projects where businesses and markets are a force for positive change in 2016
Swan Yi uses WORTH, Pact’s savings-based economic empowerment model, to help women better support themselves and their families. In addiition to helping women save money and access credit, WORTH provides intensive training and support to build members' capacity as successful entrepreneurs. The project incorporates leadership skills to support the health and education of women, their families and communities. Since 2013, Swan Yi has established more than 1,200 savings groups with more than 30,000 members. These groups have accrued more than $1.5 million through weekly savings, enabling women to take nearly 100,000 loans worth more than $5.7 million. Swan Yi also incorporates an advocacy curriculum rooted in empowerment principles, educating members on topics including labor law, domestic violence, divorce and children’s and land rights. Continuous self-learning helps women develop business literacy and numeracy skills to start, manage and sustain their businesses.
Zimbabwe Accountability and Artisanal Mining Program
This project is increasing cooperation between small-scale and industrial miners in Zimbabwe and formalizing production and trade of gold by the country’s estimated 500,000 artisanal miners. The project focuses on gold mining sites in the areas of Shurugwi, Gwanda and Kwekwe, working to improve operational, safety and environmental standards. In an extensive 2014 baseline study, Pact found that the use of mercury in artisanal mining in Zimbabwe is widespread. In response and in line with the Minimata Convention on Mercury, Pact is partnering with Zimbabwe's government to develop an inventory of mercury use and a national action plan for mercury reduction. Pact is also informing policymaking, working with the government to increase the contribution of gold to Zimbabwe’s economy and development.
Somos Tesoro—We are Treasure, in Spanish—is working with the Colombian government to reduce child labor and improve health and safety in artisanal and small-scale mines through an integrated approach, addressing the many factors that lead to child labor, including economic instability, challenges in implementing public policies favoring child protection, limited public commitment to the eradication of child labor, and a lack of quality education in rural mining areas. The project focuses on two geographic areas where families rely on mining for their livelihoods: the coal mining communities of Boyacá and the gold mining communities of Antioquia. In addition to benefitting children and families vulnerable to child labor, the program is helping adult miners, teachers, educational institutions and local government. Somos Tesoro is working to strengthen schools, promote greater economic stability in mining families, apply labor and mining health and safety standards, strengthen child protection policies and formalize artisanal mining in the two mining regions.
Sajhedari Bikaas Partnership for Local Development
The Sajhedari Bikaas Partnership for Local Development is strengthening the relationship between citizens and local governments and improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness among Nepalese officials. With conflict mitigation and technical assistance that focuses on building the capacity of local organizations and government bodies to function more independently and effectively, Pact is helping communities to better direct their own development. Following the April and May 2015 earthquakes, the program adjusted to help affected villages make disaster recovery plans, including launching mobile service camps and rebuilding destroyed small-scale infrastructure such as water taps, latrines, roads, schools and health posts.
SHINE: Sustainable Health Improvement and Empowerment
SHINE is an integrated health and livelihoods program that empowers rural communities to improve their lives in lasting ways. With trainings and workshops, community members learn about maternal and child health, disease management, and village banking. The project then supports communities to organize themselves around these issues to deliver solutions for improvement. SHINE trains community-chosen health volunteers who diagnose, treat, and refer cases of diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria; uses Village Development Funds to empower communities to decide and fund development priorities; launches mothers groups for community-based health education support; and employs Pact's signature WORTH model to help women and older girls save money and start small businesses.
Ahlin Yaung Renewable Energy Program
The Ahlin Yaung (“light” in Myanmar language) Project is working to provide renewable energy access to 1 million low-income people in rural Myanmar by 2021. Myanmar has one of the lowest electrification rates in Asia, with the national electricity grid reaching only a small part of the population, mostly in urban areas. Ahlin Yaung uses Pact’s Village Development Committees (VDCs) and WORTH savings groups to manage the program at the community level. VDCs, through community-managed revolving funds, provide funding for households to purchase photovoltaic equipment on hire-purchase. WORTH groups manage community solar charging stations, which charge special batteries for household lighting and mobile device charging, to distribute electricity to communities. Both the revolving fund and WORTH group models generate interest and income for other village development activities. Ahlin Yaung also provides funding to villages to purchase photovoltaic equipment at the community level.
Shae Thot: The Way Forward
Shae Thot uses an integrated, holistic approach to alleviate poverty and improve health in villages in Myanmar by tackling problems in a range of areas, including maternal and child health, livelihoods, food security and water, sanitation and hygiene. By partnering with local organizations and working closely with communities, Shae Thot is building local capacity for decision-making and long-term planning, creating impact that will last long beyond Pact’s presence. With activities in nearly 2,000 villages, the project has trained hundreds of thousands of community members and health workers in child health and nutrition, provided mobile-clinic health and family planning services to tens of thousands, increased the percentage of women who give birth with a skilled birth attendant, provided wide-ranging hygiene training to stem the spread of disease and improved potable water access.