Blog

Nascent Celebrates Global Handwashing Day

Nascent Solutions joined the international community on October 15th in celebrating Global Handwashing day. Utilizing a sanitation-is-fun approach we have been educating pupils in rural schools in Bui Division in Cameroon to wash their hands regularly, particularly before eating and after bathroom breaks. These simple guidelines are often absent in poor communities where more immediate issues of finding food and survival dominate social consciousness.

However our education initiatives, paired with Nascent Solutions’ construction of handwashing stations as part of the McGovern-Dole Food For Education program’s implementation has yielded good results. Many children now regard handwashing at the hands-free handwashing stations as a fun activity and are eager to wash their hands before meals, after bathroom breaks and after various other youthful shenanigans.

Celebrating days like the Global Handwashing day helps deepen the entrenchment of good sanitary habits, and we found the pupils in our project schools eager commemorators this year.

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Clean Water Project Underway

Dysentery and other diseases of unclean drinking water are the leading cause of death in children in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The Water Project leg of the USDA Nascent Solutions’ MGD/ ALIGN  program is underway in Cameroon’s Bui Division. The Water Project seeks to install water wells, hand-washing stations and water tanks in up to 42 needy schools in Bui Division in Cameroon.

The first school to be equipped with borehole, water tank and hand washing stations is GS Bamkikai, in Kumbo. Prior to the projects intervention pupils as young as 5 had to fill up a designated class bucket with water from a surface stream a ten minute walk from the school campus before classes daily. This class bucket with water exposed to animal and human wastes and pesticide runoff from nearby farms served as the source of drinking water for the classes. This situation is replicated in many rural communities contributing to high rates infant disease and death in impoverished communities.

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The Water Project’s robust approach to providing reliable long term clean water with deep water wells, will help stem the tide of sickness and death in rural children. The water from the wells will further be used to water school gardens and in hand washing stations further bracing the most vulnerable against hunger and sickness and providing them the necessary foundation for a sound education.
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Drop Everything And Read

In our target communities students on average read at three tenths of the international literacy standard. This poor start predicts crippling competitive prospects for young scholars in today’s information age. NSI’s Education program in North West Cameroon has been consulting with local education officials from state, community and religious institutions as well as the heads of teacher training colleges on strategies to improve the literacy curriculum and teacher training methods.

Ed Team with Principal CTTC, TatumsmAt NSI we believe this co-operative united approach holds the most promise for transforming poor rural children into literate global citizens with active roles in shaping their destinies in an increasingly competitive world. An NSI representative recently served as a judge on the invitation of Knowledge for Children during celebrations for D.E.A.R, where the activities of the day included the international celebration of reading for pleasure, dubbed “Drop Everything And Read.” During this event every participant had to read a random passage for a period of at least twenty minutes. A reading comprehension finals further pitched primary school participants from across the country against each other in fun competitive context. Events such as this one, celebrations of literacy events, focus groups with parents and teachers, and radio broadcasts highlighting the importance of a literate society are helping dispel education taboos and opening doors to fuller community investment in child literacy.

DEAR Day with KFC (2)csm

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NSI Staff Break Ground on School Gardens

NSI staff surveying 92 schools for the establishment of FFE/ALIGN school gardens in Bui Division broke ground in early April. Field agents led best-practices agriculture training for over 500 local women and men committed to volunteering time and labor to help their children receive hot meals in schools by tending community school gardens. Before the training sessions, expressed concerns about the local obstacles to food production such as: degraded soils, pest animals, access to water, lack of fertilizer and limited crop options. NSI staff discussed possible solutions with them and offered training in various ameliorative strategies.
demonstrating a raised nursery to participants in Noni during the Agric trainingsm

The training sessions included strategies for addressing community specific obstacles. It further included the best methods for garden pegging, bed measurement, bed formation, manure application and crop planting. 500kg of improved seeds of maize, 500kg of beans, 3075kg of Irish Potatoes, and vegetables were distributed to the participating schools for planting. Water needs will be addressed by FFE/ALIGN’s solar-powered well initiative in the coming months. And a foundation was established to expand the school gardens’ impact in the future by increasing the variety of crops grown with the introduction of hardy and nutrient rich superfoods.
Demonstrating self protection and pesticides application during and Agric training in Nonism

With these efforts and continued community involvement to the degree shown in the gardening training, NSI will be on track to help substantially reduce school hunger in children in Bui Division in Cameroon and increase school attendance and outcomes for the poorest communities.

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International Women’s day 2016

Nascent Solutions joins the international community in celebrating International Women’s day 2016. NSI staff salute the marginalized women of the world. We acknowledge and support their struggle to find voice and agency against ancient customs and forces of oppression and discrimination.

Our programs seek to embody the pledge for parity that is this year’s theme. In Africa where we operate, women still face uphill struggles for equality and parity of opportunity, chance and choice in their lives and their children’s lives.

However we continue to work to educate both men and women in our initiatives, about the importance and need for empowered women in creating strong, stable, happy communities. Thus while we celebrate the many strong, business and community leader women whose voices our programs have helped liberate, we likewise acknowledge that we are a long ways off, from our global objective of equality and parity of women with men in all things.
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Ugandan Men: Family Planning

At a time rife with global warfare and conflict, many marginalized communities and people are forgotten. In seemingly peaceful, poor communities throughout Africa, vulnerable women, orphans and families are still ravaged by food insecurity and malnutrition. In rural communities ancient customs have not kept pace with modern challenges such as global warming. Throughout vast tracts of countries such as Uganda, failing rains and drought have left large families with little or no harvest and generations of hungry, uneducated children are the result.

Nascent Solutions Uganda is working to change that. And 2016 has seen an increase in participation from men, in family planning courses led by NSI staff in Uganda. Polygamous families with as many as 26 children are unable to subsist on current agricultural yields. Intervening to educate young and couples and give them the access to the best tools of modern family planning, NSI is buoyed by the by-in from rural men we have noticed in the last year.

In addition to educational programs NSI is identifying, transporting and delivering shelf-stable prepacked nutrient rich food to communities in crisis in implementation of USAID’s International Food Relief Program for Uganda. This combined approach is keeping children and families alive in the short term, while safeguarding their futures.

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International School Meals Day

Nascent Solutions staff and partner schools in Cameroon joined the international community in celebrating International School Meals Day on March 3rd 2016. This is a critical issue with global implications and potential repurcussions. One that it is important to highlight and address considering the grim reality of being a child scholar in an impoverished region.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger globally. With one in four people malnourished or undernourished and 23 million children attending class hungry regularly.
NSI’ ALIGN is specifically geared at addressing this problem, with the objective of dramatically improving school attendance, reducing hunger in students and increasing the attentiveness and productivity of school children in Bui Division.
While we pause to celebrate the gains we have made over the years. We also acknowledge the challenge ahead and invite our guests to join us in our fight against childhood and school hunger, so we can secure a brighter future for children in marginalized communities.
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A Warm Welcome From NSI Beneficiaries

Children at a local FFE beneficiary school express their gratitude and demonstrate their english proficiency by singing a welcome song to NSI staff in the NW province in Cameroon.

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Wells For School Initiative

The lack of consistent access to clean water sources is  a major contributor to poor health and malnutrition in the rural areas of Cameroon. Globally as many as 443 million school days are lost as a result of water related diseases. With over half of all schools in the developing world lacking access to clean water and sanitary toilets. The World Health Organization reports that for every $1 spent on providing clean water access, there is a social return of up to $34 in it’s impact and effect. For these reasons providing access to clean water is a priority of Nascent Solutions’ ALIGN initiative.

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Working with the support of the USDA the project will establish wells in over 72 schools in the North West region of Cameroon, beginning in 2016.This initiative will allow pupils a clean and safe source of drinking water, reducing risk of illness and death. The established wells will extend their usefulness by serving surrounding communities and improving the general health of the region. Return to this page to track our progress.

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NSI & USDA To Launch FFE/ALIGN In Cameroon

In March of 2016, Nascent Solutions, in conjunction with the USDA will launch ALIGN (Advancing Literacy with Good Nutrition) in the rural communities of Bui Division in Cameroon.

This program will provide school meals to more than 52,000 school age children in the region, giving poor families a direct incentive to encourage and permit school attendance for their children, particularly girls.  ALIGN’s implementation will impact the lives of more than  150,000 vulnerable people with the reach of its constituent initiatives, including:

  • The drilling of boreholes to provide water for drinking, cooking, and hand-washing.
  • The construction of sex-segregated latrines and hand-washing stations accessible to students, teachers and school staff and other complementary sanitation facilities necessary to promote hygiene and health.
  • The boreholes will also provide water to irrigate school gardens in the dry season.

ALIGN is a second and more robust implementation of the McGovern-Dole Food For Education program in Bui Division. It builds on the foundations of the successful 2008-2012 program designed and effected in partnership with Counterpart International. The current program is intended to improve the literacy of school-age children, increase the use of good health and dietary practices, and provide opportunities for sustainable farming education for school children.

NSI staff have been listening to stakeholders and community leaders to streamline the application of the program. So far local and state government, as well as tribal and traditional institutions have embraced the initiative and their full support is anticipated.

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Advance teams in the field have received a warm reception from the target communities and in meetings with stakeholders.

These developments are testament to programs prior success as the social landscape is much more in favor of education as a whole and the education of girls in particular.

2016’s ALIGN will make some 60,000 literacy tools (primarily books) available to learners and provide computer equipment, learning CDs and accessories to bolster teacher access to supplementary teaching materials. A Teacher Resource Center will be set up in the divisional capital, Kumbo, to provide online training to teachers from the target schools, in partnership with the international teacher-training NGOs Teachers without Borders and Fantastic Phonetics.

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