Africa

A new member of Horyou platform, the Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation (HCRFF) invests in education and awareness to prevent health issues in developing countries

Pierrette Cazeau

Despite being born in Haiti, Pierrette Cazeau grew up in New York and Florida, in the US, and thus was never aware of the country’s challenges until she first visited it as a grown up-woman. She was struck by the challenges faced by its population on a daily basis – lack of health infrastructure, corruption, abuse, poverty and hunger. That changed her life as she decided to devote her time and efforts to build a Foundation and use education to prevent such disasters as the 2010 cholera outbreak.

«You can’t predict natural disasters or climate change effects, but you can educate people to prevent and reduce poverty. Without education, you just open the door to the negative effects of the unpredictable», says Pierrette, founder of HCRFF. The NGO was created in 2013 and has since developed many projects to support and empower communities facing health and social problems. «We’ve seen so many victimized people sitting quietly, and that escalates anger and hate». Economic and social problems, she believes, are part of a cycle that comprises disruption, refugee crisis and racism.

Syphilis Project

Focusing on education, the foundation organizes workshops for students coming from challenging backgrounds. In addition to preparing them for work via professional education, and providing them with food, HCRFF also raises awareness of topics like HIV prevention (PrEP and PEP), sexual abuse and other sensitive topics that are critical for the new generations. The NGO also helps Haitians to get access to health care in the US by providing them with transportation, shelter, advocacy and even translation services whenever needed. It also supports pregnant Haitian women left behind by UN peacekeeping soldiers.

The next step is to expand the Foundation services to other countries including Ghana, in Africa, where it intends to start an education campaign on HIV and other STDs. «We need more sponsors as we never charge anything for the services we provide to the communities», says Pierrette. For the last three years, the NGO has been funded by partners, but new sources of financial support are needed. One of the plans is to organize a Marathon for People Living with HIV and raise funds for the cause of education for prevention. «One thing I’ve learned from my father is that education can’t be taken from you. It stays with you forever. I’m grateful for all the educational opportunities I’ve had and I wish more people keep benefitting from it as well».

SDG#6 is an inspiration for Water Energy and Sanitation for Development (WESDE), an active member of our Horyou community. With the aim to fill the gap left by civil society organizations in terms of Health and Environment Education and Integrated Water Resources Management in Cameroon, WESDE faces security, infrastructure and funding challenges to bring development to urban and rural populations in the far North region of the country. Interview with Marie Louise Kongne, WESDE National Coordinator.

WESDE team acting in Cameroon

What are WESDE’s main goals?

While improving significantly the sanitation, hygiene and housing conditions of disadvantaged populations, we aim to reduce the percentage of the population that does not have sustainable access to a drinking water supply. We also want to train and educate people to sustainable management of water resources and the protection of the environment, trying to reverse the current trend of loss of environmental resources. In order to do so, we seek to cooperate with national and international organizations, develop and maintain partnership, exchange and learning relationships. Last but not least, one of our objectives is to accompany the community in the fight against HIV / AIDS in order to stop its spread and reverse the current trend.

Tell us about your main achievements in 2017 and your plans for 2018

In 2017, we helped to raise awareness on education and training of 125 community health workers to work closely with families in 9 health areas on 12 main themes. In total, more than 43,000 households were visited. We also had an active participation in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) coordination meetings of the far North region under the co-lead of UNICEF and the far North Regional Delegation of Water and Energy and, as a Partner of Global Water Partnership (GWP) Central Africa, we contributed to the WASH resilience project in the Mayo Tsanaga sub-basin. In 2018, we aim to implement the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach in 150 villages of 3 pilot health areas as part of the support of the government to improve sanitation conditions in rural areas.

What main challenges do you face in your work?

We have no appropriate vehicles, as we need 4X4 vehicles to reach many areas. The self-financing mechanism is still very weak and there is not a long-term program, which could be at least 3-year renewable. Also, we develop our activities in a context of high insecurity (by Boko Haram)

Your work is closely connected with the SDG#6. In your point of view, how important is it to have a global agenda for water and sanitation?

In comparison with Drinking Water Supply, sanitation has often fallen behind government and donor concerns; however, this situation is moving in the right direction as sectorial strategies are increasingly putting sanitation at the top of the agenda. Recent studies have shown the importance of sanitation for improving health, promoting social development and protecting the environment. It has also been shown that Sanitation interventions are particularly effective in terms of cost reduction if we judge the increase in productivity that they induce and the decrease in the diseases and deaths that they allow. With this in mind, in the framework of the International Year of Sanitation (AIA) by the United Nations in 2008, the African continent, with the support of the African Ministerial Council for Water and Sanitation (AWCOW) organized the AfricaSan conference in Durban in 2008. This regional conference culminated in the ambitious eThekwini ministerial statement, stressing the importance of leadership in sanitation and recommending that 0.5% of GDP must be spent on sanitation.

Below the water, there is another planet we seldom think about. As I am writing this, it is established that the water world counts more than 228,000 species, while experts estimate that between 500,000 and 2 million more sea organisms are still unknown. They form an ecosystem that is integrated into ours – many other living creatures depend on marine life, and that includes us, humans.

Desierto Liquido was screened in CCCB in Barcelona

In many countries, fish and seafood are the main sources of protein. Yet the vigor of the fish industry is currently under serious threat. From Fiji to Mauritania, the fishing industry has indeed become a precarious if unfair trade with fishermen experiencing increasingly harder working conditions as they must face competition from monster multinational fishing boats, and take account of the overexploitation of fish stocks.

The issue of marine life preservation and the struggle of small fishermen in Africa and Europe to make ends meet was shown last Tuesday in «Desierto Liquido» (Liquid Desert), a documentary that was screened at the Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona. Directors Alba Azaola and Daniel Carrasco, both former Greenpeace activists, who, on site, were able to see first-hand the current state of the marine life, offered a clear picture of overfishing, poverty and lack of opportunities that the fishermen in developing countries are faced with and that are causing social unrest, forced immigration and ultimately deaths, not to mention conflicts between small communities and big multinationals.

With this documentary, the directors objective is to spread the word about the situation in the seas. «It is an under covered topic that most people don’t want to think about», said Daniel Carrasco. Having already won 4 prizes in as many movie festivals, they would like their documentary to be screened in as many theatres as possible, and plan to turn it into an educational project. «We have had support from teachers and we are trying to get a partnership with governments. From this documentary we are developing related projects like Blue Hope Tuna (a film about the Bluefin tuna)», he added.

After the screening, a panel which included the directors, as well as Lydia Chaparro, an activist and marine biologist, Gustavo Duch, coordinator of the magazine Soberania Alimentaria and Daouda Dieye, a Senegalese national whose fishing family has been heavily impacted by overfishing. Daouda’s speech indeed added a human touch to the issue – all men in his family are fishermen and face the crisis on a daily basis. «The spend weeks at sea, risking their lives and competing with big fishing boats that operate illegally, while the authorities overlook the situation», he stated. “Many migrants from African origin”, he said, “are actually eco-refugees, fleeing poverty that is caused by the lack of opportunities”.

«Liquid desert» makes a call to fish consumers to be more conscious when choosing what to eat. In some countries, regulations require origin guarantee stamps and seals that show where the fishes come from, and the fishing method used. «There are hundreds of fish types in the sea, but people still buy the same ten or twelve types, which aggravates the problem of endangered species», said Lydia Chaparro. «The power of change is in our hands», she added.

The trailer can be seen here (in Spanish)

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good that connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. In this article, Horyou highlights the challenges of the SDG 14 – Life Below Water.

Depuis dix ans, l’association “Action sociale” soutient des enfants et adolescents, notamment dans les communautés plus vulnérables au Cameroun, en leur offrant un accompagnement psychologique et psychosocial. En 2018, cette organisation active sur notre plate-forme Horyou fête son dixième anniversaire avec des résultats impressionnants – plus de 100 familles d’enfants vivant avec un handicap ont été accompagnés, pendant qu’environ 2000 entretiens psychologiques ont été menés auprès d’enfants et enseignants dans les écoles camerounaises et que plus de 1000 enfants on été sensibilisés contre les maladies sexuellement transmissibles. Horyou a interviewé le président de l’association, Eustache Essouma.

 

Action Sociale au Cameroun

Pouvez-vous nous présenter brièvement “Action sociale”?

L’association “Action sociale” est née en janvier 2008 du besoin de rendre la communauté accessible à la psychologie. C’est une association à but non lucratif. Ses principales cibles sont les enfants et les mamans adolescentes. “Action sociale” rêve d’une société exempte des maladies chroniques et mentales où les populations sont épanouies et adoptent des comportements positifs et responsables. L’association mène des actions de communication sociale, de prise en charge psychologique ou psychosociale et d’insertion socio-économique dans la communauté par les psychologues, les chercheurs, les consultants, les volontaires, les bénévoles et les membres en vue d’améliorer le bien-être des populations. Sa mission est de lutter contre les maladies chroniques et mentales des populations en organisant des campagnes de mobilisation et de sensibilisation, ainsi que des séances de suivi et d’accompagnement psychologique ; d’épanouir les mamans adolescentes à travers l’insertion socio-économique et de changer positivement les comportements des populations à travers la conception et la production des jeux de société. “Action sociale” intervient aux niveaux de la communication sociale, la santé mentale, la santé communautaire, l’insertion socioéconomique des mamans adolescentes, la formation et la recherche.

Vous éduquez des jeunes sur les sujets sensibles comme le HIV et ses conséquences. Comment aborder ce genre de questions d’une façon effective et délicate en travaillant avec ce public?

Nous utilisons des films et des jeux pour sensibiliser nos cibles. Pour nous l’image et le jeu sont faciles pour une prise de conscience et pour faire passer le message.

Y a-t-il eu une réalisation qui a eu une importance toute particulière pour vous ces dernières années?

Nous avons réussi à créer un jeu de société qui permet de lutter contre les inégalités de genre, de stigmatisation et de discrimination des personnes vivant avec le handicap. En 2018 nous voulons en faire la promotion et le vulgariser.

Enfants jouent avec le jeu de societé

Si vous pouviez partager un message avec l’ensemble des membres de la communauté Horyou, quel serait-il?

Horyou est une plate-forme de communication. Elle est très importante pour les ONG et associations. Nous encourageons tout le monde à se l’approprier.

Every time we decide to buy something, from vegetables to cars, we are making a choice that affects a long chain of production. We must make sure that these daily choices are sustainable if we want to build a better future.

Photo: UNDP

In Bangladesh, thousands of workers face the same daily struggle: sewing for 12 or more hours a day in clandestine factories, making only enough money to survive, while allowing for fast-fashion brands to sell their clothes for affordable prices. In Brazil, farmers use pesticides, putting profits before their workers and consumers health, and killing bees and birds without whom no healthy and natural environment is possible. Do we really want to continue to support a chain of exploitation and environmental damage?

SDG 12 is about sustainable consumption and production – and it has everything to do with our choices and priorities as individuals. However, it also needs the support of governments and international organizations to define norms and policies to ensure we build better business practices.

UNDP has raised the flag of soil, water and air pollution, and exposure to toxic chemicals challenges. Despite the many international agreements, only about half the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions that regulate disposal of waste, pesticides and organic pollutants have provided the data and information they had agreed to. Consumption and, consequently, waste, have been increasing in the last 15 years, feeding chains like modern slavery and causing health and social problems.

We can do better as a society! Apart from carefully choosing what we buy and where, we should show a preference for regional and seasonal products and brands that are committed to sustainable regulations. We should act like responsible citizens and put pressure on our governments and organizations to implement better policies that are bound to guarantee a fair production.

We can also support organizations that undertake serious work in sustainable agriculture, and subscribe to eco-conscious and fair trade conduct. On our Horyou platform, one of the most active organizations is Food and Agriculture Initiatives for Development (FAID NGO), which is committed to biodiversity and healthy agriculture, and aims to reach Zero Hunger in Benin, Africa. In Europe, Terre et Humanisme, a French NGO, also promotes agro-ecology to provide food autonomy to vulnerable communities and educate the public on safe and natural consumption.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote sustainable consumption and production in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

Une organisation active sur notre plate-forme Horyou, l’ONG FAID – Food and Agriculture Initiatives for Development – travaille sur les projets agro-écologiques au Bénin dans l’espoir de promouvoir le dévéloppement durable en stimulant une agriculture équitable et une alimentation saine. Nous avons interviewé Vianio Kougblénou, secrétaire executif de l’ONG, qui nous a inspirés avec ses idées et projets pour l’environnement et l’éducation!

ONG Faid au Benin

Pouvez-vous nous raconter en quelques mots votre histoire et vos projets ?

Tout est parti d’un amour partagé entre personnes venant d’horizons divers pour une agriculture et une alimentation plus «saines et équitables», au regard des conséquences sanitaires graves et grandissantes de la production conventionnelle et des pertes et gaspillages alimentaires notoires, cause majeure de la famine. De Juin 2017 à ce jour, nous avons appuyé la création de trois jardins solaires et communautaires ; sensibilisé les élèves à ce que doit être l’agriculture à l’ère du changement climatique ; fait la production agro-écologique de semences de légumes menacées et en avons fait don aux écoles et aux maraîchers ; fait de la transformation de produits pour éviter leur gaspillage (fruit à pain, curcuma, tomates, farine de maïs sans amidon, jus de fruits bio…).

Quels sont les objectifs les plus importants de votre organisation ?

L’ONG FAID a pour mission principale la valorisation des filières agricoles et animales en passant par leur organisation, production et transformation en vue d’assurer la sécurité alimentaire et de lutter efficacement contre les pertes et gaspillages, source d’extrême pauvreté. Nous voulons encadrer les producteurs et les sensibiliser à la gestion optimale des ressources pour une agriculture et une alimentation «saines et équitables» ; motiver et piloter des initiatives, projets et activités axés sur la réduction des pertes et gaspillages alimentaires ; offrir une assistance nutritionnelle aux orphelins, aux handicapés et aux personnes fragilisées ; assainir l’environnement et valoriser la filière agricole et animale.

L’ONG FAID a le soutien et un partenariat avec Slow Food International

Quels sont vos projets pour 2018 ?

A l’ONG FAID, préserver de façon soutenable la biodiversité est notre passion! Pour relever ce défi majeur, en 2018, nous comptons développer et vulgariser l’agri-technologie «GléSika», une innovation qui permet de résoudre le problème de gestion optimale d’eau du côté de la pépinière. Autre projet, “One School = One agro-ecological Garden”, projet d’Éducation à l’Environnement et au Développement Durable (EEDD) lancé en 2017 avec le soutien financier de Slow Food International, suivi de dons de kits de démarrage ou de renforcement de jardins scolaire ou pédagogiques. Il y a aussi le projet-programme «Jardins des Pêches», visant à faire de Cotonou une ville durable en matière de productions végétales et animales. Démarré en phase pilote en 2017, nous y faisons déjà de la production organique de lapins et de volailles locales et de la production de semences des espèces végétales menacées.

Projet Jardin des Pêches

Voulez-vous laisser un message pour notre communauté Horyou ?

Les obstacles à la préservation de l’environnement sont institutionnels, financiers et politiques, et l’on sait comment les lever : il s’agit de développer et de promouvoir un partenariat mondial (Nord-Sud) pour la gestion de projets climato-compatibles. La transition écologique est avant tout une question d’attitude, une question spirituelle. Le Climat devra être considéré comme un bien commun, et gérer en tant que tel. “Ensemble œuvrons donc pour une production plus juste, plus sobre et plus respectueuse des écosystèmes”.

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