Joel Kiprotich is a beekeeper from Baringo County, Kenya. Today his life is full of hope, but his childhood was very difficult.
At the age of three he was diagnosed with an eye problem and although the infection was cured, he could no longer see out of that eye. After two years, following a serious accident, Joel lost his second eye, leaving him completely blind.
Although dependent on his parents to help him walk and perform daily tasks, Joel was always a determined boy and, as he grew up, attempted to become self-sufficient by working in fruit farming. Unfortunately, drought, which is recurrent in the area, caused the business to fail.
Joel, then, decided to experiment with beekeeping, which his father already practiced and which can be managed with less physical effort than farming and fruit farming. He started with five hives and, after an initial bountiful harvest, bought himself another hive.
Joel’s determination pushed us to involve him in the project “Agri-change: small enterprises big opportunities. Development of agri-food chains in the Molo river basin”, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. Thanks to the project, he was provided with three new hives and modern equipment for the collection and care of beehives. Joel was also able to get in touch with the Rabai honey refinery, which the same project realized during the first year.
The last time we visited, Joel had a total of twenty hives and production was going so well that with the proceeds he can now help his family and also make small investments in his business.
Beekeeping can be said to have changed Joel’s life, and he now has a wife, a son, and nurtures a dream of becoming a great beekeeper.
“I thank Mani Tese for supporting me – says Joel – in most cases we people with disabilities are invisible. Now I hope to improve my life and show everyone that disability is not inability!”
Below are some photos of Joel:
If you are born, grow up and live in a context where the woman is considered inferior to the man, at the first slap you won’t say anything, because it will seem normal, you will feel you deserved it, it will seem right. If you are born, grow up and live in such a context, when your husband comes home at night and shouts that dinner isn’t ready yet and there is dust in the corner, you will feel guilty for being late to collect tons of wood in the woods, carrying it on your shoulders. You’ll agree with him and apologize. If you are born, raised and live in such a context and no one tells you, you simply cannot know that this is not okay, not normal at all and that you have rights.
That’s why in the last two months, with the project “Social and rights promotion of women and children for the improvement of health and civil status services”, co-financed by the European Union under the “Population” program, we have trained civil society organizations from 7 provinces in 3 regions of Burkina Faso on what gender-based violence is, how to recognize its signs, what are the tools for protection and how to accompany victims to get the psychological and legal support they need.
The training, aimed at people, both men and women, with a certain level of education and open-mindedness in order to empower them within their communities, started from a very simple question: what is a purely male and a purely female task? The answers were the ones we can imagine: “the woman has to take care of the children”, “the woman has to cook”, “the woman has to take care of the house”, “the man works”.
The trainer then asked the men in attendance if it had ever occurred to them to sweep the yard or wash dishes. Most of them answered yes. She then asked them to stand up and show themselves properly: indeed, they did not appear to have suffered any permanent damage. Laughter in the room. It was then shown visually, with the help of signs, the number of tasks and duties that traditionally fall to the woman and those that are instead attributed to the man. They were read out and each was assigned a realistic time frame. At the end there was silence in the room. And at that point, faced with a slight embarrassment but above all a greater understanding, we began to talk about violence, which is wrong regardless of cultural context and habits, which must be denounced and whose victims must be identified and supported.
The participants accepted the challenge: they confronted themselves with very raw and hard cases from their communities (we’re talking about child brides, 11 year old girls impregnated by a family member and then removed from the family as witches, female genital mutilation and much more) and committed themselves to be a reference point, both to raise awareness among people in their area, and to take charge of identifying and supporting victims with the tools that the law provides.
In the coming months, we will be organizing theater sessions to get right to the heart of communities and spread the message, so that the same potential victims know where to turn if they need help. And we hope that change starts here, with the realization that NO!, it’s not fair.
Below are some photos of the formation:
Moumini is 35 years old and is the young president of the cooperative “Koumare”, which in Bissa language means “the understanding”. Koumare is located in the village of Sampema, in the municipality of Zabré, in Burkina Faso, and to get there the road is difficult, you have to cross the savannah and at some point you almost think that you will never get there. But instead, at the end of the road is the village, where the cooperative works to give hope to young people, exploiting the raw material available: sesame.
Moumini and Koumare’s project, ambitious and particular, is to realize a center for the transformation of sesame into oil, a precious product, very valuable and expensive. For this reason he committed himself and obtained, thanks to the project “Innovative social enterprises and participation of migrants for social inclusion in Burkina Faso” co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Maria Enrica Foundation, a support for the realization of his idea.
Moumini and his colleagues have followed the entire path of incubation and business training provided by the project and have been able to purchase the oil extractor and a motor tricycle for the transport of their products. The cooperative also received special support from the Association of the Burkinabé Diaspora in Italy UABT (Union of Burkina Faso Associations of Treviso), which accompanied them throughout the project, not only with an economic contribution, but also with visits and advice. Its President, Idriss Tarabure, who went to Burkina Faso as part of the project to support Koumare, has been committed for years with his association for his country and in particular for young people and women who are for him the subjects on which to invest for a real development.
Obviously, there have been many challenges, but Moumini and the members of Koumare are slowly facing them all: first the oil extractor ordered from China did not arrive, due to the pandemic; then the price of the tricycle increased and now they are looking for a bigger rented structure to turn into a laboratory; but thanks to the commitment and contribution of all, the future looks bright for this ambitious enterprise. Moumini, in conclusion of our chat, addresses directly to his Italian friends: “First of all, our association would like to thank our partners in Italy for their financial support. As you know, we are in a developing country where the challenges are enormous and the state alone cannot do everything immediately. Added to this are insecurity and pandemic that negatively affect the march towards development. In this context, the presence of friends like you is something to be grateful for and proud of. We dare to believe that we will still and always have your support to market our sesame oil in Italy and around the world. For our part, we assure you that we will do everything possible to deserve the trust you have placed in us”.
Below some photos of Moumini:
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In Guinea-Bissau, we are working with local farmers to develop the poultry sector thanks to the project “Let’s sprout wings to development” co-funded by the European Union, as part of the broader Ianda Guiné program.
Among the planned activities, there are of course professional trainings and one of the people involved is Ms. Janoveva, who lives in Bissau.
Read his testimony below.
My name is Janoveva Vitor Sampa, I live in Bissau and I have been raising chickens since I was a little girl, first with my mother and, after her death in 2019, with my granddaughters.
Farming is the most important thing for me because it allows me to earn money and with that money I can send my daughter to school and pay for the expenses of the house. It is my only source of income.
Thanks to the Ianda Guiné program, I’ve learned many things I didn’t know, such as how to correctly plan the breeding cycle or the importance of vaccinations.
I also participated in the two-day training for the beneficiaries who received the hens and I attended the project’s aviculture course. I am currently doing an online course on raising other animals because I would like to raise not only hens but also other animals to expand our supply and reduce imports from abroad.
I have always given importance to breeding – continues Janoveva – but now I give it even more because I have skills and knowledge that allow me to earn more money and I know that I can improve my breeding.
Janoveva is therefore working to improve her breeding and increase her income, but she is not only thinking of herself. In fact, she also thinks about the good of the whole community and advises other citizens, especially women, to dedicate themselves to breeding.
Says Janoveva – I ask people to dedicate themselves to farming so as to develop our market and not depend on other countries. If we continue to be dependent, in fact, our economy will not be able to grow and we will remain in poverty. Livestock breeding is a dignified job that allows us to earn a living and supply the market with fresh products. Whereas, for example, the eggs and poultry, which we import can arrive in poor condition or even expired.
I am very happy to participate in the program Ianda Guiné! Galinhas program – concludes Janoveva – and I want to thank the European Union for the help. Thanks to the project I have been able to improve my livestock farming and now that “the holes on the road have been plugged” (a local saying) I can move forward faster.
The project “Let’s sprout wings to development” co-financed by the European Union, in the framework of the wider Ianda Guiné program, is carried out by Mani Tese, Asas de Socorro, Instituto Marques de Valle Flor and University of Turin.
Since 2019, we have been active in Guinea-Bissau with the project “Let’s sprout wings to development” co-financed by the European Union in the framework of the broader Ianda Guiné program. In a context mainly linked to subsistence crops and cashew production, of which Guinea-Bissau is the 6th largest producer in the world, our goal is to develop the poultry supply chain, promoting socioeconomic opportunities in the communities of Oio, Cacheu, Biombo, Bissau, Bafata and Gabu.
Many activities were carried out in the first two years of work and the beginning of 2021 was the time for a detailed analysis of the progress made. Thus, visits were made to collect data and discussions were held with the farmers to seek solutions to the difficulties encountered. In addition, some members of the communities involved in the project received dedicated training in accounting.
On February 9, 2021, start-up kits for poultry production were delivered to 25 new project beneficiaries. The kits include: 50 laying hens, 4 bags of rations, 3 feeders, 3 drinkers and medications.
The handover ceremony took place at the headquarters of the NGO Asas de Socorro in Bissau and was attended by Florentino Correia, director of services at the Directorate General of Livestock, Simona Schlede, head of cooperation for the European Union in Guinea-Bissau, Cosimo Tendi, project coordinator for Mani Tese, and Alfredo Cà, Coordinator of the Family Aviculture Program (FAP).
Below are a few moments from the hen delivery:
by Giulia Inguaggiato, Mani Tese Cooperator in Guinea-Bissau
Almost a year has passed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in West Africa, when the restrictive measures imposed by states in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease and avoid the disastrous consequences that had already been seen for some months in the rest of the world, highlighted the seriousness of the phenomenon of Talibé minors.
With the Senegalese government’s imposition of a curfew, the weakness of those who had no home to live in and who had made the streets their home became more apparent. In May 2020 alone, more than a thousand children in vulnerable circumstances were identified. Important numbers that have increased over the months and that have led the Senegalese Ministry of the Family to take the decision to withdraw the children from the streets and welcome them in the various governmental and non-governmental reception centers present in the country.
After the usual operations aimed at identifying the nationality of the minors with the purpose of taking them to their respective communities, the cross-border nature of the phenomenon was confirmed. Most of the children were Senegalese, but numerous unaccompanied minors from Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Gambia were also identified. Smaller numbers were recorded for those from Mali, Nigeria and Togo. While children of Senegalese origin were quickly reunited with their families, minors of other nationalities met a different fate.
The information that arrived daily in Guinea-Bissau from the neighboring border country led institutions, international organizations, NGOs and local associations to establish a cross-border Task Force to facilitate the return of minors of Guinean origin. However, despite these efforts and joint actions, the minors were not able to return to Guinea-Bissau until November of the same year. The pandemic emergency, in fact, was a powerful addition to the chronic emergency in the country, highlighting the fragility of a state that alone is unable to deal with a large and complex phenomenon. The closure of land borders has certainly slowed down the return operations, but the lack of means and resources on the part of the State, together with the structural deficiencies caused by the lack of state centers and the impossibility of providing an effective response capable of dealing with such large numbers, have hindered the possibility of intervening more quickly.
The contribution of AMIC, a local association that deals with the protection of Talibé minors and with which Mani Tese has been cooperating for several years now, has been fundamental in overcoming the stalemate that had been created. Thanks to the project “Investing in the future: protection, training and employment for returning migrants, potential migrants and unaccompanied minor migrants to Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau”, co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, it has been possible to act with concrete answers. Since the first entry in November, 90 Talibé children have been welcomed and reunited with their families. All the minors hosted in AMIC’s temporary reception center in Gabu, the only one in the country, have received initial psycho-social support and health care, as well as hygiene kits and clothes.
Over the course of these months, we have also contributed to making AMIC’s center more welcoming, purchasing furniture and beds, equipping it with a lighting system powered by solar panels and providing the kitchen with the goods and services necessary to ensure daily meals. We have also bought musical instruments, games and recreational material and we are equipping the center with a playground to guarantee the minors a suitable welcome and try to give back, in part, a childhood often denied.
Aware that reintegration into communities can often be difficult and complex, we are also providing post-entry accompaniment. Thus, once reunited with their communities of origin, children and families continue to receive psycho-social support, provided by a psychologist and a social worker who visit the villages and, at the same time, ensure school reintegration by meeting with community school teachers, paying tuition fees and providing school kits.
We are doing our best to respond effectively to a crisis that does not seem to be over. We continue to receive lists containing the names of minors of Guinean origin identified in Senegal and now, given the imminence of the rainy season which will make the operations of entry and reintegration of the minors even more difficult and the imminent conclusion of the current project, we are running a real race against time.
We will continue to act as long as we can, but it is clear that a more structured intervention on the part of the State and a response that can cope with the complexities of a phenomenon in which uses, customs and traditions are now amalgamated with the economic hardships in which many families in the most remote areas of the country still live and which will probably be exacerbated by the pandemic.
India is the country where child labour figures are most dramatic. It is the country with the highest number of workers under the age of 14, and of the 168 million child workers worldwide, 78 million are Indian.
Mani Tese is active in India with the project “Fighting and prevent modern slavery in Tamil Nadu”, a state in the south of the country characterized by the large presence of textile industries. Here we work, together with our partner SAVE, to prevent and combat child labor.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the pandemic has worsened the economic conditions of families and consequently the phenomenon of child labor. Below are some brief stories that have come to us in recent weeks from Tamil Nadu.
Alisha is 11 years old and lives in Muthu Nagar. Her parents have migrated from Bihar in search of work and the family is composed of 8 members in total. In this moment of great emergency due to the situation related to Covid-19, and due to the difficulty of finding work for her parents, Alisha is forced to work in a textile factory. Specifically, she is in charge of unraveling waste fabric from garments and making decorations for clothes. Every day she can make up to 1000 decorations, but she earns only 50 rupees, equivalent to 57 euro cents.
Shanmathi is 10 years old and lives in Eswaramoorthy Nagar. His parents both work in factories: his father as a tailor and his mother in quality control. The family consists of 4 members in total. Shanmathi has also been working in the factory for about a year now and is in charge of trimming at the Shiva Tex company. In one day he works up to 70 pieces and can earn a maximum of 21 rupees per day, equal to about 24 euro cents.
Masum Raja ha 9 anni e vive a Muthu Nagar. Come Alisha, anche i genitori di Masum Raja sono emigrati dal Bihar e la famiglia è composta in totale da 6 membri. A causa delle difficoltà economiche dei genitori, Masum Raja ha cominciato a lavorare in una fabbrica tessile dove realizza decorazioni per magliette. In un giorno può lavorare migliaia di decorazioni o sbrogliare un chilo di filo, ma guadagna soltanto 30 rupie, equivalenti a 34 centesimi di euro.
Masum Raja is 9 years old and lives in Muthu Nagar. Like Alisha, Masum Raja’s parents also migrated from Bihar and the family consists of 6 members in total. Due to his parents’ economic difficulties, Masum Raja started working in a textile factory where he makes decorations for t-shirts. In one day he can make thousands of decorations or unravel a kilo of thread, but he earns only 30 rupees, equivalent to 34 cents.
Swetha is 12 years old and lives in Eswaramoorthy Nagar. Her parents are tailors and work in the garment industry. However, their income is not enough to feed all the family members and so Swetha is forced to work. In particular, the girl does trimming at the textile company Divya tex and earns 30 paise for each piece worked. In one day Swetha can trim up to 100 pieces and therefore earns, at most, 30 rupees per day, about 34 euro cents.
Abirami is 12 years old and lives in Thennampalayam. Her dad is a day laborer and her mom works as a quality control officer in a garment factory. Her family consists of 5 members in total. Abirami, who is also forced to work to increase the family income, does finishing work and earns 35 paise per piece. In a day, she works about 100 pieces, so she usually manages to earn 35 rupees per day, equivalent to 40 cents.
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Alberto Inácio is a beneficiary of the project “Circular Agriculture to reduce hunger in Zambezia” which aims to develop agriculture and livestock in the Province of Zambezia, improving food security and the nutritional situation of local families.
Thanks to the project, co-financed by the state-run 8×1000, Alberto Inácio and other members of the community of Mudenga (Quelimane district) received seeds, agricultural tools and professional training, and are now preparing to reap the fruits of their labor.
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On June 1st, in the city of Koudougou, in the Center-West of Burkina Faso, was held the budget event of the project “Innovative social enterprises and participation of migrants for social inclusion in Burkina Faso” co-financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Fondazione Maria Enrica. A 38-month project that aims at developing productive, entrepreneurial and innovative activities and involving local women and youth as well as migrants in Italy.
Mani Tese, project leader, together with the partners ACRA Foundation, Cespi, Chico Mendes, Fenafer-B, FIAB, Municipality of Ouagadougou, Municipality of Milan and the Ital-Watinoma and Watinoma associations, has worked in these three years on several fronts, to respond to the challenges of a country like Burkina Faso, the “land of integral men”, which struggles every day to get out of poverty and insecurity.
Many activities have been promoted and among these we want to mention: the training and structuring of 20 small businesses of women and young people in the agro-food chain in the Central-Eastern and Central-Western regions of Burkina Faso; support for associations of the Burkinabè diaspora in Italy to involve them more in the development projects of their own country; awareness campaigns on healthy eating and the useful reinvestment of remittances from the diaspora; the accompaniment of a social enterprise for the marketing of Burkinabè products and its suppliers; the training of over 900 young people and 60 teachers on basic information technology and new technologies; the organization of the African Forum of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, to which several African cities have joined, taking up the challenge for a sustainable perspective of the urban food system; the installation of an irrigation system on the green belt of the city of Ouagadougou, the distribution of horticulture kits and motor pumps to 201 female farmers in the capital and the list is still long.
The meeting was held in the presence of local authorities, who have always accompanied the project, and the director and staff of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Burkina Faso and Niger, who have closely followed all the interventions carried out in these three years.
After a first moment of sharing the results achieved and the future prospects for the beneficiaries of the project, the guests were able to touch with their hands what had been discussed: in fact, all 20 companies were present, as well as some of the producers supported by the project, with stands where they exhibited and sold their products that were also used for the convivial moment of refreshments at the end of the event.
In his speech, Dr. Domenico Bruzzone, director of the AICS office in Ouagadougou, expressed his satisfaction with the work done, complimenting the commitment of the partners in the initiative and underlining how the issues relating to the job placement of young people and the development of entrepreneurship are two key themes of the same agency.
Dr. Mirko Tricoli, now a support officer at the AICS headquarters in Ouagadougou but first contact for AICS of the National Summit of Diasporas in Italy, remarked how much the active involvement of the diaspora in this project is also to be appreciated. In our country, in fact, the Burkinabè diaspora is an active, integrated and participant actor in economic development, the Summit coordinator himself is currently a Burkinabè, and therefore integrating this type of subject into the project not only demonstrates particular attention and a knowledge of Italy-Burkina relational dynamics, but also “a perfect alignment with the agency’s work and strategy”.
The satisfaction on the part of the staff on site was instead expressed by Giulia Polato, project manager of Mani Tese, who said: “It was a demanding job, but we think we have given all the tools to the companies formed, so that they can be solid and continue to grow and we can only wish a beog neere (“better future” in the local mooré language) for all that awaits them”.
Below are some photos from the event:
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According to various sources, more than 100 civilians were killed in the attack that took place on the night between 4 and 5 June at the village of Solhan, located in the province of Yagha in the Sahel region, located on the border between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In these three countries, unfortunately, a crisis is underway which at the moment seems unstoppable and which is causing immense suffering to the civilian population: attacks, deaths and thousands of displaced people who have to flee their lands are daily news.
Returning to what happened in Solhan according to the news agency of Burkina Faso the terrorists, several groups of jihadist matrix have been operating for years in this area of the country, entered the village shooting on the people they met, setting fire to homes and the village market. It is the most serious tragedy since 2015, a year that is considered to be the start of the process of destabilization of Burkina Faso, which has so far led to more than 1400 deaths and more than a million internally displaced persons.
“The country is in shock for this further attack – Giulia Polato tells us from Ouagadougou, where she manages the projects of Mani Tese in the country – People are terrified, tired and devastated by this war of which on the other side of the Mediterranean no one speaks. Today there are 132 dead to mourn. And tomorrow?”
Three days of national mourning have been proclaimed by President Rock Kaboré, who also declared that the country’s defense and security forces have been mobilized to search for and neutralize the perpetrators of this despicable act.
Mani Tese joins the pain of the people of Burkina Faso and the families of the victims in this moment of great suffering. Mani Tese remains committed with even more motivation with various development projects in the country to combat the widespread poverty that affects its population. Poverty is unfortunately a fertile ground for terrorists who manage to recruit young people with no future prospects for their brutal actions.