As part of Do Good Lab’s focus on education, we are partnering with Guatemala City’s Foundation of Strength & Prosperity – Fundacion Esfuerzo y Prosperidad.
FUNDAESPRO was founded in 1990, and its mission is to advocate and provide better healthcare and education for marginalized, vulnerable groups such as children, youth, indigenous and mestizo women who live in the urban areas of Guatemala City. They fulfill their mission by conducting programs in early childhood education, community level healthcare, and literacy development. These programs are based out of 10 community centers throughout Guatemala City – 2 tutoring centers, 2 clinics, and 8 medical stations. Many of these programs also work in collaboration with local government agencies and colleges.
Do Good Lab is partnering with FUNDAESPRO to upgrade several of their community centers offering tutoring and early childhood education. Our grant will enable them to renovate five community/tutoring centers for children, buy educational tools and supplies, and upgrade classroom furniture.
Guatemala is still the country with the lowest educational coverage in Central America. As of 2003, only eight out of every ten children attend primary school. Early childhood education, or pre-school, is essential preparation for primary schooling. However, universal education in Guatemala starts at age 7, so only families with the economic resources to send their preschoolers to school could afford to do so.
FUNDAESPRO’s early childhood programs allow preschoolers to have the early childhood education they need to succeed in life. Children that start education early have a huge advantage. They are likely to remain in school when they get older, and they learn preventative health care, including safe hygiene practices. They also learn about good nutrition at an age when their bodies’ development needs it the most. Furthermore, early schooling allows mothers to enter the labor market sooner.
In addition to providing early childhood education, FUNDAESPRO offers remedial literacy education to adults. Only 70% of Guatemalans are literate. The average Guatemalan adult only has about 4 years of schooling. In other words, only 59% of Guatemalans have completed their primary education. FUNDAESPRO’s position in the marginalized communities of Guatemala City allows it to observe that most of their clientele that seek remedial literacy tutoring are impoverished women. Poverty keeps many women from completing school. They enter the workforce at an early age to help support their families, and if they stay in school, their studying will be seen as lost wages to the family. The illiteracy problem is also attributed to the prevailing machista culture of families living in extreme poverty – that women shouldn’t study because their husbands will take care of them.
FUNDAESPRO offers a long term solution for the prevailing education problems in Guatemala City. Imagine the multiplier effect when you consider the impact of Do Good Lab’s partnership:
36 mother educators who work daily in the community centers
180 parents who have their children at the community centers
300 female members of FUNDAESPRO that live in the project communities and are responsible for the project’s implementation
Those children will more likely stay in school because they were prepared for primary schooling. And they are more likely to move on to tertiary schooling and graduate ready for a better paying job. They are more likely to be healthier because they learned good hygiene and nutrition from early on, and they are certain to pass on this knowledge to others around them, thus reducing the spread of communicable diseases. And more importantly, the main reasons for staying in cycles of poverty – a lack of education and poor health – will no longer be as prevalent.
It is obvious that FUNDAESPRO plays a crucial human development role in the urban neighborhoods of Guatemala City. By helping FUNDAESPRO upgrade their centers, Do Good Lab is ensuring that the early childhood and literacy programs continue to serve and impact their community.
Written By: Maria Caluag
Photos from FUNDAESPRO page: FUNDAESPRO
Do Good Lab breaks ground in Central America with a partnership in El Salvador. Asociación de Desarrollo Comunal Sol y Mar, or The Community Development Association of Sun and Sea, is based in the district of Puerto Parada, where the Rio del Grande de San Miguel empties into the Pacific Ocean. ADESCOSYM is a community based organization whose mission is to improve living conditions by supporting socioeconomic and cultural development.
ADESCOSYM’s project is to build six chicken farms to promote its “Women in Action” program. The program aims to foster women entrepreneurship – empowering a group of 10-15 women attached to each farm for sustainable livelihoods. The women will come from seven local communities. The total amount needed to establish all six farms is US$10,000, of which the women groups plan to contribute US$3,500.
After the first batch of chickens is raised, each farm will sell to local markets, including nearby cities such as Usulutan. ADESCOSYM has a comprehensive hatching plan, broken down by weeks and ages of the broiler chickens (including when to provide the appropriate vaccines/vitamins). This demonstrates their ownership and knowledge of what is required to operate the farms. Income generated by the first set of chickens will be used to sustain the project into future hatching cycles.
Promoting female entrepreneurship is an effort to also lift a woman’s status in El Salvador. Women there make up over half of the population, yet there is pervasive sexism, violence against women, and poor economic conditions – all of which make life for women in El Salvador difficult and dangerous. In 2011, El Salvador had the highest rate per capita of feminicide in the world, with 129 murders for every 1 million women. Feminicide is the murder of women specifically because they are female. Out of 148 countries surveyed in the UN Development Programme’s Gender Inequality Index, El Salvador ranked 82nd. The country has a GII score of 0.44. A score of 0 means that women fare equally as men, while a score closer to 1 means women fare as poorly as possible. The GII reflects women’s disadvantage in three dimensions—reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market.
Starting up the chicken farm business for the “Women in Action” program will have effects far beyond the women in the group. A woman multiplies the impact of investment made in her future by extending benefits to her family and the community around her. For example, the project would increase a woman’s earning power, which would better afford her to keep her children in school longer. This in turn would improve the education levels of a population. A more educated population could lead to more preventative and better health practices, less violence, and so on. This is why a key development strategy for eradicating poverty is to improve the lives of women in the developing world.
Written By:Maria Caluag
New Project Partner – Funding Education with Arise and Shine Uganda to Promote Sustainable Community Development
Do Good Lab believes that people in developing countries know how to solve their own problems. Sometimes, all they need is a little boost. That’s where Do Good Lab enters the picture, offering a way for community-led solutions to support sustainable development instead of traditional charity. In addition to our focus on health and agriculture, Do Good Lab is committed to advancing community development through education. We believe education is a key component in overcoming poverty and helping to improve the quality of life in entire communities. This month, we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Arise and Shine Uganda (AASU) and expand our reach into a new part of the world.
Meet Sharon, the founder of Arise and Shine Uganda
As one of twelve children growing up, Sharon’s parents were unable to support her and all of her siblings. She was forced to find help at a local children’s home. While there, she met two Canadian missionaries who sponsored her schooling – all the way through her college education at Makerere University. With the leadership skills she honed, Sharon launched a program to give back to her community. Founding AASU with the help of the Women on a Mission volunteer team, Sharon’s organization provides opportunities for a brighter future to others in her native village. AASU focuses on quality education as a means of creating sustainable community development in Jinja, Uganda. Educating children and keeping them in school as long as possible is a main goal of the program.
To date, AASU has started a primary school. They also provide income generating classes and HIV/AIDS awareness classes for adults so that parents can keep their kids in school. AASU is requesting funding from Do Good Lab to construct pit latrines at the primary school. Approximately $4760 in funding, to be raised by the end of 2013, is needed to complete this project to enhance educational facilities.
In Uganda, only 55% of children complete a full course of primary education, as recorded by UNESCO. HIV/AIDS is a major stressor in the Jinja community, which impacts the children’s ability to attend school and finish their education. Studies show that young people who have completed primary education are less than half as likely to contract HIV as those with little or no schooling. Plus, educated parents have healthier children.
If you believe in the power of education and local solutions to sustainable development, join us in supporting Arise and Shine Uganda! What can you do? Share your thoughts and stay in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter @dogoodlab. Coming up this fall, join us in celebrating all of our project partners at our Do Good Lab Gala, November 15th at SOMArts in San Francisco, California.
Written by Laurel Kellner
Images courtesy of AASU
Uganda Do Good Lab project partner education
sustainable development community development
Do Good Lab is partnering with the Kachere Development Program to install two flour mills for a small business cooperative of women entrepreneurs. Women make up 85% of the agricultural workforce in Eastern Zambia. To learn more about the homeland of Kachere, read on!
The country of Zambia is known for its stunning natural beauty and variety of wildlife. Each year, it draws thousands of global travelers seeking adventure and awe-inspiring views in its world-renowned state parks, along the mighty Zambezi River, and at the famous Victoria Falls, a UNESCO world heritage site. More than half of the country’s 752,000 square kilometers is arable land, and the country is rich in natural resources, especially copper. Compared to many of its neighboring countries, Zambia has also been relatively politically stable. Zambia made a relatively peaceful transition from British colonial rule in 1964, and the country has been spared the destructive civil war that countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo have faced in recent years.
Zambia’s natural beauty and great agricultural capacity are at a stark contrast with the economic problems facing the country today, however. Zambian farmers have had to deal with droughts, floods, and extreme weather over the past 10 years. In 2005-2006, a drought left over 1 million Zambians without enough grain for nine months. The next year a flash flood displaced nearly half a million people. According to World Bank figures, an estimated 60% of the country’s 13.8 million people live below the poverty line, with most of those in Zambia’s many rural areas. Life expectancy for the average Zambian is 49 years, in part because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has ravaged the population. Just over 12% of Zambians ages 15-49 are infected with the virus, and UN figures show that about 1 million people were living with the disease in 2011. One-third of the population is without access to clean water, and more than 25% of the country’s schools do not have access to clean water and proper sanitation. The country is reportedly on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education, but enrollment in primary schools is just under 72%.
Zambia is also making progress toward its other Millennium Development Goals, reducing child mortality from 191 per 1,000 births in 1992, to 119 per 1,000 in 2007. Extreme poverty in the country declined from 58% to 51% over the same period, and in 2002 the country eliminated school fees for basic education, an important step toward universal primary education. These indicators are promising signs that progress is indeed being made toward relieving the misery of poverty and disease in Zambia. They also suggest, however, that there is much more work to be done.
*To find out more about the Millenium Development Goals, please click here!
Written by: Délice Williams
With an economic crisis that is seemingly in constant stagnation and unemployment on the rise, the idea of the United States involving itself in international aid seems to be less of a priority on people’s minds. Words like “food insecurity” and “poverty” are repeated with high importance, but hold little significance to a society facing their own dwindling economy. In fact, problems around the world can feel so remote from our geographical consciousness that we are unable to fathom a clear notion for a solution.
Since the 1950’s, the United States has provided aid to more than 150 countries worldwide, using a program called the Food for Peace. Food for Peace, a branch of USAID, has been successful in sending food from the hands of local farmers to over 3 billion poverty-stricken individuals around the world.
Humanitarian aid through solid items such as grain and wheat can seem effective in curing the problem of famine and lack of resources. But many see it as a stopgap measure rather than an approach that yields continuous prosperity.
So then, is humanitarian aid a catalyst or a crutch?
According to Rajiv Shah, Director of USAID, four million more people can be fed if aid reforms were adjusted to provide more flexibility in the way materials are provided. In our current system, USAID requires that all distributed food is nationally grown.
Though the intention is clear, this precept can often debilitate growth in local economies. Farmers abroad lose their livelihoods as they struggle to compete with a market overflowing with outsourced US crops. And while one family may need an abundance of flour, another may specifically need sugar, and so forth. The assumption that one region has one exclusive need is not only inaccurate, but harmful.
More emphasis must be placed on the manner in which we give aid so that it is best attributed to the appropriate needs of the community.
Credit and micro finance are methods of international aid that address this stance. Shipped supplies are now being traded for individual empowerment and growth. The Care Relief Agency for example addresses needs through the will of the community. This agency is unique in supplying plastic cards to families in Kenya. These cards serve as a form of free credit, where families have the ability to choose the specific resources needed for their personal situation.
Similarly, Micro finance advocates like Kiva have enabled poor communities to grow prosperous small businesses through the use of micro loans. These are sustainable initiatives that can dramatically uplift entire regions in a more effective manner.
Do Good Lab is committed to this effort as it responds to three communities in Zambia, Kenya and India who are asking for our help. All proceeds raised go toward supporting sustainable, long-lasting projects specific to the needs of each local group.
There are many ways to give, so lets find a way to do it in a way that benefits others the best we possibly can. Let this be your year. Please support Do Good Lab and be a part of the change! /donate
Written By: Stephanie Nelson
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite measure of health, education and income that was introduced by the United Nations Development Programme as an alternative to purely economic assessments of national progress, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the field of international development, the HDI soon became the most widely accepted and cited measure of its kind.
The HDI emphasized that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. The HDI was designed to reflect average achievements in three basic aspects of human development:
1. Leading a long and healthy life (health)
2. Knowledgeable (education)
3. Enjoying a decent standard of living (income).
The main components used to calculate a country’s HDI are:
• Life Expectancy at Birth,
• Gross National Income per Capita
• Mean Years of Schooling
• Expected Years of Schooling.
From these, a number between 0 and 1 is produced – with 1 being the best possible HDI and 0 being the worst possible HDI. As of 2012, Norway ranked number 1 out of 187 countries with an HDI of 0.955. Drought stricken Niger and the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo tied for last place with an HDI of 0.304.
Measuring Do Good Lab’s first three partners this year: Zambia ranks 163rd with 0.448, Kenya 145th with 0.519, and India 136th with 0.554.
Do Good Lab’s main objective is to support projects that will directly enhance the quality of life for those in need. This is accomplished not simply from granting material goods, but from the measure of sustainable progress that is obtained when individuals use these resources for maximum potential and overall benefit of the community.
Just one project can grant freer accessibility towards education, agricultural endeavors, and safe health practices. Development within these realms will improve HDI levels significantly for the thousands who struggle in hardship. We are happy to be a part of such a remarkable cause this year, and encourage you to join us in our journey.
Oftentimes it is said that our greatest conveniences in life are the ones we take for granted. Needs that seem trivial to some may serve as essential sustenance for many others. One of our partners known as “People’s Action in Development” serves as a poignant reminder of how key elements, such as sanitation, can bring forth long-lasting change for the health of an entire community.
In the rural southeastern region of India, multitudes are being struck with a crippling disease known as “skeletal fluorosis.” Skeletal fluorosis is caused by the excessive presence of the mineral fluoride in the bones. Those impacted face severe physical debilitations including excruciating pain, damage to the joints, and permanent malformations of the bone.
The source of this problem? Polluted water. Due to a lack of resources in the area, there are no means to purify the water collected for community use. Alarmed by these unsanitary conditions, Peoples Action in Development has contacted us to become a part of the solution.
Their objective is to construct a purification system that will cleanse existing vessels of water that are stored for public use. Using a technique called “reverse osmosis,” pressurization will be used to separate impurities like fluoride from freshwater for healthy distribution and consumption. Implemented effectively, these plants could produce enough clean water to sustain entire communities, lowering the probability of skeletal fluorosis for thousands who are at risk.
In addition to the construction of the water plant, People’s Action in Development will ensure educational awareness and advocacy in health and sanitary techniques for the local community. This will assist in diminishing any negative stigma on those already living with the disease, and help to prevent cases in the future.
We are greatly excited to be joining Peoples Action in Development as they embark on their mission to provide clean water to families in need. Please join Do Good Lab as we raise the funds needed to support and maintain the construction of a clean water facility. How will we do it? It starts with you!
Written by: Stephanie Nelson
In 1985, a major drought occurred in the Wamba-Samburu East region of Northern Kenya. To help face this misfortune, community leaders came together to form the Wamba Community Development Program. The area surrounding Wamba is home to nomadic pastoralist communities of about 30,000 people, about 90% of whom struggle with access to clean water sources. Do Good Lab is partnering with the Wamba C.D.P. to complete a rainwater harvesting system for the Lengarde Primary School.
The Wamba Community Development Program’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the Wamba Region. The program supports a number of broad-based projects in education, health and nutrition, water and poverty reduction. Past projects and programs have included additional classrooms, a dispensary, teachers’ houses, community latrines, tuition sponsorships, emergency food relief, and HIV/AIDs awareness.
The Lengarde Primary School, which has an enrollment of over 200 pupils, is one of the schools built by the Wamba C.D.P. It has water tanks on site, but gutters, fasteners, and sheet metal are needed to harvest clean rainwater into the tanks. The rainwater harvest project is an attempt to minimize the amount of time children, typically girls, lose on a daily basis walking to and from water sources. In most cases the distance traveled exceeds 10km. In addition to the time lost, there is also the exhaustion factor of carrying heavy water cans in extreme heat for long distances, making learning difficult. By bringing a water source to the school compound, the children are drawn to school and now have time and energy to learn.
Do Good Lab supports community led, grassroots projects in the developing world that are focused on agriculture, health, and education. The Lengarde Primary School rain-harvesting project benefits both health and education. Further, it is a model of a locally envisioned solution that addresses their water scarcity issues.
Written By: Maria Caluag
Do Good Lab celebrated a wonderful night last Thursday as we revealed the first three projects for this year! Gathering at the hip, urban-chic Dear Mom lounge, DGL members, fellow volunteers, and curious newcomers mingled over delicious drinks and food as they learned about our exciting partners.
If you weren’t there to share in the fun, here is a brief summary of the developing projects we are so excited to be apart of:
A nonprofit called Peoples Action in Development (PAD) leads the first project. DGL will help them construct a water plant to sterilize highly contaminated water in Andhra Pradesh, India. This plant will serve as an important step towards diminishing the rate of skeletal fluorosis, a painful bone disease caused by high levels of toxic fluoride in the water.
The second project we are funding is located in the Samburu district of Kenya. Wamba Community Development Program will use gutters and piping on rooftops to gather rainwater into a cistern. By collecting water in a primary, safe location, families in rural, dry areas will have greater access to this crucial resource.
Lastly, we will be partnering with the Kachere Development Program in Chipata, Zambia. They will provide a flourmill and agricultural seeds for community battling food insecurity. Providing these resources will allow members to learn food production, maintain harvests year round, and give job opportunities to women.
We are delighted to share this news and begin raising the funds needed for these projects. For those who came, thank you for showing your support. Special thanks to Sarah, Anand, and Molly for setting up and coordinating this wonderful event!
If you couldn’t make it to this one, please be sure to come to our next event in July, one you will NOT want to miss! Be sure to follow our website for more details at: /
Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you next time!
The Do Good Lab Community
This week Do Good Lab is excited to announce our first project for the year! We’re teaming up with the Kachere Development Program. Kachere emphasizes health services, agriculture, microfinance, and equal opportunity for those constrained by poverty. The program is based near the Eastern border of Zambia in the province of Chipata, and has been creating sustainable initiatives for the past five years.
Their mission is simple: To implement effective capacity building at the grassroots level through small business initiatives, advocacy, and sustainable community projects.
Some of their past projects include working to address issues in food security, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, gender inequality, environmental degradation and education for vulnerable groups including women and orphans. Their effective development approach can be attributed to a dedicated leadership team consisting of trained personnel and volunteers of various backgrounds and expertise. Each member of the organization has their own role in the logistical oversight and completion of a project, ensuring that accountability and transparency are held in the highest regard. Working alongside the staff are community stakeholders ranging from government officials to other nonprofit partners. This allows room for feedback, progress, and maximum attainment of the collective goals set for long-term sustainability.
To assist in these efforts, Do Good Lab will be raising money for an upcoming project to generate income for women in rural communities. The main objective is to establish a small business where women can develop proficiency in agriculture and food production. The food that is grown will not only allow families to be fed during the harvest season, but would yield enough revenue for them to eat year round. In order to promote this program, Kachere is asking for a grant to fund the materials essential to the facility. These include two hammer mills, an abundance of agricultural seeds, and building materials for construction of the site. The hammer mills will be used to grind seeds to make maize (a staple food in Zambia) while agricultural seeds will allow harvest of vegetables appropriate to the climates of every season. Providing the funds for these materials will go far towards relieving families from economic hardship and diminishing the constant danger of food insecurity within the community.
We look forward to equipping Kachere with the appropriate tools needed to transform this vision into reality and providing financial growth and long-term success for families in need.
Written by Stephanie Nelson