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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Training of Month

Natural Farming Pigs Rearing (NFPR) Training at TPC school 

On August 18, 2014, team Uplift held a ten day training for Natural Farming Pigs Rearing for the Teacher Preparation Collage (TPC) students. We divided the 81 students into two groups with the first round completed with 36 participants. Each day of training consisted of 1 hour led by our land and training officer, U tin Yu with support from Program Manager, Ko Lynn. After the training, students commented they would like to have additional times to really digest the information and practice new skills. They will continue to visit the pigs as the pig sale approaches and as we plan the next round. At the present, we are in the process of completing another 10 day training with a second group of students alongside 2 more local NGO staff. 

TPC students making Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs)

The trainings include topics such as synthesis of Fermented Banana Stalks (FBS) Indigenous Microorganism (IMOs), natural pig pen bedding, pig pen fillers/the filling process, different types of pigs, routine maintenance/ common problems. Throughout the course of these trainings, TPC students’ trainees will follow us through the pig rearing to full grown pigs, and see the sale of market ready pigs (selling for about $200USD/pig) and observe our reinvestment process. As a consequence, they will understand clearly how this method works from start to finish. 
TPC students cutting banana with a bicycle propelled 'banana chopper'

Pig project

Last month, the remaining sow was bred with a male pig in order to make more piglets to reduce input costs. In August, the piglets were separated into another pig pen after they stopped drinking milk from their mother.  They were introduced to the low-cost feeding system and enjoyed the different feeds including green snacks such as morning glory and sweet potato leaves. 

Piglets were separated into another pig pen and a sow was bred with a male pig

This month, they will be introduced to FBS feeds. According to our planned feeding schedule, after we begin making and feeding the piglets FBS, we gradually increase the amount until the FBS to commercial feed ratio is 50:50 or more.  Since FBS is not protein dense, We developed the feed mixes, mixing FBS with feeds such as some commercial foods and traditional foods (kitchen waste, grains, rice bran, wild/cultivated vegetables, etc.). These foods are either soaked or cooked (using fuel and time). In total for 6 piglets eating one month of one of our feeding ratios, 36Kg of commercial foods, 54kg of green snack, 36kg of traditional foods and 90kg of FBS will be consumed. As part of  FBS synthesis, we use a bicycle propelled ‘banana chopper’ (a replica of the chopper used in the school pig project) to cut thick banana stalks utilizing a fraction of the time and effort it would take to do this by hand

Economic Development for Burmese Migrant women

Last month, Our Women Economic members completed their loan payments in Pesiden community. In total five women became totally independent with their small business such as traditional snack selling, mobile phone service, selling household goods, snowy ice snack selling, and sewing business. 

UPLift officer receiving a loan repayment and observing different small Business

In the interview with one of the members Ma Thi Thi Hlaing said “I started my sewing business with KLDF in May. KLDF provided me second hand sewing machine and some addition materials in order to start sewing in the community. Combining with KLDF support and my skills, I was able to pay back to loan to KLDF after 3 months, additionally I saved another 5000B. Right now, I have many orders from other communities and school. I did mostly sewing mosquito nets and school uniforms’’. Last month we completed the PSD small business program, but we will continue follow up with these women in the future.

Financial Literacy (FL) training for rainy season   

This month, we visited one more community, the ‘’Ka Pi Ban Burmese community’’, to do an assessment for the Financial Literacy training. Alongside our project partner school Wide Horizons, the KLDF Team met with female community leader and several women in the community. Most of the women stayed at home and did household works while their husbands worked at the factory and construction side. The team observed the community and interviewed some women in the community. 

Moe Thu conducting a community survey for FL training at Kapiban community

We also completed a community’s analysis in order to choose rainy season FL training in August. Ultimately, we selected the Hui Fai community where most of the women are undocumented and unable to work outside of the community. During the third week of the September 2014, the team will deliver FL training to 20 women in Hua Fai community. Review and preparation of the training materials will occur next month. 

Chicken Pilot
In the first week of August, we changed the feed diet to 100 percent of fermented feed, our final feed diet test. Due to lack of protein in the main feeds, the egg laying rate decreased but the chickens remained very healthily. The students sprayed EM and IMOs every week, keeping the pen clean and eliminating any odor. We are very excited to release chicken pilot different feed diet experiment in September. During the second week of August, the UPLift program manager visited some chicken rearing project in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand, which is run by Hilltribeorganics, Ltd. We learnt a lot by observing different village chicken coops

Irrawaddy students getting trained how to make low-cost fermented chicken feeds
According to our recent report on chicken experiment, our main conclusion of the chicken pilot is a mix of 50% commercial feed and 50% banana stem. The result of this feed mixing was we can produce eggs for about 1.5B each. It is less than half the cost of the shop-bought eggs. Therefore, we are going to use this discovered method when we start chicken training other school. The last week of August, we delivered Natural Farming Egg Laying Chicken training at Irrawaddy school. 20 students and two teachers participated in the training. The topics included the difference between village chicken and egg Laying chickens, nutrition from chicken eggs, chicken coop construction, filler materials, fermented chicken feed creation, daily routines and health check. The students were actively involved in the training including practicing how to make chicken feeds. In September, KLDF will transfer the chicken project to Irrawaddy school control. Our Agriculture officer will be doing follow up each week in order to help the transfer process.
What follows is a summary of the chicken groups in our feed diet test:
Group A
Egg-laying rate = 38 eggs this month
Weight = 1.8kg average per chicken (Group A less than Group B 0.1 kg)
Healthy looking and regular eating habits
Group B
Egg-laying rate= 75 eggs this month
Weight = 1.9kg average per chicken
Healthy looking and regular eating habits

School Garden Update

In the month of July, The school garden program finished school surveys and assessments for both previous and new school gardens. For schools participating in the in 2014-2015 school garden programs, we visited and had meetings with head teacher about the organic garden. We collected information about school funding, income generation, and areas for garden. We surveyed 6 schools: New Day, New Wave, Eiphis, Pyi Chit, Sophia and Hlee Bee. Out of these 6 schools we will select 3 schools to work with school garden program. The school ranking process completed in September. Additionally, the team will start the first school garden training with Help Without Frontiers (HWF) Kitchen in September.

Parami, Hway Ka Loke, Love and care school garden 2014-2015 school years.

For schools already involved in the school garden program, we gathered final assessments and will release final report in September. There were 14 schools, eight of which participated in the school garden each year and would like to restart this year again. Most of these schools have boarding house and struggle with food each year.  Some of the schools faced the difficulties maintaining the garden year by year because of difficulty finding materials, natural challenges, and several insect problems.The UPLift team will help the schools that would like to restart school garden in this upcoming academic year. 

Karen State general surveys
KLDF Farm Manager U Tin Yu and local survey person conducting Karen villages' survey

For a future possible project inside Burma, last month the team worked together with a local survey person to complete a community survey in the Karen State. Thus far we have successfully surveyed four villages near Shwe Ko Ko Township. The purpose of the survey is to be able to understand the agriculture interests and education situation in each village.

According to our current surveys, most of the villages are interested in doing small garden and animals rearing project because most of the villagers do not have a lot of land to do farming. They can only afford to have small gardens around their homes, and raise few animals such as pigs, chicken, goats and ducks. In the following months, the team will visit some of the villages that have completed surveys to meet with the village leader and villagers. 

UBS parents’ interview

During the first week of August, the Montessori parents meeting was held at the New Day migrant school. The aim of this meeting was to deliver UBS parental training. In total 17 parents attended the training. The training consisted of discussions about the methods these parents used to discipline their children at home. The parents were taught the difference between punishment and discipline and the consequences of each. Ultimately, most of the parents realized the value of positive discipline rather than punishment for their children. According to the parents’ feedback, they would like to have further training in the future. 

students' parents getting the parent workshop with KLDF Team

In addition to that, UBS data collection began last month. Data entry was completed for each school that we have done UBS testing in. In August we purchased a new printer in order to scan the Ages Stages Questionnaires (ASQs) and parent’s surveys for 11 schools in the program. Thus far, we have completed scanning four schools: Mae Pa Neua, Mae Tao, Mae Tao Pae, and Hua Fai.