Group members in the garden

With BGR’s support, HKI piloted a three-year adaptation and expansion of its proven Food Production program model. They integrated EHFP into an existing community group and promoted the production and consumption of vitamin A and micronutrient-rich crops, including orange sweet potatoes. In an effort to improve the local group’s capacity to adapt to ever-increasing water shortages that threaten production, the HKI team helped pilot a drip irrigation system on the group’s model farm, which was used to train group members on improved agriculture techniques.

HKI also collaborated with local organizations to implement various other project activities and to provide direct support to the women’s group benefiting from BGR’s support. The women’s group is called “Kolotiolo Hokan”, which means “God Gave Us Grace” in the Senoufo language. Group members learned to apply improved agricultural techniques that have brought them recognition by their village leaders, community, and family members who help them as they have now seen their activities and incomes increase considerably over the life of this project.

Kolotiolo Hokan members
Kolotiolo Hokan members

Members of the group and their neighbors have learned about the fundamentals and importance of improved nutrition and hygiene. The group has formalized their legal status, opened a bank account, and improved their ability to manage and market the surpluses they grow. This has empowered the women and led to increased autonomy. The health status of the group’s families and neighbors has also improved as they increasingly consume micro-nutrient rich food products they grow themselves. They have also learned about Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) and Essential Hygiene Actions (EHA). The group members have also seen their social status improve as their income has increased as a result of this project.

Home visits to reinforce ENA and EHA intensified over the last months of the project. After the mass awareness campaigns concluded, district health workers and NGO workers conducted 1,140 home visits to reinforce behavior change messaging. Most of these visits took place during this final reporting period. In total, over 700 families benefitted from the behavior change campaign.

Home visits focused on a monthly theme in order to reinforce behavior change messaging provided in months prior. In March 2016, home visits focused on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. In April 2016, the focus was on the nutrition and feeding of expectant and breastfeeding mothers, as well as complementary feeding of children from six months to two years of age. May’s focus was on feeding sick and malnourished children. In June, the focus was on vitamin A deficiency, in July on iodine deficiency and handwashing, and in August, the home visit focus was iron deficiency.

Group members as well as other community members expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the home visit component of the project. HKI undertook an informal focus group discussion with home-visit recipients, and everyone in the group stated that they enjoyed the visits, learned a lot from them, and would now change their behavior based on the new information they obtained.

For example, one woman said that she did not know that she should not give water to her newborn child in addition to breastmilk and has now stopped doing so. Another mother was not aware that she was not supposed to give her newborn infant porridge until he was six months old and has now stopped force-feeding her baby. Many mothers in the community who are not currently members of the women’s group have also expressed interest in obtaining orange-flesh sweet potato vines from the group members so that they can start growing them at home to provide their families increased vitamin A as well.

Staff at the local clinic that previously benefited from HKI’s ENA and EHA training has promised that they would continue promoting essential nutrition and hygiene actions in the community after the conclusion of the BGR project.

HKI linked members of “Kolotiolo Hokan” to the local “Producers Sales Office” (BVP) in Bouake. BVP is now assisting “Kolotiolo Hokan” members to make decisions about marketing their produce and choosing the best income crops to plant. Group members know the importance of maintaining a healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet and they also see great opportunity in being able to increase their incomes from growing produce. The support of BVP will help to improve the household income of the group members for years to come.

Seed distribution group
Seed distribution group

In July 2016, members of HKI staff held a series of meetings with the members of “Kolotiolo Hokan” to help them plan for the end of the project. The meetings were very productive. The “Kolotiolo Hokan” members expressed their gratitude to BGR for the tremendous help that has been provided over the past three years.

This article is based upon Helen Keller International’s Final Progress Report to Buddhist Global Relief.

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families. »


Bangladesh

MARKETS FOR WOMEN
Uplift extremely poor indigenous households in five villages in one of the poorest regions. » 


Bangladesh

EDUCATING CHILDREN
Educate 1,250 children in the Chittagong Hill Tract, a poor region in Bangladesh affected by conflict. » 


Bangladesh

FOOD SUPPORT FOR ORPHANS
Provide food supplies for 54 orphans at The Orphan's Home in the rural Cittagong Hills region. » 


Bangladesh

EDUCATING ETHNIC MINORITIES
Provide food support for 106 ethnic Buddhist minority girls at Yashodara Girl's School in Cittagong Hill Tracts. » 


Cambodia

GIRLS ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Support life-transforming Girls Access To Education program ensuring that girls stay in school. » 


Cambodia

ESCAPE THE SEX TRADE
Provide non-formal education, vocational training, and life skills to sex workers and their children. » 


Cambodia

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION
Expanding an ecologically sensitive method of agriculture that increases rice yields. » 


Cameroon

FOOD FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide food support for children attending community primary school. » 


China

JOB TRAINING FOR WOMEN
Partner with Shambala Foundation to provide first job experience training to young women. » 


Cote d'Ivoire

ENHANCED FOOD PRODUCTION
Improve food production in the Meki-Ziway area of the Central Rift Valley. » 


Ethiopia

CROP INTENSIFICATION
Promote environmental friendly, economically feasible, and climate-smart agronomic practices among small-scale farmer. » 


Haiti

PROVIDE AFTERSCHOOL MEALS
Provide daily meals two or more daily meals for school children in Jacmel, Haiti. » 


Haiti

ENHANCED RICE PRODUCTION
Provide training in System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to benefit 425 famers in the Artibonite Valley. » 


Haiti

MEALS AND SCHOOLING
Support the establishment of a women's vocational training and community center in Nagpur. » 


Haiti & Jamaica

TREES THAT FEED PEOPLE
Distribute 400 breadfruit trees (200 for each country). Each tree can produce half a ton of fruit a year. » 


India

A YOUTH HOSTEL FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN
Educate girls from India's poorest regions and provide loans and business training. » 


India

FOOD SECURITY FOR WOMEN
Provide enhanced food security for women farmers in Uttarakhand, one of India's poorestt states. » 


Sri Lanka

EDUCATION FOR POOR GIRLS
Provide education and vocational training for girls from poor families who have not yet completed high school. » 


Vietnam

MEALS IN HOSPITALS
Provide thousands of free meals to hospital patients in remote villages off the Mekong Delta region. » 


Vietnam

SCHOLARSIHPS FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide nearly 500 sttudents with scholarships to elementary and middle schools in Cam Duong and Tam Binh Districts. » 


Vietnam

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION
Expand and improve the quality of Rice Intensification among village farmers in the Thai Nguyen province. » 


Detroit, MI

KEEP GROWING DETROIT
Support more than 1500 gardens to produce 150 tons of produce for low- income families. » 


New York, NY

FEEDING YOUTH STARVED FOR MEANING
Transform homeless impoverished youth to employed persons playing leadership roles in society. » 


New York, NY

URBAN COMMUNITY FOOD PROJECT
Create sustainable food system for insecure communities while educating and employing at-risk youth. » 


Santa Clara County, CA

CULTIVATING ORGANIC GARDENS
Reduce food insecurity among low income residents by teaching organic gardening skills. »