Boran* is a 16 years old boy who lived on the Poipet’s streets, in Cambogia, where he joined a street gang to survive and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Before living on the street, Boran lived with his mother and stepfather. In fact, after his parent’s separation, his father had moved.

When Boran was 11, he was forced by his stepfather to work on a construction site every day. His stepfather hit and threatened him constantly, especially when he was drunk. His mother, however, was unable to express either love or support.

Boran then decided to run away from home and went to live on the street. To survive, he joined a gang, within which he was forced to serve older boys, smoke cigarettes, inhale glue and take other drugs. He also had to beg and sometimes steal.

In February 2019, one of Boran’s friends invited him to participate in an activity organized by the Drop in Center** for trafficked children of Damnok Toek, a partner of Mani Tese: Mobile Rehabilitation. Boran didn’t know it yet, but this rehabilitation project would radically change his life.

When Boran arrived at the rehabilitation center was initially too shy to talk to the other children or staff and was very ashamed of his lifestyle. Thanks to the project Boran and the other where able to have many experiences in different places such as a football field, a local pool or places to carry out group’s activity.

“This is the first time i’ve had free food and sports clothes. Before, i would either force youger children to find food for me or would beg form myself ” told us Boran.

“The Damnok Toek team not only taught me to practice different sports – he continued – but also to be a good man. My mother and stepfather never taught me that. They always scolded and beat me”.

“At the center i was encouraged and worked with my family. Now i live at home again and have become a Peer Educator. I participate in many activities in my community to help other vulnerable children and young people. I study and participate in training courses.

I owe Damnok Toek and the donors who support him a big thank you for always helping and caring for children like me. Now everything in my life has changed. I have hope and have developed skills and competences to lead a happy life. Also, I am no longer taking drugs”.

The Mobile Rehabilitation is the only drug rehabilitation program in Poipet and helps reduce stress and drug abuse through sports, art therapy, and other healing activities.

You too can help children and young people like Boran to get out of the streets and addictions with a donation to the Damnok Toek center: https://www.manitese.it/en/project/children-safe-in-cambodia

*Boran is a fancy name to protect the privacy of the child.

**Drop In Center offers a safe and suitable space for street children to take a break from their daily work.

Children can also benefit from a daily two-hour literacy and numeracy class, recreational activities, meals, and a safe haven at night.

Assistance takes place regularly on the streets, in landfills, directly in the municipalities and where children work on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Every month, mobile libraries and workshops are organized in communities to raise awareness of children, young people and adults on topics such as trafficking, the importance of education, HIV, substance abuse and sexual exploitation. A mobile rehabilitation unit travels to communities 4 times a week to identify and help children who use drugs.

Here are some photos of the activities that take place in the Drop In Center of Poipet:

Formation of educators
Reading and studying
Meals preparation
Gardening
Sport
Meetings with families

For this tenth episode of the videoblog “Stories of Rural Quelimane”, we returned to the Nicoadala district to meet again Alberto António Ubre, beneficiary of the “Rural Quelimane” project, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

In previous episodes, António had told us with satisfaction the advantages he had gained from agroecological training and participation in fairs, where he could meet many customers and sell his products, but he had also testified to the difficulties encountered after the outbreak of the Covid-19.

Now, however, the worst seems to be over and António is glad to see his fields in good health. Production is going well and he has also started growing corn and beans which he didn’t do before. It is now easier for António to have a sufficient quantity of products for sale in the markets and for personal consumption.

Watch the video and listen to his story:

CONTINUE FOLLOWING THE VIDEOBLOG “STORIES OF RURAL QUELIMANE”

In Burkina Faso we are committed to fighting child malnutrition and improving the nutrition of rural families through the “Project for the improvement of the nutritional conditions of women and children in the health districts of Garango and Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso“, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and led by the NGO AES-CCC.

After the story of Adissa and her nephew, today we want to tell you the story of Safiata Zoure, rice producer and mother of 4 children, who we met in April to evaluate the impact of the project on her life and that of his children.

When we arrive at Safiata’s house, she is preparing a meal with rice that she worked in the Gargou processing center, made during the first year of the project. Before starting to cook, Safiata fetches water from a rudimentary well and rinses the rice to remove the last residues of dust from the grains. A small daily action, but which we understand to be very tiring. As soon as he sees us, Safiata warmly welcomes us and offers us some water.

“My name is Safiata Zoure, I am 36 years old and 4 children – she tells us – I live in the village of Gargou and for some months I have been working in the rice processing center built by Mani Tese. Here in particular we deal with the etuvage of rice, that is a steam pre-cooking, which maintains the nutritional properties of the rice.”

“I have always transformed rice with a lot of commitment and sacrifices – continues Safiata – but my life and that of my family remained tiring and difficult. Now, thanks to the project, it is much better because we have increased production and I am able to have enough rice not only for daily consumption but also for sale in the markets. With the proceeds I can pay school, medical examinations for my children and I can also buy some new clothes.”

“I hope my children have a good future and that one day they can become teachers, doctors, policemen or, why not, they can work rice like me – concludes Safiata – I also hope that all African women can have the same luck as me. and the opportunity to work and increase their income to be independent and to give their children a future.”

Today, Mother’s Day, give a gift to a woman like Safiata: donate now to fight malnutrition and create income opportunities in Burkina Faso:https://www.manitese.it/en/project/improvement-nutritional-conditions-women-and-children

Mani Tese is active in Guinea-Bissau with the “JUNTAS: female empowerment in the Gabu region” project, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, which aims to improve the economic and social conditions of women and combat gender inequalities.

As part of this project, in the last days of March, a visit was made to Boé, one of the poorest areas of Guinea-Bissau on the border with Guinea Conakry. Here the NGO AIFO, leader of the project, has created a series of gardens and Mani Tese, thanks to its long experience in the field, is carrying out training on agroecology which aims to be an instrument of female emancipation.

The visit touched three different communities (Tchetché, Tchancum Sate and Malangari) and the main purpose of the visit, our project leader Marco Cazzolla tells us, was to understand which hydraulic works could facilitate access to water for the beneficiaries and vegetable gardens.

The first garden we met, Marco tells us, is the garden of the community of Tchetché which is managed by seven women and three men. The garden is quite small, but it is located near the river and can therefore enjoy a wide availability of water.

Here the engineer of the group, Eugenio Ampa Djalank of the Associaçao Poceiros de Sao Domingos, recommended the use of a hydraulic pump to take water from the river and the construction of a cistern, located about ten meters above the ground, to collect water. The pumping of the water could take place through the use of a petrol engine, or through solar panels positioned above the tank, while for the irrigation of the gardens a tap would be needed to regulate the use of water.

As an alternative to the cistern, added the engineer, a kind of swimming pool could be built where the water pumped by the river ends up. The farmers could thus recover the water with a bucket and irrigate the fields.

After visiting the community of Tchetché, the journey continued to Tchancum Sate known for the production of palm oil.

Here the community garden is managed by twelve women and eight men and is located in an area with a lot of humidity and fertile soil. It is served by a rudimentary well (which has only a hole and no concrete construction) through which the water is collected with a bucket and a rope. The engineer’s proposal is to build a cistern above the well in which the water can be stored via a solar panel pumping system and its use can be regulated via a tap. Furthermore, a concrete wall could be built to protect the well.

A curiosity about Tchancum Sate is that it is a nomadic community that, at certain times of the year, moves to live in the woods in search of land to grow rice and peanuts.

After visiting Tchaum Sate, we decided to spend the night at the hotel built by the Dutch NGO Chimbo, which takes care of the conservation of the chimpanzees very present in this area.

The following day we headed to Malangari which is the most isolated of the three communities: to reach the destination, in fact, it was necessary to leave the car, cross a river in a canoe and walk for about two kilometers.

Here, the garden is managed by twelve women and one man. As in Tchancum Sate, also in Malangari we find a rudimentary well and the hydraulic engineer Eugenio suggested increasing the depth and diameter of the well and building a concrete wall to avoid possible accidents. Unfortunately, the lack of a direct road to Malangari will lead to an increase in the costs of transporting the material, but these obstacles will not stop our work!

Thanks to all those who made this monitoring visit. Di Mani Tese: Marco Cazzolla, project leader; Braima Baldé, agronomist; Malam Jau, driver. From AIFO: Mamadu Djau, agricultural animator and Moreira Mamadu Jalò driver. From the Associaçao Poceiros de Sao Domingos: hydraulic engineer Eugenio Ampa Djalank.

If you want to contribute to the realization of the project “JUNTAS: female empowerment in the Gabu region” click here: https://www.manitese.it/en/project/juntas-female-empowerment-in-gabu-region

Here are some photos of the visit to the Boé gardens:

Community of Malangari
Malangari garden
Garden of Tchetché
Vegetable garden of Tchancum Sate

Youth, climate change and activism: these are the three keywords of the new Food Wave project, aimed at raising awareness and involving young people aged 15 to 35, so that they can lead the global transition towards a sustainable food system by 2030.

The project is co-financed by the European Union with around 8 million euros through the DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising) program and led by the Municipality of Milan in collaboration with Mani Tese, ActionAid Italia, ACRA and foreign partners.

Food Wave aims to reach 15 million young people through a dedicated web platform and digital campaign. During the project, young people will be involved in a broad program of formal and non-formal learning, street action, discussion forums, art contests and international exchanges focused on food production and consumption practices aimed at mitigating climate change and aimed at co -designing a green and inclusive future for our cities.

Mani Tese, in particular, in Italy deals with the organization of activism schools on the theme of FOOD, CLIMATE AND CITY, one of which has already been successfully completed and the other will start in the coming weeks.

“The schools of activism have the aim of giving meaning to abused words such as sustainability and organic – declares Giosuè De Salvo, Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Education at Mani Tese – to strengthen the role of changemaker of young people and to revitalize the action of third sector through contamination with youth movements for climate and social justice”

Earth Day

On the occasion of Earth Day, which this year specifically addresses climate change with the Global Summit in the United States organized by President Joe Biden, Food Wave launches its online community, connecting activists from 17 countries and 21 urban areas, including including London, Madrid, Warsaw and Sao Paulo in Brazil. In fact, the project involves 16 municipalities and local authorities and 13 civil society organizations, led by the Municipality of Milan. The Food Wave Consortium also includes C40, the international network of cities engaged in the fight against climate change.

The survey by Mani Tese and SWG

According to a survey promoted by the SWG and Mani Tese research center as part of the Food Wave project, young people in Europe show a high degree of activability on environmental issues, but still little knowledge: over 70% of young people interviewed believe that consumers can play a decisive role in reducing the impact on the environment with their food choices; however, only 1 in 4 young people show adequate awareness of the food-climate link. This is why it is so important to strengthen the knowledge and skills of young Europeans and their ability to promote and monitor the agroecological transition towards food systems that respect the environment and people’s rights.

For info:

Web: www.foodwave.eu

Facebook: www.facebook.com/foodwaveproject

Instagram: www.instagram.com/foodwaveproject/

Hashtag ufficiali: #Foodwaveproject #CatchTheWave

Since October 2019, Mani Tese has been active in Guatemala with the “Fight against malnutrition in the Chiquimula department” project which involves the communities of Dos Quebradas and Lantiquin in the Camotán area. The goal is to fight hunger and improve the health and hygiene conditions of families through a series of training courses on agroecology and home hygiene.

Read more about our Coronavirus prevention interventions and food distribution in Guatemala.

Señora Maria Felipa Garcia Diaz is one of the women involved in the project and has enthusiastically attended all the training courses. When her husband, who had emigrated to Honduras for two months, returned, Felipa told him what she had learned and, together, they immediately began to cultivate a plot of land following the good agroecological practices taught to her by the students and professors of the University Center of Oriente, project partner.

Doña Felipa and her husband thus planted the fruit trees that had been delivered to them, sowed corn and beans in the garden and began to diversify the crops on their land which they decided to call “El aguacate” (in fact, among things also received avocado plants). Thanks to the harvest, the family had enough food to support themselves even during the pandemic.

In addition, doña Felipa has learned how to make new natural recipes with the fruits of her labor, has created medicines with natural extracts and has prepared organic pesticides that keep pests away from her crops without damaging the soil.

Finally, comparing with the other families of the Dos Quebradas community and the technical team of the project, Felipa understood the possible causes of water contamination and how the surfaces of her home could carry diseases, such as chagas due to a bedbug that slips into the cracks in the walls, and is convinced of the importance of expanding the house by creating a separate area in which to keep the animals.

When the technical team visited her to monitor progress, they could see the improvements in the home environment that was clean and tidy, with an entrance embellished with decorative plants grown by Felipa and a separate area where their animals lived ( chickens, hens and pigs).

Everyone congratulated Felipa and she explained how each member of the family had actively participated in the cleaning and how, with great teamwork, they were able to make a satisfying change to their home and their lives.

Doña Felipa’s family has become a model for the others selected by the project so that they too can improve the home environment, reduce the incidence of communicable diseases and increase their food security.

Here are some photos of doña Felipa at work:

Doña Felipa receives some avocado plants
The delivery to doña Felipa of a metal silo for the conservation of the harvest

Peter Kibe is a farmer from Nakuru County, located in the upper basin of the Molo River in Kenya. In 2014 he had participated in a training course on mushroom production, thanks to which he hoped to be able to start a business, but the lack of economic resources had forced him to give up the project.

At the beginning of last year, however, Peter was involved in the project “Agri-change: small businesses big opportunities. Development of agro-food supply chains in the Molo river basin “, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and accepted with enthusiasm and with the intention of finally starting a mushroom production.

Peter, this time, was not willing to give up and worked with great motivation to build a facility for the production of mushrooms. The structure was made operational at the end of 2020 and Mani Tese, thanks to the aforementioned project, provided Peter with four kilograms of mycelium (basic element for the production of mushrooms), work tools and a practical and theoretical refresher course.

At the end of December, Peter started harvesting, sold some of the mushrooms to his neighbors and kept others for family consumption. At the time of the visit by the project team, Peter had collected a total of 15 kg of mushrooms and estimated that he would be able to produce up to 45 kg for the first cultivation batch. Thanks to sales, Peter was able to increase his income and this year he was able to pay his children’s school fees.

“Mushroom production is the most comfortable type of agriculture I’ve ever done – says Peter – To take care of it, in fact, I don’t have to leave home because a small portion of land in my yard is enough and I can save time to devote to other activities. “.

“This new production has improved the nutritional level of the whole family – continues Peter – Now in fact, thanks to the sale of mushrooms, we can afford to diversify the foods we consume, and the mushrooms themselves provide us with a good source of protein”.

Peter’s mushrooms are in high demand in the area, and as soon as they are ready, customers come to buy them or even book them in advance. However, there are several challenges for their production: in fact, a lot of attention is needed to take care of them in all seasons, it is necessary to regulate the temperature and maintain very high hygiene standards in the production structure, because the mushrooms are very sensitive and delicate.

Here are some photos of Peter and his mushrooms:

Oyster mushrooms almost ready for harvest
Young mushrooms sprouting
Peter in his mushroom production unit

On March 5, in the city of Gabu (Guinea-Bissau), an event was held to celebrate International Women’s Day as part of the project “JUNTAS: female empowerment in the Gabu region”, co-financed by the Italian Cooperation Agency to Development.

The event was organized by Mani Tese with the two main project partners, AIFO and FADPD-GB (Federation for the defense and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in Guinea-Bissau), in the AMAE center (Association of women for activities economic), with the aim of raising awareness among public institutions and representatives of civil society on the issue of violence against women and women with disabilities.

In the opening phase, the event saw the introductory speech by the heads of mission of Mani Tese and AIFO, Paola Toncich and Arniel Silot. Then the project leaders, Marco Cazzolla for Mani Tese and Elisabetta Quattrocchi for AIFO, illustrated the objectives and initiatives of the project itself and, to follow, Saco Embalo, social animator of the project, explained the history and meaning of International Women’s Day, underlining its importance with a view to raising awareness of women’s rights.

The intervention by Iris Babilonia Will was also interesting to testify to the synergy between the JUNTAS project and the “Emancipation and rights for children and women in Guinea-Bissau” project, funded by the European Union, of which Iris is local manager of the activities gender. Iris talked about violence against women by telling stories she knew during her professional experience and was keen to emphasize the importance of psycho-social support for victims of violence.

The celebration ended with the presentation of Saido Embalo, representative of the Federation for the defense and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in Guinea-Bissau, who spoke more specifically of the problems affecting women with disabilities (who suffer a double discrimination being both women and disabled) and gave recommendations to various public and private institutions and organizations for the inclusion of people with disabilities in Guinean society.

Here are some photos of the event:

At the end of 2020, together with the Mani Tese Finale Emilia Social Promotion Association and the social tailoring Manigolde, we launched the “Mending the future” project, funded by the Modena Foundation and the European Union.

This is a “bridge” project between Italy and Guinea-Bissau that aims to promote the socio-economic autonomy of vulnerable girls and women in Guinea-Bissau and raise awareness in Italy, in particular on the issue of ethical and sustainable fashion and on violence against women.

The activities will take place between Italy and Guinea-Bissau and will involve, on the one hand, the women of the social tailoring Manigolde, on the other, the women and girls who are victims of violence welcomed in the Bissau Reception Center.

The Manigolde, in particular, will organize three online workshops to work, together with the Guinean seamstresses, on the creation of garments with traditional African models and fabrics.

The girls and women of the Bissau Reception Center, on the other hand, will receive tailoring training held by the head of the tailoring RENASCER ALFAIATARIA of Antula, project partner.

The same RENASCER ALFAIATARIA tailor’s shop will see an increase in staff with the arrival of new workers who will devote themselves mainly to the production of masks and dresses.

“The project aims to generate training and reintegration opportunities for women victims of violence – the Manigolde tell us – but at the same time it wants to be an opportunity for a mutual exchange of tailoring skills”.

Cooperation, solidarity and comparison are therefore the basis of this project which, as well as on the Mani Tese website, will also be told through the Facebook and Instagram profiles of the Manigolde. Visit them for the latest updates and click here for more info on the project: https://www.manitese.it/en/project/mending-the-future

Below are the photos of a seamstress from the Manigolde and of a Guinean dressmaker.

© Andrea Scacchetti
© Mirko Cecchi

On March the 8th, as in all countries of the world, the International Day of Women’s Rights is also celebrated in Benin. Here, for the third consecutive year, the event has a special character for Mani Tese, because it is organized by the women who have been involved in our development projects over the years.

This year it was the village of Kouba, in the Municipality of Toucountouna, to host the event and the motto chosen by the women was “Our leadership is the result of a daily conquest and our resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic is the fruit”.

The celebrations began with songs and dances at the headquarters of the Kouba Women’s Cooperative Union. Subsequently, the delegations of women and associations from the municipalities of Kouandé, Natitingou and Toucountouna and more precisely from the localities of Tigninti, Koussocongou, Didapombor, Tampègré, Maka and Kabaré were welcomed.

The group, made up of a large number of women and guests, then happily crossed the village singing songs that underlined the path made by the cooperatives and the results obtained thanks to the support of Mani Tese. Finally, the group arrived at the village youth house which had been carefully prepared for the occasion.

Here, the head of the village Sèbi Sika Séraphin and the head of the land of Kouba Simbokou Tchawera thanked the participants in the demonstration and congratulated the women for their commitment to the activities in which they were involved by Mani Tese. At the end of the speech, they both thanked the Mani Tese staff for the work done in the village.

Immediately afterwards, the President of the Union of Cooperatives of Kouba Manioc Processors, Katoumi Adamou, took the floor, explaining the progress made by the Kouba groups after their meeting with Mani Tese and recalling the numerous and important aid received. In particular: a cassava processing laboratory, a warehouse for the storage of products, materials and tools for transport and processing, facilitating access to microcredit, support for rediscovery and introduction into agricultural practices and habits of some vegetables that had practically disappeared. The President concluded her speech by thanking Mani Tese again for all the support received, this has in fact allowed the beneficiaries to emancipate themselves even more, increasing their sense of responsibility, and allows them to be treated with greater respect and dignity in family and in the village.

The Director of the Public Primary School of Kouba, Antoine Biaou, however, recalled the important role that Mani Tese played at the school level in promoting the right to education and the scholastic maintenance of students and in particular of female students.

The Representative of Mani Tese in Benin, Achille Tepa, was then called to speak. more than any financial support, these women have taken their life in hand and, for this reason, I am always proud to quote them as an example wherever I go ”. According to Achille, all development projects must lead to this moment in which the beneficiaries become autonomous and can really take control of the situation.

In conclusion, the head of the district of Kouarfa – Mr. Boni Kpagre – representing the mayor of the Municipality of Toucountouna, also recalled the many actions of Mani Tese in the municipality of Toucountouna. The activities carried out with Mani Tese, he said, have considerably improved the status and income of women by allowing them to even take out health insurance for the benefit of their families. Kpagre hopes that the dynamic set in motion will continue in order to allow other women to join the cooperatives to benefit from the advantages they offer.

Here are more photos of the celebration: