Mapping the road ahead

Mapping the road ahead

Together with the communities we support, ChildFund New Zealand has developed a new way of doing things.

A key challenge that we face at ChildFund New Zealand is how to truly empower communities instead of creating dependency from prolonged development support. The complex nature of bringing about real and long lasting change in our partner communities is something that our team has been discussing for many years. What does it mean to help children to thrive?

It has become clear that the success of our work is strongly linked to self-reliance—the point at which a community can independently provide for their families and their children, and are prepared for future challenges and opportunities.

To help communities achieve their goal of self-reliance, together we developed a planning tool, the Road Map—and, as a result, we’re preparing to see even more children thrive. Through in-depth consultation with those most impacted by our programmes, we have facilitated the development of Road Maps in our dedicated partner communities: Emali, Luangwa, Batticaloa and Cao Bang.

By identifying the most critical needs of children, youth and families living in these four dedicated areas, we can plan what steps need to be taken to have the biggest impact on children—not only for today or tomorrow—but for many years to come. 

Hitting the accelerator in Emali, Kenya

Self-reliance is significant because it means that a local organisation is empowered and independent, and can seek funding for, manage and monitor their own community development activities.

In Emali, Kenya, sourcing of diverse funding has become a key component of their Road Map. Where international donor funds have traditionally been the catalyst to improve living conditions for children and families, now the local organisations we work with are finding other ways to bring about positive change in Emali.

New initiatives have helped build the foundations for local enterprises.

Greenhouses have provided valuable, and much-needed, nutrition for children and extra produce for generating revenue. Similarly, local farmers have received skills and business training to improve the quality of their products and earn a better livelihood, year-over-year. On a larger scale, ChildFund New Zealand is currently working with local organisations in Emali to collect and process milk from farmers in the region.

Through these activities, the people in Emali, Kenya, are a few steps closer to achieving the goals they’ve set in their Road Map.

Driving change in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Fostering healthy habits and improved nutrition for children is an important area of focus for ChildFund New Zealand. And, without a doubt, we’ve learned a lot through the years.

Sachini (pictured) lives in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, and is part of ChildFund’s Lead Mother programme. As a member, she receives training on child nutrition, home-based care, health and sanitation.

“Our food pattern has changed,” explains Sachini. “I now cook green grams in the morning or prepare cold rice with fruits. Some afternoons, I boil red rice and serve it with fi sh or village eggs, vegetables and one kind of green leaf.” And Sachini’s hard work has had the desired impact. Not only are her children healthier and happier, but she now has the ability to share her knowledge with other mothers in the community through a peer-to-peer approach.

Self-reliance is dependent on this type of knowledge transfer. As Batticaloa continues on its path towards independence, the families who live there must continue to build one another up, not only in the area of nutrition, but in all aspects of their development.

By doing this, community members are driving change and helping their own children and youth to thrive.

Towards independence in Cao Bang, Vietnam

Nothing is more satisfying than checking tasks off your to-do list. Now, imagine those tasks can help take your neighbours one or two steps closer to selfreliance. For the families in Cao Bang, Vietnam, this is the reality, following an in-depth review of the activities still needed to accomplish their Road Map.

For the past 10 years, ChildFund New Zealand has worked with local communes in Cao Bang to address critical needs in their community. All of this hard work has paid off. Fewer children in these communities struggle to access clean water, sanitation facilities, or quality education. Three health clinics have been completely renovated, improving local health care.

Now that the community has built a strong foundation for growth, the focus has shifted to long-term sustainability and local ownership of results.

Local farming families are beginning to see a bright future. While it still may take several years, ChildFund New Zealand is committed to helping the people in Cao Bang become stronger, more effective, and capable of independently taking their community to the next level.

As Cao Bang continues to grow, we must never forget all that has been achieved, thanks to our faithful donors. Soon the community will not rely on us, and we are happy to cheer them on as they achieve their goals.

Staying on the right track in Luangwa, Zambia

As with any journey, the road to self-reliance is fi lled with unexpected twists and turns. This is particularly evident in communities like Luangwa, Zambia, where daily life continues to present new challenges.

In many places where we work, access to things like quality education or clean water is mostly restricted by distance. However, in Luangwa, there are other obstacles for children and families: Coming face-to-face with elephants in this part of Zambia is common, placing growing crops at risk of trampling, and the Zambezi River, where many families bathe and wash clothing, is home to a variety of crocodiles and large hippos.

For these reasons, local organisations in Luangwa have included some unique goals in their Road Map.

And, they’ve already seen significant progress. A new classroom for pre-schoolers has been built this year, along with a renovated health centre and staff accommodation, and a maternity clinic is nearing completion. Electricity now reaches the school and health centre from a newly installed solar system. And the elephants? A protective fence now surrounds vegetable gardens to keep crops safe.

Despite the challenges faced in Luangwa, your support is helping the community stay on the track towards self-reliance.