An Update From Wendy

Dear Friends,

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.

With Gratitude,

Wendy Fehr

Executive Director, CAUSE Canada

Quality Over Quantity — Or Can We Have Both?

In a Grade 1 class of 150 six-year-old children, Mariatu* struggles to learn. Her teacher has only a Grade 6 education and there are so many children in the class. Although her teacher is participating in training, she has a long way to go before she is accredited. Mariatu is grateful that her teacher shows up every day, and that the government is encouraging all kids to go to school.

Because of people like you, Mariatu received the opportunity to participate in something that she loves this year, Mobile Learning Labs. Hosted at her school, she uses a tablet — something that no one in her family has ever used — and can play math and reading games. Mariatu can already read more than her older sister who dropped out of school at age twelve.

About 88% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in math and literacy. Since Ebola closed schools in 2014, CAUSE Canada has been integrating technology into education programs to make sure that children are not missing out on the opportunity to learn. Evaluation of our approach shows that kids are improving their math and reading skills by more than 85%. Their enthusiasm for school also increases, and attendance at school improves.

This past fall, CAUSE Canada was recognized by the Mobiles for Education Alliance for its innovative work to increase children’s math skills.

It was an honour to be invited to speak at the Ed Tech Symposium in Washington, DC in November and to participate in discussions with the World Bank and other global partners on strategies to effectively use technology to overcome the problem of poor-quality education,” says Executive Director, Wendy Fehr.

It is not acceptable to send kids to school and call our work done. Children must be learning. Using technology in education ensures that all children can have quality education.”

*Name has been changed

“We Lead by Sabi” We Lead by Example

Too often, women and girls are extremely undervalued, and in many communities where violence is common, women and girls bear the brunt of violence.

But, because of your support this year, together, we are having an influence on helping the most marginalized and vulnerable people. Suma, a program manager in Sierra Leone recently shared the impact of the project “We Lead by Sabi” — or We Lead by Example.

Fatmata* is living with a disability, and this year the community where she lives participated in the project. Until recently it was acceptable that her husband regularly hit her. As a woman, and as someone with a disability, her status in the community and in her family was very low.

A community leader participated in a training session with CAUSE Canada’s Sierra Leone partner and began to think deeply about how damaging it was for Fatmata, her family, and for their community to allow this type of abuse to continue. The leader went to Fatmata’s husband and spoke with him about stopping the abuse.

Suma shared with us that not long ago, Fatmata came to the office to speak with him and thanked him for the significant change she had begun to see in her family. The community leader had helped her husband to understand that abuse is harmful for Fatmata and the whole family. And because community leadership does not want this type of behaviour in their community, if her husband does hit her again in the future, she now has a support system that she can go to, and they can intervene on her behalf.

Working in partnership with communities is having a huge, sustainable impact. And for Fatmata, her value and dignity can be better realized now that she is safe from abuse.

*Name has been changed

We Are Moving!

As the lease on our current office space in Calgary comes to an end in January, a generous donor stepped forward and helped us to secure a new space at a considerably lower rate. 

As of February 2023, we will be located at 330-1010 8 Avenue SW in Calgary. We are excited to be moving closer to downtown and yet have more space for visitors to park. We are also thrilled to be able to direct more funds to helping people and less to paying administration costs. 

We hope you’ll visit us in our new space one day soon!