Another week, another challenge, right? Well, for CSC this is most definitely the case. Right now the children are out of school on their holiday break, and much of my focus has been working to secure in-country funding to sustain CSC’s future as an established center. I’ve become a little worried with CSC’s financial situation, each month it is a constant struggle to find funding for their weekly feeding program (which costs about USD$80). To avoid this continuing problem, Xaverine (CSC’s program manager) and I have been working to initiate partnerships with established NGOs in the area who offer funding and program support. Last week we actually made good progress. Instead of relying on email and the telephone, Xaverine and I went on a bit of a road show, walking from NGO to NGO inquiring about their programming. Although it helps working with someone who knows the in’s and out’s of the NGO world around here (Xaverine has worked in the Ministry of Local Government for years prior), I was actually surprised this tactic was such a success.
Our first stop was PSI (Population Services International) in Kacyiru, it is a health organization that does a variety of health awareness activities targeting global health issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, child survival and family planning. They work with both the private and public sectors to establish effective clinical services and behavior change communications to empower people to live healthier lives. Although PSI works with some of the “big boy” NGOs (UNICEF, UNPD, WHO and Red Cross) they also work with partnering with small local NGOs offering funding, technical and programming advisory assistance. This is where CSC could possibly come in. Since CSC is a center recognized with the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government that supports OVCs (orphans or vulnerable children), PSI is interested in learning more about our services and what we offer to the community. After our meeting with the PSI representative, the rep agreed to pass the word on to his co-worker and we hope to have another PSI representative visiting CSC in this week to come. Stop numero uno, a success.
Our second stop was down the road to an NGO called EDC Rwanda “Akazi Kanoze” (meaning “Youth Livelihoods Project”). We had no contact here, so walking into this one was sort of a shot in the dark. And although we were asked to schedule an appointment for another day, we received a phone call shortly after scheduling an appointment for the following day. That day we met with the program director of the program. EDC is an international NGO that has programming all over the world. It is a multi-faceted program that focuses on educational programming in order to address issues with education, health and economic development. This “Akazi Kanoze” site in Rwanda offers a four-year project, funded by USAID, for approximately 12,000 youth between the ages of 12-24 within different levels of education. They offer a variety of programs ranging from career placement, literacy, financial management, vocational training. Similar to PSI, they work with local NGOs that have youth programs in non-traditional education as “implementing partners” in which they fund and provide technical and programming assistance. Each year they have a new round of applicants to be considered as “implementing partners” and luckily the next round begins in January. The director who met with us mentioned that EDC is particularly interested in NGOs working with OVCs because a portion of their funding is provided by PEPFAR, which requires funding be spent on programming for OVCs. He suggested that, although CSC is struggling financially at the moment, we continue to focus on our programs and he feels confident that we may have a good chance partnering with them when this round of applications are out. This stop was also a success.
So, yes many challenges but much to look forward to. Even today we have a meeting with the John Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. I have done some reading on their website but will have more information after the meeting for what they have to offer program-wise. From what I understand PSI and JHCCP work together by PSI providing the funding and JHCCP providing the programming both working towards behavior chance and improving communication as a means to enhance health and lifestyle choices. Stay tuned.