The LUCIA Library at Saria
This is a photo of the library that LUCIA built at Saria – I fundraised for it last year (my school raised £5000 in a term) and I’m reviewing the project now as part of a grant proposal for a girls’ toilet block and handwash station on the same site.
Unfortunately there’s been a bit of an issue with the stoves project, so I’ve shifted my research focus into Bees! Ethiopia produces about 40000 tonnes of honey a year, and we’re looking into developing a bee project of sorts to help communities make money. I’ve got no experience with bees – so I’ve been doing a huge amount of product analysis, reading papers and reports and budgets for the different kinds of beehives (who knew you there were so many different types of beehive!?), and I’m currently chatting with my supervisor about us running the project itself, instead of going through an NGO – which would be a first for the charity and really exciting!
So on Wednesday I submitted the memorandum of understanding for my first project.
I didn’t do a lot of work on this one, but I took it over because it was convenient and I’m waiting on a reply from our people in Ethiopia before I can go on with the stoves and wash-station one.
Basically, we wanted to build a farm at the Saria Kebele Primary School in Amhara, Ethiopia. This is all well and good – but how is it going to work? Our contact in Ethiopia had put together a budget and a proposal for us, and I had to go through it and put it into a Memorandum of Understanding (basically, the sort of contract that NGOs use).
The scale of the problem is really quite startling: the farm is not just to make money, it’s to make sure that the kids have enough food to eat! Hopefully, we’ll be able to teach them some good farming practices as well, given that poor management is such an issue in Ethiopia. Other than that, I’ve been reading the latest UN report on the Millennium Development Goals in order to target our governmental requests for funding as accurately as possible. You can read it here: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/report-2013/mdg-report-2013-english.pdf Apparently, after 43 years, the UK is going to meet its target of spending 0.7% of GNI on foreign aid. This should be great for us – hopefully it’ll become easier to get DFID funding for our projects!
So I’m coming up to the end of my first week. It’s actually been really good!
Yesterday I went to one of the trustees’ meetings and had a quick chat about some of my ideas (they’ve been in the pipeline for about a year, so a lot longer than the placement). They seemed really enthusiastic about them, and how the charity is going to be moving forward. I would really recommend working with a smaller charity – there are only 8 trustees of LUCIA so I actually feel like they value my input and will consider my suggestions seriously.
Other than that, I’ve done some initial research into the stoves project and how to apply for funding. Some of them are really elegant – reducing the time needed to gather firewood by 50% for the sake of £1.50 or so! Hopefully they’ll hold up to scrutiny. I’m just waiting for an update on the project proposal from our partners in Ethiopia, and am taking the time to do some reading (always good!). This seems very relevant but quite shocking – www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/Dangerous-delay-UK-version.pdf It details the failings in the response to the recent famine in the Sahel. With the farming project that I might work on at some point, I’m trying to use it for guidance to building in safeguards. But more on that later!
So I’m just on lunch break for my first day at work! I’m at LUCIA (Life Uplifted by Change in Africa), a small Birmingham based charity that works with women and children in Ethiopia. I’ve been working with them for a while now doing fundraising, and I decided to do Charity Insights so that I could get more involved with the research and problem-solving skills that they do. You can find out more at http://www.luciacharity.org.uk/
So far I’ve had the usual introduction and health and safety talk, and discussed my project with my supervisor. Initially, I’m going to be looking at how to get funding for the grassroots projects that they’re looking at in Rural Ethiopia. Once we get some idea of how much money we have, we’re going to start investigating the products and solutions to problems that can be put in place to help a local school. We’re trying to make sure that they have adequate sanitation, for example.
This is obviously important because there are so many waterborne diseases that are prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Once I can ensure that we have funding for the project, I’ll be doing some product analysis to find out exactly what’s in the market in Ethiopia and what the preferable solution will be.
But for now; I’m having a great time! Given the nice weather, we’re working outside reading through and analysing previous grant proposals and hoping to get funding for our ideas. I’m looking forward to discussing my research at the LUCIA stall at a county fair this weekend, so fingers crossed that the good weather continues!