After months fighting starvation, cold, family separation, and sexual harassment, Marvelis’ family enjoys a peaceful and safe house, thanks to the PRM-funded Project “Integrados”
Every morning, Pamela followed the same routine. She would wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her two children. But, like many other women in her community, the Kamwenge refugee settlement in Uganda, she didn’t have the basic skills to prepare healthy meals.
Despite the political achievement of women’s empowerment and a variety of prevention strategies, including efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, the number of adolescent pregnancies in Rwanda is still worryingly high and has been steadily increasing over the last fifteen years. Two years ago, when she was only 16 years old, Eugenie’s story became part of this sad statistic: she got pregnant after being sexually assaulted. When AVSI identified Eugene as a beneficiary of a project funded by the RASKOB Foundation to support young mothers in Rwanda, she was desperate, full of shame and guilt.
“I had no more hope for the future,” remembers Eugenie. “I felt ashamed of what had happened to me. Nobody could understand me anymore. Over and over, I was reminded of what had happened, and I felt pushed away from my family and those around me.”
At first, Margarita and Griselda thought the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge they were not ready to face.
“COVID changed our lives. At first, we lost our jobs; we had to lock ourselves up. My children couldn’t go to school, and I had to be a teacher for them, and check their homework,” says Margarita.
“I used to wash, cook and clean while children were at school, but once they were home all the time and I had to check their homework, the house was a chaos, and it was very stressful for them, and for me” echoes Griselda.
On Thursday, April 29, during the CIES21 conference (April 25-May 2), AVSI participated in a panel session to present the findings and lessons learned from evaluations of the school feeding programs on reading and nutritional outcomes of primary school children in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. The two programs are funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program that supports education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries.
COVID-19 has not slowed the need to improve educational outcomes in East Africa. If anything, the global emergency has thrown a spotlight on learning disparities in developing nations. The educational professionals and researchers at Luigi Giussani Institute for Higher Education in Uganda (LGIHE) – an AVSI-USA long-term partner – have been working for over a decade to promote teaching methods that unlock the full potential of each learner. “School leaders and teachers are the linchpin to the radical change needed to ignite self-awareness and critical thinking in learners,” said Mauro Giacomazzi, Institutional Development Advisor for LGIHE.
Jessica Anderson recently earned her MA from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in International Security and Development. In the Summer of 2019, she spent a few months in Oaxaca, Mexico, carrying out research with Crecemos, an AVSI-USA long-term partner. Her work culminated in a case study in which she evaluates the effectiveness of Crecemos’ localized nutrition interventions over five years and examines the influence of interlinking areas in a child’s life such as education, recreational sports and arts, family relationships, and food preferences. In the following interview, Jessica discusses her time in Oaxaca and shares how this unique experience widened her “horizons and expanded both her intellect and heart.”
Thanks to AVSI’s Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program, Ama discovers a passion for reading and shares it with friends in Ivory Coast.
Sometimes the biggest challenges do not need the most advanced technological innovations to be solved. It is often a matter of deep knowledge of the context, flexibility with respect to local constraints, good enough technology, and pragmatism.
That is the case for Clean cooking, still far from implemented in many developing country households.
Alessandro Galimberti, AVSI Technical Advisor for Energy, Climate Change and Urban Development, has extensive experience in this field and on this Road to Forest Valley Foundation podcast he explores the challenges, as well as the possibilities, related to this topic.
“The violence has reached a high point — we see that this is the deepest point ever reached in this country and we cannot go deeper,” said Fiammetta Cappellini, Haiti-based country representative for the Milan-based AVSI, told Catholic News Service by phone April 14.