In addition to the base programs, we also facilitate four extensions to the village programs.
- We link communities to donors who provide school building material to communities that have shown commitment to establishing a community school. When communities have established a community school and made the bricks needed themselves, Response Network partners sponsor them with the rest of the building materials needed to build a school building.
- The “Women in Governance Program” educates women on their rights, encourages and empowers them to participate in traditional, political and religious governance structures.
- The “Extended Sports Program” encourages villages to set up structured sports clubs in their villages and include persons with disabilities as a means to “Kicking AIDS Out”.
Women´s Self Help Group for Save and Borrow, makes it possible for poor and weak women to take a loan from saved money within the group, to start an operation.
Building community schools
Education is a universal right to every child. Building community schools is an extension of the Community school self-help program. When communities have shown a commitment, established a community school and made the bricks needed themselves, Response Network link them with our partner Academic Work. Academic Work donates the rest of the building materials needed to build a school building, like mortar, bricks, window glass. The villagers then continue to run the project and finish the school building. By letting they build themselves, the villagers increase their knowledge and pride for their facilitation in their community.
Since 2004, the sponsorship from Academic Work has enabled 44 new schools. On average every school has 150 children, which gives about 6700 children an opportunity to education.
Women in Governance
“Women in Governance (WIG)” is an extension from “Women´s groups” programs. The program educates women on their rights, the need to be equal partners in development of their communities and encourages and empowers them to participate in traditional, political and religious governance structures. The realization that women need to be a part and parcel of the Governance systems at whatever level cannot be over emphasized. Response Network has partnered with Norwegian Church Aid for this program.
There is a great development within the program. Looking into many communities that have embraced the WIG concept, there have been a lot of changes taken place both at household and community levels. People are more conscious of their rights. There has been a decrease in gender based violence. Women are getting more involved in communities, as six women so far were selected chair persons for Area Development committees.
Stories from participants:
After a WIG-workshop Headman Siazilombo said – “The workshop in my community was an eye opener to the community. After the workshop about five women were put into leadership positions. One woman was elected in the Parents Teachers Association School Committee, one to Area Development Committee and three women in the village committee.”
To him, this was a very great step as it had never happened before. To the question about what Headman Siazilombo thought prevented women from participating in the past, he answered – “Women were very dependent on men and even men were content with the status core. There was a lot of ignorance among men and women about women having a say in decision making. Traditional norms and culture have also played a role on the attitude of women.
Estelia Lungu at Kantamba village had this to say:
I was invited as a participant to a community workshop in my village organized by Response Network. I attended the workshop and on the first day we learnt a lot that made me reflect on my life as a married woman. For a long time I have lived in a marriage where my husband does not treat me as an equal partner he is the boss and what he says goes without question.
On the second day of the workshop I convinced and managed to bring my husband along for the workshop. My husband later at the end of the workshop confessed his ignorance of the real place of women in society. He said he did not know that women had a say or that they can even make any decisions. Now I know thank you for enlightening me the husband said.”
Improving your physical health by exercise is important for a longer life. In the sports program we work to develop the health and wellbeing for people in the villages. Our partner for this program is Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF).
The aim for the program is to ‘Create Sports for all’. This work in three focus areas;
- Youth leadership, including activities for Kicking Aids Out
- Disabled in sports
- Women in sports
We motivate the communities to start structured sport clubs, train youth people to be good coaches and overall – work for a wider integration among the villagers in sport activities. We have seen a great improvement in the integration in sport activities and an interest in sport activities among the communities.
Since 2010, Response Network in partnership with Kinder Not Hilfe (KnH) is engaging communities in this empowerment program for poor and weak women. When they come together as a homogenous entity, these individuals can achieve much more. Social solidarity, accountability, participation, innovation and transparency are the embodiment of development through the Self Help Group (SHG) approach.
The women are saving some money within the group. Members are then, individually, able to borrow from the group to start an operation. An interest of the loan goes back to the group. Normally there are about 15-20 women in each group, and today there are about 50 groups. After 50 groups have been started a cluster is formed. Representatives from the clusters works as a support to new self-help group and, as contact persons to authorities to make a greater impact.