Organisations allow people to come together to take action.
The children had started mentioning NGOs and were curious about what they are and do so we have been exploring some of them.
To help foster a hands-on understanding of what some do, we imagined we were on project teams working for Oxfam. We created a sustainable development programme for an imagined rural village in Bangladesh.
The children had texts and YouTubes to watch to gain an understanding of life in the village and what the villagers needed to live more sustainable lives:
We also did a Think-Pair-Share about collaboration skills:
Link to the project
Each student was given a role in the team: Project Team Leader, Case Study Officer, Meeting Minutes-taker and the Budget Accountant.
They needed to choose which items they should buy each year over a 3 year plan for the village.
The mathematics involved was creating budgets and ensuring that they did not exceed the budget. Some groups chose to use Excel spreadsheets and others chose to use table formats for their accounts.
The catch was though that their first year budget of 18 500 francs was secured. However, for the 2nd and 3rd year of the project an anticipated budget of
15 000 francs each year was projected. But, if Oxfam hadn't reached its donation target for those years, then the teams would have to decide upon which selected items they would have to delete from their programme.
Costs of Materials & Programmes
Building a well in the village with potable (drinkable) water
7 300 francs
Farming tools to replace those that are broken or old
2 000 francs for 15 farms
Renovating the mosque
which has crumbling walls and the ceiling leaks a lot in the monsoon season. The people in the village are very religious and prayer at the mosque weekly. The mosque was once a source of great pride for the village, but now that it is run down, the villagers feel a bit ashamed of themselves for not being able to afford to restore their place of worship.
3 500 francs
1 male calf (baby cow)
which could grow mate with a female cow when it grows older. The family that owns the calf will be able to use its dung (poo) to help fertilise their fields which greatly increases the amount they can grow. People in the village also collect cow dung, dry it in the Sun and use it to burn for cooking. This is much cheaper and easier than chopping wood from trees. It also greatly helps the environment surrounding the village because people don’t need to chop all the trees down for cooking.
1 male goat
can provide much needed milk for a family and the dung (poo) helps fertilise the crops grown on the farms
1 male ox to help plough fields or to transport a cart
1 female calf (baby cow)
which could grow to supply milk when it grows older plus it will produce much needed dung (see above for the benefits of dung)
1 female goat:
can provide much needed milk for a family and the dung (poo) helps fertilise the crops grown on the farms
1 female ox to help plough fields or to transport a cart.
ox will also produce dung (poo) that can be used to fertilise crops
- enough supply for one year for ten families. Will help the chickens to grow healthily
Repairs to the school roof so it doesn’t leak anymore every time it rains
1 350 francs
Repainting the school walls
The paint on the walls both inside and outside the school building peeled off year’s ago. It makes the school building like quite ugly, but more importantly that paint protected the walls like a shield from being decayed and damaged. Repainting the walls will ensure that the school building will stay standing for an extra ten or 15 years. At present, it is estimated that the walls will no longer be safe and will probably collapse in ten years time. How could the village afford to rebuild a school building in that time?
A small school library of 100 books
Writing books and pencils for all the school children for one year
Pay for one extra teacher for three years.
This would mean that instead of 45 children per class, there would only be about 30. This would greatly improve the children’s abilities to read, learn about environmental science and practical maths
1 000 francs
Put electrics and lighting in the school building plus the electricity bill for one year
2 100 francs
Two ceiling fans in the school building and the electricity bill for one year.
During the hot months, it is so warm that it is extremely difficult for children to concentrate and learn.
Fee for a monthly doctor to travel to and spend a day in the village to help those who are ill. This would save people from having to pay for and travel to see the doctor in the other village.
120 francs per month (need to multiply by 12 for the year)
All necessary vaccinations
(including the pay for the nurse to travel there and give the vaccines)
75 francs per child
Build a small medical clinic with basic medical equipment
12 000 francs
Pay for a full time doctor if a medical clinic is built
4 500 francs for three years
Playground swings for the school
to send one person to a community college to train to become a teacher or nurse
6 000 francs for the full two year course including food and board
Textbooks for maths
for the children to read and copy questions in the books (never write in the textbook). The maths abilities of the children is very low. Sometimes people from other villages cheat the people in this village out of money because their counting skills are not so strong.
Some art supplies for the school - A3 paper, some pencils and boxes of crayons for the year.
The children at the school have never used crayons before nor had enough paper to use for drawing or making art. For a simple life in the village, art-making would bring great joy to the children at the school.
Soap making equipment.
This could help one family make their own soap which they could sell in the village or sell to people in another village which would bring extra money into the community.
A new cart for the village.
Only one family in the village owns a cart that they lend to others when needed. This is the only way the villagers can transport their food to other villagers to sell or to transport a sick person to see a doctor 80 km away if it is an emergency. The old cart probably will break completely in a year’s time and so the village will have no means of transport.
3 400 francs
Cyclone evacuation community centre.
All the houses in the village are made of bamboo. This is perfect building material for a tropical country because it does not make the inside of the buildings too hot. However, it means they can easily be damaged or destroyed if a cyclone hits Bangladesh.
A cyclone community centre would be a building made of cement. If a very strong cyclone struck, some villagers could evacuate and stay in the safer community shelter.
12 000 francs
The species of chicken the villagers own is weak and so they cannot lay many eggs on such a small amount of food the villagers can provide them. This different species of chicken can lay more eggs even on the meagre diet the village can provide.
100 francs for 25 baby chicks
Flip-flops for the children.
Only 10% of the children have footwear. They are an expensive luxury that most families cannot afford. This means the children are always walking around barefoot. They are used to this, but the road leading to the school is quite rocky and hurts their feet when they walk on it.
50 francs for 50 pairs of flip-flops
(They will probably last about two years as the children would only choose to wear them to school, but not whilst at school to help preserve them for longer)
A radio with a year’s supply of batteries.
The radio could stay at the local mosque with the Imam.
This would help the villagers to know what is happening in their country and whether a bad storm such as a cyclone is forecast.
There is a charity organisation that owns a small bus with about 400 books. The bus travels to villages in the area once a month and allows villagers to borrow a book until it returns the following month. The organisation hasn’t enough money to pay for the petrol to this village. You could decide to contact this organisation and see if they could visit this village once a month by paying for the petrol and the bus driver’s wage for the day.
700 francs for a monthly visit for the entire year
You could buy some basic medical supplies such as plasters, bandages, aspirin etc. These could be stored with the Inman at the mosque for villagers to use if needed.
2 200 francs would supply the village with the basics for probably a year
Footballs, bats and dolls
Most of the children’s parents cannot afford to buy their children toys.
You could buy one toy such as a football, bat or doll.
25 francs for one child
Many of the villagers cannot afford to buy new material to make new clothes. Most have been wearing the same clothes for many years. Some are torn and during the monsoon season, they can feel quite cold because the material in their clothes are so worn out.
350 francs would buy enough material for 50 people to make their own clothes with
Many of the villagers use bed blankets that have been passed down from the grandparents or even great-grandparents. They simply don’t earn enough money to buy new ones. They keep them as clean as possible and take very good care of them, but they are quite worn out and are no longer as warm as they used to be for the cooler monsoon season.
350 francs for 40 people
Building an improved bridge.
When it floods heavily during the monsoon season, the bridge that passes a small river is flooded over and each time it becomes more damaged and unsafe to use. When the bridge is flooded over the people in the village have no means of travelling to other villages. If someone is ill or a cyclone has damaged the village badly, the villagers cannot travel elsewhere for help. It is expected that in a few years time, the bridge will be completely broken. People in the village are very skilled at building bridges, but buying materials to build another bridge that would be stronger and higher so it doesn’t get flooded over is costly.
6 800 francs
Pay for the services of a midwife
A midwife is a trained person who can assist women to give birth to their children more safely. In many villages in Bangladesh the rate of deaths for newborn babies is quite high compared to other countries, as is the rate of mother’s dying whilst giving birth. In the neighbouring village there is a trained midwife. You have estimated the cost of having the midwife travel to the village each time a woman is giving birth.
1 350 francs for the year
Eg, hammers, saws, nails
You could supply the village with some new building equipment. The people in the village could use these when they need to repair their damaged houses- especially after bad storms. Some villages do have some building equipment which they happily share with others, but most of the equipment is quite old and doesn’t work as well as it should.
The building equipment could be stored with the Imam at the local mosque.
Community health education programme.
This would pay for a nurse to visit the village for one week to help teach the villagers the importance of better hygiene to prevent illness- especially amongst the children.
(see image below)
The stream that flows through the village is quite polluted. The villagers have no choice though than to use that water to grow their crops and to give to their animals. The plants and animals they eat are therefore not as healthy as they should be. You could decide to buy a small water purifier that would make the stream water less polluted. It wouldn’t make the water potable, but it would help the food they produce to be healthier. The World Health Organisation (an organ of the U.N) has stated that the pollution of water the village is using causes long-term serious diseases for people who eat that food over a long period of time. Essentially, the people in the village are becoming seriously ill by eating this contaminated food for so long.
The water purifier is estimated to last for at least 20 years before it would need replacing.
6 200 francs
Mango tree saplings (baby trees)
Some people in the village have mango trees on their farms that provide them with much needed vitamin C during the mango season. Ten years ago, every family had mango trees on their farms, but tragically a tree disease has spread throughout the village which has killed 85% of all the mango trees. These new mango tree saplings are resistant to that disease so they cannot catch it. The people in the village are experts in how to care for mango trees. But they did not have the money to buy chemicals to kill the tree disease before it was too late.
200 francs for 50 mango tree saplings
Women’s Literary Community Programme
Many girls in the village get married at quite a young age- 16 is the average. Because of some people in the village do not think it is very important for girls to learn to read or write. 65% of the women in the village are illiterate (cannot read nor write) This means they cannot help teach their children who struggle to learn in such an overcrowded classroom. Being illiterate means the chance of going to a community college or studying for a profession is impossible. It means that children born in the village are destined to live and work on the farms in the village such like their parents and grandparents. It also means that village from the village find it difficult to leave to find better paying jobs in large towns or cities. Working in those places could mean sending much needed money back home to their families in the village each month. This money could be spent on buying medicine when someone is ill or buying books for their younger siblings to write in at school.
You could create and pay for a teacher from a neighbouring village to come and teach a group of women how to read and write. The programme would be once a week for three hours.
1 500 francs for one year
Agricultural Community Programme
The people in the village are very knowledgeable in how to be farmers. However, new farming techniques have emerged that proved to be very effective and successful in other villages in Bangladesh.
You could create a community programme where an agricultural teacher from a neighbouring community college could visit the village once a fortnight (2 weeks) to teach a small group of farmers better ways to grow food on their fields. Growing more food would have two great benefits. Firstly, it would mean more food available for the families to eat and secondly it could mean some families grow so much food that they could try to sell the extra food to neighbouring villages. This little extra money they earn could help them buy material for new clothes, medicines, soap, shampoo, or new building materials incase their homes gets damaged during bad storms.
1 850 francs for a one year course
All the teams met their budget constraints and had developed sustainable programmes so their proposals were approved by the Oxfam CEO (me).