Falam Development Program
This Development Program aims to improve the well-being of children, especially the most vulnerable, using an approach that is long term (15-20 years), holistic, focused on children, and seeks to enable their families, local communities and partners to address the underlying causes of poverty. These root causes are not just lack of access to the basic necessities of life like water, food or health care, but also include inequities like gender or ethnic discrimination, or abusive practices like exploitation or domestic violence that affect a child’s well-being.
Most farmers have small plots and depend on rainwater to keep their crops watered. But rainfall has decreased and farmers are seeking other forms of income generation. Therefore, we will work to increase farmers’ income through more productive and sustainable agriculture systems like irrigation and poultry and livestock raising. Drought, deforestation, and poverty have left farmers and their families facing food shortages for up to six months every year. We will partner with the World Food Program and UNICEF to create a food for work program. Residents will build and repair roads and water pipes, and be paid with food for their families. Many children under five years old do not have access to a balanced diet. Therefore we will focus on nutrition education for families, emphasizing the importance of protein and vegetables for children during their early years. Children in remote areas often miss out on immunizations because there are not enough healthcare workers to travel to these hard-to-reach places. So we will train additional community health volunteers who will be able to serve these children and families. Families need education about malaria prevention and treatment. We plan to strengthen healthcare education at the household level, where knowledge is lacking. Water is scarce in the area, and people depend on streams for drinking water and irrigation. However, these streams dry up after the rainy season, and children have to travel up to three miles to find water. We will focus on creating additional water sources that provide children with this essential resource. Diarrhea and acute respiratory infections are prevalent for children under five because of unsafe water and poor hygiene. Very few families have a latrine. We will concentrate on training children and adults about personal hygiene, and will work to improve sanitation in the village. Children stop attending school after the primary level because middle and secondary schools are too far from the community. We will work with the Education Department to provide transportation and funding so students can continue their schooling. Students who drop out of school are more likely to become involved in dangerous and antisocial activities. Therefore, we will provide vocational skills training for youth so they can find employment and earn income. Although many parents recognize the importance of early childhood education, there are no preschools in the area and young children are therefore not prepared for primary school. So we will open preschools, provide supplies and teaching aids, and train teachers and management committees. Several parents are not educated and do not see the benefits of education for their children in terms of income and livelihood. We will work with the active local Parent Teacher Association (PTA) as they spread the word to others about the importance of education. During the rainy season, landslides can quickly wipe out farmers' fields, which are planted on steep hillsides. These landslides cause families to lose their access to food and income, which affects the well-being of children due to impacts on school fees and nutrition. Therefore, we will work on disaster preparedness plans to prevent and reduce risk of landslides. Children continue to be victims of violence, exploitation, and abuse. We will improve our protection of vulnerable children through influencing policy makers and community leaders, and by creating effective systems to eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation, and all other forms of violence. While parents of newborns have recently recognized the importance of obtaining birth certificates to ensure their child's rights to education and citizenship, they may have missed this opportunity for their older children. We will work with community leaders to assist these parents in accessing this essential resource for all of their children. Children and youth are often ignored in community meetings, and their voices and opinions are considered inconsequential. We will form community groups where children and youth acquire and practice the skills of debate, communication, negotiation, and group decision-making.
This Development Program uses an innovative approach to programming. Instead of creating projects around specific sectors, they conduct integrative projects that include activies from all sectors including health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, food security, economic development, and child protection.
Most Vulnerable Children, Gender, Protection, Advocacy