Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We're moving

We're moving this blog to our website.
You can find it at www.andando.org/blog

See you there!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Books, Trees And Hats

Our tag line reads 'alleviating poverty through micro development', and although micro lending is a strong focus for achieving this goal, Andando wants to be open to appying alternative solutions depending on a country's culture, economy and stage in development.

In Paraguay, we noted that in many rural communities, the education system is severely lacking in basic resources. Education is a basic building block in alleviating poverty, so Andando has provided some small grants to have introduce lending libraries in three different communities.

Each of these grants allows the school to buy some books which it agrees to lend to the students. These books are checked out, giving the entire family access to the materials. In the past, books were so scarce that students could only use the books while at school.

One of the interesting micro loan projects in Paraguay is a vivero or tree nursery. Two young ladies have started this business with $150 loan. Ground has been cleared, seeds have been planted, and little trees and other ornamentals are sprouting! In less than a year, this crop will be ready for sale. An agreement has already been reached with the local municipality to purchase trees to plant around the nearby town.

The community of Embuscado is famous for it's production of straw hats. A women's cooperative was looking for ways to market their hats further afield. Andando made a buying agreement with these ladies and we are selling their hats along with our artisan goods from Africa. They will shortly be available on our online store. In the first week we had these, we sold over 50 of these hats at a summer festival! They come in many sizes and colors, also children's sizes. Meanwhile you can purchase them directly from us via email . We are also looking for other stores, organizations that may be interested in partnering with this great co-op.

All of these ventures have been made possible through the partnership of several awesome Peace Corps volunteers. Thanks to you all!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

World on a Wall

Schools in Senegal have very few resources. Usually a class might share one textbook and much of the instruction is done by copying what the teacher writes on the chalkboard.

Andando has done a few humanitarian projects in schools and we came up with this idea of teaching the kids about the larger world beyond their village -painting the world on a wall!

We drew the borders of all the countries in Africa, and in the bottom left of the wall, an enlarged map of Senegal, with the main cities.

There are now two schools in Senegal with a new mural on their walls.

The first photo is from the vilage of Keur Soce, south of Kaolack, and the second one is at a school in Yoff, part of Dakar , the capital of Senegal.

The extra bonus is that the whole community has the opportunity to enjoy the map.

Extra special thanks to Lewis and Ruby for heading up this rather daunting project. They made it look easy. (It wasn't!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Women's Empowerment

In Liberia, a country recovering from years of civil war, unemployment is extremely high and there are very few opportunites, especially for women.

Last summer, our partner in Liberia approached us with a proposal to start a training program for women. Andando agreed to fund a six months training program for women . 600 women enrolled in two locations near the capial, Monrovia.

The women have been receiving instruction in hairdressing, sewing, cooking and soapmaking. The six months program is now ending and many women are now doing internships with the hope that this will lead to permanent employment for some of them.

Andando hopes this effort will lead to a brighter future for these women as they work to support themselves and their families.

Well done ladies!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Omar Kebe

Last time we were in Keur Soce, Senegal, we spent the day looking at projects, doing interviews and video.

And everywhere we went , this young man seemed to appear a few minutes later. He was very sweet and polite and every time we spoke- maybe half a dozen times that day- he would say, in English. "my name is Omar Kebe. My father's name is Al-haji Kebe." over and over. Turns out this was the sum of his English vocabulary, but he really wanted to practise.

So this blog post is for you Omar. We enjoyed meeting you and won't soon forget you( or your name. Or your father's name.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

a Garden in the Desert

After our first round of loans was repaid in Keur Soce last year, some of the women got together and discussed some ways they could pool together their profits in a way that would benefit their families and community.

The result is an amazing two hectare garden with lettuce, corn, okra, carrots,peppers,tomatoes, cucumber and about 50 cashew trees.

180 women are involved in this garden. They have divided themselves into 18 groups of ten. Each group tends it's own area and they have morning and evening shifts for watering.

All of the water for this garden is provided by a well that Andando had dug previously. The women expect this garden to provide income from market sales, improve family nutrition, with enough funds left over to buy a pump for the well so they will no longer have to draw water by hand.
The women also told us that one of the unexpected benefits they have experienced from this garden is that they have discovered a new spirit of unity and cooperation with each other.
This wonderful garden is an example of what a community can do independently when given a small helping hand.
Andando means "walking together" in Wolof the principal language of Senegal. We are so proud to walk together with these strong women!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

bad bloggers

We are officially bad bloggers around here....but that's because we've been busy.
We went to Africa in January- three countries in ten days . Check our website and click on news for a few glimpses of that trip. www.andando.org
And we're leaving again tomorrow! Lots of good things happening. and we will try to do better when we return.
For now, please look at this blog and see what these two great folk have been doing on behalf of Andando in Senegal. www.lewisandruby.blogspot.com

AND stay tuned for a brand spanking new website within the next month or so!