Uplifting communities – updates from our WE Villages partnership
Jeunesse Kids has partnered with WE Charity since 2014 to build stable, thriving communities that give people the power and dignity to support themselves. To date, Jeunesse Kids has adopted seven communities, helping to empower a new generation of community members with the tools and resources necessary to lift their families and communities out of poverty.
Villages sponsored by Jeunesse Kids
- Irkaat, Kenya
- Kesebek, Kenya
- Dao Lazui, China
- Gufabao, China
- Los Rios, Ecuador
- Kalinjar, India
- Antri, India
Pillars of Impact
Through our partnership, Jeunesse Kids uses WE Charity’s five Pillars of Impact development model to help communities find true independence. The five focus areas are:
After providing holistic, permanent solutions to sustainable development related to these five Pillars of Impact, we’re proud to share the progress made in each of the communities.
WE VILLAGES UPDATES
Thanks to the contribution from Jeunesse Kids to WE, Irkaat now has:
- 10 classrooms and a library
- A school nutrition program
- A School Management Committee comprised of local community leaders
- A school pride program
- Teacher trainings facilitated by the Ministry of Education
“The learning environment has changed completely. Now we have permanent, quality classrooms that can withstand any weather conditions. Pupils and teachers are more comfortable, which makes teaching and learning easier. The school population has risen over the years since WE came in; it’s the most populated school in the Lemek zone of Narok County.”
– Wafula Nyongesa, long-time Irkaat educator
Prior to Jeunesse Kids adopting the village of Irkaat, girls there were responsible for the 2.5-hour process of collecting water. Since 2016, the addition of a borehole has reduced the time to access water from 2.5 hours to 30 minutes. Closer water access has freed more girls from the responsibility to collect water, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education. Our focus on the Water Pillar has also provided the village with:
- A community water kiosk
- School handwashing station
- Six gender-specific school latrine blocks
- Individual water connections to homes
- Ongoing handwashing training
Access to health care was also extremely limited in Irkaat prior to the Jeunesse Kids partnership with WE, but now, the community has:
- Deworming clinics
- Health education workshops
- Mobile health clinic visits
The current priority is to ensure equal access to care and training for all community members through mobile clinics that allow Community Health Workers to visit rural communities to offer basic healthcare services, health education, as well as health-related prevention and promotion activities.
With the support of Jeunesse Kids, WE has worked to equip the village with the tools, resources and techniques to:
- Enhance crop dependability
- Increase agricultural production
- Improve the nutritional value of food crops
These interventions are continually helping decrease vulnerability to external factors and improve agricultural productivity and household food security.
Thanks to the support from Jeunesse Kids, WE continues to support women’s, men’s and youth groups. During the past quarter, these groups:
- Bought and distributed goats, sheep, cows, chickens and hens among members
- Leased land for farming and planted maize and beans
- Built a chicken house in preparation for chickens they will soon receive
The construction of the first classroom has begun and is set to be completed this summer. In addition, funding from Jeunesse Kids has provided:
- A school pride awards program
- Teacher skills and competencies trainings
- Head Teachers’ Focus Groups
In Kesebek, safe drinking water is a major concern. The community has elected a 13-member Water Management Committee who are being provided with water purification knowledge and skills, as well as being trained as clean water ambassadors to prepare for the upcoming community borehole project. In addition, handwashing training has been implemented at the primary school.
Few community members use hospital health care services due to financial constraints and a lack of education about the available services. The WE Villages team in Kesebek has provided three mobile clinics in the past quarter, providing treatment for small ailments, immunizations, deworming, vitamin supplements, antenatal checkups for mothers and a couple hospital referrals.
WE Villages is working with local health care professionals to provide comprehensive trainings and workshops in Kesebek that will help community members reduce preventable diseases, mitigate illnesses, access health resources and enjoy a higher quality of life.
During certain periods of the year, families have insufficient access to healthy and nutritious meals, creating food insecurity. The WE Food Team has met with community groups to conduct agricultural trainings to improve crop dependability and nutritional values as well as increase agricultural production. Groups also visited the new apiary center to learn about modern beekeeping and purchased Hass avocado fruits for planting at their individual farms.
Given the barriers to education and health care that result from financial instability, the Opportunity Pillar will be a major focus in Kesebek. WE will form groups for women, men and youth, holding trainings and workshops on improving financial security and contributing to sustainable change in the community.
DAO LAZUI, CHINA
Partnered with Jeunesse Kids since 2014, the village of Dao Lazui has transformed significantly in just six years.
Thanks to the support of Jeunesse Kids, WE has constructed:
- Five classrooms
- A library
- Two teacher accommodations and two offices
- A school kitchen
Funding provided by Jeunesse Kids is being used to create a school playground to help promote physical, social and emotional development. Funding has also provided ongoing teacher training and repairs to the road leading to the school, making it easier, safer and quicker for children to get to school.
The completion of a borehole in Dao Lazui supplies water to a significant portion of the community and has significantly decreased the rate of disease and illness in the community, improved the health and sanitation of children and families, increased school attendance and has allowed for clean food preparation.
Food security in the community has also improved. Now more than 100 farmers have over 120 animals, which improves the nutritional intake and vitality of community members and children and has led to healthier students and families.
Following an increase in school enrollment, a food program has been established to provide students with a nutritious breakfast and lunch every day. This has motivated the students to attend school and given them more energy throughout the day.
A third and final borehole was completed to provide water access to 8,500+ community members. With the clean water system in place, families enjoy a consistent source of clean water for drinking and food preparation, and transmission rates of waterborne illness have been reduced.
A waste management system is under development, which will ensure that the community has the means to properly dispose of waste. By doing so, they’ll maintain a healthy environment and reduce the incidence of infectious disease.
More than 2,000 seedling trees have been planted in the village. These indigenous trees improve soil quality, provide shade and shelter, and the fruit they bear is a great source of food. In addition, the school meal program provides freshly cooked, healthy and nutritious meals for children each day, giving them more energy and enhancing their overall health.
LOS RIOS, ECUADOR
In the community of Los Rios, schooling has helped give students the tools they need to increase their self-esteem and build confidence. The implementation of the Education Pillar has allowed students to start following their dreams.
One of our favorite stories is that of Jose, a 17-year-old high school student in Los Rios. He believes education is important in achieving his dreams to become a mechanic. He also sees the importance of learning to respect elders in the community and learn about human rights, which is why he is the president of the student government. As president, Jose helps with setting up workshops for fellow classmates and keeps the field and classrooms around the school clean. Jose was the first in his family to attend high school with two of his younger siblings to soon follow in his footsteps. Jose’s dad is proud to watch his son gain an education – something he was never able to do.
WE has completed a state-of-the-art water treatment system that provides all 300 community members with access to clean water piped directly into their homes. The school also has access to clean water, including drinking fountains. This access to clean water has significantly increased the health of children and families and increased school attendance.
The Health Pillar has focused on expanding student knowledge of health and disease prevention. Through the Clean School Program, students learn about the importance of hygiene and waste management and then pass along the knowledge to their parents and other community members, helping to improve the health of the entire community.
The community built a school kitchen and dining hall, which includes space for more than 50 people to eat. Behind the school kitchen is the garden, which acts as a central location for students and community members to practice with tools and partake in agricultural training. It’s a hub for students, as well as parents and teachers, to learn about growing different crops. It has also improved access to food for students, helping them focus on their lessons.
Through trainings on bracelet making, knitting and crocheting, girls and women in Los Rios have not only gained knowledge on these new skills, but have also learned about goal-setting and income generation. This has promoted better self-esteem and increased motivation for future self-sustainability. The income made from these artisan practices helps women pay for education and health expenses.
After constructing a classroom in Kalinjar in 2018, WE Villages has been enhancing education for kids by helping parents understand the importance of education and working alongside teachers and the school headmaster to increase attendance.
Since then, an additional classroom has been completed and another is under construction.
Having proper sanitation facilities and gender-specific latrines results in higher school enrollment and reduces school illnesses, making this a focus within the Water Pillar. Construction work on the school latrine continues. In addition, well rehabilitation work has been completed, including deepening of the well, masonry lining and a parapet wall around the well. Community members have also been trained on assessing the quality of the well water and sanitation and hygiene education at the school level.
Single-burner cooking stoves without vents to the outside were once commonly used, but thanks to the support of Jeunesse Kids, WE has installed smokeless chulhas for 28 families. Before, cooking caused smoke to linger throughout homes, which led to respiratory and eye infections, but with smokeless chulhas, the families are no longer breathing in toxic smoke, which can positively impact long-term health.
Targeted health trainings have been implemented, covering boiling water safety, personal hygiene, nutrition and the use of neem sticks for teeth brushing and malaria treatment.
WE provided trainings to community farmers on improved agronomic practices, goat husbandry, fodder plantation, post-harvest management and practical trainings on using ploughs, and trainings on seed drills as well as weed hoeing tools. After the trainings, WE distributed corn seeds, beans and pulse seeds, fertilizers, neem powder and fodder seeds, as well as iron storage bins with instructions on post-harvest methods to reduce food loss from pests and insects.
In India, the Opportunity Pillar is focused on working with women on animal husbandry projects, and in Kalinjar, the WE Villages team chose eight women to participate in the opportunity program. The women formed a group, where they can come together, discuss and analyze issues and reap benefits from mutual help, solidarity and joint responsibility. They also received materials to build goat sheds, where they will house Sirohi goats. Most recently, the women opened a joint savings account to build their group savings over time.
The main school campus in the Antri community serves 5,000 students in primary, middle and junior secondary school. Prior to the Jeunesse Kids partnership with WE, the educational infrastructure was in a state of squalor. Construction on one of three classrooms has started.
WE has conducted assessments to determine specific water needs, solutions and interventions, finding a broken hand pump and inadequate latrines at the school. The hand pump has been repaired, providing the water needed for consumption and latrine use. A new toilet block with 4 latrines and 2 sinks has been constructed and a force system has been installed that brings running water to the latrines.
With the support of Jeunesse Kids, the community has received ongoing health trainings on infectious disease prevention, the importance of immunization, postnatal care, nutrition and the causes of malnutrition. Health education also focuses on the prevention of waterborne illnesses.
Food insecurity is a prominent issue in Antri due to agricultural insecurity. To address this issue, community members have received trainings on new agricultural techniques, use of improved seeds, irrigation and water management techniques, and other topics. One community member has seen a 300% increase in her corn crop and other meaningful impacts since taking part in the trainings.
“With improved seeds and fertilizers, we have more food and a greater number of crops in the field. We have our kitchen garden, where we grow different vegetables that have helped improve our health and added nutrition to our diet.”
— Hirki Bai, 67-year-old Community Member
Most community members are subsistence farmers who are unable to grow enough food to sustain their families throughout the year. Many are forced to work as unskilled laborers, earning just $2 per day. WE has worked with the community to address this issue. Recently, women in the community were provided training on the keeping of healthy goats that yield both food and income.
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES THROUGH JEUNESSE KIDS
We are so proud of how our work with WE Charity’s five Pillars of Impact development model is helping communities achieve self-sustainability and uplift themselves and future generations. But this is only possible because our dedicated Jeunesse Family of Distributors, employees and caring individuals donates to Jeunesse Kids. To make a contribution, or to learn more about the nonprofit, visit JeunesseKids.org.
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