Letter From the Executive Director
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.
As we enter 2021, it’s clear that our work to prevent and respond to COVID-19 must continue, along with our food programs to alleviate hunger. But our work cannot stop there. With your help, our efforts need to focus on helping all children—especially girls—to return to school, instead of becoming young mothers.
Over the past few years, CAUSE Canada has worked on maternal, newborn and child health. We’ve been troubled by the enormous number of young women and girls who are marrying and becoming young mothers, rather than staying in school.
COVID-19 school closures have worsened the situation—setting development back and destroying hope for each girl’s future. The younger a girl is when she gets pregnant, the higher the rates of maternal and infant mortality. We cannot allow this to happen.
As you read this newsletter, I hope you will think about your own children and consider that these kids are really no different than our own. They all deserve to have a childhood, gain an education, and ultimately have for hope for their own futures.
Thank you for improving the lives of women and girls in Central America and West Africa through your continued support.
Executive Director, CAUSE Canada
Adapting and Responding to COVID-19
Thank You For Responding to COVID-19 in Marginalized Communities!
Your support has allowed us to respond to COVID-19 in 274 marginalized communities, reaching more than 300,000 people!
Health and Nutrition Programming in Guatemala and Honduras
Thanks to you, we are providing health information over the radio to people living in rural communities. Your gifts are helping people keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. Many of these communities have no other access to health information.
Your gifts have also improved access to nutritious food for 6,700 families at high risk of malnutrition!
Preventing COVID-19 in Sierra Leone
Your generosity allows our team in Sierra Leone to work with communities that are unreached by the Health Ministry. One of our team members, Samuel, set out for Fankoya to help prevent and respond to the pandemic.
Fankoya is rural and very remote.
Before Samuel arrived, no one in Fankoya had received any information about COVID-19 prevention. Many thought the virus wasn’t real.
Samuel taught community leaders how COVID-19 can be transmitted, its signs and symptoms, and how to prevent and protect people from the virus. Within the hour, community leaders started discussing how to prevent and respond to the virus in their community.
Thanks to you, Fankoya received hand washing stations and disinfectants to help prevent the spread of the virus.
CAUSE Canada has improved sanitation measures in 94 communities, provided hand washing stations to over 69,673 women, children and families—but we couldn’t have done it without you!
Our Daughters Deserve Better
Trading Home For A Brighter Tomorrow
Koria grew up in a farming village in rural Sierra Leone. Most days, she toiled in the field under the blazing sun to help her family.
But on weekday afternoons, Koria had the luxury of attending school, where her only job was to learn and play. Koria loved school, but she knew her days of learning would end when she was married.
Koria’s parents made marriage arrangements for their daughter when she was 14 and removed her from school to work full-time on the farm until the marriage. Before long, 14-year-old Koria was married to a man she barely knew. She had her first child at 16, then her second at 18.
Koria spent her teen years juggling the responsibilities of being a mother, wife, and working to support her family. She was left with no time to grow herself.
Then in 2014, Ebola broke out in Koria’s village. Tragically, her sister, brother-in-law, and their children all died during the outbreak.
Koria was devastated by the loss.
Sponsor A Child
Why Sponsor A Child?
Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. In Sierra Leone today, over 60% of the population live in extreme poverty. You can help improve a child’s opportunity to leave poverty by investing in their education. Your monthly gift provides a child in Sierra Leone with an opportunity to go to school and access medical care for life-threatening but completely curable illnesses . By becoming a child sponsor, you are giving a child the boost they need to rise out of poverty and begin to thrive.
During this difficult time, Koria overheard a CAUSE Kids monitor who was speaking to a group of children in her village.
Education is so important. It helps prevent illness and even teen pregnancy,” said the monitor. “When you enrol your children in school, and keep them in school, you’re giving them more opportunities to pursue good careers for their futures!
She listened intently and took the monitor’s message to heart.
That evening, Koria sat outside, waiting for nightfall. The ground was still warm from the day's hot sun. She thought about what the monitor had said as she watched the dying sun sink ever lower in the sky.
My daughters are everything. I want them to have opportunities … more than I had. They must go to school.
Koria shared these thoughts with her husband. Together, they decided to move to a new village where they could enrol their daughters in school. Today, Koria’s eldest daughter is a participant in the CAUSE Kids Sponsorship Program—where donors like you are helping her family cover education expenses.
Thanks to donors like you, 385 monthly meetings with adolescent girls and young mothers have been held to provide support to return to school post-pandemic.
The Magnifying Effect of COVID-19
How the Pandemic Impacts Women & Girls
In rural regions in these countries, adolescent pregnancy for girls under 15 is some of the highest globally.
Even in ordinary times, adolescent girls from rural communities are at risk of dropping out of school to help their families financially. During crises, the risk of dropping out increases. Some girls participate in child labour, while others are forced into early marriage or subjected to sexual violence, which often results in teenage pregnancy.
The COVID-19 outbreak has not only endangered the educational progress of girls, but also their health, safety and even their lives.
With your help, available resources have been distributed to ensure girls can continue their education.
In Guatemala and Honduras, CAUSE Canada has introduced a new program to help young women and men improve their health and education. We hope you’ll partner with us to offer young women and mothers the opportunity to improve their lives through financial literacy and vocational training.
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