Humana People to People

Humana People to People

Collectively, we can Press for Progress to achieve Gender Equality

learners and teacher we do more teachers

Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women's Day successful. Humana People to People joins the rest of the world in marking the International Women’s Day on 8 March. In 2018, the day is being commemorated under the theme Press for Progress.

Humana People to People has been and still is committed to providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in community development processes. The transformation of lives demands equality among mankind in influencing societal challenges affecting development. 


12. TTC Maputo Governor of Maputo Province at the graduation ceremony of the 2015 team. 1


Gender equality is at the forefront of the 2030 Development Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals include a stand-alone goal to advance equality, and gender-related targets are integrated across most of the UN Global Goals. Something has opened a door for drastic progress in the lives of women and girls worldwide: it is the principle of leaving no one behind. Now, more than ever, there is a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There is a strong call to press for progress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Why women's empowerment matters so much?

Inequalities faced by girls can begin right at birth and follow them all their lives. In some countries, girls are deprived of access to health care or proper nutrition, leading to a higher mortality rate. Humana People to People share the belief that successfully harnessing and mobilizing half of the world’s total talent pool has a huge impact on transformation of lives across the globe. Unfortunately, data shows that the gender gap is widening. The Global Gender Gap Report of 2017 indicates that progress is regressing and moving backwards. Instead of taking 170 years to close the gap at the current rate of progress, it is estimated that gender parity across the world will take over two centuries, 217 years to be exact. 

Through education, a girl is building her own future, beyond that, the future of her community. The facts from SDG 5, which is about achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, reveal that in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school. Further the UN Women make it clear that every year, an estimated 15 million girls under 18 are married worldwide, with little or no say in the matter, and further about 62 million girls are denied education. 

Achieving Gender Equality benefits Us All 

Regardless of where you live, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and the well-being of girls and boys. 


SRHR lesson at Katoni Primary


There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift families, communities and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Enacting legislature which give women power to own land and other properties, the abolishment of early marriages, ending Female Genital Mutilation, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone. 

The Sustainable Development Goal 5 indicates evidence to the fact that investing in education programmes for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $5 for every dollar spent. Investing in programs improving income-generating activities for women can return $7 dollars for every dollar spent.

At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. 

What is Humana People to People doing about Gender Equity?

Humana People to People values gender equality as a human right issue, but it is also in all of the organization’s interests: men and boys, women and girls standing as equal members of society. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harm all of us. Humana People to People mobilizes families and entire communities as it implements social projects which treat girls and boys without bias.

Awareness campaigns are carried out in Child Aid actions targeting ending early marriages. Humana People to People Botswana and DAPP Zimbabwe are actively working together with community members to increase knowledge on dangers of engaging in early marriages. Such programs are supported with the government law enforcement agency in order to strengthen deterrence and curb further occurrence of negative cultural practices. 

ADPP Angola is organizing 22 500 girls in the age range from 10 to 24 years in clubs, where they are informed and mobilized on prevention of HIV and unwanted pregnancies in three provinces of Angola. The project is again targeting 7 500 of the girls into getting an HIV test as it collaborate with 76 local nurses at the health centers.  Further, there are 79 teachers or educational professionals participating in the project from primary and secondary schools. The nurses receive refresher courses about Sexual Transmitted Diseases including HIV and AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health education, counselling to teenagers about disease prevention, and testing for and treatment of HIV. Training of teachers takes the form of courses in physical, emotional and behavioral changes in adolescents girls and youths, and sessions about how to deal with these changes. 

In India, Humana People to People India is achieving financial inclusion for rural poor women who are denied access to business financial capital. The Humana Microfinance provides loans to women in impoverished rural regions of India for a range of income-generating activities with the objective of eliminating poverty. Microfinance is the system of providing formal institutional credit to those who otherwise have no access to financial services, and is a pertinent tool in achieving financial inclusion of women and their empowerment. 

During the course of 2017 the initiative has focused on building sustainable income generating opportunities for 36 000 rural women. 59% of the women have received financial support and bought buffalos and cows. Non-farm activities constituted 18.5% of the fund borrowings and the rest was availed to farm based activities reflecting a strong will to service rural poor households.

Humana People to People Teacher Training program is developed with a goal to increase access to education and thus reduce high illiteracy rates in poor countries of Africa and Asia.  In order to guarantee universal access to education, Humana People to People do prioritize training of qualified primary school teachers. 2017 has seen a marked improvement in the number of female students who are graduating from the teacher training colleges in Mozambique, Malawi and Angola. Out of the 1 110 graduates from ADPP Angola’s 15 teacher training colleges 40% were female, whereas for Mozambique the 11 teacher training colleges graduated 1 581 qualified teachers of whom 48% were female, and in Malawi, the 4 teacher training colleges graduated 316 primary school teachers out of whom 65% are female. The remarkable figures are a huge leap forward in gender equality considering the cultural barriers and patriarch systems embedded in the communities.

Thanks to the 50% gender equality policy at recruitment within the teacher training colleges it has gone a long way in changing the perception of how female teachers are viewed and accepted in the teaching profession and in the communities they carry out their teaching practice. 


Woman in thw shop she started after getting entrepeneur training


The majority of the rural farmers are women. They labour the farm, provide livelihoods to their families despite the many challenges, among them lack of land ownership rights in some countries and natural disasters. Humana People to People supports about 65 000 small-scale farmers in Africa of whom 67% are women. The support is offered through the innovative Farmers’ Clubs program, which aims to reduce rural poverty, improve food security and increase the sustainability of livelihoods and ecosystems. The program organizes farmers in self-support groups and provides them with support and capacity building in climate smart agriculture, establishing market linkages and improving farm management.

Humana People to People remains committed to the global call to press for progress in achieving gender equality. Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.

Local language education is key to better learning outcomes in Africa

On Tuesday we celebrated International Mother Language Day, in recognition of the multitude of indigenous languages spoken around the world. This year’s theme was “Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development”, acknowledging the vital role that local languages play in eradicating poverty and achieving the SDGs.


Maternal Languages1


On the continent of Africa, 2,144 native languages are in daily use, forming a cornerstone of local identity and a key tool for preservation of Africa's diverse cultural heritages. Yet the value of local language is not reserved for cultural preservation alone - local languages play an undeniable role in educational attainment, and their absence in education systems has the power to significantly hinder the academic achievements of children around the world. This must change.


Maternal Languages

Unfortunately, many African higher education systems still operate solely through a foreign language – Portuguese, French or English. These artefacts of colonialism continue to be taught on the belief that a working knowledge of an international language is helpful for students, and that one language can strengthen national unity, boost economic growth, and improve the career prospects of younger generations. Indeed, across sub-Saharan Africa, English is often the medium of instruction in basic education. Yet legitimate questions arise when assessing whether this is truly the most effective method to enhance education and communication for African children. 

In Mozambique, Portuguese is the language of instruction in most schools. When a child who speaks a local language at home enters a classroom where lessons are taught in Portuguese, they struggle to understand the teacher, which typically contributes to low academic performance. This is a scenario played out in schools across sub-Saharan Africa, where children suffer unnecessarily at the hand of archaic education systems. Thankfully, the situation is beginning to change.


As part of a USDA-funded consortium to support primary education, improve learning outcomes and assist in government-led literacy programmes, I have been a part of an ongoing project that is demonstrating the benefits of using the local mother tongue as the first language of instruction. Our project partnership - which includes Planet Aid from the United States, ADPP Mozambique, and Cambridge Education - have measured significant progress in learning outcomes when the local languages of Changana and Rhonga are taught in schools. Our results are consistent with an overwhelming body of evidence that indicates that those who are taught in their mother tongue fare far better academically. 

To make mother-tongue language instruction a reality in Mozambique, ADPP Mozambique, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has produced teaching and learning materials in two Mozambican languages: Changana and Rhonga.  The materials include a sequenced array for both 1st and 2nd grades of reading practice books, read-aloud books and de-codable books. With access to these new reading materials in their mother tongue, children have developed reading and writing skills more easily and quickly, and are able to use it as a foundation for learning to read and write in Portuguese. This is a key and vital step in helping Mozambique achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

To help reach SDG 4, others are joining the mother-tongue movement.  Last week, the BBC launched two new language services – Igbo and Yoruba – that will join Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya among the other languages commissionedOther stakeholders strongly supporting bilingual education in Mozambique include USAID and UNESCO.

Of course, the question of mother-tongue instruction resonates deeper than achieving SDG 4, and the question of cultural identity remains an important one. Allowing students to learn to read and write in their maternal language is a crucial part of preserving Mozambican culture and identity. More widely, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity leads to peace, social cohesion and sustainable development. 


We cannot allow indigenous languages to fade; they carry complex implications for identity, communication, and social integration and are key to fostering sustainable development. It has been proven that children learn better in their mother-tongue, and, as such, colonial languages must not continue to dominate curriculums. Schemes that encourage learning in a student’s mother-tongue must become common practice for educational institutions across the continent, to ensure an inclusive and quality education for all.

Birgit Holm is the director of ADPP Mozambique, a Mozambican development organization that has been implementing education, health, agriculture and community development projects for more than 30 years.  Planet Aid, Cambridge Education, the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health and ADPP Mozambique are together implementing a comprehensive US Department of Agriculture–funded education project in Mozambican primary schools, which is providing students with a daily lunch, building needed infrastructure, training teachers, and, as described here in, developing a pioneering mother-tongue literacy program.


I am Roberto Neves Cuinica, a 35-year-old teacher at Manguendene Primary School. I have been teaching there for nine years, of which seven years were with grades one to three. During my teaching career, I have encountered many children who struggle with common challenges, a main one being low performance in Portuguese classes.

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Reinforcement of Reading and Writing, the literacy component of the Food for Knowledge Project (FFK), is being implemented by Planet Aid and ADPP Mozambique, in partnership with the Mozambican Ministry of Education and Human Development, and financed by USDA.

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ZAMFAM making a difference in Kabwe, Zambia

DAPP Zambia is implementing the Zambia Family South-Central (ZAMFAM) project reaching over 125,000 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) per year for five years, with comprehensive life changing activities.

The goal of the project is to improve the care and resilience of orphans and vulnerable children living with or affected by HIV by supporting, protecting, and strengthening the capacity of children, families, and communities. ZAMFAM started in January 2016 and is funded by USAID.

The ZAMFAM project uses the Humana People to People developed Child Aid’s holistic approach in community mobilisation and locals’ active participation. The approach engages children and youth, caregivers, community groups, teachers and local leaders, creating many frontiers for tackling community problems with a main focus on increased utilisation of the available resources.

ZAMFAM is working closely with the Zambian government ministries, Community Welfare Assistant Committees (CWACs) as well as with the District Welfare Assistant Committees (DWACs), and 600 Community Health Workers (CHWs).

The project partners with Creative Associates International which has the main responsibility to build capacity in sub-grantees as well as with Network for Zambian People living with HIV (NZP+), KAFHI and additional 13 local NGOs and CBO’s.

We share with you a life changing story of how DAPP Zambia is engaging Community Health Workers in universal access to health in rural Zambia. One such health worker is Mary Chabola, who is part of the ZAMFAM project activities in Kabwe district.

Mary Chabola is a 56-year-old lady of Kasanda community in Kabwe district. She has been a Community Health Worker (CHW) attached to Kasanda clinic for 6 years now since 2012.

Mary was recruited as a ZAMFAM Community Health Worker in June 2016 when the project was first introduced to her community.

When Mary was asked to explain more about her experience in working with ZAMFAM, she was not shy to say that the experience was totally different compared to the other projects she had previously worked with as a CHW. Mary explained that, “The ZAMFAM project is unique because it uses a holistic approach in trying to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families. The project does not only focus on improving health, but also works towards improving their nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Health Education (WASHE), and economic strengthening”.

“Upon recruitment as a CHW under the ZAMFAM project, I went through an orientation and my capacity was built in HIV testing and Counselling, Behavior Change Communication and WASHE and as a good nutrition advocate”, Mary said.


She further narrated that, “using my skills built by ZAMFAM and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, I have a catchment of 30 households having a total of 150 children. Of these children, I have already counselled their families and tested 100 children for HIV and AIDS, of which 5 have been found HIV positive.” Mary went on to explain that, “The 5 children that were found HIV positive have since been linked to Kasanda ART clinic and are all receiving medication.”

Mary recalls that, all the 5 children tested HIV positive where below the age of 14 and had a very low CD4T cell count at the time and looked unhealthy. “I encouraged their families to join the ZAMFAM Action Group so that they could learn more on how they could improve their health and welfare of their children. After about 12 months, the children are all looking healthy and are actively participating in both social and academic activities.”

Through home visits to households in Kasanda Community, Mary is reaching out to households with information on Behavior Change in order to prevent other children from getting infected with HIV and AIDS. “Through these visits I also talk to the families about the importance of eating healthy foods, having back yard gardens and the importance of observing good water and sanitation practices.”