Wendy poses with other Cause associates in group shot.

Letter From the Executive Director

Warmest greetings!

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.

With gratitude,

Wendy Fehr

Executive Director, CAUSE Canada

Empowering Girls Through the Pandemic

In Sierra Leone, most girls attend primary school but are often forced to drop out before they reach the seventh grade to help support the needs of their family.

Recently, our team talked with a young girl from Affia in the Koinadugu District named Betty* (23). They discussed some of the programs CAUSE Canada is operating, including a monthly girls’ club where girls are invited to a safe space to share any issues they’re experiencing.

Betty shared, “Instead of being encouraged to pursue higher education, girls in my community are often forced to become sexually active and begin producing children before our bodies and minds are fully developed

Since the intervention of CAUSE Canada’s COVID-19 prevention and response project, many changes have occurred in the lives of the girls and women in my community. Much of this is thanks to the monthly girls’ and women’s meeting initiative.

An action plan was made with strict bylaws to address early marriage and teenage pregnancy. The project not only focused on changing the behavior of girls and women in our communities but also addressed the underlying causes of adolescent pregnancy, such as hunger, through the provision of nutritional support.”

Because of your generosity between July 2020 and March 2021, nutritional support was provided to 31,825 people at risk of malnutrition caused by the pandemic. This support also prevents adolescent pregnancies. Today, fewer girls are experiencing adverse effects of the pandemic, giving them the opportunity to continue focusing on their education and development.

*Name has been changed

Enabling Communities for Good

Help prevent gender-based violence in rural communities with a gift today!

Not long ago, community leaders in one of the small communities in Comitancillo, Guatemala were contacted by a young woman named Adriana*, who was experiencing violence in her family home.

She hadn’t had problems with her parents before the pandemic, but now that her family was home all the time in very close quarters with additional economic worries, tensions were high. She had been beaten and yelled at, causing her to fear for her life.

Community leaders activated the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Protocol they learned during training sessions with CAUSE Guatemala to help the community protect and respond to family violence. They contacted the Ministry of the Public to coordinate further support for the family.

Authorities spoke to Adriana and her siblings. Adriana was provided with counselling and support in finding a temporary home with an extended family member. The authorities also followed up and provided counselling for Adriana and her parents, helping them to reconcile the issues that had developed.

Because CAUSE Canada and CAUSE Guatemala believe in empowering communities to create long-term change, the community was able to intercede and ensure the family had the support necessary to keep Adriana safe. People living in extreme poverty often don’t know local resources exist and when they do, they might not know how to advocate for their rights.

With your support, 916 community leaders in Guatemala received training to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in their communities to help protect women, children and families. Thank you!

*Name has been changed

Working to End Child Marriage

After Yonson* (52) participated in CAUSE Canada’s engagement meetings and training to end child marriage in Sierra Leone, he agreed to stop his arranged marriage to Lama* (15).

Yonson learned about the benefits of allowing his soon-to-be wife to finish her education and the consequences of marrying girls too young. Because of this, Yonson encouraged Lama’s father to allow her to complete her education before becoming his wife.

Lama is clearly bright given her success in reaching the 10th grade. She’s the youngest of 9 children: 4 daughters and 5 sons, from a less privileged family, whose primary income comes from farming and hunting.

Lama’s father is concerned that his daughter could get pregnant before receiving a bride price like her sisters. Though he is not happy cancelling the wedding, with the leadership and support of CAUSE Canada in Sierra Leone, her father has agreed to stand by Lama as she completes her education, building a brighter future.

*Names have been changed

Save the Date!

Last September, participants from around the world completed over 2,200 kilometers of walking, running, hiking, biking and swimming in support of all kids returning to school.

Because of you, the 2020 Race to Kabala raised over $15,000 in support of education programs for vulnerable children and adolescents in remote communities who may otherwise never have the opportunity to return to the classroom after the pandemic.

This September, CAUSE Canada’s month-long virtual race will be set in Todos Santos, Guatemala. Stay tuned to learn more and to register for the race!

In the next few weeks, we'll also be launching a campaign that has the power to make your gift go even further! Keep an eye out for how you can multiply your impact.