BGR Projects for 2018-2019
By Kim Behan
The BGR board and staff at the projects meeting. Front row, from left: Patti Price, Ayya Santussika, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Kim Behan, Michael Roehm. Second row: Charles Elliott, Sherry Horowitz, George Clapp, Carla Prater, Tom Spies, and Daniel Blake.
On April 28, the BGR board and staff met to decide on the projects that BGR will sponsor for the next fiscal year, 2018–2019. While many of the projects approved are continuations or renewals of projects already in effect, several new projects were introduced. These include the following.
In Cambodia, BGR will enter into a partnership with Action Against Hunger (AHA), one of the largest and most respected organizations fighting hunger around the world. The project would improve agricultural diversification and food access in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province. AHA has designed the Community-Oriented Multisector Mechanism on Nutrition (COMMON) Project to offer sustainable solutions to the major causes of undernutrition in the region. The overall project takes a holistic approach, with components that include nutrition, water and sanitation, food security, gender equity, capacity building, advocacy, and dissemination. BGR will fund the agricultural diversification activities within the food security component. This will involve the training of 44 model farmers in 22 villages in agroecology for home gardening and climate-resilient rice production. Each model farmer—most of whom are women—will have a demonstration plot, at which she will conduct weekly sessions to train other farmers in these techniques. Provincial agricultural experts will provide monthly technical assistance. The 44 model farmers will train an additional 616 household farmers. Each participating household will be provided with a kit of tools and seeds. This project will serve as a foundation for future larger scale dissemination and implementation across other provinces.
Another new project, in Peru, is a partnership with Asociacion Civil Sin Fines De Lucro Wawa Sonqo. The project is intended to address the problem of malnutrition among children and young people in the Tiaparo sector of the Ch’illka peasant community in the foothills of the Andes. While malnutrition affects the entire underage population of the rural area, this project especially focuses on those under the age of 5. The program will aim at the following: (1) to train families, particularly mothers and pregnant women, in healthy nutrition; (2) to promote better feeding habits among the children, by training their parents in the development of fruit and vegetable gardens; and (3) to train families in the processing and preservation of fruits and vegetables.
Still a third new project is in Cameroon, where BGR already has had two partnerships over the past several years. This new partnership, with COREDA (Community Relief and Development Action), aims to provide primary education to orphans and underprivileged children in the semi-urban slums of Tiko, a city in southwest Cameroon. With BGR support, COREDA intends to sustain and improve on its initiative of inclusive and holistic primary education started in late 2016 in a rental apartment, targeting at least 60 children. The project seeks to improve the teaching-learning process by addressing essential needs for orphans and less privileged children at its educational center. Accommodation, textbooks, tables and chairs, and food support will be provided for the 60 children for a period of six months. The center is also a permanent home for 8 of these disadvantaged children. It is expected that the children will acquire adequate literacy and numeracy skills that will enable them to read with fluency, write with accuracy, express themselves, and integrate themselves into the society. It is hoped they will acquire a solid academic foundation that will qualify them for further academic pursuits
This coming year, BGR will launch its first project in Mongolia, in partnership with the organization Maitreya Charity, based in Washington State. The partnership aims to reduce poverty by providing hot meals, after-school mentoring, and educational materials to enable thirty-two vulnerable children to attend school for one year in Ulaanbaatar.
In Brazil, a new partnership with Instituto Brasileiro de Estudos e Apoio Comunitário (IBEAC) will start with a project designed to help the Sowing of Rights group provide healthy, locally sourced vegetarian meals for a low-income region of the municipality of São Paulo. The plan is to start a microenterprise using a new community kitchen to make the meals, which will be marketed to local workers in the health care and education fields.
Here in the U.S., BGR will be offering support to Easton Urban Farm, which provides produce to low-income residents of the city of Easton in Pennsylvania. The food is distributed through the food pantry system in the city as well as the West Ward Vegetables in the Community project in the West Ward and the farm stand at the Easton Urban Farm.
The above is just a sampling of the new projects that BGR will launch, projects with new partners, as we enter our tenth year of service in striving to create a more compassionate, more inclusive, more sustainable world that gives even the poorest people the chance to emerge from poverty and realize their hidden potentials.
Kim Behan is Projects Director for Buddhist Global Relief.