UPLift--Poverty Alleviation For The Ultra-Poor

UPLift is a program designed to empower communities on the Thai/Burmese border that lack food security, opportunities for income, and education. Through the use of small grants and skills trainings, these families receive the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty without having to rely on external aid indefinitely.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Pigs, New Project Idea

The newest additions to  UPLift

On Wednesday Kaw Maw Taw (who works on the UPLift agriculture projects as a field officer) located and purchased five pigs, thus beginning the rearing phase of the Pig/Compost Project at Hway Ka Loke School in Mae Sot, Thailand.

The pigs are of mixed breed ("mix-sai-paan" in Thai), and are between 1 and 1.5 months old.  The initial weight estimate is at 10 kilograms (22 pounds) per pig.  After an initial week of low feed amounts, we will begin testing a high-protein diet that uses a mixture of store feed, fermented banana stalk and liquid microorganisms.  The amount of banana stalk used increases as the pigs age, reducing the cost input needed for food while giving the pigs added nutrients and improved health.

Meanwhile, Kaw Maw Taw has been learning about raising black soldier fly larvae, a very inexpensive and consistent source of protein for feeding fish and chickens.  Partners' Relief and Development, a collaborating organization, has built a larvae "house" and is successfully breeding the larvae by mixing their food waste and other organic materials every day.  The larvae consume this waste very rapidly, and upon reaching full maturation climb out of a pipe in the unit and are ready to be fed to fish at Partner's farm site in Mae Sot.

Larvae "house" at Partners farm site

Black soldier fly larvae

Since we have surveyed numerous Burmese migrant schools with fish projects, our new goal is to learn the process of building and maintaining these units, and then sharing this technology with interested schools.  During the upcoming week Kaw Maw Taw will be building our first unit.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October Monthly Report

Rainy season is over! Here is a review of our activities in October--

Pig Project

With rainy season ending mid-month we were able to complete several stages of the project, including completion of the pig pen (filled the litter back to a level that eliminated flooding) and finishing the liquid indigenous microorganisms (IMOs).  The search for appropriate white pigs of Du Loc breed turned out to be quite difficult…the best source we found ended up to have a disease that, when combined with the deep-litter project, results in high rates of fatality for the pigs.  Because of this, we are now buying a small batch of black pigs to test the feed regimen on, since black pigs are less susceptible to disease and more popular among Burmese and Karen.  When another batch of white pigs become available (Nov/Dec) we will raise them side by side in the pen and make a comparative study using the same feeds.

School Garden Project

Mark and Kaw Maw Taw surveyed three schools: Shwe Tar Zin, Bwe Ka Lar and Heavenly Home.  Shwe Tar Zin is by far the best fit, and we have begun the planning phase of the project with principal and staff.  We are visiting Heavenly Home again this week to speak with the female manager.

Landfill Income Generation Projects

Very positive news from the vegetable project as Mya Thin has turned a month of growing into a great batch of produce (see photos here).  An initial 500 baht of seed funding has already yielded 400 baht of income, and there are still 3-4 months of production for the crop.

Project Inspire Landfill Project

Mark and staff from Room To Grow Foundation have been finalizing the Project Inspire Social Entrepreneurship program that we earned a $10,000 grant for in August.  The plan will involve training Burmese post-10 students @ Wide Horizons (WH) Project Management School on how to deliver financial literacy modules to women and girls living on the landfill.  We will then follow up with the ten most creative and motivated of these women to create small social entrepreneurships that improve household income as well as quality of life on the landfill.  The funding arrives first week of November, and the project will last until December 2012.

Khom Loy Foundation Video

Antony Reick, a filmmaker who is volunteering to make a promotional video for Khom Loy, visited Mae Sot with Bruce Kennedy (a KLDF board member) to take some footage about our projects here, including the landfill project, garden project, pig project and Montessori expansion project.  After editing and adding narration, the video is nearly finished.

Break The Silence (BTS) Child Trafficking Initiative Activities

  • Met with Doug from Partners to discuss progress on the Shan Red Leaves Falling video (now finished voiceovers, currently editing)
  • Met with Myo Min to discuss updates for BTS Mae Sot


·         Upland Holistic Development Project—spoke with staff and manager (Tui) about pig rearing, banana planting and low-cost feeds.

·         Partners Mae Sot Farm—discussed their experiences raising black pigs in a deep-litter, black soldier flies, and water systems for a pig pen.

·         Partners Chiang Mai (BTS checkup, mentioned in BTS section above)

·         Fang Valley Network Meeting--Mark attended the Fang Valley Network meeting on October 29, at which he shared ideas and project activities with other groups in attendance.

A container used for rearing Black Soldier Fly Larvae, a great source of inexpesnive protein for animal rearing.


·         Antony Reick/Bruce Kennedy (2 days)

·         Montessori Staff (3 days)

·         Paul/Norm (2 days)


·         Completed pig pen/IMOs

·         Helped complete KLDF video

·         Kaw Maw Taw starting to take Garden Project responsibility


·         Finding appropriate pigs to purchase for project

·         Coordinating time commitments between multiple projects

·         Finding suitable land for use w/ landfill families and farming pilots

Next Month’s Activities

  • Black Soldier Fly Workshop for Kaw Maw Taw @ Partners Farm
  • Setting up Black Soldier Fly pilot @ Sky Blue School
  • Supporting an additional 100 banana trees @ BHSOH School (using new planting method learned from UHDP)
  • Purchasing black pigs, testing speed of growth on high-protein diet
  • Researching and setting up “duck litter” project @ Hway Ka Loke school
  • Surveying garden schools: Maw Thaw Lu, Nya Li Ha Ta, Heavenly Home (second visit), New Blood (second visit), Dominican
  • Implementing garden project @ Shwe Tar Zin, 2 other schools pending survey
  • Coordinating a BTS visit to Mae Sai for visiting local organizations there
  • BTS meeting with Room to Grow and Burma Border Projects to discuss child protection activities in Mae Sot
  • Beginning Project Inspire program by training Wide Horizons students 7Nov-16Nov
  • Visiting Mae Jo University, Partners Farm Chiang Mai, ECHO organization, and frog-rearing project in Chiang Mai
  • Visiting Global Neighbors to discuss use of land for banana farm/pilot projects
  • Attending Social Entrepreneurship Training @ INSEAD Singapore campus 28Nov-2Dec