Creating sustainable livelihoods by means of school gardens

School children happily welcome the visitors from EcoSolidar.

Creating sustainable livelihoods by means of school gardens 

ASUD (Action for Sustainable Development) works together with five primary schools and the surrounding communities in the district of Mzimba in northern Malawi. The project aims to improve the nutritional and economic situation of schoolchildren and families through sustainable agriculture. 

Photo Report from the project in Malawi

Schoolchildren in their garden at the primary school.

The project started at one school in 2018 and has been implemented at a total of five primary schools in the Mzimba region since 2022. In schools where malnutrition is a widespread problem, school gardens are being planted with the aim of improving the nutritional situation of the schoolchildren. The cooking demonstrations organized at the schools serve the same purpose. At the same time, the garden is also used as a learning field for organic and locally adapted agriculture.  

Elderly woman tending her lush garden.

The schoolchildren’s families also work in the school garden and on the school grounds, thus acquiring knowledge about plant varieties, pig farming, composting, irrigation and measures against evaporation and erosion. 

These parents proudly present their magnificent garden.

They apply this knowledge at home: they plant their own home gardens in which they grow native vegetable varieties to supplement and improve their diet.  

The lead farmer explains new farming methods to her group.

Individual farmers take on the role of lead farmers: they encourage other villagers to plant their own small gardens and are there to help and give advice.

Farmers make their compost.

The production of compost and of organic plant protection products, which help to increase the harvest, is a central element in ASUD’s knowledge transfer.

Inspection of a pigsty and the animals in a village.

Farmers who are interested in animal breeding receive pigs from ASUD. If reproduction is successful, the piglets are distributed to other villagers. At the same time, the pig manure is used to produce compost..

Farmer irrigating her field with a hose.

Groups of farmers merge together to plant common fields close to water sources or streams. They can irrigate these fields using solar-powered water pumps, enabling them to grow maize, beans, tomatoes and other vegetables even in the dry season.  

Preparation of a rich meal.

Thanks to the cooking demonstrations at the schools, the pupils’ parents learn how to prepare nutritious and varied meals.

The farmer presents her harvest.

The surplus harvest is sold and provides an additional income for the families.  

Savings group are advised by ASUD employees.

In the villages, it is mainly the women who form savings groups. They are trained and supported in bookkeeping and money management by ASUD employees. The money they save is used for common causes such as the maintenance of wells and solar-powered water pumps, for communal pig farming or for emergencies. 

Thanks to the wells, the gardens can be watered more easily.

ASUD has dug wells at all five project schools and in several communities together with the local population so that people have access to clean water, which they can also use to irrigate their home gardens. 

Explanations of how the function of the swales.

Various techniques are used to minimise water loss in the fields, prevent soil erosion and improve soil fertility. These include the digging of swales (see picture) in the fields and the planting of vertiver grass. 

An ASUD employee explains the compost production process at the APIC training centre.

Parallel to its work with schools and villages, ASUD has been setting up the APIC (ASUD Permaculture Innovation Centre) training centre for organic farming since 2022. Here, the team is implementing organic farming techniques and testing new technologies. There are also plans for setting up a seed bank of local seeds, which will then be distributed to farmers. 

Different interested parties can learn more about permaculture at APIC.

APIC serves as a training centre for farmers, teachers, representatives of the local authorities and other interested parties. 

Construction of the hostel began in spring 2024.

In addition to accommodations for ASUD employees, a small hostel is being built on the site so that in the future smaller groups can also be accommodated at the centre for training workshops that last several days.

Inauguration of the well with government representatives.

Networking with other partners is essential for the long-term success of the project. ASUD maintains relationships with government representatives (especially of the Ministry of Agriculture and Education) as well as with other local NGOs. In the photo, the district commissioner is making a speech at the inauguration of the well in Mtheto, St Monica.

The government representative was able to see the work of the villagers for himself.

After inaugurating the well, the government representative was given a tour of the village. This made him realise the huge impact that access to water has on village life. 

Respectful cooperation is one of the keys to the project's success.

The close and respectful cooperation between ASUD and the farmers as well as the representatives of the schools and other institutions is an essential contribution to the success of the project.

Las Pioneras: with pioneering spirit to more independence

Our partner organisation  IDEMNNA (Instituto de Desarrollo „Maria Elena Moyano“) works with women and their children in an outer district of Lima. The aim of the project is to improve family life, to support the women in their personal development and their independence and to strengthen the solidarity in the neighbourhood. The women who are supported by IDEMNNA have founded a group and have assumed the name “Las Pioneras”. In this group they can exchange ideas and support each other with regard to educational problems and experiences of violence. They share knowledge in the fields of nutrition and handicraft skills, develop business ideas and receive small loans for the realisation of their projects as start-up aid and to achieve financial independence. 

Group photo Pioneras, With pioneering spirit to more independence

Las Pioneras: with pioneering spirit to more independence

Our partner organisation  IDEMNNA (Instituto de Desarrollo „Maria Elena Moyano“) works with women and their children in an outer district of Lima. The aim of the project is to improve family life, to support the women in their personal development and their independence and to strengthen the solidarity in the neighbourhood. The women who are supported by IDEMNNA have founded a group and have assumed the name “Las Pioneras”. In this group they can exchange ideas and support each other with regard to educational problems and experiences of violence. They share knowledge in the fields of nutrition and handicraft skills, develop business ideas and receive small loans for the realisation of their projects as start-up aid and to achieve financial independence. 

Photo report form the project in Peru

Barren hills of Jicamarca

Due to the massive immigration of people from all parts of Peru and other countries (e.g. Venezuela), numerous new neighbourhoods have grown up around Lima in recent decades. IDEMNNA works in two communities in Jicamarca, which are located in the eastern metropolitan area of Lima. Living conditions here are extremely precarious: basic services – water, sewage, electricity, green spaces – are lacking. Violence, alcohol, drugs and the land trade cause massive problems. Most families live in poverty. Many women are single parents and have experienced psychological or physical violence.

Pionera Alicia with her husband in front of their wooden house in Jicamarca

Alicia lives with her husband and two children high up in the hills in Jicamarca in a house made of wood. Her husband works in the waste collection and is very responsible. Alicia emphasizes that they are a good team and that he supports her in her activities. Thanks to Alicia’s additional income from buying and selling household products and a small loan, she has been able to gradually set up her own home for herself and her family.

Market stall

Most of the women IDEMNNA works with are in the informal sector. Carmen, the coordinator of the organisation, is regularly out and about in the neighbourhood, where she seeks contact with the women and makes them aware of IDEMNNA’s work.

Business ideas are developed and realised together with the project coordinators

The close and personal accompanying of the women is one of the great strengths of IDEMNNA. In this way, those responsible learn about the women’s needs. Business ideas are developed and realised together. The photo shows Julio, the second IDEMNNA staff member, with two women from the project.   

IDEMNNA organises exchange meetings with institutions

IDEMNNA is increasingly seeking contact with other institutions in order to expand the range of services offered to the women of Jicamarca. Thanks to this cooperation, the women gain access to psychosocial support, legal counselling and much more.

Meeting of the Pioneras in their centre, election of the Board of Directors pending

Before Alicia (right with the microphone) joined the Pioneras, she was shy and could never have imagined speaking in front of people. Today, she confidently leads the meeting of the Pioneras and the election of the new board. 

Democratic election of the Executive Board

The election of the board is an open and democratic process. The women discuss in groups and can present themselves as candidates. The Pioneras carry out this process very participatively and independently, without intervention from IDEMNNA. This shows how much the women identify with the group of the Pioneras.  

The newly elected board of the Pioneras

The newly elected board of the Pioneras proudly presents itself. It consists of six women, three from each of the two communities Belén and Villa El Sol.

The children of the Pioneras have their own group: the Pioneritos

The children of the Pioneras have their own group, which is called the Pioneritos. In this group, they cultivate friendships, do homework, play games, organise themselves and implement ideas according to the principle of  «learning by doing». 

Two Pioneritos run small copy centre independently

Two Pioneritos run a small copy centre where they have a printer connected to a prepaid tablet. Here, copies and printouts can be made for a fee. The two Pioneritos keep accounts of all sales and purchases.

Tailoring workshop with Eulalia

Individual women from the group of the Pioneras conduct workshops in which the other women can participate. The tailoring workshop is led by Eulalia, who has been running a sewing studio for several years.

The women now rent a stand at the local market and sell products they have sewn themselves

For a few months now, three women have been renting a stall together at the local market. Here they sell their self-sewn products (blankets, cushion covers and bags) and offer repair and modification services. Eulalia provides her own sewing machines for this purpose. She has long dreamed of running a shop at the market.

Keimy, Pionera from the very beginning, is working on setting up her own sewing studio in the courtyard of her house

Keimy is a Pionera of the first hour. In the group, she has learned to gradually free herself from her husband’s control. Thanks to her work in the tailoring studio, she has been able to earn a small but independent income. This has also strengthened her self-confidence in the long term. She is now working on setting up her own sewing studio in the courtyard of her house.

Comedor in Belén, lunch for children

The Comedor in Belén is a building owned by the municipality and rented by the Pioneras. Here they run a lunch table where they offer healthy and nutritious meals. The Pioneras have undergone further training in the field of nutrition and are now counteracting malnutrition by means of this offer.

Two Pioneras cook for the lunch table

The Pioneras and their children pay a low price for the food, and the offer is also open to outsiders at a slightly higher price. Children with anaemia from particularly poor families receive lunch free of charge. The women keep accurate records of the Comedor’s income and expenses, thus learning a new skill, namely bookkeeping.

Group photo of Pioneras with their children and the two IDEMNNA project coordinators

The Pioneras’ place is a small oasis in the desolate surroundings of Jicamarca. The resilience and motivation of the women, their many ideas with which they want to improve their lives and those of their children, inspire and drive Carmen and Julio to stand up for them and to keep developing new strategies for IDEMNNA.

Combating violence against women

SIEDS (Society for Informal Education and Development Studies) works on the issue of violence against women in Bangalore, India. Part of the work consists of counselling women and legal support for individual cases. Their husbands and the families are also included in the mediation processes. At the same time, SIEDS runs education and information campaigns among the population and for the authorities. The focus is now increasingly on the self-organisation of women in groups and on community work with women, men and children. In order to secure the future of the organisation, SIEDS began a few years ago to consciously hire young staff. The cooperation between the two generations works very well – new staff members are increasingly taking on responsibilities and are developing additional competencies.

The work takes place in three districts and is supported by an Indian foundation in one of them. EcoSolidar has been an important partner for SIEDS for 25 years, because in addition to gender work, we also consciously support the organisation itself and its further development.

Generation change

Combating violence against women

SIEDS (Society for Informal Education and Development Studies) works on the issue of violence against women in Bangalore, India. Part of the work consists of counselling women and legal support for individual cases. Their husbands and the families are also included in the mediation processes. At the same time, SIEDS runs education and information campaigns among the population and for the authorities. The focus is now increasingly on the self-organisation of women in groups and on community work with women, men and children. In order to secure the future of the organisation, SIEDS began a few years ago to consciously hire young staff. The cooperation between the two generations works very well – new staff members are increasingly taking on responsibilities and are developing additional competencies.

The work takes place in three districts and is supported by an Indian foundation in one of them. EcoSolidar has been an important partner for SIEDS for 25 years, because in addition to gender work, we also consciously support the organisation itself and its further development. Photos Christian Jaeggi

Photo report from the project in India

Women's group in Anekal, India

In Anekal, a women’s group has been created by SIEDS in which women meet and exchange ideas regularly. They tell each other their life stories, learn from each other and invigorate each other. At larger meetings numerous women and children come together, and they also sing and eat together.

Woman tells her personal life story

Some women share their life stories, some of them tell about very difficult experiences of violence, others tell about how they have found their way out of a life of violence. 

Woman, who is a taxi driver, tells about her experiences as a woman in India working in that profession

Here, a female taxi driver talks about her experiences and the challenges of being a woman in this profession.

Counselling sessions for Women in Kolar, India

In Kolar, SIEDS offers, for example, counselling sessions, in which women can discuss their concerns and get concrete help and legal advice. A current issue is the exploitation of women in petrol station jobs. Single women are poorly paid and made so dependent that they become indebted to the owner of the petrol station. SIEDS supports the women concerned in defending themselves against this with the help of the police.

Library with books about women's rights, two men are reading books

Kolar was the first community in which SIEDS took up its work. The centre has a library, of which SIEDS is very proud. There are books on women’s rights and on the work that SIEDS does. SIEDS also uses these books to spread information and impart knowledge to the population. 

Education, four SIEDS employees show the women pictures of female reproductive organs

In Bagalur, SIEDS is now running a new centre with the support of young social workers. The focus here is on empowering women in all the areas of life, focusing on the access to knowledge and the rights people are entitled to. Here, the women can also take part in trainings on the topics of Computer skills coursehygiene, menstruation and contraception.

Computer skills course

Women can acquire computer skills, receive individual counselling on various problems or concerns and get support in dealing with the authorities if they desire.

Receiving information, two women sitting in front of the computer

In addition, there is always education and knowledge transfer on the topic of domestic and public violence against women. The women get information about what they can do in case of violence and who they can turn to. 

Two women playing chess in the centre

Women come here to meet and simply take a break in a protected setting. Women are supported in all the areas of life at the centre.

Childcare, SIEDS employee dances with the children

Working with the children is an active part of the community work at the centre in Bagalur. They are cared for in groups and can spend their free time playing, painting and dancing or doing their homework and studying for school.

Three boys are painting on the floor

The children can also come to the centre on their own without being accompanied by their mothers or fathers. Thus, the centre is open to everyone and the whole life of the people in the neighbourhood is a topic there.

Men play board games on the terrace of the centre

In this centre the social workers also explicitly work with the men. According to the idea of outreach social work, they are approached at different places in the neighbourhood and invited to the centre. There they can play games, talk and exchange ideas. They get to see what the women are doing and there is no fear that the women might turn against them. The men are also part of the centre and can inform themselves about different topics.

Success story, Kavitha stands in the doorway of her own home

Six years ago, Kavitha experienced violence in a bad marriage. She then turned to SIEDS and over the past few years has freed herself from her plight. Today she lives in her own flat and has made a remarkable change in her life. SIEDS and the women’s group have accompanied her and given her courage.

Courage and strength for women, two women who managed to escape violence

Together with Rheka (left), who has a similar story, Kavitha has become a figurehead for SIEDS. Her story gives courage and strength to other women. During our visit this year, the two women were in the process of building their own houses. These success stories are possible because SIEDS is fighting persistently and in the long term for their rights together with the women concerned.

School Gardens Against Hunger

In northern Malawi, our partner organisation ASUD supports primary schools in setting up permaculture school gardens. By promoting sustainable agriculture, ASUD works with school communities to combat hunger and malnutrition.

SCHOOL GARDENS AGAINST HUNGER

In northern Malawi, our partner organisation ASUD (Action for Sustainable Development) supports primary schools in setting up permaculture school gardens. By promoting sustainable agriculture, ASUD works with school communities to combat hunger and malnutrition.

Photo Report from the project in Malawi

Schulgarten

It all started with a school garden at the primary school in Ng’ongo. Today, this school is a showcase for ASUD’s project. The teachers are continuing their education in permaculture techniques. Besides the vegetable garden, fruit trees, maize, soya and bananas are grown on the school grounds; there is a well for water and a small solar system.

Unterricht Kompostherstellung

An important part of the project is the use of different techniques for making compost. The compost plays an important role in ensuring that the plants thrive. Here a teacher is teaching students about this topic.

Schweinestall

Animal dung is needed to make compost, therefore the school keeps pigs. They now live in a larger and more robust pigsty and are visited and fed by the school children.

Gemüsegarten Eltern

The parents learn the new techniques while helping in the school garden and apply them at home. Some of them are particularly committed and continue to test and develop these techniques. They use their know-how to support groups of farmers from the surrounding area in the building and successful cultivation of permaculture gardens.

Schweinestall Holz

The farmers also build pigsties at home and support each other in caring for the pigs and their reproduction.

Kompostherstellung neu

These women farmers are trying out a new variant of compost production at home.

Bett Zuhause

The harvests from the gardens provide the families with healthy vegetables. Thanks to the self-produced compost and the techniques for soil-moisture maintenance, the plants are thriving. The surplus can be sold on the market. This extra income has made it possible for Grace and her mother Mirrium to buy a bed.

Zuhause

They were also able to afford a small solar panel for the roof which provides them with electricity to charge their mobile phones.

Haus neue Fenster

This family was able to buy new windows for their house thanks to the sale of the surplus from their vegetable garden.

Wasser holen

A few years ago, EcoSolidar financed a deep bore well for the school in Ng’ongo, thanks to which the students have clean water for drinking, cooking, their personal hygiene and the school garden. The well is also used by the village community.

Wasserloch

Access to water used to be a big problem for the school and the community. There are water holes further away, but transporting this water is exhausting and time-consuming. In addition, the water is often polluted and hazardous to health.

Solarpanels

Another access point to water in the region is a stream. As long as it has water, people can use it to irrigate their fields. Now, several farming families have joined forces and use solar-powered water pumps to transport water from the low-lying stream to their fields.

Bewässerung Felder Solarpanel

Through this the irrigation of fields has become easier and safer. Thanks to the solar panels, farming families can plant vegetables all year round and sell the surpluses. This pilot project is currently being extended to other communities.

Weg zum Gemeinschaftsfeld

A group of women on their way to their community field, which is located a little outside the village.

Frauengruppe

Women’s groups from the communities are central to ASUD’s project, which can also be seen at the new sites. The women carry the project in many ways: they join together in groups and support each other in constructing and developing their own permaculture gardens.

Mütter an der Schule

The women also support the schools and their children by working in the school garden. In this way, they acquire a lot of knowledge and at the same time learn new techniques, which they can implement at home. Thomas Ngwira, ASUD’s Executive Director, points out: “I have learnt that the whole community benefits from the women’s support, as they are directly responsible for the family’s well-being.”

Lehrerin Kompost neue Schule

Currently, four other primary schools in northern Malawi are implementing the same project at their premises. Ownership, i.e. the fact that the project belongs to the people involved and is implemented and supported by them, is also a key priority at these new sites. Thomas Ngwira is convinced that this is the only way the projects will make sense and last in the long term.

Thomas Einweihung Feier

During our last visit, there were festive inauguration ceremonies. The newly planted school gardens, the new pigsties and the banana plantations were visited and celebrated by the people. The joy about this project and the importance for the people were clearly noticeable.

Indigenous Youth Living in Two Worlds

Our partner organisation FENAMAD supports indigenous students in the Peruvian Amazon who have to move to the city for their studies.

Peru indigener Jugendlicher

Indigenous Youth Living in Two Worlds 

Our partner organisation FENAMAD (Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes) supports indigenous students in the Peruvian Amazon who have to move to the city for their studies. The organisation also supports secondary school students. Higher education provides a great opportunity for the young people themselves as well as for the indigenous communities. That is why FENAMAD works at various interfaces and supports the young people and children in accessing education and in acquiring further social and intercultural skills.

Photo report from the project in Peru

FENAMAD_Peru_1 jpg

More and more indigenous young people are moving to the city to study. However, it is a big challenge for them in many ways. They often have very limited financial resources, which means that they cannot afford stable housing and healthy food. And often there is no adequate care available to them. In addition, they repeatedly encounter discrimination.

FENAMAD_Peru_2

JJosé Antonio Dumas and Katya Mallea from FENAMAD coordinate and manage the education project in Puerto Maldonado and Pilcopata. FENAMAD supports the indigenous students in their balancing act between living in their community and studying in the city. For the time of their studies, the students can live in the “Casa Miraflores”, a residence which is provided by FENAMAD and which offers the young people a safe space where they can live and study. In addition, they receive individual support from Katya Mallea (r.), a psychological specialist, who helps them develop their self-confidence and plan their future. Personal tutoring and artistic workshops are also available to them.

Half an hour’s boat ride from Puerto Maldonado is a community garden, which is looked after and maintained by the young people under the supervision of a former student and graduate farmer. The route across the water is normal in the Peruvian Amazon, often even the only possibility to reach certain spots. Depending on the water level and the weather, they visit the garden twice a week in small groups.

After the boat ride, the trail leads through the rainforest for half an hour.

FENAMAD_Peru_7

Once in the garden, they immediately get to work. Many young people used to help with gardening in their village communities when they were young and therefore know their way around.. The picture shows them gathering turmeric, which they use in the kitchen. Through gardening the young people learn to take responsibility for their own existence among other things. 

They also grow plantains, which are an important ingredient of the Peruvian cuisine, especially in the Amazon lowlands. The yields from the community garden provide a balanced diet for the students. It also provides them with an occupation close to nature and their culture and is an important counterbalance to life in the city.

FENAMAD_Peru_9

The education project would not be possible without close cooperation with the village communities. Therefore, FENAMAD regularly visits the communities to identify their problems and needs and to look for solutions together with them.  For these visits, the path often leads across water as well.

FENAMAD_Peru_10

On our last visit we went with FENAMAD to Puerto Luz, where  an extensive meeting with the whole village community took place. We exchanged ideas about the young people’s studies and their lives in the city, far away from their families. Studying in the city is also a political issue for the whole community and a beneficial result for the community is expected. This meeting clearly showed how important FENAMAD’s support services in Puerto Maldonado are for these young indigenous students, a fact which was also confirmed in the various conversations with the parents and the teachers of the secondary school.

FENAMAD_Peru_11

During the visits to the village communities FENAMAD talks to the young people and their parents. In these conversations,  questions and problems, but also expectations and wishes are discussed. In this way mutual trust has developed in the last few years and the project has become well established in the indigenous communities.

FENAMAD_Peru_12

Some students come from communities that can be reached in five hours, but in other cases, the journey takes several days. Depending on the water level of the river, it can happen that the students are not  able to visit their families for several months. In addition, transport is very expensive. 

FENAMAD_Peru_14

FENAMAD now also supports secondary school students in Huacaria, a community where Machigenkas, Wachiperis and Quechuas live together. There is no secondary school in Huacaria itself. The nearest one is in Pilcopata – too far away for the young people from Huacaria to attend school regularly and without problems.

FENAMAD_Peru_15

That is one of the reasons why many indigenous young people from Huacaria do not get beyond primary education. The municipality, together with FENAMAD, is therefore looking for a way to stop these frequent cases of dropping out.

The solution is a residential house in Pilcopata for the students from Huacaria but also for those from even remoter communities. EcoSolidar has financed the construction of this house, consisting of bedrooms, toilets and showers, a kitchen and a “maloka” (community house) in the middle.The “maloka” was built by the parents and their children in community work.  Thus  the involved parties intend to counteract the fact that many children drop out of school,  either because the ways to school are too long or because the families are too poor. Now the young people can live in Pilcopata during the week, where the secondary school is also located, and return to their communities at the weekend. The community is prepared to organise the supervision and preparation of meals for the young people and FENAMAD is providing a tutor for school supervision.

FENAMAD_Peru_17

In Amalia, a very small community, there is a primary school that was built by the community itself. This primary school is currently attended by 12 children. These children should later have the opportunity to attend secondary school. FENAMAD  assists the community as an advisory and mediating counterpart.

FENAMAD_Peru_18

Amalia can only be reached by boat or by walking through the rainforest for several hours. FENAMAD works with full dedication; in cooperation with the communities and the students, they are able to take a holistic approach.

Young people on their way to independence

Our partner organisation BSDA (Buddhism for Social Development Action) has created holistic educational and vocational training programmes for socially vulnerable children and young people in the Kampong Cham region, Cambodia.

Shop in Kampong Cham

Young people on their way to independence

Our partner organisation BSDA (Buddhism for Social Development Action) has created holistic educational and vocational training programmes for socially vulnerable children and young people in the Kampong Cham region, Cambodia. With the aim of giving the young people a perspective and enabling them to lead an independent and dignified life, BSDA promotes not only the intellectual and professional, but also the social and personal skills of the beneficiaries. Educational and vocational training opportunities open the doors to a better future for young people, but the awareness of one’s personal skills and the resulting belief in oneself are essential for sustainable self-development. BSDA is aware of this and takes a holistic approach in all programmes for all ages. 

PHOTO REPORT FROM THE PROJECT IN CAMBODIA

Kindergarten

In two of BSDA’s kindergartens, children from particularly poor backgrounds are prepared for school. This is done holistically and in a playful way. In the long term, this programme is to be integrated into the public kindergarten programme that is currently being developed. To this end, BSDA is working closely with the Ministry of Education. 

Happy Happy Center

At the Happy-Happy-Centre, one of the two drop-in-centres, children can attend extra tuition classes in addition to regular school lessons. The offer brings some relief to the parents, most of whom are engaged in illicit work, and the children have a safe place for their personal development.

Stipendien verteilen

BSDA also grants scholarships to particularly poor families, thus ensuring school attendance for many socially vulnerable children. Awareness-raising events on various topics are also organised in the framework of the awarding of these scholarships. In this case, the topic is violence. 

Küche Training

BSDA itself runs two social enterprises where young people can be trained in the gastronomy and hotel industries. Here at Smile Restaurant, a former beneficiary shows two trainees how to prepare different drinks.

Hanchey Sängerin

Sreng Bopha (right) has completed her training at the Hanchey Bamboo Resort, the second BSDA-owned social enterprise. Here she is serving a well-known Cambodian singer who celebrated her birthday at the resort, which attracts national and international guests.

Hanchey

Due to its special architecture and social and ecological concept, the resort has become widely known.

Gartenarbeit

The garden is excellently maintained by the trainees as an informal part of the training. They enjoy the fact that they can contribute to the maintenance of the resort garden.

Shop

In addition to their own social enterprises, BSDA also provides vocational training for young people in external training companies. Here you can see a beauty salon in the centre of Kampong Cham.

Beauty Salon

In this beauty salon, the trainee is taught by the trainer how to cut and style a customer’s hair. 

Shop Mechanik

BSDA offers another external training opportunity in the field of electronics. During their training the young people are not only supervised by the trainers, but also actively supported by BSDA employees.

Betreuung

The support of the trainees comprises, among other things, regular evaluations, assessments and personal discussions. Here, two BSDA staff members conduct an assessment interview with a front-desk vocational trainee.

Apsara Tanz

The promotion of social and personal skills is part of the holistic approach. In the second drop-in centre, the young people can engage in meaningful leisure activities, such as learning the traditional Cambodian Apsara dance.

Ehemalige

The holistic care enables the young people and children to strengthen their self-confidence towards independence. These former beneficiaries have personally told us about the positive impact this holistic approach had on their personal development. Some of them work as volunteers at the centre, others have even got a fixed employment there. 

Team

The aim of BSDA is to enable the young people to lead an independent life by learning a profession and thus securing their livelihood. The former beneficiaries are accompanied by aftercare programmes over a period of time in order to ensure that they are able to gain a foothold on their path to independence.

Shop Motorrad

While some of the young people get a permanent job in their training company, others dare to take the step into self-employment, such as the owner of this small shop.

Ehemalige Shop

Chhouern Sreyya, a former beneficiary, runs a successful stationery shop combined with a café. She can make a good living from her income and leads a fulfilled and independent life.

PIONEERING SPIRIT IN ORGANIC FARMING

Our local partner organisation KODO (Kuthandiza Osayenda Disability Outreach) supports farmers with walking disabilities in the areas of mobility, income generation and food security in Salima, Malawi.

Pioniergeist Fotoreportage

PIONEERING SPIRIT IN ORGANIC FARMING

Our local partner organisation KODO (Kuthandiza Osayenda Disability Outreach) supports farmers with walking disabilities in the areas of mobility, income generation and food security in Salima, Malawi. KODO offers courses in tailoring and cane chair making. At the same time, all participants are trained in organic farming and permaculture and accompanied in the implementation of  these new techniques. Thanks to organic farming techniques, they are able to feed themselves and their families in a healthy manner without having to spend a lot of money on seeds and chemical fertilisers. They pass on their new know-how to others, which simultaneously strengthens their social position in the community. 

Photos: EcoSolidar

PHOTO REPORT FROM THE PROJECT IN MALAWI

KODO_Gebäude

At KODO there is a special building which houses the courses in tailoring and cane chair making, a permaculture garden and next to it a hostel financed by EcoSolidar with rooms for the course participants. 

KODO Training Kompost

All course participants are trained in organic farming during their time at KODO. Here, a training on compost production is taking place.

KODO Zimmer und Betten

The rooms are tailored to the needs of course participants with walking disabilities, i.e. the beds are built extra low.

KODO Tereza und Kollegin

Tereza Bute (right) has been trained in tailoring and organic farming at KODO. Today she is a lead farmer. In this capacity, she passes on her know-how to 30 farmers from her village.

KODO Tereza Kompost

Here, Tereza is showing a group of villagers how they can make simple organic compost from existing natural materials so that they do not have to buy chemical fertilisers.

In the village, Tereza breeds rabbits, which the farming families distribute among themselves. Rabbits provide manure for the compost. Tereza continuously acquires new know-how and passes it on to the others. In May 2021, she was able to attend an external training course at the Paradise Institute, Malawi with KODO.

Tereza and her husband are a good team. During her 6-month absence, her husband took care of the household and the children. Both of them saw the training as an investment in the future that is paying off today.

At home, Tereza can successfully apply what she has learned, namely how to make organic compost, which plants to use for pest control and how to provide enough moisture by means of irrigation techniques and soil cover.

Tereza mit Mann und Sohn Ernte

Tereza and her husband are harvesting fresh peanuts in their field. They are satisfied with their harvest.

KODO Erdnüsse Kreis

The harvesting is attracting the children from the village, who sit down and help to separate the peanuts from the stalks. On this occasion, the fresh fruits are eagerly tasted.

Dorothy Kabambe has learned organic farming and tailoring at KODO. At home, she sews and sells clothes. The new income gives her self-confidence and improves her social standing in the community.

George Chimpiko, founder and director of KODO, on the road with Dorothy. He himself also has a walking disability. His goal is to enable people with walking disabilities to be able to provide for themselves.

Dorothy mit Rollstuhl

Dorothy has received a wheelchair from KODO. She can use it to go to her field and work there. An important goal of KODO is to provide mobility to farmers with walking disabilities to make them more independent.

Polina Judesi (right) has completed a course in weaving at KODO and has been taught organic farming at the same time. Today she produces and sells small tables and chairs. She makes compost for her fields and she uses local maize varieties, from which she produces her own seeds. This makes her independent of buying expensive seedlings and chemical fertilisers. As a lead farmer, she passes on her know-how to others. 

Akim Chifuno is a follow farmer of Polina. She regularly visits him and assists him in overcoming any difficulties. Akim has attended a course in tailoring and organic farming at KODO. He is able to earn a small income by sewing. In addition, Akim has planted a cotton field, for which he makes his own organic compost, and has surrounded it with a number of pest-repellent plants. And what is important, he has found a market for the cotton he produces.

KODO Malawi Masken

During the Corona pandemic, the training centre had to close temporarily. During this time, the former course participants sewed masks and KODO set up hand-washing stations in the villages. Here, George Chimpiko (left) is visiting a former course participant who is sewing masks.

Bilingual Radio

In Cusco, Peru, indigenous children produce bilingual and intercultural radio programmes at school. They are thus actively involved in the teaching process, which strengthens their self-confidence, consolidates their knowledge of their mother tongue and makes them deal with their cultural origins.

Bilingual Radio

In Cusco, Peru, indigenous children produce bilingual and intercultural radio programmes at school. They are thus actively involved in the teaching process, which strengthens their self-confidence, consolidates their knowledge of their mother tongue and makes them deal with their cultural origins. The radio programmes are broadcast through regional radio stations and make the voices of the children and the indigenous communities heard in the media. At the same time, they serve as intercultural teaching material since the children listen to and discuss the radio programmes of other schools. The Pukllasunchis radio project makes an important contribution to cultural equality in school education.

Photo report about the project in Peru

At a school in Chillihuani, a class is recording a radio programme. The children often present the stories they are telling as plays with costumes and props. This recording is about a traditional ritual of the indigenous sheep farmers. 

2_FR_PUKLLAY

The participation in these programmes strengthens the children both as a group and as well as individuals. Besides taking responsibility for the joint radio programme and consolidating their knowledge of their mother tongue, they also have a lot of fun.

The teacher is enthusiastic about the radio project and enjoys supporting her pupils. She has attended a further training course at Pukllasunchis and has got to know new teaching methods: her lessons are now participative, she uses visual learning aids, the classroom is colourful and there is a pleasant learning atmosphere.

Ermelinda goes to this school and she really likes recording the radio programmes. The class develops the programme as a co-production: they decide on the topic, think about the sequence and distribute the roles. Every child has a say and can contribute something.

Henry goes to a rural school in Ccoñamuro. He and his classmates regularly produce radio programmes. Here, Henry is talking about his everyday life and the traditional ceremonies he performs together with his family. The radio programmes are listened to by other classes and the content is discussed.

The school Henry attends is very small and most of the children speak Quechua. Their mothers take turns preparing the lunch, which the children then eat together.

At home, Henry has to look after the guinea pigs. 

Like many other people in the community, his family breeds and sells guinea pigs (cuy), which are a popular food in Peru. In addition, most families own a piece of land and some cows.

Constantino at work at the Ausangate radio station. It is located in Quispicanchi in the Cusco region and is one of the places where the radio programmes are broadcast from. 

They reach many indigenous families in the country and in the city. The broadcasts have a high value because they bring information about other regions and strengthen the sense of community. 

In a training session for teachers at Pukllasunchis, Yovana Huanca Huallparimachi is presenting the many facets of the radio project in the classroom. The teachers learn a lot about bilingual and bicultural education that they can put into practice afterwards. They find it motivating to see considerable changes in the students, who become more self-confident and participate more actively in class after working on the radio project.

At school events the students present their various projects to proud parents and other interested parties.

In Chillihuani, these include, for example, designing maps of the surrounding area with the important natural resources, making presentations of the history and culture of the region and, of course, producing the said radio programmes.

Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, schools in Peru have been closed. Especially for indigenous families in the country, it is impossible to ensure digital access to schooling for their children. They lack electronic devices and access to the internet. Pukllasunchis has worked with teachers to develop teaching materials for online distance learning and school lessons for radio. Children with access to mobile phones and the internet have been able to contribute to these lessons. They have sent video and audio recordings of the school topics to Pukllasunchis, which has then made them available to other students via the internet and radio. In this way, the organization has reached many children in rural areas who otherwise would have had no access to education during this time. Additional radio programmes have served to give information about Corona by means of the character of Capitán Jabón (Captain Soap) (https://redsisicha.home.blog). 

Organic farming: From the school to the communities

In Ng’ongo, a remote village in the north of Malawi, the village community, supported by ASUD (Action for Sustainable Development), started to establish a permaculture garden at the school four years ago. Thanks to this garden, school absenteeism has strongly decreased and the performance of the pupils has increased.

Malawi-Permakultur-Schulgarten

Organic farming: From the school to the communities

In Ng’ongo, a remote village in the north of Malawi, the village community started to establish a permaculture garden at the school four years ago. This project was supported by ASUD (Action for Sustainable Development). Thanks to this garden, the students are better nourished and, as a consequence, school absenteeism has strongly decreased and the performance of the pupils has improved. The school produces the required compost itself by means of the manure produced by the pigs. The mothers of the school children are also involved. They have organised themselves in clubs and have been learning organic farming techniques through their work in the school garden. Today, these women also have permaculture gardens at home, from which they can harvest vegetables for a balanced diet. They support each other and pass on their knowledge to other families in their villages. In less than three years, a holistic project has been developed which now serves as a model for other communities.

Photo report about the project in Malawi

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Ellen Magawa, teacher at the primary school in Ng’ongo in northern Malawi, is teaching her students how to make compost. For this purpose, they dig pits which are filled with the compost material, covered and left to rest. They will later use the compost in the school garden and the organically produced vegetables will provide the common school lunch.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

This project started with a small school garden that was to provide the pupils with balanced meals at school and, in turn, was to enable them to learn better. Today, the garden with vegetables, medicinal plants and pest-repellent plants has become both a source of food and a place of training.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Pigs are kept on the school premises and their manure is an important ingredient in the compost. These pigsties in this foto are part of the demonstration farm at the school in Ng’ongo and are at that moment being visited by members of the Ministry of Agriculture and the principals of other schools with the aim of exchanging know-how about pig farming.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten Schweine

The mothers of the school children also take care of the pigs and thus learn everything important for their own pig farming. Back in their communities, they put what they have learned into practice independently. Pig farming is not easy, the pigsties must be well built and maintained and the pigs must be expertly cared for. In Ng’ongo there has already been some success in breeding.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Ellen Magawa has been involved in the project from the start and she says: “This project has been our project from the very beginning. We were asked what we wanted to implement and how we wanted to do it. We were given the opportunity for further training in permaculture so that we could gain the necessary know-how. In this way the school garden has become the heart of the project and everyone involved has realised that with their commitment they can considerably improve the situation of their family and of the whole community”.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Around 400 children from the area attend the primary school of Ng’ongo. On the open doors day there is a lot of activity on the premises: everything must be shown and seen, the school and the school garden as well as the pigsties.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

The school had no well for a long time and the children had to bring the water for drinking, washing their hands and for the plants from far away. In 2018, EcoSolidar supported the construction of a school well, making it possible for the school and the community to obtain their own water. Especially in the current corona crisis it is very important to have enough clean water for drinking and for following the measures of hygiene.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Vegetables are planted in the school garden to provide the children with a balanced meal every day. This is to combat malnutrition and prevent school absenteeism since hungry children often do not come to school at all or can hardly concentrate. The knowledge of organic farming techniques has also increased the children’s and their mothers’ knowledge about healthy eating. Since the women now have such gardens at home, they can better feed their families and, in addition, share the skills they have gained with other farmers. 

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

Visitors to the clubs of lead and follower farmers who cultivate their own organic permaculture gardens in the villages around Ng’ongo, will always be welcomed with dancing and singing. Here Thomas Ngwira, our project partner and managing director at ASUD, and the project officer are joining in the dancing!

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

The mothers who regularly work in the school garden and attend courses on organic farming techniques and permaculture take their new skills home with them and pass them on to other farmers. Towera Chawula, a lead farmer, supports a group of women in their village community in establishing their own permaculture garden. Here she is advising Witness Ngwira on problems in her garden.  

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

In the villages, the families are now also producing their own organic compost and are having good results with it. Thus they are less dependent on artificial fertiliser, which is expensive and harms the soil in the long term. The permaculture techniques also help them save water. For the farming families, the different methods of organic cultivation are crucial for a good harvest and for their economic independence.

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

These women are part of a club in which the lead farmers pass on their acquired knowledge about nutrition, pig farming, compost production and organic farming to the follower farmers. Apart from the numerous advantages for the food situation and the economic independence of the families as well as for the school performance of the children, learning together in the communities is also great fun!

Malawi Permakultur Schulgarten

The two follower farmers grind their own organic maize in their village. After milling the white maize is processed into N’sima, a kind of thick polenta. The polenta is served with a sauce and is the most important staple food of the families.

Las Pioneras for a better life

Thousands of people from all parts of Peru move to the capital city in the hope of a better life. Due to the massive immigration and the uncontrolled settlement construction a second city has emerged around Lima in recent decades. Our partner organisation IDEMNNA (Instituto de Desarrollo “Maria Elena Moyano”) works in the community of Villa El Sol in Jicamarca where living conditions are extremely precarious: There is no basic supply of water and electricity. Violence, alcohol, drugs and the land trade cause massive problems. Most families live in extreme poverty. IDEMNNA works together with the

IDEMNNA

“LAS PIONERAS” FOR A BETTER LIFE

Thousands of people from all parts of Peru move to the capital city in the hope of a better life. Due to the massive immigration and the uncontrolled settlement construction a second city has emerged around Lima in recent decades.

Our partner organisation IDEMNNA (Instituto de Desarrollo “Maria Elena Moyano”) works in the community of Villa El Sol in Jicamarca where living conditions are extremely precarious: There is no basic supply of water and electricity. Violence, alcohol, drugs and the land trade cause massive problems. Most families live in extreme poverty. IDEMNNA works together with the women and their children in this project. The aim is to improve family life, to support the women in their personal development and independence and to strengthen solidarity in the community.

Photos EcoSolidar

Photoreport about the project in Peru

The environment in Jicamarca is barren and stony, there is hardly any green and the area looks hostile to life. People build their little houses on the hills and most of them secure their livelihood from day to day with casual work. There is no running water; people have to order water and pay on delivery. In the current corona crisis, the inhabitants of this area are facing even more difficult problems. IDEMNNA is therefore supporting them with information about corona and sanitary precautions.

Virginia Rivera Aquino (in the middle) is one of the women in the project. Tabita Lozano (right) and Carmen Velásquez (left) are the founders of IDEMNNA. These two women started the project in Jicamarca, a suburb of Lima, two years ago and invested their own savings. They are employed 50% each and take turns working with the local women. They accompany the women very closely and they put their heart and soul into this work.

At the centre of the work of IDEMNNA is a group of women. They meet regularly and talk about their experience with violence, difficulties in raising their children and other problems of everyday life. Most of them left their homes at a very young age and have experienced many disappointments. They had their children very early, are often single parents and can hardly cope with their situations. The meetings in the group are very important for the women; they exchange knowledge and develop strategies for survival and help each other solve their problems. At the same time the women are supported by IDEMNNA in their financial independence through the development of their own business ideas and with small loans as start-up aid.

The solidarity in the group means that they no longer put up with everything. They learn how they can support themselves and each other with their actions and resources. The group is a source of strength and growing self-confidence for them; so much so that they have given themselves the name “Las Pioneras”.

When Virginia moved to Jicamarca with her four sons two years ago, she had nothing. She took up any job she could get to earn some money. Eventually she started a plastic recycling business: She buys plastic and cleans it at home. She separates it from staples and cardboard and then resells it.

IDEMNNA supports women in the development and implementation of business ideas and gives them a start-up loan. The necessary purchases are made together with the women. Virginia used her loan to buy a larger stock of plastic and expand her business. Today she earns around 300 USD per month and is even thinking of employing another woman.

The women’s businesses usually start with an idea which they discuss with Tabita and Carmen and in the group. They also discuss positive and negative experiences. In the end the women create a business plan. Afterwards they receive a small start-up loan to make the necessary purchases for the implementation of their business ideas.

Virginia is a role model for the others, especially because of her successful business model. The women meet regularly in small groups and exchange views about work and family life. An important subject is the violence many of them have experienced in their lives. In the group they support each other and learn to defend themselves against violence and to live a non-violent life with their children.

Virginia lives together with three of her sons. The elder two work in a factory and contribute to the livelihood of the family. The youngest son still goes to school and after school he helps with the separation of the plastic. Virginia has experienced a lot of exploitation in her life and is very proud of owning her own business now and of having become more confident and less dependent on others.

Eulalia lives with her three sons and her husband. Living together is extremely difficult and often unbearable for her. In the women’s group Eulalia finds support and advice on how to deal with her situation. The situation has fortunately started to improve and Eulalia has found some hope.

Eulalia has invested her start-up loan into sewing machines, fabric and thread to expand her sewing business. She repairs clothes for customers. Her goal is to produce her own clothes, first on order and later independently for the market.

Eulalia has a small garden on the outside wall of her house where she grows tomatoes, herbs and lettuce. This is not easy, because water is a rare commodity in Jicamarca which has to be ordered and filled into water tanks for a fee. This quantity of water must suffice for everything, for drinking, cooking, washing and also for the garden.

Tabita and Carmen visit the women regularly at their homes and talk to them about their personal problems. Most of the women are single parents and their everyday life is strongly marked by the difficulties in raising their children single-handedly. Therefore, IDEMNNA also involves the children themselves in the work with the women.

Herlinda grates ice, mixes it with fruit syrup and sells it in the street. With IDEMNNA’s business start-up loan she bought a machine for crushing ice. She also sells honey and Algarrobina (carob), which she gets from her family in northern Peru.

The women meet with the children at Herlinda’s and enjoy the fruit ice she has made. Up to now they have met at different women’s homes. IDEMNNA has recently been able to rent a piece of land, on which a small meeting place is now being built for the women’s group.

Two of Erlinda’s four sons are just entering puberty. She is a single mother and often unable to cope with the problems in the family. In the women’s group she gains strength and courage and is able to share her concerns. At the same time the women also experience happy and funny moments together. They can be sure of the support of the others.

The involvement of the children in the project is of great importance. Tabita and Carmen have many years of experience in working with children in need. They know that the role of the mothers is crucial. Through the mothers the family life and the relationship between parents and their children can be influenced.