Ethiopia Tearfund Drought Rehabilitation and Community Development Project

The “Horn of Africa” which refers to the Eastern part of the Continent has been seriously affected by climate change in recent years. Drought often occurs and the local people who rely heavily on pasturing and farming have suffered a lot. In the Borena zone,Southern Ethiopia, most families are pastoralists and they were made poor and vulnerable by the recurrent drought. They did not have enough food for themselves and there is not enough pasturing grass for their livestock. As a result, livestock becomes weak or die. For many years pastoralists do not have the ability to prepare and store food in order to survive through future droughts, making daily lives very difficult.

CEDAR has supported Tearfund a drought relief project in Oct – Dec 2011 in the Borena zone of Ethiopia. Following that, in partnership we provide assistance to 7,000 poor and vulnerable households in the area of rehabilitation with project interventions focus on improving local’s livelihoods such as restocking of livestock, income diversification through introduction and promotion of high yielding agricultural inputs, construction of water schemes for human and livestock consumption, promoting saving and credit culture through organizing Self-Help Groups. Formation and strengthening of Cooperatives with the primary aim to promote trading & marketing of livestock as well as to explore alternative income sources. Moreover, awareness raising on the right knowledge of HIV/AIDS will be dealt in the project.  This can help the people in Borena zone to recover from the negative impact of drought as well as to enhance their ability to fight against drought or climate change in the future.

India EFICOR Rural Community Development Project

Many poor people live in the rural villages back behind the forests of the Orissa states. These villagers come from different castes, tribes and have different religious beliefs. Conflicts among groups are always happened and worsen their impoverished livelihood. In 2008, the Hindu-Christian violent conflict there, resulted in causalities and economic losses. Even now, the community has not experienced real reconciliation. Bias and hatred piled up.

The local community is further marginalized due to their illiteracy which hinders them from learning new agricultural skills. Moreover, their villages are too remote and they only rely on oxcart for transportation. This makes them difficult in going out to find a job and work. It is difficult for the poor communities to access just and fair development opportunities and hence trapped in dire situation.

Hence, CEDAR partner Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) launches a community development projects in twenty villages in Orissa. Villagers receive trainings on literacy, leadership, income generating skills and community health.  Local self-help groups are helped with governance training for managing various issues in their communities on their own and thus enhancing sustainability in the development.

The impact of the project is growing gradually. Over 600 villagers from different castes and tribes have benefited. For roads construction is the most effective one, the transportation to the outer world is obviously improved. Most importantly, all the transformation in the communities are led by the local village leaders.

Bangladesh World Concern Disaster Risk Reduction Project

Bangladesh is geographically located in a disaster prone area. Natural disasters are common phenomenon and occur in a regular basis. The present threat of climate change and global warming is a red alert of the country. The frequency and intensity of many existing hazards is increasing while some of new hazards may take place. CEDAR sponsors World Concern to reduce the impact of natural disasters by enhancing life security and building capacity of the vulnerable people through training and skill development.

Besides providing disaster mitigation training to the villagers and stakeholders, the project would also raise the villagers’ awareness on protection of environment. Participants would be trained about direct and indirect impact of climate change. They would also be taught about ways to reduce impact of disasters which would restore the environment simultaneously, e.g. construction of embankment and shelter, tree plantation, maintenance of water system and water sources.

China Hubei Water and Animal Husbandry Project

Yunxi county is one of the national designated poor counties in Hubei province. Lack of accessible clean drinking water is a general problem which has led to poor sanitation and poor health. It also directly hinders the labour force and livelihood since obtaining water on foot consumes much of their time and energy. Meanwhile, some of the poorer households express an interest in animal raising but they need capital to start it off.

CEDAR helps installing a water supply system and conducting health training in one of the villages. CEDAR also provides subsidies for 70 poorer households selected from 3 villages to develop animal husbandry, aiming at increasing villagers’ income as well as raising their living standard. The subsidies are mainly used for restoring animal pens and purchasing animals.

China Hubei Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Project

Wufeng is deemed as one of the poorest counties in Hubei province. In one of the villages there is a slope where neither plant nor protection measure exists. Heavy rains could trigger mudslides that jeopardise nearby villagers.

CEDAR assists villagers to manage this slope by planting tea trees, thus reducing the risk of mudslide and protecting about 210 households in that village who use the road running along at the foot of the slope frequently. The project includes disaster risk reduction training for local villagers, helping them to be better prepared to respond to possible disasters hitting their region.

With its long and intertwining root system which has good soil reinforcement property, tea tree is effective for mudslide prevention.. CEDAR provides organic farming training to encourage villagers to plant tea trees in organic way. Organic tea planting not only generates more profit but also facilitates environmental conservation. Starting from the third year the tea leaves can be harvested for sale. The plants can produce tea leaves for decades, providing villagers a secure source of income.

China Gansu Integrated Community Development Project

Yongdeng is one of the poorest counties inLanzhou,Gansu, CEDAR has been partnering with Lanzhou City Christian Church to implement the Integrated Community Development Project (ICD) in four villages in Yongdeng since2007 in order to improve the livelihood of villagers and bring about a sustainable development.  Partner promotes the application of organic fertilisers and high quality potato seeds among the farmers. These techniques enrich the soil quality and structure, increase the yield and are eco-friendly. The project staff also encourage villagers to change their methods of animal grazing, using pens to keep the sheep, and choosing sheep breeds that can adapt to the local climate, which will benefit both the environment and the economy.

Another aspect of the project is that through the formation of a women’s handcraft group, in which the women make use of their spare time after farming to produce small handcrafted products, the women could receive sufficient income without having to leave their homes. Hence, women’s significance in the family and the community are recognised. The project also works on promoting micro-credit programmes and assisting women to establishing legal cooperative organisations to support greater productivity gains.

Wei Zhan-xiu lives in Huo Jia Wan village, located in a poverty stricken area in a mountainous region.  Throughout generations, villagers make their living by farming, relying on nature’s provisions to feed themselves and their families.  She has two sons who are now grown up and have a family of their own. Her eldest son and daughter- in- law live and work away from home.  She is left to live with her two young grandchildren. Although the couple work labouriously on their 20 mu of farm land, apart from basic food, they do not have any other source of income. Her husband Guo Shi-jun, who is over 60, has attempted to find employment elsewhere but his efforts were futile. Even though her grandchild has reached 2 years old now, they have still not paid back the loan they borrowed for the youngest son’s wedding banquet.

In 2010, Wei Zhan-xiu joined the handicraft programme in the village. Simply by looking at her handcrafted products, it is hard to believe that she is an amateur in using the sewing machine. In just four months of training, her technique has become superior by far amongst the women in the village! At one time during the women’s discussion, whilst exploring the art of handcrafting, she said: ‘I work slowly, but every bag I make, I won’t let any bag be remade.’ When her husband saw her enthusiasm towards her handicraft work, he willingly took up some domestic duties to ease her burden.

She even told CEDAR’s staff emotionally: ‘The help this project has provided our family is too great! This year, I already returned RMB400 that I borrowed from my son’s two aunties for his wedding! Now, my husband treats my sewing machine with particular care. When he hears that there is a slight problem with the sewing machine, he would rush over to repair, just like taking care of a child!’