Meet 16-year-old Edna. She lives in a small village in Thyolo district in Malawi, and she is in form one at secondary school. Before Edna’s village had access to safe water, Edna had to wake up early to collect water and do household chores before going to school.
“It would take me a lot of time to get to the borehole and when I got there, the borehole would normally have very long queues, so I had to wait for a long time before I could draw the water,” says Edna. “By the time I had done my chores, I would often report to school late and was sometimes sent home for this reason. By the time I got to school, I would already be tired and some of the girls from my village even dropped out of school because of these challenges.”
After learning about the lack of safe water access in Edna’s village, United Purpose constructed a borehole in the village in August 2017.
“Since the construction of the borehole in my village, things have now changed for me,” Edna says. “I spend less time going to draw water in the morning as the borehole is close by, and there are hardly any queues. I now manage to draw water, do house chores and get ready for school in time. My grades have improved as I can now concentrate more in class since I am not tired in the morning.”
Brimming with exciting plans and ambitions, Edna is now dreaming of a future where she will help lift other people in her village out of poverty.
“I would like to become a journalist, as I would like to tell the world about my village and lift my family and my whole village out of poverty,” she says. “I am now confident that this dream will come true as I now have no barrier to complete my education. Thank you United Purpose for bringing this development in my village – you have motivated me to continue with my education!”
This is one of the many examples of how United Purpose, with support from the One Foundation, is providing safe water access to schools and communities, as well as providing sanitation facilities to schools, and training students to become ambassadors of better hygiene practices. Through One Foundation support, UP is currently reaching 39,500 people, mainly children, in Malawi.
Meet Agbara Okon Edet. He’s the retired former head of the Abi local government area in Nigeria’s Cross River State. He describes himself as a “lover of health”, which is why he became extremely troubled three years ago by the high cholera rates which were rampant in his community.
Before United Purpose came to his village, Benedict never stopped to consider the detrimental impact that going to the toilet in the open had on his community.
Koranic schools or “Daaras” exist across West Africa and are established cultural and Islamic religious institutions. Run by Koranic masters, they engage more than 100,000 children – all boys - in Senegal. In the capital Dakar, an estimated 50,000 of these children called “talibé” are sent daily to the streets to beg for money, food, rice or sugar, exposing them to many risks.
Although the Senegalese state has ratified the main international and regional child protection laws, a weak application of these rules, particularly in the case of Daaras, is the political reality.
In June we were delighted to announce our new partnership with Urdd Gobaith Cymru . The Urdd give the young people of Wales a chance to work in countries across Africa, Asia and South America, contributing to a fairer, kinder and more understanding world.
Following this partnership, on the 20th August 2019, a group from the Urdd along with Elinor Snowsill (WRU) will be traveling to Kilifi in Kenya to meet one of United Purpose’s fantastic partners – Moving the Goalposts.
It’s a common criticism of mainstream media, that when a humanitarian disaster strikes, there is intense coverage for a few days – and then the news agenda moves on. But while the stories may disappear from our screens, the demanding work of reconstruction - by individuals, communities, governments and international organisations - goes on for weeks, months and years, long after most journalists and reporters have left. Just over 3 months ago in March, Cyclone Idai, bludgeoned its way through the central parts of Mozambique, causing extreme devastation and widespread flooding in its wake. The UN estimates that 1.7 million Mozambicans lived in the path of the cyclone, which caused irreparable damage and the death of over 600 people.
For many communities along the coastline in Cross River state, Nigeria, the mangrove forest serves as a major source of income, mainly through wood logging for firewood and timber for construction.
However, the forest needs to be protected and sustained so it stays productive for the long term. United Purpose is helping with this. We have created a new project that is helping local communities understand the importance of conservation, understand how to undertake this conversation themselves, and shows them alternatives ways to secure income that is less reliant on the forest.
The Integrated Mangrove Forest Management and Livelihoods in Nigeria project is supporting 15 communities in the mangrove forest in Cross River State (six in Akpabuyo, six in Odukpani and three in Calabar South). The project will ensure community-led, collective action is taken to reverse the loss of habitat and preserve biodiversity, while also sustaining local livelihoods.
Thanks to generous funding from Penny Appeal, United Purpose has launched a new project in North East Brazil with the aim of providing long-term support to women involved in a range of businesses - from food, shellfish and rural tourism, to producing clothes, handicrafts, soaps and detergents.
Earlier this month, the people of the Ikom and Yala areas of Nigeria rolled out the drums to celebrate the achievement of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, with the aid of United Purpose’s community-Led Health Improvement through Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (CHISHPIN) project.
In 2016 the opportunity arose for UP to merge with International Inspiration, the London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic legacy organisation and a leader in the field of Sport for Development and Peace. International Inspiration had been championing the use of sport in development, to empower disenfranchised groups, and in public education and behaviour-change programmes, since 2007.
Our staff on the ground in Malawi & Mozambique are working around the clock to support emergency efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. It is undoubtedly one of the southern hemisphere’s worst disasters with floods, landslides and destruction. It’s a race against time to save people. 600,000 have been severely impacted, with hundreds of lives loss and this number rising by the hour. Roads have been destroyed, homes destroyed, livestock & farms flooded. Those who survived now have little or no access to food, water and sanitation, and cholera is a risk in some areas.