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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Escaping one problem creates a new problem for Nyamuse and her family

Having lost her husband when armed conflict between the government and rebels spilled into her community of Nadiangere, Nyamuse Gidamu and her family fled to Maruko, South Sudan.

Nyamuse and her family took nothing with them when they fled. Even the most meagre possessions, like blankets, pots, dishes, utensils, water containers, cups, and agricultural tools, were left behind in the panic to escape.

Terrified, they traveled day and night for four days, not knowing the way to their destination. When resting, they would hide in the bushes. At night they lay awake and were in constant fear for their lives, alert to the sounds of snakes and lions.

“We had no future for our children because we escaped from one problem to another,” says Nyamuse.

Arriving in Maruko, they discovered that they had no access to a market, let alone money to buy necessities. For example, without access to sanitary pads, the women didn’t know what to do when their menstrual cycle occurred. Evenings were spent collecting firewood to keep them warm at night because they had no blankets for warmth or protection from mosquitos. Lying on the ground, huddled with her family beside the dying fire, Nyamuse still had the tenacity to thank God for her life.

Today, as a result of emergency relief support from HOPE International Development Agency in partnership with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), Nyamuse and her family have access to agricultural tools for cultivating crops, food items, soaps, and other necessities. They are doing much better.

There are many challenges ahead for families like Nyamuse’s, but HOPE, along with MCIC, will continue to identify ways to improve the quality of life for families who have lost everything.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Maruko and the Snails

Maruko, a county in South Sudan, has seen little development over the years.

Basic infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities are non-existent and problems are further compounded by political, economic and social instability rampant in the country. Maruko’s remote location makes it challenging to access and it is not frequently visited by government officials or neighboring community leaders.

Recently, Maruko has been receiving a large number of persons who have been displaced from neighboring conflict-ridden areas, creating an even more urgent atmosphere.

Local leaders including women’s groups, chiefs, and clergy have gotten together to assess their situation and identify major areas of concern: a school, utensils, agricultural tools, road access, food insecurity, high maternal mortality rate, washing soap, and salt were outlined in their report. The council stated that their number one need was agricultural tools to address food security for the growing community.

A main concern in regard to food security has to do with snails destroying the harvest. Every three years there is an infestation of snails that can last for up to three years. At night the snails can travel over sleeping bodies making sleep uncomfortable. In addition, the snails eat all the edible crops such as groundnuts, maize, young millet, and pumpkins to name a few and this causes entire communities to have to migrate in search of food.

HOPE International Development Agency and the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) continue to partner to provide emergency relief support for persons who are displaced and living in Maruko. Thus far agricultural tools for cultivating crops, food items, and soaps have been distributed.
Currently, school is held outdoors in Maruko.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Impact of Clean Water in Southern Ethiopia

Families in Kole Zale and Kole Kanchame are as excited as we are as #NOMORETHICKWATER closes in on $50,000 raised for clean water.

The funds will help bring clean water to 650 families, like Shancote's, living in the two communities: that’s 4,000 people!
Working together with local HOPE staff, families are involved with every aspect of bringing clean water to their communities, including preliminary work underway to:
  • Cap four mountain springs 
  • Lay nine kms of water pipe 
  • Construct 21 community water points, including two schools, two health clinics, and one health centre

Clean water is available within minutes of every home. Health and sanitation training, combined with latrines, reduce sickness and support good health for everyone. Women create self-help groups, learn income earning skills, start businesses, and save money for the future. Families become self-reliant and their children go to school.

Local HOPE staff live and work in the community for four months while the system is being built. One local HOPE staff person remains in the village for up to two years, supporting self-help groups, training, and assisting with the management and maintenance of the water system.

In the decades HOPE International Development Agency has been working alongside families in Ethiopia:
  • 300,000 people have clean water
  • 110 water systems built
  • 5,400 kms of pipe installed
  • Hundreds of self-help groups established Thousands of women and their families have achieved self-reliance

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

There is no water where Shancote and her children stand, just dirt and dust.

Kilometers away, high on the mountain, there is water, and it is gushing to the surface, forming a spring.

As the water flows from spring, it becomes a fast-moving stream. The current continually erodes the undergrowth, adding mud, twigs, leaves, and other debris to the flow rushing through the forest and down the mountainside.

Further down the mountain, the stream slows and becomes shallow, having arrived at the lower reaches of the forest. Cattle meander across the breadth of the water, tracking more dirt into the water and leaving their droppings. Today, like so many other days, the cattle stop to drink and eye the mothers on the banks of the stream, carrying their laundry further up the narrow bank.

Hours from where Shancote and her children began their journey, they now stand at a bend in stream’s edge. Shancote kneels and plunges the clothes in and out, methodically rinsing away the dirt. A few feet away, her children, barefoot and delighted, play in the stream. It’s a rare day today: her children are not sick, at least at the moment.

Shancote, having finished her clothes washing, walks to a pond further downstream where she gathers today’s water.

At the pond, Shancote scoops out some water into her palms. As she brings it to her lips, she picks out a piece of dirty grass and takes a sip, and says to herself,“We live like cattle.”

After filling her large water jug, she finishes her thought by saying, “We want to live like people,” as she and her children begin the long journey home.

Visit #nomorethickwater today and learn how you can help Shancote realize her dream of living like people, not cattle.

Friday, September 6, 2019

This is Life for the Zafo Family

Teddy peers past his mud-covered fingers, amused by what he sees. A cloud of mud stirred up by his bare feet has risen from the murky bottom of the pond and now swirls between the leaves and debris on the surface. Astel, Teddy’s mother, clears the debris aside as she dips her 20-litre container into the muddy water to gather her family’s household water for the day.

Her container full, the daily ritual is over. Astel straps Teddy to her chest, heaves the heavy container onto her back, and then begins the arduous, one-hour trek back to her home.

Astel will use this water for cooking her son’s dinner. Some will be saved to drink, and some will be used to wash dishes. Any water that is left will be used to clean diarrhea off Teddy’s legs. Today, just like many other days, Teddy is sick because of the water he played in and drinks.

This is life for the Zafo family; Teddy, Astel and her husband, Fanikale. They live in Kole Zale, located in the rugged mountains of southern Ethiopia.

Kole Zale is downstream from other communities in the area. These communities wash clothes, bathe animals, and drop waste into the stream that eventually meanders down to the pond where Astel gathers water while Teddy plays.

During the dry season, the stream will thin and disappear. And with the drying of the stream, the men of Kole Zale will need to find work in nearby communities. With access to clean water, Fanikale can choose to stay in Kole Zale and grow his own food to sell at the market. Not only will he feed his family and earn an income, he will also be there to watch his wife Astel become self-reliant.

When water comes to Kole Zale next year, with it will come women’s self-help groups. When Astel joins a group, she will be given the opportunity to learn income-generating skills, money management, and start saving for the future. With a loan from her self-help group, Astel will be able to start her own business with the support of her community.

When a water system is built in Kole Zale, the change will not only transform the community, it will also transform Teddy’s life. Through your generosity, he will never have to know a life without access to clean water.

Change everything for the Zafo Family, donate now at

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Solving poverty begins with seeing what is present, not what is missing.

Words used to describe poverty often focus on what is not present: clean water, food, education, health care, and opportunity to name a few of the most common descriptors.

Describing poverty based solely on what is not present detracts from what is present: people.

People are central to a meaningful understanding of poverty.

Clean water, while essential, cannot love a family member, friend, or community, but people can.

Education, often a perceived guarantee of future success, cannot enable survival in impoverished circumstances, but the minds of people who have battled poverty their entire lives can.

People, including those among us who live with poverty, are capable, smart, and able to create transformation in their own lives and communities.

In short, to understand poverty and do something about it that is meaningful and long-lasting, we need to see what is present: people.

Focusing only on what is not present, especially in terms of resources like clean water or food, can inadvertently detract from what is present: people who will create solutions to their poverty.

In the end, people solve poverty – people like you who help, and people who are working hard to lift themselves out of poverty with the help you give.

Friday, August 23, 2019

We Can Only Be Human Together

Your humanity is bound up in mine, for we can only be human together.” Said by Bishop Desmond Tutu, this statement is true everywhere in the world.

Humans are made to rely on each other. Congregation is the pulse of any community, but what happens when we do not gather? How are children raised when there is no village?

With the help of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, the Sustainable Urban Centres Project is responding to the growth of urban poverty in Hosur Town, India. With parents working long hours and for little pay, children are left to navigate a growing world that depends more and more on technology and globalization. As the world becomes more connected, these children are becoming less connected and are losing world-at-your-fingertips access that a globalized world promises.

The Sustainable Urban Centres Project creates a space for high school students to congregate while learning skills they can use in a globalized world.

Beyond what students are learning, they see opportunities for a future that exceeds what they believed to be true. For example, Talent Promotion Classes enable young girls to interact with role models who have made their passions into careers. School gardens have been established on campus, and students are learning basic agricultural skills to pair with nutrition classes. The program enables youth to support one another as they face and conquer obstacles. All classes are held after school, encouraging youth to spend their free time learning holistic life-skills.

The Sustainable Urban Centres program not only teaches youth practical and fundamental skills; it gives them the chance to be human together.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Have dinner with us this fall and witness an incredible transformation as families in the Philippines journey from despair to hope.

Join us for a wonderful meal, the company of friends, silent and live auctions, great music, a short feature film, and an important opportunity to transform lives through your giving.

View a brief update about how giving at last year's film premiere and dinner transformed lives.


HOPE International Development Agency has been helping families worldwide since 1975, enabling them to transform their lives as they gain access to clean water, learn new ways to earn a sustainable income and provide support to each other, grow more food, and restore the environment upon which they depend.

Monday, July 15, 2019


In the remote communities of Kole Zale and Kanchame, perched in the rugged highlands of southern Ethiopia, water is doing far more harm than good.

Today, the 4,000 people who live in the two communities will drink water so thick with dirt, debris and even dissolved waste from animals, that just one sip can make them sick.

HOPE believes that water should sustain, not harm.

That's why we’re launching #NOMORETHICKWATER this week - we believe every person in Kole Zale and Kanchame should have water that is clean and accessible right in their communities.

Visit #NOMORETHICKWATER today. You’ll learn about the challenges people are facing and how you can become part of the solution by helping raise $400,000 in the next 60 days to transform the lives of 4,000 people.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Clean water changes everything!

Life is about to get much better for families in Kecha Senga now that two of the twelve water points in the remote community nestled in the mountains of southern Ethiopia became operational this month.

Clean water, sourced from underground springs protected by concrete caps, is now flowing through hand-laid pipes that link the springs to water points (taps) located right in the community.

For the first time in their lives, people in the community have access to clean water. The arduous and often dangerous trek to gather water from unprotected sources, such as ponds and muddy streams contaminated with parasites and bacteria, is no longer necessary.

Clean water is often the first step in the journey out of poverty.

Nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide live without clean water. Most live in rural areas and spend extraordinary amounts of time collecting water from wherever they can. Almost all this water carries disease-causing bacteria and parasites.

Wherever clean water initiatives are giving people access to a reliable supply of clean water in their community, water system maintenance and management training are also provided. Also, latrine installation, sanitation training, health education, disease prevention programs, education, training, and increased food production methods often accompany clean water initiatives, ensuring that families experience the full benefit of having clean water.

HOPE International Development Agency clean water initiatives are transforming lives in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Afghanistan, India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. Learn more.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Without you, HOPE is just an idea. With YOU, we are a transforming force for good in the lives of the neglected poor.

Today, you can help transform some of the poorest families in the Philippines. Jimmy, an Indigenous father struggling to provide for his wife and children, describes the need.
“The hardest thing is finding food. Two of my children died, and I feel it was my fault because I could not provide enough food for them.

“We gather banana blossom, but we don’t eat it because it is the only thing we can sell to buy rice. If we can’t buy rice, we eat cassava. It fills our stomachs, but I know it does not have good nutrition. Many times, we have nothing to eat. And the water we drink is not good either. It makes us sick,”
says Jimmy.
The suffering that Jimmy and his family endure is relentless. His children suffer the most. His family and community desperately need food, educational opportunities, and clean water.

You can stop the suffering today with a gift that will help provide agricultural training, seeds, tools, education, and clean water.

It is not easy to transform lives, especially in the challenging areas where our partners are working. But it needs to happen, because the cost of doing nothing is losing lives to poverty.

Please help us transform lives today.


Monday, May 27, 2019

HOPE International Development Agency Board of Directors Announces New Executive Director Kim Savage

 Kim Savage, Executive Director

It is our pleasure to announce Kim Savage as the new Executive Director of HOPE International Development Agency. Kim has a heart for marginalized and vulnerable people and brings to HOPE a wealth of experience, capacity and energy.

In partnership with donors, families living in extreme poverty, overseas partners, and staff teams, Kim will lead HOPE International Development Agency’s mandate to empower the neglected poor, building upon a 44-year foundation of enabling people living in extreme poverty to become free of life-limiting circumstances through their own efforts and solutions.
As incoming Executive Director, I am deeply inspired by the work of HOPE and stand in humble awe of the partnership we have with you and those like you who care deeply and give generously to people facing unimaginable need. Together, we will continue the tradition of tangible compassion and life-changing action. I look forward to working together and seeing lives transformed.
As Executive Director, Kim’s skills, honed through more than 20 years of non-profit executive leadership to organizations and initiatives, will further expand HOPE’s ability to meet its mandate of empowering the neglected poor.

Recent work and volunteer experiences include chairing a non-profit task force to address young women fleeing traumatic sexual abuse in Mexico and working to address homelessness through a collaborative approach with churches in an area of British Columbia’s lower mainland. In many of her previous roles, she was responsible for increasing the capacity of an organization and enabling them to define and reach their goals.

Kim will be working closely with staff teams, the Board of Directors and donors to collectively hone our vision and look for new opportunities to expand HOPE’s ability to empower communities facing dire need. Her desire is to collaborate with all of us and build on our solid foundation of trust, respect and impact within the countries we serve and those who support our work.

Please join us in welcoming Kim to HOPE International Development Agency.

Barb Coyle
Chair, HOPE International Development Agency Board of Directors

Contact Kim Savage