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Adopt a Village FAQs[faqinnerlist faq_topic="AAV"]
What is Adopt a Village?
Designed to meet the basic needs of developing communities and eliminate the obstacles preventing children from accessing education, Adopt a Village is a unique sustainable development model made up of five pillars crucial to community development:
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Alternative Income and Livelihood
- Agriculture and Food Security
Together, these five pillars create a sustainable and holistic development model that helps to ensure children and community members are empowered to break the cycle of poverty.
Adopt a Village is currently implemented in Kenya, rural China, India, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Ghana.
How does Adopt a Village work?
The primary focus is to make the goal of “education for all children” a living reality. We believe that education provides the highest return of any social investment. Education is the best way to empower people with the tools, knowledge, strength and confidence they need to promote and protect their own rights, growth and self-sufficiency. Education helps families, communities, and even entire nations, break the cycle of poverty.
II. CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
Many diseases and illnesses common to developing countries are transmitted through contaminated water and inadequate sanitation systems. As a result, children suffering from these illnesses become too sick to attend school. By providing communities with clean water, the Adopt a Village model aims to remove barriers that prevent children from attending school.
Our health programming operates on the idea that there lies a recognizable link between helping disadvantaged people meet their basic health care needs and building strong communities.
IV. ALTERNATIVE INCOME
These programs specifically target marginalized women, providing them with productive resources that enable them to generate a sustainable source of income to increase their savings and even start their own businesses. The benefits of alternative income programs are directly related to an increase in girls attending school and a decline in the incidence of child labour.
V. AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
Existing agricultural practices in rural communities in the countries where we work are based on systems that are hundreds of years old. These agricultural practices are no longer able to ensure self-sufficiency and adequate livelihoods amongst subsistence farmers in these communities. Increased capacity is needed in order to address the challenges of increasing desertification and shifting weather patterns.
What curriculum is taught in schools built by Free The Children?
The government in each Adopt a Village country determines the curriculum taught in the schools and school rooms the organization builds. This is an important factor in the education stage of community development through Adopt a Village. Standardized tests are typically given in the respective countries where the organization works. Passing this test is almost always necessary for being admitted into high school. Government-determined curriculum coincides with the test. If a student does not study this curriculum, the possibility of continuing their education past primary school is significantly lower.
Although the curriculum is not determined by Free The Children, the organization has created many programs and initiatives that complement it.
In Kenya, students are encouraged to join Free The Children Health and Environmental clubs, where they learn, among other things, the importance of clean water, washing their hands and how to plant, water and grow vegetables.
In India, Free The Children works with the community to plant medicinal gardens, which students use to study the various medicinal properties of plants and how to use them.
In Ecuador, gardens are planted on school property, which serve not only as a nutritional lunch source for students, but also teach students about the various nutritional factors of foods and the importance of eating well.
Does Free The Children work with the government in providing education to rural communities?
In all Adopt a Village counties, Free The Children partners with the Ministry of Education to ensure that all school-related projects initially implemented by the organization are maintained over the long-term. For example, the Ministry of Education in Kenya works with School Management Committees (made up of teachers and headmasters of each school) to ensure the schools are properly resourced, maintained and operated.
Sustainability is the goal of all Free The Children’s Adopt a Village projects. From the very beginning of our work in a community, Free The Children works closely with the government to ensure that local community members are empowered and have real ownership over each Adopt a Village education project, be that a school room, a school garden or a student environmental club.
Who pays the salaries of teachers working in Free The Children schools?
The government in each Adopt a Village country pays the salaries of teachers in Free The Children schools. However, in some cases, the community will join together to pay part of the salary for a community-level teacher. In China, for example, through Free The Children’s alternative income and livelihood programming, the community will give some of the income generated from an animal husbandry project to support the salary of a community-level teacher. Salaries vary in each community and each country. Amounts are determined by the government and are reflective of each community and country’s specific needs.
Free The Children is committed to providing all students in our schools with a quality education, one that will provide them with the knowledge and tools to lead productive, successful and happy lives, free from poverty. That’s why our work with the Ministry of Education in each Adopt a Village country is so crucial.
Does Free The Children provide lunch to students at Free The Children schools?
Whether or not Free The Children directly provides lunch to students is dependent on each community’s food security situation. For example, during the recent drought in East Africa, the organization stepped up to provide full support. This included supporting short-term drought relief efforts like providing students with a hot meal for lunch and ensuring nutritional check-ups were conducted at the Baraka Clinic, and long-term sustainable solutions such as agricultural programs and providing access to clean water through large scale water projects.
In many of our Adopt a Village countries, Free The Children complements school curriculums with agricultural projects, such as having environment clubs at schools or working with students to plant kitchen gardens on school property to grow medicinal and nutritional plants and vegetables. The vegetables from these gardens are used to supplement students’ meals in Free The Children schools with proper nutrition so that they can focus not on their hunger, but on their education.
Free The Children also ensures that Adopt a Village communities are given the proper resources, like kitchens and access to clean water, that they need to help support the nutrition of entire families and communities.
Is girl-child education a focus for Free The Children?
Yes. We believe that education provides the highest return of any social investment. Education is the best way to empower people, especially girls, with the tools, knowledge, strength and confidence they need to promote and protect their own rights, growth and self-sufficiency. Education helps girls, their families, their communities, and even their nations, break the cycle of poverty.
In developing communities around the world, girls have unique challenges in accessing education, staying healthy and breaking free of poverty—but they also provide hope for change more than any other group. In Free The Children’s work around the world, one thing transcends borders: the power of a girl to create positive change.
The lot of the girl child in developing countries:
Women and girls are typically responsible for food preparation, care of animals, care of the sick, crop irrigation, cleaning, washing and waste disposal.
The daily chore of collecting water takes millions of girls out of the classroom, and after long hours spent walking with heavy loads, there is little energy left for study.
About 1 in 10 school-age girls in Africa drop out once they reach puberty because they don’t have clean or private washrooms to use at school.
In many places, young girls are forced to leave school in order to enter into early marriage and pregnancy and bring income to their families.
Free The Children’s support of women and girls:
Through girls’ clubs and workshops, Free The Children educates girls about the potential health risks of early pregnancy.
Free The Children attaches water projects to each of the schools and schoolrooms we build. Not only are girls able to collect water on their way home from class, this ensures families are drinking clean instead of contaminated water.
Our alternative income projects provide financial literacy training and empower women to sustainably contribute to family income, through beekeeping, animal husbandry, women’s circles and more. Mothers who have a source of income are less likely to take their female children out of school and into early marriages.
Our Anganwadis in India and clinic in Kenya provide girls and women with health care and health education, helping to reduce maternal and infant mortality and disability and to stop the spread of diseases.
Our first all-girls secondary school, the Kisaruni Girls’ Secondary School, allows young Maasai and Kipsigis women to continue their education beyond middle school, empowering them to create positive change within their communities and become role models and visionary leaders.
Through Free The Children Girls’ Clubs, Ecuadorian girls come together for workshops on human rights, self esteem and leadership, sharing perspectives and ideas, building strong bonds with each other and working together on income-generating projects.
In China, we work with communities to ensure equal enrolment of girls and boys in schools.
What do your health projects on the ground look like?
Our health projects include:
- Mobile health clinics
- Health care and awareness workshops
- Provision of medical supplies
- Health care and awareness workshops to educate communities on preventable diseases
- Household health promotion
- An epilepsy management program
What is the impact of alternative income and livelihood programming?
The impact of alternative income and livelihood programming reaches far beyond giving mothers and women a source of alternative income to provide for their children and families. Providing mothers with this income is key to the sustainability of Adopt a Village. When mothers have a source of income their financial stability is increased, thus reducing child labour, giving women a sense of empowerment and a voice, increasing women’s capacity and skills and more.
In many of our communities, families have barely enough money for one meal per day. With no source of regular income, parents are often unable to support the education of all of their children, either because schooling is too expensive or because children are needed to help with income-generating tasks. By participating in Free The Children’s alternative income and livelihood programming and gaining financial stability, women are able to send all of their children to school for a longer period of time. This has an effect on the children themselves and on the entire community. An educated community is more equipped to lift themselves out of poverty.
What’s more, women who participate in alternative income and livelihood programming also increase their capacity and skills. These skills not only benefit the women who have them, they are passed on to friends and children who can use them in the same way, now and in the future. Women are empowered and proud, and act as wonderful examples to their daughters.
The alternative income and livelihood pillar of Adopt a Village is key to ensuring the sustainability of the development model. In almost every community worldwide, women are the ones who look after children, make sure they go school and help them do their homework. When they’re free from poverty, mothers can give their children the opportunities they deserve.
What do your alternative income and livelihood projects on the ground look like?
Our alternative income and livelihood projects are different in each Adopt a Village country. They are based on each community’s culture, traditions, resources, habits, climate, environment and more.
The projects include:
- Animal husbandry projects which includes milking/breeding animals
- Vocational training
- Business and financial literacy workshops
- Leadership and skills training
- Honey production
- Artisans projects
- Girls Clubs
- Women’s and Men’s lending circles and support groups