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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

January Monthly Report

Khom Loy Development Foundation    

UPLift Project

January Monthly Report- 2012 

Pig Project

This pilot project uses natural farming techniques that significantly lower the costs of animal rearing, by using fermented banana stalk as feed and using other fermented inputs that improve health and digestion, particularly nutritional intake.

January was full of surprises for the pig project.  We purchased and began rearing a second round of black pigs, in an attempt to test the effectiveness of a 100% diet of fermented banana stalk (FBS).  This will give us a good comparison to the first round of pigs, which are being fed on a 100-day high-protein diet.  After only three weeks, the new pigs had grown rapidly, and are still going strong!  We are very excited by this development, as FBS is 1/30th the cost of store feed and can be a great option for schools or communities that do not have high budgets for animal rearing.  We will continue to track the growth of the pigs to see if there are other factors involved.

School Garden Program

It will be recalled that this program started in 2010 with 2 pilot schools, and we are now rolling the program out to another 4 schools with the aid of funding from Vitol/Thai Children’s Trust.

We have four different updates for the Garden Program:

Shwe Tha Zin School—has finished it’s third month of the garden project, with very good results.  We will now compile the results of the vegetable yield and speak with the principal/staff about their next round of activities.  If possible, we want to provide a stipend for seeds and a second batch of indigeneous mircroorganisms (IMOs), which are essentially cheap and effective fertilizers and soil enhancers that are made by fermenting various local materials.

Hsa Mu Htaw School—is helping us to test a new type of garden project that involves urban gardening.  This project, if proven to be successful, can help schools in villages/towns to use their creativity and available strengths to produce large amounts of vegetables.  Some techniques include container planting, village brush collection for a school compost pit, IMO production, and efficient water usage.

Heavenly Home Orphanage—agreed to begin a small-scale garden project.  Home to 39 parentless or disabled children, Heavenly Home has very few existing supporters for food budget, outside of Mae Tao Clinic and Room To Grow Foundation.  With a functional garden, the students and children here will have much more to eat in the future.

Dominican Orphanage (Holy Infant)—agreed to begin a large-scale garden project.  Run by a group of Dominican nuns, and formerly in Umphiem refugee camp, this boarding house has a very big and modern home.  However, the funders who helped cover the house costs cannot help with running costs for food.  With a new 18-inch layer of topsoil to prevent the risk of flooding during rainy season, the staff and students at Dominican are ready and excited to start a garden.  This will be a particularly interesting project, given that the students want to be fully involved (each student will have his/her own plot to manage and grow).

Project Inspire Landfill Project

Project Inspire, a women’s empowerment program founded by UN Women and Mastercard, recently awarded Khom Loy Foundation and Room To Grow Foundation a financial literacy project grant to continue their existing success in assisting women living in a landfill community near Mae Sot, Thailand.

Project Inspire really took off during January—we began by giving a refresh training course to the Wide Horizons students who are serving as trainers for women on the landfill.  After adapting their existing experiences with the training from English to Burmese, the students then split into five groups, introduced the program to women in five different locations on the landfill, and began training!  As of the end of January, three trainings have been completed (Market Session, Money Beliefs and Goals, Savings Plans) with two more to go in February.


Global Border Studies (GBS), an advanced education school located in Nu Po refugee camp, were able to come and visit the pig project at Hway Ka Loke.  They are currently learning about practical coursework for environmental sustainability and development work, so we were very happy to see them, hear their well-thought out questions, and spend time with them.  For more information on GBS, please visit http://www.dkit.ie/globalborderstudies/ .

The Wide Horizons students, currently helping with Project Inspire, also visited the pig project after showing much interest in this type of project.  Upon graduating from their studies, several students have asked to learn more about the project, especially fermented banana stalk (FBS).


Our agricultural field officer, Kaw Maw Thaw, decided to part ways with Khom Loy in order to pursue his goal of going back to participate in development on the Burmese side of the border.  Best of luck, Kaw Maw Thaw!

Next Month’s Activities

  • Finishing financial literacy trainings at landfill, then moving to the next phase of Project Inspire (identifying and working with exceptional women to begin their own small businesses)
  • Hosting a visit by Thai Children’s Trust, the generous funding provider for the garden program
  • Starting work on the three new garden projects and winding down activities at Shwe Tha Zin
  • Continuing work and evaluation of pig project at Hway Ka Loke
  • Hosting a visit by members of the Project Inspire team in Singapore