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.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


NFPR training round 2 TPC 

On September 1, 2014 team Uplift held the second round of a ten day training for Natural Farming Pigs Rearing for the TPC students. In this training 45 participants joined. This time, the team focused more on practical learning process in the NFPR.  Each day of the training consisted of one hour led by KLDF team.  The trainings included topics such as synthesis of Fermented Banana Stalks (FBS), making Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs), natural pigpen bedding and fillers/ filling process, different types of pigs and routine maintenance/ common problems. Preliminary results from trainings one and two were positive and students reflected that they learned many new techniques of animal husbandry and natural feeding which they did not know before. Many were able to draw direct links to how these methods could be used in a Burmese village as well as sharing these skills to their friends, families, villagers inside Burma. At the end of the training, we provided trainer guides and lesson handouts in order to redeliver the NFPR trainings when they go back to Burma. Finally, we were very pleased with the outcomes of trainings and will continue to work towards improving our training with even more efficiency in the future.
TPC students demonstrating different pigpen filler

TPC students making FBS for pig feeds

In October, we are going to deliver NFPR and NFCR trainings at Grace garden which run under the nonprofit Border Green Energy Team (BGET) just meters away from Karen State in Burma. There will be 24 Wide Horizons students and 10 American students. The two-day training will consist of making natural pig feeds and chicken feeds, and how to build natural pigpen and chicken coop and so on. We are very excited to update about this training because it will also be the first (and only) training we conduct entirely in English, as the school requires only English for immersion purposes and participants from the United States.

TPC students making Indigenous Microorganism (IMOs)

Pig project 

Last month, we successfully finished planning for rearing two sows to see whether we can successfully breed our own piglets to reduce input costs. The remaining sow was bred last month. Right now we are in the process of buying another good breed sow pig. Our current piglets were introduced to FBS last month. These piglets were already fed with FBS and commercial feeds separately last month, with the ratio being 50:50. They were healthy and gained more than 3 or 4 Kg each. 
Piglets enjoying Natural foods ''Green Snack''

UPLift Farm manager (UTY)  mixing pigpen filler in order to get good natural compost

UPlift farm manager making pig feed for October

Following our successful feed method in Natural Farming Chicken Rearing project, we are going to experiment with our piglets next month with the feeding method that includes banana stalk, rice bran, grains, sugar, salt, and commercial feed. We will divide into two groups, and each group will have 3 piglets. One group will experiment with the new feeding method adopted from the chicken project; another group will feed FBS and mixed feeds separately. 

Financial Literacy (FL) training for rainy season

As promised in our last post, we have many pictures and updates from our 2014 Financial Literacy Training with 24 women from the community called Hua Fai which is located 10 minutes drive away from central Mae Sot. Our team has now trained around 24 people on Financial Literacy in the last 3 weeks. Some may recall that this is our fourth year to deliver financial literacy trainings.  This project originally stemmed from our 2011 UPLift Initiative project funded by Project Inspire after winning the the runner-up prize of 10,000USD to launch the project.  See a post from the financial literacy training's inception here. 

The training requires at least 5 half days of participants
UPLift team delivering FL training in the migrant community

UPLift team delivering FL training in the migrant community

women actively participating in the Market session

women actively participating in the Market session

UPLift team delivering FL training in the migrant community

Day1 Full Market Session: The market session is set up to simulate spending in real life.  The session is run in such a way that reflects how Migrants spend money and make use of time. For the next 4 days, participants complete 1 market session at the end of each training topic. Along with completing market sessions at the end of theory training, we use many different creative mediums to achieve various objectives for days 2-5.  These mediums consist of learning games, role play, real-life scenario analysis, acting, group activities, presentation using flip chart & participant presentations. 

Day 2 Goals & Money Beliefs: 
By the end of day 2, participants will be able to... 
  • Define and give examples of short, medium and long term goals.
  • Have identified one short term & one medium term financial goal.
  • Identified community beliefs that prevent them from achieving their goals.
  • Create a weekly and monthly budget for their household. 
Day 3 Define Savings & Making a Savings Plan: By the end of day 3, women will...
  • Define household income and expenses.
  • Define savings and its different uses.
    Make a realistic personal savings plan. 

Day 4 Household Budgeting: 
By the end of day 4, participants will be able to...
  • Describe several reasons for keeping a budget plan, and what can happen when there is no personal budget.
  • Describe the 5 steps for creating a budget plan
  • Create a daily budget plan for the Market Session

Day 5 Time Management/Time as a Value: 
 By the end of day 5, participants will...
  • Make a daily activity schedule and seasonal calendar to identify free time and plan for possible free time in the future.
In October the team will do the follow up for future possible business ideas with these women. After the follow up, we will select 10 women first in order to setup their small business. 

Chicken project 

After transferring chicken pilot project to Irrawaddy school, the school managed the project successfully. The teachers and students made chicken feed together. They divided into 5 color teams and each team had 4 students.The teams had responsibilities each week such as feeding chicken, making feeds, spraying IMO into chicken coop, and collecting eggs. In September, the school got 457 eggs which was an average of 15 eggs per day. In October, they will change chicken coop filler with rice husks, and some dry leaves. 
Irrawaddy students collecting the eggs

Additionally, Uplift team visited 3 more schools; Minmahaw, New Wave, and HwayKaloke for future chicken project. The actual assessment process will be done the second week of October. The team will revisit these schools in order to get more information. Finally, the Upift team is invited to deliver the natural framing chicken rearing training at the grace garden which runs under the Border Green Energy Team (BGET) in October. The team is ready to share their discovered methods for chicken feeds with them. 

School Garden program

In the month of September, the school garden program finished training on one school. Recalling from last month, HelpWithout Frontiers (HWF) Kitchen is the first school (of 4) we had decided to complete a full garden project with. HWF kitchen is currently supporting over 12 schools. The school meals program is called ‘’Yummy! Meals for Schools’’. Therefore the HWF kitchen garden program can add more nutritional meals to these children. According to the follow-up by our agriculture officer, Sai Aung, staffs, teachers and students are eager to learn more about natural gardening methods. There were 20 representative students from different schools who joined the garden training at HWF. The training included different sections such as basic knowledge of ecosystems and agriculture, soil management, Natural Farming (use of natural micro-organisms (IMO) without chemical fertilizers) versus chemical fertilizer farming and compost making by using natural resources and waste from school kitchen. In additional to that, the UPlift team shared on how to set up different planting crop layouts, such as container/recycled bottle gardening, sack gardening, vertical gardening, raised beds or traditional mounds and circle beds. On the second day of the training, KLDF team and students together made 4 raised beds. In October, HWF staffs and students will make another 6 raised beds. Each week our Agriculture officer does follow-ups with HWF garden. 

UPLift team member Sai delivering natural gardening methods at HWF

HWF students making Indigenous Microorganism (IMOs)

HWF students making the raised beds gardening

HWF students making the raised beds gardening

In October, the team will do another garden training at New Wave school., We completed general assessments and set up Sophia schools for future garden. They are willing to do and want to learn about organic fertilizers. New Wave school is also interested in animal rearing such as chickens and pigs. Currently, they raise fish in 3 ponds. The head master would like to build the pig pen or chicken coop on top of the fish ponds. He wants to use pig or chicken manures for fish food. We will provide garden training at New Wave School in October 2014 and November for Sophia School.

UBS parents’ training 

After having a successful parental training at New Day migrant learning center in July, the team held a second similar training at Baan Wang ta Kian School in September. The Uplift team members together with KLDF Montessori team delivered the training on positive discipline to the parents. The training really went well and parents were fully involved in the progress. They did several activities as well as sharing personal experiences. The team plans to continue sharing similar training to the parents which can help their children to achieve self-discipline and also show the parents how they can help support in their learning process.