulnerable households. As the project enters its fourth year, staff and stakeholders are lobbying the Nigerian government to uptake and implement[…]Read More
My latest video for Catholic Relief Services is the third of a trilogy showcasing the IMPACT program in Malawi. This piece, an excerpt from which is shown below, deals with community-based child protection programs. In Malawi, one out of three children has experienced abuse before they reach the age of 18. Malawi, in and of itself, is no more dangerous for children than other countries in the area. The problem has been that those working to protect children, from the next door neighbor in the rural village to the Malawi Social Welfare Department, have not been working in coordination with one another. Children have suffered as a result. In some instances cases of abuse have gone unreported, and perpetrators have gone unpunished. IMPACT has successfully connected the various stakeholders through the deployment of family care volunteers and the mobilization of an Orphans and Vulnerable Children Committee in each community where[…]Read More
We’ve reached a global hinge point in the treatment of HIV. People living with the disease are no longer passive beneficiaries. After more than a decade of receiving health and nutrition training, HIV+ people are often times living healthier lifestyles than many of their negative peers. Catholic Relief Services‘ Expert Client program places trained HIV+ community members in local health facilities where they guide new patients through the rigors of anti-retroviral treatment (ARV). By using their own experience of living with the disease to counsel and mentor, they empower the new patients to live more healthy and productive lives. I recently shot and produced this video for CRS in southern Malawi. The program is funded by USAID.Read More
Throughout the world people migrate to large cities in search of better services like education and water. In Jordan, however, when your city is located in the desert, getting enough water for your daily needs can still be a constant challenge. It’s a bit ironic that Jordan, named after the river that makes its western border with Israel, is one of the driest countries on the planet. Living conditions are especially hard in Jordan’s second-largest city of Zarqa, just north-west of Amman. Here residents experience all the hassles and discomforts of a limited and antiquated water system. Not all houses have running water; if you are lucky enough to have it, you probably have it for only a day or two in a given week. In the above video, residents talk about their struggles and hopes for Zarqa’s water system. Precious drinking water is wasted because many municipal pipes, seemingly[…]Read More