Stories For Change 51


Christian Aid partner ‘Children First’ – the MAN project has completed its second year of a 3-year commitment of support. The agency’s Executive Director and the MAN Project Coordinator participated in a CA partner workshop on masculinity in the Dominican Republic where they shared the work of the project and best practices in working on masculinity, especially with at-risk adolescent males and their families in inner-city communities. They identified possible areas for future collaboration with Dominican partners, namely violence prevention, particularly domestic violence; youth employability and engaging men who work in male-dominated sectors (i.e. farms) on issues of masculinity and gender. Other MAN project highlights for the past year are:

103 males aged 10-24 participated in a range of workshops relevant to their according to their age/interests, including: social & vocational skills training; entrepreneurial skills; life skills education, family and personal development; counselling. Parent’s workshops were also convened and the agency worked with guidance counsellors in several schools to identify and refer at-risk or vulnerable youth to relevant programmes, including counselling.

One means of encouraging participation of young men that was effectively utilized was the use of computers and information technology to overcome the stigma associated with remedial education and ‘school’ in general. In a context where the pressure to leave school and participate in a ‘flashy’ lifestyle through gang activities (including drugs) can be intense, the lure of technology can mitigate against the perceived ‘unmanly’ nature of education. Young people participate in remedial education classes and counselling and learn new skills such as photography, videography and IT skills.

85 parents participated in parenting workshops, with an additional 90 learning good parenting practices and techniques through collaboration with school PTAs. Topics covered included male/gender issues, behavioural challenges, peer pressure, child rights/Child Care & Protection Act and reproductive health issues, including HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.

The MAN project was one of the finalists in the World Bank CARICOM Secretariat Competition entitled “Keeping Boys out of Risk”. While no additional financial resources were secured, this generated much exposure through brochures, a video, presentations at the conference and a link on the World Bank website.

JASL (Jamaica AIDS Support for Life): Prime Minister Bruce Golding showered praises on CA partner JASL, for its contribution to people living with HIV and AIDS in the country.

Jamaicans for Justice: Dr. Carolyn Gomes the Executive Director of Jamaicans for Justice is now part of the National Integrity Action Forum (NIAF), which was launched recently to contribute to efforts to fight corruption in the country.
CA report to CforL January 2010


The World Bank has made a list of the five main threats arising from climate change: droughts, floods, storms, rising sea levels, and greater uncertainty in agriculture. Four of the world’s poorest nations top the list of the twelve countries at the highest risk. Bangladesh heads the list of countries most at risk of flooding. Increasing glacial melt from the Himalayan ranges as a result of rising global temperatures is set to swell the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers and their hundreds of tributaries, flooding thirty to seventy percent of the country each year as the water makes its way to the Bay of Bengal in the south, where the coast is also vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels. They came second to the Philippines for storms and tenth in most danger due to rising sea levels.

Researchers in Bangladesh are in the final stage of testing three new rice varieties which they say will be able to survive the country’s annual floods. Most years more than 20% of Bangladesh goes under water, and millions of tonnes of rice are lost.

Whereas normal rice varieties can die after two or three days’ submersion in water, tests show that the new ones can survive for longer than two weeks. Researchers say the new varieties could improve the country’s annual harvest.

Scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), on the outskirts of Dhaka, say they hope that the government will approve the new varieties shortly and that farmers will be able to start growing them before the next monsoon.


Dabane Trust: Christian Aid, with counterpart funding from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), is funding the construction of six sub-surface dams that conserve water beneath sandy river beds.  Once constructed, boreholes and pumps will be installed, and market gardens established, that will draw water from the conserves and bring it to the surface for drinking and to enable people to grow a variety of food all year round.

All six dams are being constructed in Gwanda district in the drought-prone Matabeleland South region.  Here, the earth is sandy and there is little rainfall (250-500mm per year).  The rain that does come is increasingly erratic and unpredictable, say farmers.  Those living near enough to sand rivers are lucky as the water is naturally filtered by the sand and so safe to drink.  But many people rely on shallow wells or dams dug by hand which are often shared with livestock and are easily contaminated.

Dabane Trust is constructing two dams per year from July 2008 – July 2010.  It’s now six months into the second year of funding and with the first two dams successfully completed Dabane Trust is now working on the third and the fourth.  Communities are not yet benefiting from these dams.  When all construction work is complete, boreholes, pumps and wells will be installed, and six market garden spaces and groups set up.  The tangible benefit of the dams will then become visible within the nearby communities.  Thanks to previous support, made possible by our Commitment for Life partners, we have seen that this can take place and the beneficial impact on communities felt within as little as three months.

At their on-site workshop at Dabane Trust’s base in Bulawayo, where water abstraction equipment including pumps is constructed and tested before being taken to install in communities, Dabane’s small team of skilled technicians have recently begun to make their own small parts, such as pistons.  These parts used to be shipped in from the United Kingdom at considerably more cost. CA report to CforL January 2010.


One World Week

On Saturday, 13th March 2010 One World Week is holding the annual Sharing Day in Reading.  OWW greatly appreciates the support it has received from the URC over many years and would love to see our URC friends there.  This small and friendly event is suitable for everyone, from those who have been organising OWW activities for years to those who have never (yet!) organised an OWW event.  It is completely free and will be a chance to share your experiences of One World Week 2009, share some food and help OWW and you prepare for 2010.

The 2010 theme is: “Peacing Together One World: creating a culture of peace for all our children”

One World Week is a Development Education Charity that provides an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together to learn about global justice, to spread that learning and to use it to take action for justice locally and globally.

For more information on the event and the work of One World Week go to
or contact us on 01189394933.

World Development Movement campaigner training days

During 2010, WDM is organising a series of free training days. The events are open to all WDM members and supporters – just email to book your place. The training days confirmed so far are:

Media training day: Saturday 6 March, 10.30 to 4.30 at Reading Int. Solidarity Centre, 35-39 London Street, Reading, RG1 4PS. Trainer: Joy Francis from Creative Collective

Saturday 24 April, 10.30 to 4.30pm Leeds (venue tbc)

Lobbying training days: Saturday 27 March, 10.30 to 4.30 at WDM office,
66 Offley Road, London SW9 0LS.
Trainer: Kathryn Tulip from Seeds for Change

Saturday 17 March: 10.30-4.30 Liverpool (venue tbc) Trainer: Kathryn Tulip from Seeds for Change

Look out for our Lenten resource ‘Counting the Cost’ at from Ash Wednesday, readings, reflections and facts.

Linda Mead – Commitment for Life Programme Co-ordinator,
Mission Team, United Reformed Church
01702 315981
Commitment for Life is here to help United Reformed Churches work for a fairer world and for peace with justice, recognising that change and response starts with each one of us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.