|Annual Report 2004||.........|
Table of Contents
from the Executive Director
From Association of Young Azerbaijani Friends of Europe – AYAFE (Azerbaijan)
“AYAFE is an independent, non-political, non-profit youth NGO established in November’97 with the aim of promoting peace, understanding, intercultural education/exchange, and also standing for the safer environment through volunteer work and active involvement of Azerbaijani youth into this. AYAFE supports equal opportunities for everybody and is against of any kind of sexual, racial, cultural discrimination. AYAFE is totally volunteer-based organization. More information is available at www.geocities.com/ayafe.
First of all we want to thank the Cottonwood Foundation for kindly providing a financial assistance to both Azerbaijani and foreign volunteers, without humble efforts of who, the project could not be a success.
Organizing working camp means much more than that. It is not just a work of virtue, benevolence and doing something useful for the society, helping disadvantaged ones, etc. It is also meeting people, learning by doing, intercultural learning and of course a great fun. AYAFE is the only organization in Azerbaijan organizing volunteer working camps throughout the country involving local as well as foreign volunteers to the work.
This time we decided to organize a camp dedicated to the pollution of the Kur River, which is the longest river in Azerbaijan. It fully supplies Ganja with drinkable water. Ganja utilizes the resources of this river in different ways. However, neither of them is safe due too the pollution. Moreover, the city itself contributes to the process of pollution. Most of the times the reason for this is unawareness of the population and failure to realize the urgency of the issue. This year AYAFE decided to suggest organizing a camp with the main focus on the environmental problems of the Ganja city addressing mainly environmental challenges of Kur river in Ganja and raising awareness among young people on environmental issues.
International volunteers came from the following countries: 2 volunteer from Italy, 1 volunteer from France, 1 volunteer from Finland, 1 volunteer from Poland, 1 volunteer from UK, 2 volunteer from Netherlands. [Six Azerbaijani volunteers also participated.] During the first week of the camp the volunteers together with local youth cleaned the bank of Kur river, distributed booklets and posters among youth and tried involve as many as possible young people to this action. We also planted new trees and put big signs against pollution. The second week we had mainly meetings with pupils from different schools of Ganja on environmental awareness.
The one of the important success of this project is that we had great interest by side of local people and refugee kids from Afghanistan, Chechenistan and Iraq. An initiative group of young people was set up in the settlement to follow-up the activities carried out during the camp. AYAFE undertook to support this group when necessary.
At the end of the camp volunteers together with the AYAFE people held an evaluation session to assess the progress and shortcomings. The general feeling was that the work was indeed useful and needs to be continued in the future.
Thank You for Cooperation.”
From Benton Furniture Share (Oregon, USA)
“Benton Furniture Share, in the three months that have been tabulated since receiving the Cottonwood Foundation grant, has distributed 20 items of furniture to the elderly in the area we serve. This represents half of our projected distributions under this grant in only three months. [Benton Furniture Share provides donated used furniture that would otherwise be landfilled to those in need.]
Some of the situations we have seen include:
Benton Furniture Share will continue to respond to request from the elderly on a priority basis. We appreciate the support of the Cottonwood Foundation, and anticipate enjoying a good working relationship in the future.”
From African Blackwood Conservation Project (USA/Tanzania)
“In mid-2004, the ABCP reached a milestone with the planting of the one-millionth tree under Sebastian’s stewardship, including 156,000 African Blackwood trees. The Cottonwood Foundation has been an integral partner in providing seed money to help us create necessary infrastructure for our project to make it increasingly self-sufficient and to help us build an organizational structure which will accommodate volunteers who are the lifeblood of our project. Your grant monies have helped support the necessary improvements to give our work a permanent physical site for our nursery and the information technology to administer the project, and have been an integral part of our achievement in planting the milestone millionth tree. In the Swahili language of Tanzania, on behalf of Sebastian Chuwa and the many volunteers of the ABCP, we say “Asante Sana!” ał many thanks!”
From PAP21, Philippines
“This is the third time that PAP 21 was able to obtain a grant from Cottonwood Foundation. This grant was intended to support the crop and livestock diversification effort of 10 families and members of the Nagasi Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries ał Multi Purpose Cooperative Incorporated or NARB-MPCI, a cooperative of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Esperanza, Barangay Nagasi, La Carlota City in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines.
The fund was use mainly in the purchase of farm tools and materials, seeds and work animals. Part of the money was also used in a skills training on organic vegetable production and seed saving and propagation held last December 8-9 2004.
In particular, through the support from Cottonwood Foundation, PAP 21 was able to purchase different kinds of vegetable seeds dispersed not only to ten (10) but to twenty five (25) families or households beneficiary of the project. Besides, the beneficiaries were able to access from PAP 21 various kinds of farm tools and planting materials for their vegetable production. Lastly, they also received two heads of carabao [water buffalo] that they can use for the cultivation of their farms.
During the evaluation, most of the member of the twenty five (25) families said that through the project they were able to grow vegetables and other food crops for their sustenance. More than that they said that their foods are not only nutritious but safe and healthy, because it was grown free from toxic chemicals. In addition, through the project they were able to get extra income that they use for their daily expenses. Most of them said they no longer have problems in sending their children to school because out of their income from their vegetables they can already raise money to support the daily fare and expenses of their students. Through the project, they have started to realize that growing of food crops and livestock is an important aspect of their over-all agricultural production which until now is heavily dependent in the growing of sugarcane.
The project has become an eye opener not only to the project beneficiaries but to the entire cooperative members in the importance of crop diversification. It has also helped in polishing the intervention of PAP 21 through the realization that indeed “Small is Beautiful.” That sometimes we don’t have to spend a lot of money on big projects.”
From Pedals for Progress (USA/Colombia)
“The Cottonwood Foundation donated $1,000 towards the shipment of a container of used bicycles to the Horizons of Freedom Foundation (Fundacion Horizontes de Libertad/FHL), a Colombian non-profit agency located in central Colombia. Pedals for Progress assisted the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, a Kansas prison, to ship a 40’ container of bicycles to FHL. Ellsworth has been operating a bicycle repair program overhauling locally-donated bicycles for distribution to local children, and contacted Pedals for Progress in late 2003 seeking an outlet for a growing number of surplus bicycles. In all, Ellsworth personnel loaded 387 bikes and 179 “pieces” (boxes and individual loose parts) of bicycle parts and accessories. The shipment departed Kansas October 1 and arrived in Buenaventura, Colombia on November 9, 2004, clearing Customs on November 24, 2004. FHL began distributing the bikes shortly thereafter.
Through the end of the year, FHL distributed the bikes as follows:
1. Earn-a bike program with school children from internal refugee camps: 10 bikes (in exchange for labor to re-assemble and maintain the shipment’s bikes)
2. “The Gnomes” School for Special Children: 37 bicycles
3. Rural school children needing transportation to attend school: 25 bicycles
4. Ibague Association of Friends of the Bicycle: 22 bicycles to promote local bicycle use
5. Newly-released prisoners: 16 bicycles to assist them in re-entry to civil life/access to employment.
[The report described how the remaining 239 bikes will be distributed in 2005 for a variety of other purposes.]
Thank you again for the Cottonwood Foundation’s support to Pedals for Progress.”
From Eco-Garden, Kenya
Environmental Conservation and Organic gardening had successful work accomplished with the funding from Cottonwood Foundation. The main theme of our work this project year was serving the community groups while protecting the environment by specifically focusing on natural resources management. The success of our work came because of careful participatory planning with the community groups that included farmers, women and high school clubs. Specifically the following groups were trained, Chepareria Girls High school, High school agricultural instructors, Kesogon farmers group, and Milima self help group.
A day long workshop for 40 high school agricultural instructor from West Pokot and Trans-Nzoia district representing 40 high schools was organized to enable them learn basic methods of food production and gardening under organic farming. The training of high school instructor was very necessary because agriculture is one of the subjects that is offered in Kenyan high school but its main focus is on the use and application of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Eco-gardens expects that at the end a total of 4000 students in the two districts will be at least knowledgeable in organic farming techniques which they will share with their parents. [A description was also provided of training given to 80 students in the young farmers club at Chepareria Girl’s high school and to 15 members of Milima self-help group.]
In the process of making sure that the community had access to clean water so as to reduce the outbreak of water borne diseases, Eco-garden protected a spring well to serve 100 household. The spring well was nicely constructed using bricks and metal bars to strengthen the walls that will make it a very durable to supply water. Lastly the funds were used to purchase fencing wires and posts to fence 7 acres of Eco-garden land. Eco-garden has both gardening land and 2 acres under indigenous forest that provides habitat to wildlife therefore it was necessary to protect it from stray livestock.
In conclusion, the funds were well utilized and good progress was attained within a short time period. It is through such kind support that Eco-garden is able to implements community development work that leads towards sustainability.”
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