Partners for Development
Partners for Development

Invest in Girl’s Progress

 

 

 

To educate a girl child is to invest in a better tomorrow. The evidence is clear- investing in girls’ education results in strong economies as well as healthy and stable communities. However, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) asserts that girls have a higher chance than boys of never setting foot in a classroom. Girls continue to face indomitable challenges, which pose a significant barrier to their education; therefore, Partners for Development (PfD) has initiated a campaign to educate and empower girls.

PfD’s Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund (AJMSF), named for our late colleague Anne Johnson, aims to support the education of girls in Nigeria, where there are gender disparities in education. Boys attend secondary school at a rate that is 10% higher than girls. The literacy rate among the 15-24 age group is 76% for males and only 58% for females (UNICEF, 2013). These disparities continue to grow in the poorer northern region, where girls are forced to work rather than continue beyond primary school.

The AJMSF provides support to girls, in the form of tuition and books, to support them through Junior Secondary School thus increasing the retention of girls in secondary schools in Nigeria. The majority of donations come from individuals, and it is through their generosity that we are able to cover 40-50% of each girl’s total annual school fees, insuring the sustainability of the fund. Since its inception in the 2014/2015 academic year, the AJMSF has supported the education of 48 Nigerian girls! PfD is immensely grateful for the generous donations, which have enabled us to empower these future leaders.

Evelyn Ivie Igbalagh (pictured to the left), age 18, is the second of five children of Mr. and Mrs. Igbalagh. Her parents are peasant farmers living in a rural community, Ehor, in Edo State in southwestern Nigeria. Income from the family’s small farm makes it very difficult to afford school fees for Ivie and her four siblings (while public school theoretically should be free in reality parents are expected to contribute for school supplies, teacher compensation, and school lunches). At times, Ivie has been forced into street hawking to supplement her family’s income, a situation that can expose her to emotional and physical abuse. Ivie’s parents made the difficult choice of sending her to live with relatives in Benin City, capital of Edo State. In exchange for work that Ivie does at the relatives’ home they help cover some of her school costs.

The relocation and level of poverty in her own family has slowed Ivie’s progression through the grades of secondary school. At age 18 she is several years older than most of her classmates because of her poor family status that is unable to pay for her education) at Uselu Junior Secondary School, Uselu, Benin City, Edo State where she is in her final year. Ivie is one of the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship recipients. She attends a mixed secondary school of about 3,000 students. Her favorite subject is Business Studies and she enjoys reading. Despite the many challenges she has faced Ivie is determined to move on to Senior Secondary School and complete the three years at that higher level. Learn more about the impact of the AJMS and read other success stories in the recent report.

With the 2017/2018 Nigerian academic year commencing this October, consider making a donation to the AJMSF fund. Give the gift of a brighter future to girls like Ivie.

 

To educate girls is to reduce poverty

The current literacy rate for females in Nigeria is approximately 20% lower than it is for males1. Girls also spend an average of eight years in school throughout their lifetime in comparison to girls in the United States whom spend an average of 17 years. With secondary education in Nigeria costing around $500.00 annually, many young girls are unable to advance beyond elementary education without additional support. 70% of Nigerians1 also live below the poverty line and it may be quite difficult to use excess funds towards furthering their child’s education. With the help of your donation to the Scholarship Fund, PfD can significantly reduce the financial strain on families in order to continue to pay for education for their children.

Meet Lucy, one of the newest recipients of the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Lucy is 12 years old, the second of three children and ranks at the top of her class. Lucy aspires to educate other young children one day by becoming a Mathematics lecturer after her studies. She is currently studying twelve subjects and loves learning at school, reading, and mathematics. All of Lucy’s textbooks for her numerous classes were provided by the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund (AJMSF). Lucy’s dreams are much more of a reality with the help of AJMSF. Lucy’s mother, Mrs. Ifeoma, was so grateful to PfD for giving her daughter the opportunity to help further her education and promised to continue to encourage her daughter to do well in her studies and stay in school.

Lucys Mother Quote2

Lucy PortraitThe Scholarship Fund that Lucy received was created in memorial of Anne Johnson, former PfD Country Program Director. Initially PfD, in partnership with Life Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), set a target of $20,000.00 annually to support the Scholarship endowment. However, in August 2015, less than one year after the AJMSF began, friends, family members and three institutions donated close to $30,000 in her memorial.

Since 2014, 26 Nigerian girls have been awarded scholarships from the AJSMF to support their secondary education. Each year, drawings are held to decide on the winners because there were so many girls who qualify for scholarships based on economic need. Staff members from LAPO and PfD meet with the winners a few times a year to track their successes in school since receiving the scholarship fund. Past AJMSF recipients have graduated from secondary school and will continue to receive support from PfD to further their education.

Lucy QuoteIn the future, PfD and LAPO plan to give other young girls like Lucy the opportunity to help pay for secondary school and achieve their educational aspirations. To support more girls like Lucy donate $250 to the Scholarship Fund today.

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12015 CIA World Fact Book

As a young Program Officer working in the Partners for Development (PfD) headquarters, I still remember the first time I met Anne Johnson, PfD’s Nigeria Country Program Director at the time. Although she barely knew me, Anne had such warmth about her she instantly made me feel like we were old friends. Anne had the rare ability to make others feel comfortable in their own skin. Her overflowing positive energy was infectious. Anne was able to bring out the best in you.

maja and anne v2Anne was passionate about many subjects, including girls’ education in Nigeria; hence PfD’s efforts to honor her memory through the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Numerous studies have demonstrated the relationship in developing nations between education and social and economic well-being: females with a secondary education have lower fertility levels which in turn translates to better physical and economic health for them and their families. “Educating girls can transform whole communities” (Earth Policy Institute, 2011).

To PfD Anne was a gifted Country Program Director, Director of Programs, consultant and driving force behind much of PfD’s amazing work. She had an unrivaled passion for the work PfD did and believed in each and every one of our programs. To me, Anne was a mentor, a friend, and an inspiration. Anne epitomizes the passion that drives PfD’s mission. Although Anne’s work with PfD was cut short by illness, her legacy lives on in the people she touched—from the hundreds of field staff, partners and PfD employees to the thousands of women, men and now young girls she helps achieve.

DSC 0180I still remember how confident she was that my background in journalism was just what her staff needed. Anne gave me my first chance to prove myself. She never stopped pushing me—or PfD. As frustrating and difficult as things got, Anne always had a positive spin on everything. Every conversation began and ended with laughter. Anne was one of the most genuine and loving people I have ever come across. In developing my management style, I aimed to emulate Anne’s effortless ability to take things in stride, find the humor in just about everything and believe in people. She was truly a remarkable person and PfD was lucky enough to have a 20-year relationship with Anne.  Anne truly was PfD and because of Anne, I am proud to say that #IamPfD too.

**Anne Johnson died on Christmas Eve 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Anne’s commitment to PfD continues today in the form of her scholarship fund for young girls in Nigeria. Her full biography and obituary are available on the PfD website.**


Throughout all of December we will be sharing stories from our staff, board, partners, and others from around the globe. We can’t wait to share all of the hopeful, engaging, and positive stories from our work. We will be using the hashtag #IamPfD on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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Be sure to share the posts that you find engaging and inspiring with friends and family and don’t forget to donate and take an #unselfie of you making a donation and share it with us and use the #IamPfD for a chance to win prizes from PfD.

I first learned about PfD when PfD conducted malaria event and malaria education activity in my village using mobile video show. PfD also conducted many other community programs and training such as WASH, nutrition, child survival, agriculture, and chicken raising in my community. In 2013, PfD selected and trained me as Mobile Malaria Worker where I gained the knowledge and skills to provide malaria health education, diagnosis and treatment to my community members.

I am so proud to do this volunteer work.

IamPfD Phoung 2I have gained a lot of recognition and respect from the community members, my family, health center staff and the local authorities. I was so impressed with the malaria education activity; it informed and educated me and the community members on how to protect ourselves from malaria and where we can seek treatment when we are infected.  Because I live in a malaria endemic village with lack of clean water, I am particularly passionate about malaria and WASH program of PfD’s work.

Our work saved our lives.

I think others should join the PfD family because PfD is the oldest NGO in Kratie Province in Cambodia  and is implementing community development work to improve the quality and save lives of community members, particularly the vulnerable ones.


Throughout all of December we will be sharing stories from our staff, board, partners, and others from around the globe. We can’t wait to share all of the hopeful, engaging, and positive stories from our work. We will be using the hashtag #IamPfD on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
DonateNow
Be sure to share the posts that you find engaging and inspiring with friends and family and don’t forget to donate and take an #unselfie of you making a donation and share it with us and use the #IamPfD for a chance to win prizes from PfD.

Meet Mr. Cyprien Hindeme, a vegetable farmer in the Allada region of the Atlantique Department in Southern Benin, who used the knowledge and skills he learned through the GREEN project to improve his pineapple production and sales.

The GREEN project (GREEN blog post) trainings taught Cyprien modern cultivation techniques and important farming skills, such as the proper use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Through the practical marketing workshops, he learned how to become market orientated in his production, and he continues to use the weekly vegetable prices he receives through SMS messages on his cellphone to negotiate sales of his vegetables even before they reach the local markets. This way, not only does he ensure he gets the best prices for his produce, but he also cuts down transportation costs and reduces post-harvest losses.

pineapple 2 2

But vegetables are only part of Cyprien’s income, as he also has a pineapple grove. After witnessing the success of the GREEN project techniques with his cabbage, Cyprien decided to use this knowledge and skills to improve his sugar loaf pineapple production.
By modifying his use of fertilizers and insecticide to comply with GREEN recommendations, he grew larger, juicier pineapples. He also used his marketing skills to research the local and regional pineapple markets and diversify his clients. Now Cyprien delivers his higher quality pineapples to wholesalers in Togo and Burkina Faso, while still servicing buyers in his local market. He also now supplies his top quality fruit to three prominent hotels in the Atlantique Department.

pineapple 1

With additional income, Cyprien was able to send one of his children to Benin’s agricultural technical college, ensuring his future and the continued success of his family’s farm. He was also able to buy laptop computers for both of his children attending university, who have now developed marketable computer skills. Cyprien attributes his success to the GREEN project trainings, and says, “now that GREEN helped me with my cabbages and pineapples, now I am ready to try other crops too.”

This week marked the one year anniversary of the abduction of the 276 Chibok girls by extremist group “Boko Haram” in Nigeria. This unfortunate anniversary comes with a gift of optimism as around 300 young girls and 150 women were recently found in the Sambisa Forest this past week by Nigerian forces (AP). The Nigerian military has not determined if any of the rescued women and girls were abducted from Chibok or from other areas. The rescue represents hope for the Chibok girls to be returned home (AP).

blog boko haram 1In addition to the devastating abduction of the Chibok girls, the communities in Nigeria have faced numerous other challenges, including a decreased ability for international organizations to operate and implement programming.  PfD has, for example, experienced delays in implementing activities in some locations close to Boko Haram strongholds and was forced to relocate beneficiaries to safer locations for trainings. On several occasions, alternative and longer travel routes were used to in order avoid attacks.  In addition, losses were recorded in PfD’s microfinance program activities due to significant relocation and attrition of borrowers and difficulty in recruiting quality staff in the northern areas.
Despite these challenges, employing local staff with a deep understanding of the political, cultural, and security situation has allowed PfD to continue to implement its health program in northern Bauchi State of Nigeria.

Aside from the loss of numerous human lives, destruction of infrastructures and the general deterioration of the economy in the northern region, the education sector has suffered immensely. According to UNICEF, 800,000 children have been displaced throughout Nigeria due to “Boko Haram” violence. The sheer number of displacements combined with a high level of fear of attending school in those areas poses a major threat to the future of the education sector in the northeastern part of the country.

blog boko haram 2In Nigeria, “about 10.1 million children who are supposed to be in basic education were not in school. In other words, almost one out of every three primary age children is out of school, and roughly one out of four junior secondary age children is out of school” (UNESCO 2012).

In a country where school turnout was a serious issue well before the insurgence of “Boko Haram”, the latter has “further compounded the problem of school attendance by destroying school infrastructure and displacing people fleeing violence” according to Lanre Williams-Ayedun, PfD Board Member.

So what are we doing about it?

Educating girls yields a positive impact on economic development and the health of the family overall. PFD continues to advocate for girls’ education in Nigeria through its Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund (AJMSF) created in honor of the late Anne Johnson, a former Nigeria Program Director who was critically engaged and passionate about girls’ education. In partnership with two local organizations, Gerewa and Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), PfD provides scholarships and opportunities for disadvantaged girls.

Solution and opportunities – What needs be done?

Besides strictly following PfD’s security guidelines, PfD staff members are also in constant communication with members of communities in which it operates to provide intelligence on security situation before any travels around locations infested with insurgents. Communities that surround “Boko Haram” strongholds need to relate useful information to authorities to help facilitate the search and rescue process. If and when the girls are found, steps also need to be taken by the government to provide counseling services to the kidnapped girls and facilitate their reinsertion into their community and society.

What can you do?

Today, on the 67th anniversary of the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO), individuals and organizations have the opportunity to highlight initiatives around the globe that promote better health.  Thus today, PFD shines the spotlight on our work in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) around the globe.

World Health Day Image 1Improving Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) is essential for the physical, mental and social wellbeing of individuals, especially women. While progress has been made, women frequently suffer from unequal gender relations, limiting their physical agency and ability to negotiate safe sex. In the developing world, as many as 222 million women do not have access to any methods of contraception (WHO 2015). The consequences of this are far reaching including maternal mortality, physiological trauma, higher rates of STDs and higher numbers of infant mortality. Thus, SRHR is a crucial human rights issue that has long-term implications on global health and international development as a whole.

PFD has an extensive history with reproductive health programming in both Africa and Asia. In Cambodia, for example, beginning in 2004, PFD partnered with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to provide access to quality reproductive health education and services. The program was primarily targeted towards young people ages 10-24 in Kratie Province. PFD also integrated HIV/AIDS prevention into our SRHR programing. This collaboration increased effectiveness and efficiency by reaching the youth with education on both the key issues of reproductive health and disease prevention simultaneously.

Since its initial work in Cambodia, PFD has expanded its reproductive health targeted programming toNigeria. Working in some of the most challenging areas in Nigeria, PFD has successfully implemented integrative reproductive health programming with microfinance initiatives. In Bauchi State, a northern province in Nigeria, PFD has expanded its health systems project Targeted States High Impact Project (TSHIP) in collaboration with John Snow International (JSI) and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). TSHIP fosters improvement of reproductive and family planning services through grassroots techniques and local partnerships. PFD has combined these programs with income generating activities that facilitate business skills and small enterprise development, improving the personal autonomy and livelihoods of poor women.

TSHIP Outcomes as of December 2014:

  • Provided Reproductive Health (RH) counseling to 37,528 to males and females or reproductive age.
  • Increased the completion rate of individual RH referrals to 74%.
  • Provided intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) for malaria to 57,067 pregnant women.
  • Aided 10,286 births with skilled attendants.
What can you do?

You too can make an impact on World Health Day. Show your support by sharing on social media and tagging @Partners4dev on Twitter or following us on Facebook. Support Partners for Development’s work in health around the globe and donate here.

What are the signs or symptoms of malaria? How do people get malaria? How do people prevent malaria? These questions were recently asked as part of a Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice survey conducted by PFD in the Kratie and Koh Kong provinces of Cambodia. Kap survey image 4 3.4.15

Our goal: to determine what the malaria affected populations knew about the mosquito-borne infectious disease. PFD is now using the data to get a better picture of the needs of the mobile and migrant populations (MMP) and, as a result, implementing better targeted programs.

So what did we find?

  • Kap survey image 2 3.4.1597% of the workers have heard of malaria.
  • When asked about the signs and symptoms that make them suspect malaria, 84% mentioned chills, 21.7% headache, almost 20% fever and about 16% sweating.
  • 8.4% of respondents didn’t know signs or symptoms related to malaria.
  • 92% of workers have at least one type of mosquito net (bed net or hammock net), but only half of those nets are insecticide treated nets (ITN).
  • An estimated 69% of the workers slept under a treated net the previous night: 23% slept under an ITN bed net or hammock net and 46% under a long lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN).
  • Only 39% of workers own either an ITN or an LLIN and slept under it the previous night.

Next steps

Currently, PFD is working to eliminate malaria in Cambodia with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. An integral part of PFD’s program is distributing insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). According to the CDC, ITNs have been shown to be very effective in the fight against malaria. Since the use of nets reduce the number of mosquitos and the mosquitos’ lifespan, if used by over 50 percent of a community, the nets will have a positive effect, helping to even protect those community members without nets. Since 2006, PFD has distributed nets which cover over 120,000 people in the Kratie and Koh Kong provinces in Cambodia.

Kap survey image 3 3.4.15

To address the areas of weakness identified through the survey, our current programs will be modified to help increase ownership of bed nets and providing on-site programs to treat nets with insecticide. PFD is committed to continually monitoring and evaluating the local needs of the community along with the effectiveness of our interventions, and through this survey, can be at the forefront of developing new intervention strategies tailored to specific populations.

In recent years, PFD has focused on the mobile and migrant populations (MMP) who are at higher risk for malaria from their work in forest areas. Based on the 2008 census, it was estimated that 40,000 to 70,000 people migrated to malaria villages or areas, with about 25% of them non-immune to malaria (Ref MMP report 2010). Targeting MMPs is critical to stopping the spread of malaria, as the recent emergence and spread of antimalarial resistant parasites has been linked to population movement between non-malaria areas to malaria endemic areas.

PFD Recommendations for Cambodia Malaria Program

Kap survey image 1 3.4.15
Apart from the provision of bed nets, PFD also works to educate the population: From 2012 to 2014 PFD reached over 300,000 people through community based malaria health education, 57,132 school children through school-based malaria prevention interventions, and provided training for over 2000 village health volunteers. Additionally, the survey reported that in 2013 80% of individuals correctly answered malaria related questions during community quiz events and 95% of the children who participated in the school based programs passed along the information on malaria prevention to their family, friends, or other community members through various activities.

Read more about PFD, our work to fight Malaria in Cambodia, and our other health projects.

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) malaria along the Cambodia-Thailand border continues to be a public health challenge. With the recent Ebola outbreak bringing to light the dangers of  Partners for Development (PFD) with support from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) is working to eliminate malaria in Cambodia, with special focus on containing drug resistant malaria. Cambodia has seen a significant decrease in malaria cases and deaths over the past decade which has been linked with the efforts of The Global Fund, in part due to PFD’s work in the villages most exposed to Malaria.our increasingly mobile global population combined with infectious diseases, many are fearful of what will happen if the new resistant strain of malaria reaches the rest of South East Asia and Africa. If MDR malaria reaches Africa, experts warn it will cause a severe health crisis. With an estimated 2.13 million people at risk for malaria in Cambodia, and the emergence of multi-drug resistance malaria, continuing the fight against malaria in Cambodia is a primary public health concern.

PFD uses a community based strategy: building the capacity of community level partners empowering those partners to sustainably undertake malaria prevention programs in the communities. Currently, PFD builds local capacity by training local Mobile Malaria Workers (MMW) to assess the needs of their communities and manage the distribution of malaria prevention backpacks. These subsidized backpacks, as shown in the photos, which are distributed through a voucher system include: insect repellent, flash light, a long lasting insecticide hammock (LLIH) or net (LLIN), and prevention and care information.

Cambodia Maleria Backpack

PFD is working with the highest risk population, the mobile and migrant populations (MMP) and those who work in the forests in Kratie province, helping to track and prevent malaria. Targeting the MMP population is critical to stopping the spread of malaria, as population movements from non-malaria endemic areas to malaria endemic areas in Cambodia are one of the main factors in the recent emergence and spread of antimalarial resistant parasites.

This program is one of many in PFD’s fight against malaria in Cambodia. PFD has spread awareness by training of health workers, teachers, volunteers and Community Councils in malaria prevention and reached thousands through radio broadcasts with malaria and health related messages. In 2014 alone, PFD trained 117 new primary school teachers, 10,150 children as peer educators in malaria health edu¬cation, and 43 new and existing Village Health Volunteers. Historically, PFD has trained over 1,300 teachers, benefitting 30,000 primary school students in health educa¬tion. PFD has also built local capacity of communities by providing funds to eleven Community Councils in Kratie and Koh Kong provinces so that local communities can design and implement malaria prevention activities tailored to the specific needs of their communities.

The global fight against Malaria has achieved some success over the past few years with incidence rates and mortality rates decreasing, resulting in an estimated 625 million fewer cases and 4.3 million fewer malaria deaths from 2001 to 2013 (WHO, 2014). Even with the substantial gains made against malaria, World Health Organization estimates remain high at 198 million malaria cases and 584,000 malaria deaths globally in 2013.

Follow the links to find out more about PFD’s work fighting malaria and programing in Cambodia.

Footnotes:

1. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. Antibiotic use has been beneficial and, when prescribed and taken correctly, their value in patient care is enormous. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. Many fungi, viruses, and parasites have done the same. Some microorganisms may develop resistance to a single antimicrobial agent (or related class of agent), while others develop resistance to several antimicrobial agents or classes. These organisms are often referred to as multidrug-resistant or MDR strains. In some cases, the microorganisms have become so resistant that no available antibiotics are effective against them.

Partners for Development is in its 14th year helping to provide those in need access to credit in Nigeria. PFD currently builds the capacity and provides loans to over 20 local microfinance banks and institutions. Increasing access to credit for impoverished peoples is a proven and successful way to help people break the cycle of poverty. By providing small loans to individuals who are denied traditional loans by banks and commercial loan agencies, PFD provides them with the means to start a business, invest in more and better food resources, pay for school fees, and afford healthcare. From 2001 to 2013, PFD directly issued over $ 2.6 million USD in loans to over 76,128 borrowers in Nigeria. However, our reach is multiplied as local partners have been able to relend funds several times. Over 95 percent of the loans are provided to women.

But, why focus on lending to women?

Nigeria Blog Photo
In Nigeria, especially in rural areas, women are in the background and many do not have a large voice in their communities. The Honorable Hajia Zainab Maina, Minster of Women Affairs and Social Development for Nigeria remarked that although “women constitute about 50 percent of the national population” and “contribute about 60 percent of local food production… their role in promoting economic and social change continues to be inadequately recognized and undervalued.” Further, a 2012 report on gender equality in Nigeria (UKAID) found that women often lack access to credit and are unable to participate in the formal economy. Thus providing credit for women brings them closer to financial inclusion and allows them to flourish as entrepreneurs. Furthermore, by participating in microfinance, women are empowered and able to increase their self-reliance. With their increased confidence gained through expanding their businesses and increasing their family income, women are able to play a larger role both within the home – i.e. planning the family budget – and in their communities.

In Nigeria, PFD and our local partners loan to women because they are best able to prioritize the family’s needs, focusing on family health, nutrition, and education.

Not only does the access to credit allow women to start or expand businesses, but PFD and our partners are multiplying the benefits gained by our entrepreneurial women by incorporating health messaging into the loan process. PFD uses the microfinance process as a platform to hinge other programing and projects such as reproductive health and exclusive breast feeding. When the women attend their regular weekly or monthly microfinance group meetings, they also receive information on breastfeeding practices, reproductive health, personal hygiene and nutrition; by incorporating messaging we are building on a platform which already exists and the women trust the messaging because of the known source.
Nigeria Blog Photo 2The aforementioned integrated program was studied by researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the results were published in the Journal of Nutrition who found that women who participated in the microfinance programs with the health messaging had an increased likelihood of exclusively breastfeeding their infant for the first six months. Additionally, the study found that the women who participated were less likely to give their baby water instead of breast milk. These changes can have drastic effects on reducing illnesses and death for infants in their first years. Children who are breastfed have at least a six times greater chance of survival in the first few months than non-breastfed children and using optimal breastfeeding practices would prevent more than 800,000 deaths of children under five (UNICEF, 2014).

The women involved in the program gain knowledge and are empowered to share the new information with their community. For instance, one participant who attended the additional health trainings with one of PFD’s partners said “[the classes] really added to my knowledge and [have] given me the boldness to face my daughter and other women around me to enlighten them on some health issues.”

More recently, PFD has integrated of business and financial skills training within the microfinance program, in which borrowers with minimal levels of education are trained using an experiential learning curriculum jointly developed by PFD and other development partners in Nigeria. PFD’s microfinance programs also help the next generation, since many women use the money they earn first and foremost to pay for education costs for their children. PFD and our partners are offeringscholarships so that those involved in the program are reinvesting the money into their small business to encourage growth and improved livelihoods. Through the Anne Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of Anne Johnson, who served as the Country Director for Nigeria and dedicated 20 years to work with PFD, and our partners, we award educational scholarships to girls of microfinance borrowers.

Since 2001, PFD has expanded and manages microfinance activities in five other countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Liberia, Cambodia, Tanzania, and Benin.

Keep up to date with PFD by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

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