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Friday, August 26, 2016

Cash grants an effective way to help in the aftermath of a disaster

In early August 2015, Cyclone Komen triggered severe floods and landslides across 12 states and regions in Myanmar, affecting more than 300,000 people.

More than 1 million acres of farmland was submerged, resulting in food scarcity, loss of livelihoods, destroyed latrine facilities, and contaminated drinking water in affected communities.

In response to the devastation, HOPE International Development Agency (HOPE) collaborated with a long-term partner in Myanmar, Metta Development Organization (Metta), to meet some of the most urgent needs in communities affected by the floods.

In the aftermath of the floods, restoration of latrines was paramount. Without proper latrine facilities, disease spreads quickly, and with severe consequences, as water sources become contaminated.

With HOPE’s support, Metta was able to respond to urgent requests from community leaders in Tamu Township to help construct 142 latrines to replace the ones destroyed by the cyclone. The newly constructed latrines contributed to ensuring the good health and sanitation of 236 families and 2 schools within 4 villages of Tamu Township.

Helping people restore their means of earning a living was another top priority in the crisis response. To do this, HOPE offered small cash grants to families whose livelihoods had been taken by the cyclone. Cash grants are an effective means of support for people affected by natural disasters. The grants maintain dignity and choice for families, as well as support local economies.

With HOPE’s support, 314 families received cash grants ranging from $60 to $150 CAD, enabling them to move out of “survival mode” and take steps to restore their livelihoods. In Tamu Township, families used the grants to establish small businesses raising pigs, or selling fruit and vegetables.

In the agricultural communities of Yay Nan Chaung Township, located on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, families were devastated by the destruction of property and loss of crops and seeds. The main livelihood activity in these communities is agriculture. Families used the cash grants to cover costs related to re-establishing agricultural activities, including rehabilitating soil damaged by flooding and preparing it for cultivation, obtaining seeds, and labour. Families who received grants are now successfully cultivating onions, watercress, chili, and mustard, among other crops.

A year after Cyclone Komen, families living in flood-affected areas are healthier, stronger and more able to care for their own needs, thanks to the joint effort between HOPE, our partner Metta, and the families themselves. With a restored means of earning a living, families are once again providing for themselves, and the new latrines are helping ensure families and their communities stay healthy.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Big Challenge
Far too many Ethiopians are forced to drink water gathered from filthy ponds, stagnant streams, and contaminated hand-dug pits. Prolonged drought has made the situation even more challenging. HOPE International Development Agency is continuing to tackle the water crisis in Ethiopia and we need your help.

Meeting the Challenge
Have dinner with us and help thousands of Ethiopians drink their first cup of clean water.

Our Time Together
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 in Ethiopia through your giving.

For more information and to reserve tickets for any of the Film Premiere & Dinner events listed below, please visit


Tuesday, November 1, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Quality Hotel & Conference Centre Abbotsford
36035 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford, British Columbia

Saturday, October 29, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
The Laurel Packinghouse
1304 Ellis Street, Kelowna, British Columbia

Thursday, November 3, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Northwest Community College
(House of Birch)
5331 McConnell Avenue, Terrace, British Columbia

Saturday, November 5, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel Resort & Spa
100 Harbour Road, Victoria, British Columbia


Friday, October 28, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Sheraton Eau Claire
255 Barclay Parade Southwest, Calgary, Alberta

Saturday, October 22, 2016
6:00pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Shaw Conference Centre
9797 Jasper Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, Alberta

Fort McMurray
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
MacDonald Island Park
1 C.A. Knight Way, Fort McMurray, Alberta

Grande Prairie
Thursday, October 27, 2016
6:30pm Reception & 7:00pm Dinner
Pomeroy Hotel (Grande Prairie Inn)
11633 100 Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta

Friday, August 12, 2016

Complementing the hardware with software in rural Ethiopia

In southern Ethiopia, HOPE International Development Agency continues to work in a holistic manner by addressing the most basic needs of communities while at the same time ensuring that the people directly involved have every opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.

Over the past 2-months, HOPE and the community of Kalebo Laka, in southern Ethiopia, have been collaborating on the construction of a gravity-fed water system that will provide clean water to the entire community.

In Kalebo Laka, working in a holistic manner means that in addition to capping three water springs, constructing two water tanks, laying 4.5 km of pipe, and installing 8 wash basins (or what we like to call “hardware”), other initiatives such as training in self-help groups, water management and hygiene (the “software”) are taking place.

With the construction of the water system, families no longer need to travel long distances to collect water. They now have more time to embark on other endeavors that can lift them out of poverty.

Rather than spending much of their day collecting water, women now have the opportunity to join HOPE-facilitated self-help groups (link to previous SHG post) that provide training in creating and running income-earning businesses, access to low-interest loans to support business start-ups, and savings programs.

Water management committees, established as part of a holistic approach, are gender-balanced and work with local leaders and community members to ensure that water taps and systems are maintained and used properly.

Hygiene awareness training ensures that households have the knowledge needed in order to improve hygiene practices and properly store and use the water.

In some communities, HOPE’s Ethiopian colleagues assess if local establishments, such as healthcare centres or schools, could also benefit from improved hygiene practices and facilities. If so, they work with the community to ensure that hygiene facilities are built. In a community near Kalebo Laka, this has meant that well functioning latrines have been built at a school and healthcare centre.

Communities participate in creating the positive changes they need by being part of the assessment, planning, and implementation of a water system. They give time, labour, and local materials in order to ensure the success of the water system. They also take a leading role in ensuring initiatives such as hygiene training are well attended.

In the next few months, the water system in Kalebo Laka will be formally handed over to the local community, along with the long-term responsibility for the use and maintenance of the system.

While the advantages of the “hardware” side (the water system) are often more evident initially as a direct benefit to the community, it must be complimented with the “software” side (self-help groups, hygiene training, and water management) in order to ensure the positive impact of clean water remains for generations to come.

Women participate in a training session in Kalebo Laka.