The sweet potato or ‘kumara’ in NZ could be an essential part of our centre farming! Another great post from ThirdEyeMom!

Thirdeyemom

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Today I am honored to be collaborating with a group of women bloggers on behalf of ONE, a non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases, to increase awareness about world hunger.

ONE asks:

“How can it be that 40% of Africa’s children are so chronically malnourished by the age of five that they will never fully thrive, physically recover or mentally develop – and this has not improved in two decades, despite so much other development progress?

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MALNUTRITION: FAST FACTS

  • In 2010, 171 million children under the age of five had stunted growth (chronically malnourished)[1]
  • Every year, malnutrition causes 3.5 million child deaths – or more than one third of all deaths of children under the age of five[2]
  • More than 600,000 children die each year from vitamin A deficiency[3]
  • 2 billion people are anemic, including every second pregnant woman and…

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Green building materials?

It all got rather exciting today.

We found a project for a floating school in Lagos in Nigeria http://ht.ly/hMEpg although this wouldn’t be ideal for land-based C.R.E.E.R it was the start of a trail.

It led to an orphanage in South Africa that has been built from shipping containers; which then incited a call to the architects in Johannesburg who assured us that even in a tropical climate; it is possible to keep containers cool.  They suggested looking up an architect, Adam Kalkin which initially led to this site:  http://www.residentialshippingcontainerprimer.com/howto then onto www.quik-build.com which is Adam Kalkin’s own site.

Another call to Germany to talk to Frankie our builder, who has already been involved in container conversion; he has got excited with the prospect too!

So using our original plans, there’s a possibility of creating the two dormitories, bathroom block and other living spaces with the containers – the possibilities are endless!   The whole container site would be covered by a roof that has solar panels; together with rainwater collection and possibly compost waste sanitation, we aim to be as green as possible.

We found an article about dry composting in Haiti after the earthquake that might be possible to use; we’re discussing it with a few experts in the subject currently: http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Public_Sanitation_Using_Hot_Composting.pdf

Now to find a friendly company ideally in Cote d’Ivoire who might want to help us out with finding containers so we can recycle them!  Or we’re back to the drawing board with bricks & mortar!

CNN’s view on child trafficking in Cote d’Ivoire

What mustn’t be forgotten, although the last few posts have been about cocoa, don’t forget ‘M’ who inspired us to set up C.R.E.E.R to be a safe shelter to educate the children.

She was trafficked but worked in domestic servitude we believe.

As well as cocoa, there’s trafficking for domestic servitude, prostitution & many other areas that the children are trafficked for and become like bonded slaves. They’ve left home often believing they are going to start a new life and to gain an education.

The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery

In “Chocolate’s Child Slaves,” CNN’s David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)

By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN

Daloa, Ivory Coast (CNN) — Chocolate’s billion-dollar industry starts with workers like Abdul. He squats with a gang of a dozen harvesters on an Ivory Coast farm.

Abdul holds the yellow cocoa pod lengthwise and gives it two quick cracks, snapping it open to reveal milky white cocoa beans. He dumps the beans on a growing pile.

Abdul is 10 years old, a three-year veteran of the job.

He has never tasted chocolate.

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When did you last check the origin of your chocolate?

We know this story & have seen it all too often across West Africa, please take the 10m58s to watch this clip of a series of 5.

The Ivorian government is now acting on child trafficking, but the farmers are all scared they will be taken to prison for having the children.

It’s a vicious circle, the farmers get very little for their efforts, they need to keep their overheads down.  They can’t even afford a bar of chocolate in Cote d’Ivoire, it’s out of the question with prices at a minimum of 2€, a bar of ‘Milka’ costs somewhat more.

So are you contributing to the farmer’s efforts?  Have you checked the origin of the chocolate you enjoy?  To ensure there is a fair trade agreement in place?

Help them get out of this vicious circle & therefore stop the use of the children on the farms!

Please don’t forget, the children are not solely trafficked for cocoa production but also to be sold in a variety of other forms, including as a house servant.

If you have 45m to spare, this will give you a real insight into the situation BUT please bear in mind this was filmed prior to the last elections; things are getting better in Cote d’Ivoire but there’s a long way to go still!

Ideas for vocational skills

We’ve already mentioned that the children will all leave with a vocational skill, or hopefully continue to further education so to be able to provide for themselves during their adults lives.

Initially the children can try whichever one they would like, but in later years we hope that they will concentrate on one or two.  Our expectations is that they will leave the centre fully equipped with skills they’ve learnt to find a job or go into tertiary education.

Our current list of vocational skills will depend on the funding we can find for the equipment needed, so far most of these are low-cost skills in terms of fixed assets.  There are many more we would like to do as we grow.

Sewing 

Lea, our Director’s partner is a skilled seamstress & will be running the courses.

We currently have a donation of one electric sewing machine; considering we are hoping to run the centre on renewable energy sources (predominantly solar) it’s going to be a strain on the supply if we run several of these.

If you have a spare manual machine (we will take electric too) that you’d like to give to a good home; we would be very happy to hear from you.

Welding

We are aiming to have a welding workshop to train the children for the future.

We suspect that their welding skills as well as the mechanical ones will also be useful in keeping our renewable energy sources going; giving them another area to look for work.

This is part of the founder’s bucket list, to have some children able to move into aviation and together with mechanics, could be useful!

If you know of any tools that are still usable and need a good home, please do get in touch.

Mechanics

Another workshop to master the technicalities of mechanics which will probably run alongside the welding workshop.

There’ll be no shortage of old cars to bring in that will have finally seen the end of their lives.  However we do not want the centre to turn into a scrap yard by any stretch of the imagination!

Decent tools may be our downfall; if you know of any that would like to be of use to trafficked children, we’d gladly put them to use!

Cookery

Bread, cakes, patisserie; local cooking, learning foreign dishes the list is endless.  However the most important lesson that will be ongoing throughout their courses will be HYGIENE.

In West Africa there are some odd old myths, such as treating cuts with cow dung.  Hygiene will be crucial throughout the centre but particularly during these courses.

We hope to buy a gas stove that runs from a bottle to allow them to cook.  The gas stove is going to cost about 250€ as well as replenishing our gas supplies both for this workshop & for the centre’s own kitchen.

Farming & animal husbandary

As we will have 5hectares of land, some of it will be put to use as a small holding with chickens, sheep, bees & small crops.   You will have seen the A, B, C of farming at CREER as well as the Bees & Honey post.

We have experts who want to give agricultural lessons in classrooms.  C.R.E.E.R wants to give as much knowledge to the children as possible so that they can set up alone if this is the path they choose to take.

Our initial needs will be in the form of spades, forks, wheelbarrows & material to construct pens as well as seedlings or seeds to start this training.  A small tractor would be a dream!

Hairdressing

This is a massive industry in W.Africa as well as many other parts of Africa, plaiting, braiding & inserting extensions.

It will probably be the girls who will want to do this and they will need expert guidance on how to do it effectively so that they might build their own hair salon in the future.

Electricity & Energy

This is quite a large area that can encompass the welding & mechanics fields too.  This workshop will ensure they have skills to work safely with electricity and learn about renewable energy.  We hope that through our own sustainable energy supply they will learn more skills in solar & possibly wind or water power.  Our hope is that they will go onto tertiary education or we find a suitable role for them to work in an apprentice type role on leaving the centre.

Carpentry

Another vocational skill that will be a path for the future.

We will need assistance to buy wood for the children to manipulate it as well as carpentry tools; if you have some that need a new home, please get in touch!

There are many other vocational ideas that are on the horizon.  We intend to have the children speaking English as well as French so that they can go into the tourism industry which is growing across West Africa.  We already have a variety of organisations ready to take them aged 17 or so for a short work placement.

But we need you to help us realise our dream!

Humanitarian goodwill, naivety or a sinister side?

The charity, Zoe’s Ark had its founder & partner jailed this week for attempting to take 103 ‘Darfur’ Sudanese children to waiting new parents in France who had paid to receive their new adopted child.

But these children weren’t from Darfur but had families in Chad.  AlJazeera has an excellent report of both sides of the argument; was it pure greed by these two or naivety?

http://aje.me/XFxl2q – Link to video of AlJazeera English report & discussion

On our Facebook page, the question was asked after the news broke as to whether it was a new form of child trafficking?

Facebook page - CREER

@AJEnglish (AlJazeera English)  tweet 15-02-2013

“On @AJInsideStory  : Was the #ZoesArk campaign to evacuate children from Darfur a sinister cover for child trafficking? http://aje.me/XFxl2q

AlJaz Tweeter

However there are both sides to many stories of child trafficking …

One that broke yesterday was about a 14 year old girl in southern France from Cote d’Ivoire; found living in a house as a cleaner having been bought for 4,500€.

Ivorian slave in France article

http://www.thelocal.fr/page/view/french-couple-pay-4500-for-african-slave-girl#.UR5DOh04sSw

An African friend said when talking about this story that possibly the Ivorian family let their daughter go to France, envisaging a better future.

The same can be said of the death in 2000 of Victoria Adjo Climbié, a young Ivorian from Abobo, Abidjan who went to live with her aunt for a better life and to receive a better education than in Cote d’Ivoire.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Victoria_Climbi%C3%A9

Before setting up any NGO, or indeed any business organisation; research must  be done.  AlJazeera continue their discussion in the report, in regards to some of the other ‘goodwill’ NGO projects that have previously hit Africa that went terribly wrong, due to the lack of research.

C.R.E.E.R has talked to many experts including a specialist holding a doctorate on the subject who advises us.  We’ve talked to the authorities at government and regional level in Cote d’Ivoire.  Our Ivorian Director is already known for his responsibility with children in his previous role and one of our French board members works in child protection in France.  We are very aware of our role in being responsible for children.

A, B, C of farming for CREER

A is for avocados, we hope to have a tree or two on the land

B is for bananas, which are native to Cote d’Ivoire & will be grown with the expert eye of one of our Ivorian board members.  They contain at least 10 percent of a recommended daily intake of carbohydrate in the form of fibre and sugar. Also rich in potassium and the vitamins A, B-6 and C.  Bananas provide about 105 calories, whilst containing negligible amounts of sodium and fat.  Ideal for the children’s diet.   http://www.livestrong.com/article/530296-what-nutritional-qualities-are-bananas-heavy-on/#ixzz2Kc7J8vNo  Please also see P for Plantains (large bananas)

ChickenC is for chickens, we aim to buy a few hens and several dozen chicks, use them for their eggs & meat; if we have excess, we will be able to sell them locally; thereby compensating on other provisions such as rice & flour.

D is for dogs.  No we’re not going to feed them to the children!!!  But they will be a useful deterrent to anyone attempting to enter the centre; animals stealing our produce and playmates for the children!

E is for eggs & eggplant (aubergine) – eggs from our chickens & aubergines (eggplants) grow easily in the tropical climate of Cote d’Ivoire.

FishF is for fish, we will need expert advice and have already talked to a former trout fish farmer about creating a small fish farm with stock to feed the centre & sell locally.  A rather costly project & it might be too much of a gamble!  Tilapia or ‘Capitaine’ as it’s known in Cote d’Ivoire is a favourite.

G is for goat, these are eaten locally and taste very good, particularly when smoked.  They may not be eaten at the centre but will do a good job on the land keeping the weeds down.

H is for honey, made from our bees we hope, there’s a post about it here: https://creercentre.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/bees-honey/

I is for iron, essential part of any diet & will be found in many of the root vegetables & greens that we’ll grow at the centre.

Vegetables

J is for juice, we’ll be able to make a lot of juices from the various fruits growing on the land

K is for kiwifruit, not that we’ve seen kiwifruit growing in Cote d’Ivoire but it would be interesting if we could get a male & female pair to grow & produce; the climate might be a little too tropical.  Worth a try!

L is for lettuce, easily grown, good source of dietary fibre as well as potassium & iron

M is for mango, lots of mango trees in Cote d’Ivoire, lovely fruit to eat; we hope to have one on the land.

N is for nuts, cashew nuts are grown there, the main growing region is near where we hope to have the land.

O is for onions, a staple part of the diet, which we will endeavour to grow to save on purchasing costs.

P is for pineapple or papaya, both grow well in the tropical climate giving the children more fruit intake.  It’s also for plantain a larger banana that can only be eaten once cooked.  Often fried to create ‘alooko’.

Q – Still thinking about this … the question remains how much we can grow on the 5ha of land with a few animals

R is for rice, one necessary foodstuff we cannot grow & will cost us dearly; currently the price for a 25kg sack of rice is about 20€.

S is for sheep, we will start with a few and hope to grow a small flock to keep the centre’s meat purchases to a minimum.

T is for tomatoes, another staple part of the Ivorian diet and easily grown.

Tomatoes

U is for we need U to help us, to make this small holding a reality!

V is for vegetables, which as you can see we aim to grow in a variety of forms

W is for wild oranges that may be found growing on the land.

X is for xceptional produce that the children will be involved with!

Y is for yam, another part of the staple Ivorian diet, often made into ‘attieke’ which Americans tell us tastes like sourdough.

Z is for zuccini (or courgette) easily grown in this climate.

Bees & Honey

As part of our sustainability we have a number of ideas we would like to put in place.

We’re looking at having bee hives; they’re cheap, local & every part of the bee’s process can be used and put to good use as an end product.

We’ve been in touch with an organisation regarding some training and seen how easy it is to create the hives and some of the protective clothing.

It’s projects like this that the children can take away with them to use independently when they leave the centre.  At the same time it gives C.R.E.E.R another source of food and possibly income if there’s surplus honey; as well as using the beeswax to profit the centre.

http://www.beesabroad.org.uk – who have been very helpful with advice & we hope to see them in Cote d’Ivoire when they next visit Ghana

ww.apiconsult.com – some interesting information on beekeeping in Africa

Our Builder, Frankie & the Drogba connection

Frankie is a force to be reckoned with … he gives as good as he gets!

How he’ll get on in Cote d’Ivoire is anyone’s guess, but he’s already ‘au fait’ with Ivorian culture to an extent!

He built a house near Marseille for the world famous footballer Didier Drogba, an Ivorian himself.  However, the house was initially built for another man but rented it to Drogba who loved it so much, he bought it!

So we have the claim to having Drogba’s builder!  Frankie did spend an afternoon talking to Didier about the pool tiles whilst surrounded by an entourage of assistants.

However, this time Frankie will be managing the project & learning from Ivorian builders, bringing in new sustainable ideas & giving it the ‘Drogba’ seal of approval.  Frankie doesn’t cut corners & will ensure that the building is fit for purpose.

Spanish by name, English by birth, German by residence, he also (luckily for us) speaks French!   We can’t wait to realise the project with Drogba’s builder overseeing it all!