Educate the Children, Inc.
Rating: 5 stars 16 reviews
Issues: Education, International, Economic Development, Microfinance
Location: PO Box 414 Ithaca NY 14851 USA
Results: Over the course of nearly a quarter of a century, ETC's work has benefited at least 15,000 people directly and countless more indirectly. Residents of the areas in which we have worked have benefited from: (1) Improved public health conditions: ETC has constructed hundreds of sanitary toilets and offered public health training events for thousands of attendees. Chronic diarrhea and other bacterial illnesses are very common, and cause people to miss work and school, but these problems decrease significantly when people have and use sanitary toilets and begin to sanitize their drinking water, wash their hands more frequently, and keep their farm animals separately housed. (2) Improved nutrition and food security: ETC has helped farmers increase their yields significantly, and learn to grow/raise a wider variety of more nutritious foods. (3) Improved educational systems: ETC has improved schools both physically and in terms of the quality of education offered. Moreover, teacher job satisfaction and student attendance rates are higher, and student drop-out rates are lower, after ETC has worked in a given school compared to before, and compared to national averages. (4) Increased household incomes: ETC has helped women gain the skills and confidence to start their own businesses. They also gain status in the community and are more willing and able to speak up for their own rights, advocate for community improvements, and participate actively in their children's educational processes. A major reason for ETC's success has been that we involve the target population all along, from the planning stages through implementation and evaluation. The residents of our project areas know that their specific needs and situations are being addressed, and they feel a real sense of ownership of the activities and results. This is important for immediate success as well as for long-term sustainability: because the residents are so engaged, the benefits of the work endure long after ETC has left a particular area to begin working in a new set of villages.
Target demographics: marginalized and impoverished people, especially women and children,
Direct beneficiaries per year: about 2,000 residents of rural Nepali villages
Geographic areas served: Nepal
Programs: (1) Women's empowerment - including literacy training and entrepreneurial training (2) Children's education - including infrastructure improvement, sponsorships to enable impoverished children to attend school, and teacher training (3) Sustainable agricultural development - including provision of supplies and training to help small farmers (mostly women) grow greater quantities of more nutritious food for their families and as an income-generating activity Please see our photo essays at http://www.etc-nepal.org/publications.php for more information about how ETC helps people to make better lives for themselves and their families.
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This is an excellent small organization that helps marginalized communities across Nepal develop their own capacity in the domains of children's education, women's empowerment and agriculture. They have worked effectively in one of the village areas where I have worked for over 15 years as an anthropologist - succeeding in improving living conditions in a way on other organization has. I strongly recommend ETC's small-scale, sustainable model. It works!
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A Small Organization
Governments and International Aid Agencies Could Learn
“Leader Urges People to Revolt”, “Local Government Consolidation Recommended”, “Homeless Tell Their Stories.” These were fleeting stories recently - there one minute, forgotten the next. They had to do with dysfunctional government and social arrangements, a source of discontent in many places around the world. Let’s take Nepal where Ithaca based ETC (Educate the Children) works. Long standing and unfortunate social conditions there festered into a bloody civil war which is finally coming to an end. As will be the case one day in Iraq and Afghanistan, peace in Nepal will open the door, ever so slightly, for humanitarian relief and for the rebuilding of individual confidence, family cohesiveness, community cooperation, government services, national infrastructure, businesses and employment. Peace will not automatically eliminate lingering grievances and without the skillful repair of fundamental conditions, things will eventually come apart again or at least not work very well. The end of war in Nepal leaves social marginalization, economic disparity, gender discrimination, illiteracy, disease, landlessness, malnourishment, orphan-hood and homelessness intact. Somehow people’s fear and distrust, caused by both sides when kidnapping, property destruction, killing, torture and detention were practiced, will need to be addressed if neighbors will ever be able to face each other and communities work together again.
Several governments and international agencies will no doubt move to help the people of Nepal. Multi year, sector wide projects, farmed out to international companies and costing millions, will be designed. Complicated programs costing even more and designed to work through broken government departments, will be put into place. Donor motives will be honorable and the potential for considerable good will obtain. But much of what is done in this way will eventually run off. Donors could learn from a small Ithaca based NGO called ETC which has been working in Nepal for years. Large donors will understandably have objectives like 4000 classrooms repaired, 1500 wells opened, 500 clinics stocked, 4000 teachers trained, 300 miles of freight path restored, and so on - all worthy and needed. The thing of it is, displaced and disenfranchised people, together with alienated communities, will need to be brought together as part of the repair and redevelopment of Nepal. Wind will have to be breathed into the body. Otherwise accomplishments will be shallow, partial and temporary. This by the way would be necessary to any rooted development which has a chance of being sustained, even where there had been no war.
ETC/Ithaca is an organization that works hand and hand with local people as they are ready, depending on them to decide what needs to be done and relying on them to bring about needed change. While it has always worked in this fashion, this is especially critical at a time when an abundance of cynicism, fear and fatalism has accumulated and makes any, lay it on approach, suspect. ETC personnel work shoulder to shoulder with individuals, project groups and communities, trusting and respecting their insights and integrity. Development objectives are based on locally identified needs and desires. ETC has learned that the ownership which comes from participation is necessary to the sustainability of any accomplishment. Efforts are not limited to any sector but rather take on whatever is needed as a group or community progresses. Development is understood as a continuous problem solving process. Interventions are not seen as stand alone but as building blocks. Attention is given to the needs of whole families and communities, knowing that progress and motivation are interrelated. There is willingness to engage in every element of an endeavor, e.g. cooperative planning and decision making, group or community organization, advocacy with government offices, fund raising, training, child care, family nutrition and so on as needed. Each local success is seen as putting understandings and skills into place which make higher order accomplishments possible. The satisfaction of aspirations induces further ambitions. Surely the work of large donor organizations is important and productive in places like Nepal. However, the thoughtful approach used by ETC Ithaca could increase impact considerably while providing opportunity for the development of relationships which are so important in times like these.
3627 Rockefeller Road
Moravia, NY 13118
The ETC website for anyone interested, is www.etc-nepal.org