January 17, 2023
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023.
I am not sure about your year but 2022 went very quickly for me. There was something about everything being open again and the unending possibilities that were presented.
Often, I find it easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work, and it is hard to step back and see if we are making progress. When I have the opportunity to travel to projects or am invited to speak about the work we are doing, I am forced to reflect and consider what we are accomplishing and how.
This past year, I was particularly impressed by how our teams in Guatemala and Honduras are working so closely with communities to make long-term change. CAUSE Honduras, for example, was able to encourage the local regional government to implement national legislation to protect children. CAUSE Honduras is now going further and leading the development of a network of care for children in the region by convening government and other non-government organizations to work together to ensure the best outcomes for children.
In Guatemala, the teams have built enormous trust with the communities where they are working on adolescent health. Despite very high levels of adolescent pregnancy, until recently, no one in these rural communities has wanted to discuss these concerns. The CAUSE Guatemala team has been able to build trust with all stakeholders and, perhaps most significantly, with Catholic churches in the region. It is wonderful to be able to have open conversations with these influential partners so that long-term solutions can be found to help decrease adolescent pregnancy and keep girls in school.
Every year, we set goals for CAUSE Canada and then people like you help to meet and exceed these goals and increase the effectiveness of our work. I could never have imagined working on ending child marriage (never mind winning an award for this work!) or having community-wide discussions with very conservative communities to address adolescent pregnancy.
Our network of local teams with deep cultural knowledge and strong supporters globally are making all the possibilities a reality. Thank you for your support in building a world where all people are equally valued and have the opportunity to live free from extreme poverty.
Executive Director, CAUSE Canada
May 19, 2022
This past winter we reviewed CAUSE Canada’s vision, mission, and values with the continual questions of what does CAUSE Canada do best? and what is God’s vision for CAUSE Canada? at the forefront.
We agreed that partnering with rural communities to ensure the most vulnerable and marginalized people have opportunities to leave extreme poverty is foundational to CAUSE Canada. You could say, we are good listeners, and we do our best to turn this into action. It is the story of Mariatu* – walking alongside and fostering local leadership.
Mariatu comes from a single-parent family living in rural Koinadugu, Sierra Leone. Last year she graduated from university with support from donors like you.
In August, Mariatu joined our team as a project officer: a front-line leader for rural communities where adolescent girls were out-of-school. She meets with Mothers’ Clubs, local leadership, and adolescent girls. Her message is, “I am one of you but because I stayed in school, I am now able to help others stay in school.”
In one of the communities, the chief praised Mariatu to me. He said, “this young woman is so impressive and so dedicated to helping us. She is one of our own, but she is truly showing us what girls can do. I want all girls to stay in school.”
Girls like Mariatu are why we are more focused than ever on our mission. We walk alongside people and partner with communities to help people who are most marginalized and vulnerable. Our vision is that all people everywhere are equally valued and can live free from extreme poverty. This vision is deeply rooted in our values of:
Faith: motivated and guided by our faith in Christ to love and care for the most vulnerable and marginalized people.
Dignity: believing people are worthy of being valued and respected simply because they are humans.
Equity: believing in just and fair inclusion and that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Impact: striving to maximize the quality of our efforts with the goal of effective, long-term, measurable, holistic transformation.
More than ever, CAUSE Canada is committed to helping the most vulnerable people and to measuring the impact to ensure long-term, sustainable change.
Thank you for helping exceptionally vulnerable and marginalized people gain opportunities to live free from extreme poverty.
Executive Director, CAUSE Canada
March 10, 2022
Warmest greetings in the middle of the Canadian winter. In Calgary, the weather feels mostly like Spring which is strange since it’s February!
These last few months at CAUSE Canada have been very uplifting. After many months of very limited travel between our offices, last fall it became more feasible for some face-to-face inter-office work and travel. This meant that there was a lot of paperwork but also a very special time to reconnect with the teams, beneficiaries and partners.
In early November I travelled to Guatemala which has, and continues to be, devastated by the pandemic. The opportunity to sit face-to-face with our partners and to visit communities and listen to the struggles experienced over the last two years was grounding. Your support during the pandemic has truly supported so many people through very difficult times. Thank you for caring. This past month, CAUSE Canada was recognized at a national level for the impact of our innovative work to end child marriage in Sierra Leone. We have shared more information about this project in this newsletter, but I believe one of the keys of this project’s success was the time the partners took to listen and respond. When partnerships are right and when everyone is listening, amazing things can happen.
Thank you for how you are changing lives, and helping people have new opportunities. The pandemic has really emphasized the importance of community and I am so grateful that you have chosen to be a part of this community that wants to ensure all people have dignity and the opportunity to leave extreme poverty.
Executive Director, CAUSE Canada
February 10, 2022
We are thrilled to share that CAUSE Canada has been awarded the 2021 Innovation and Impact Organization Award from Cooperation Canada and World University Service of Canada (WUSC) for our work to eliminate child marriage in Sierra Leone!
October 10, 2021
No one has ever witnessed a year quite like this past one. It has been a privilege to serve CAUSE Canada, our teams, and the people we work with in West Africa and Central America during this time. The dedication of our teams, and the commitment and generosity of our donors has been inspirational. Thank you for your support in this work. It would not have been possible without you.
CAUSE Canada’s history of building local capacity, committing to long-term relationships, and partnering with communities meant that in 2020-21, despite the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns globally, we continued carrying out our mission.
May 10, 2021
An educated woman. That’s the dream of many girls in Sierra Leone. And yet, for many, the dream goes unspoken. Child marriage means early pregnancy, and those who have children are mostly barred from entering the classroom. An agrarian lifestyle means all hands needed on deck, and subsistence takes priority over education. And even if education were the priority, money is tight, and not simply in the home.
May 1, 2021
Thanks to you, we are continuing to focus on the impacts of the pandemic. In Sierra Leone, they have now lifted all emergency restrictions as they had very few cases. The impact economically is still being realized, and high malnutrition and other effects are becoming clearer.
As the pressures on families increased in 2020, family violence has also increased. We see the same problems in all the countries where we are working but few women, community leaders or neighbours know where to turn for help.
While it is a very difficult issue to address, our ability to work in this area is a result of deep partnerships built working with women to improve their maternal health. With your help, we have continued to work in this area and are seeing some signs of hope and increased capacity of communities to respond to this issue.
Thank you for your partnership in realizing and solving the systemic problems that cause and keep people in extreme poverty. I strongly believe that together, we can find life-changing solutions.
March 5, 2021
Amalia lives in the rural, Indigenous community of Cabecera, where employment opportunities are rare and many struggle to meet the basic needs of their families.
Amalia was struggling to make ends meet doing housekeeping work. Her husband, who also struggled to earn an income, continually encouraged her to start a business, recognizing that Amalia had the potential to become a great entrepreneur. Amalia, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure she had it in her.
January 11, 2021
Warmest greetings! Many of us this winter are being forced to embrace the cold. There will be no travelling to warmer places because of the pandemic. While I enjoy winter, I miss sitting face-to-face with our teams in West Africa and Central America to discuss programs, how to be more effective, pressing needs, and how to address those needs.
Thanks to you, this past year we focused on helping communities prevent and respond to COVID-19, largely by improving access to proper sanitation.
Donors like you helped in the fight against malnutrition, which is a growing concern as food insecurity rises due to the pandemic.
December 14, 2020
In Kabala, in the Koinadugu District of Sierra Leone, the trade route from the town to the nearby villages isn’t paved. Instead, its rich, reddish soil provides sharp contrast to the dark, lush green of the trees that grow along the path. People pass by every day, every hour. Farmers with their produce; mothers accompanied by their daughters, carrying lumber or vegetables to trade; and children, running. Depending on when you take the path, the rush of running water will mingle with the smells of food cooking, fires starting, or the chatter of those washing their laundry.