Small-scale farmers are at the heart of responding to the world's environmental and social crisis. They are the driving force towards ecologically sustainable and socially fair agriculture systems.
Globally, small farmers produce most of the food. They feed the world. While much of their production is not reflected in national statistics because it is not traded as a commodity, it does reach those who need it the most: the rural and urban poor.
After years of promoting large agribusiness and distribution companies as the solution to global hunger, it is now acknowledged that ‘business as usual' is not an option. Mass agribusiness increasingly poses a threat to the global food system, rather than a solution.
Agro-industrial food production must be understood in the context of the complex web of global warming, consequent deterioration of the environment, increasingly unjust and unequal land distribution, migration of rural communities to the cities and commodification of basic foodstuff. The mass scale industrialisation of agriculture sits as a root cause at the centre of these challenges.
Through clubs, farmers share ideas, learn from each other, discuss and find solutions on issues affecting their farming, their communities and their lives. They also get opportunities to bargain for better prices and access financing. In addition, the clubs serve as a source of mentorship. The togetherness in the club provides for increased social cohesion in the community. The development improves the respect for every farmer, be it a woman or man.
Over the past 13 years, the Farmers' Clubs programme has spread across Africa, Central and South America, India and China, positively impacting more than 200,000 small-scale farmers.
Humana People to People is committed to supporting small-scale farmers, ensuring a fair deal for their work, increasing sustainable food production, and protecting the planet for future generations.
Farmers' Clubs is the Humana People to People concept designed to assist small-scale farmers to succeed in food production and to strengthen communities. A shift from subsistence to sustainable farming will help ensure food security both at household and national level.
Sustainable farming has the potential to increase small-scale farmers' productivity and transform farming into a viable venture. Many transformations are attained by collective efforts of small-scale farmers organised in their clubs, using up-to-date and available knowledge, better implementation of known methods of production and acquiring new and necessary farming skills such as crop diversification and rotation, soil and water conservation, organic farming methods and other environmentally-friendly practices.
Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half between 1990 and 2015. However, too many people around the world are still struggling for their most basic human needs.
The present world economy is based on growth, and progress is most often measured in economic terms. According to the World Inequality Report of 2017, the top 1% captured twice as much global income growth as the bottom 50% since 1980, with notable rising inequality between world individuals, despite growth in the emerging world where the poorest people reside. At the same time, pressure on subsistence livelihoods is increasing with the threat of losing land and access to traditional means of production and support.
Sustainable Development Goal 1 – No Poverty – calls for an end to extreme poverty by 2030. Today, 11% of the world’s population, 736 million people, still lives in extreme poverty. This means living without access to the most basic universal needs, including access to shelter, food and protection. In developing countries in the global South, this also means bearing the brunt of the ever-increasing pressures of climate change.
Humana People to People has engaged in Community Development since the early 1990s. A core strategy is to mobilise and organise people to create change in their own lives, from identifying what is needed in a community to organising groups to take action and enhance social cohesion.
Community Development happens in villages, towns and the slums, where Village Action Groups get together to solve the pressing issues facing families and their children. Working in close cooperation with traditional leaderships, health and education institutions, government agencies, local organisations and faith-based groups to come together to achieve change.
Community Development includes; taking care of children; assisting the elderly and the sick; addressing the need for clean water; organising sewage and rubbish disposal; improving nutrition by growing more vegetables; campaigning against child marriages; tackling illiteracy and poor access to education; and creating income generating activities.
Child Aid is the Humana People to People approach to integrated community development. Child Aid supports children, parents and the whole community to work together to improve living conditions for children and create opportunities for them not only to survive, but to develop their full potential. Child Aid is community-driven and places control of the development processes and decision making into the hands of people who are affected.
In Village Action Groups or similar community structures, people take action on what is important to them, establishing a forum to hold discussions, plan common tasks, acquire new knowledge, identify challenges, find and implement solutions together. Activities are designed to improve food security, promote good health, solve basic problems of water and sanitation, create better education conditions, and organise care for the sick or children in difficult situations.
It is essential to form alliances with the children themselves, as they are a force of development in their family. Child Aid works closely with children, enabling them to understand their rights, so they take an active role in safeguarding and upholding these. Child Aid supports children and families in securing birth certificates; children without parents are enrolled in schools and are monitored so they do not drop out; and children affected by HIV and AIDS and other illnesses get help to access medical treatment.
Child Aid can be easily adapted to situations facing a community and is often a starting point for wider development programmes, from tackling the spread of communicable diseases to education and income generation projects.
World leaders have made an ambitious commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria by 2030 but if current trends persist, we will miss those targets.
The Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing is intertwined with several other SDGs: poverty carries poor health as one of its severe consequences; inequalities leave millions of people out of public health service; water and sanitation issues lead to disease spreading.
Health is likewise intertwined with the work we do in other areas. Health campaigns and focus on child health are elements of community development programmes; improved production by small-scale farmers improve nutrition and thereby health in farmer families and beyond; better health education is pivotal in creating healthier communities and is included at schools; better access to clean water and sanitation appears as an important addition to other focus areas in a range of projects.
Many of the Humana People to People health projects focus on the biggest health challenges in the countries where we are working, continuing the fight for gaining total control of the HIV and AIDS epidemic; fighting the spread of TB; and taking part in eliminating malaria. These three large diseases have a significant higher rate in Africa than in other parts of the world, and they hit the poor hardest. As the non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer increase premature deaths outside of the industrialized countries, Humana People to People engages in public campaigns of information, detection and referral to treatment for this kind of diseases too.
Common traits in the Humana People to People health projects are that they build on the active participation of the people themselves in their communities, focus on prevention and protection, a close cooperation with the public health system and use of the most advanced and accessible medical knowledge in the field. Alignment with the large world strategies in fighting the diseases is also a must – like with the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy to end HIV and AIDS and the Elimination of Malaria in eight countries in southern Africa.
Total Control of the Epidemic
The Humana People to People's HIV and AIDS programme Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) is centred on the idea that only the people can liberate themselves from AIDS the epidemic.
Since 2000, Humana People to People's members have reached over 20 million people across 12 countries in Africa and Asia, connecting them with the information, services and support they need, depending on their HIV status, to live healthy and positive lives.
As a global network of organisations, members have been able to share experiences and lessons learned to strengthen and adapt programmes in line with changes in epidemiology and development knowledge.
Projects are based on community mobilisation, HIV testing, tuberculosis screening, referrals to treatment, and support for treatment adherence. Particularly in hard-to-reach areas and with key at-risk populations, project staff and volunteers build relationships with communities to provide access to HIV testing, often in the privacy of their own homes, and connect people affected by HIV and AIDS with family and community-based support groups. Stirring informed debate about prevention and protection against infection is part of the community mobilisation.
A solid cooperation with local and national health authorities is also key to the success of the programmes.
Similar approaches are now used in programmes fighting tuberculosis and malaria and are being adapted to programmes that include non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
Total Control of TB
TB is the world's deadliest infectious disease and is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for one in three AIDS-related deaths. This is despite active TB being almost always curable with antibiotics.
Humana People to People is working towards the World Health Organisation strategy to "End TB by the year 2030" through its Total Control of TB (TC TB) programme. The TC TB programme, like the Total Control of the Epidemic programme used in the fight against HIV, utilises community networks to halt the spread of TB through homes, villages and townships.
The Community Health Workers - also called Field Officers – and volunteers are instrumental in mobilising, informing and organising people. The aim of the TC TB programme is to equip people with knowledge to be able to protect themselves from TB infection and to detect TB cases at the early stages. All detected cases are linked to the health facilities for treatment.
Humana People to People members run projects in five countries reaching thousands of people on prevention, identification and treatment of TB.
Total Control of Malaria
After an unprecedented period of success in global malaria control, progress has stalled. According to the World Malaria Report of 2018 using data from 2015 to 2017, no significant progress has been made in reducing global malaria cases in this timeframe
Fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carried almost 80% of the global malaria burden. Humana People to People malaria prevention programmes equip the communities to adopt malaria prevention measures, seek early malaria diagnosis and treatment at health centres. Surveillance of malaria cases and deaths is done to identify the areas or population groups that are most affected by malaria, and for enactment of data driven response and better resources utilization for maximum impact.
The programme provides malaria testing, malaria treatment and malaria tracking services. Malaria posts for diagnosis and treatment are set up in targeted communities and outreach activities are done for the high prevalence communities. To generate demand for the posts the programme conducts door-to-door campaigns in the communities performed by trained community health workers and hold monthly malaria testing days.
Humana People to People grew out of a progressive education movement in the 1970s and, today, ensuring a quality education for all remains at the heart of our work. We believe education is a vital tool to alleviate poverty and essential to national and global development, providing the foundations for a brighter future.
That is why we are committed to long-term educational support, from early childhood development, primary and secondary schools, to vocational and teacher training and higher education.
Working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4, Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Life-Long Learning, our education programmes create a space for students of all ages, supporting children's education for those that are marginalised and living in difficult conditions. We work to empower girls and women, encouraging more girls to stay in education and see the possibilities ahead of them.
Our Teacher Training programmes educate teachers for mainly rural communities across Africa and Asia, who are determined overcome barriers to meaningful education together with students, colleagues and communities. Our Vocational Training programmes include formal training courses and short skills training courses, both helping to create economic and social development for students and their families.
Our Teacher Training programmes complement government teacher education and are specifically designed to train teachers for the public primary schools. On top of the concrete goals, our education programmes strive to contribute with inspiration, action research and experimentation, often pointing out challenging pedagogical routes that serve students, teachers, school institutions and communities alike.
Accountability is central to the international discourse on education. Our education programmes are intertwined with the economic, social and cultural reality of each country and are integrated in the legal and performance-driven set-up of education today. Our first approach to accountability is social and professional; being accountable to the students and parents, the communities we serve, and combining our efforts with the education authorities, teachers and educators in the professional education community.
Building trust at all levels is a fundamental trait in our pedagogy and our educational practice. Our schools and education programmes build trust among students, genders and colleagues, and bridge gaps of trust between students and their teachers. The relationship between schools and communities build mutual trust, when students and teacher join hands with the community to solve pressing issues. Trust building also is essential when we cooperate with local and national education authorities, such as Ministries of Education and their departments, as well as in the relationships with our many international partners in education.
Since 1993, Humana People to People has been on the forefront of training committed teachers for the public primary schools. More than 42,000 teachers have been trained in Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Guinea Bissau, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and India.
The teacher training colleges have programmes spanning from one to three years, and all except India are boarding schools. Central to the training is giving students a zest for life and learning and how to manage and convey curriculum, knowing each and every student, engaging with parents and colleagues, and adapting the teaching to their students' needs and the conditions of the school and community.
When practicing Humana People to People pedagogy the students explore life in all its colourful aspects while learning. They experience many different learning processes and become conscious of how and when learning takes place. Only then the students can transform knowledge on subject matter into real teaching. The training is organised with the student as the driving force in his or her own learning and gives the student the personal experience of what works in teaching, learning and living to bring along into his or her future profession.
Inequality is one of the defining issues of our time. Responding to it is the foundational reason why the Humana People to People movement is involved in collection and sales of second-hand clothes.
For over 30 years, members of Humana People to People have been collecting clothes for reuse, recycling, and repurposing across Europe and North America and with this, have raised substantial funds for social development projects in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
Another defining issue of our time is climate change. It affects all humanity, but it is the poorest and those living in developing countries who are hit the hardest – despite often contributing the least to global warming and other causes of climate disasters.
The Humana People to People network is globally engaged in the second-hand clothes industry in all steps in the supply chain of second-hand clothes collection and sales. These activities play a critical role in driving the climate change agenda. With the combined purpose of raising funds for social development and at the same time protecting the environment, Humana People to People creates a motivating option for the public to discard of their used clothes in a sustainable way.
Humana People to People's approach
The Humana People to People collection and sales of second-hand clothes has been developed over many years as a social business to create double value in promoting sustainability and supporting social development projects across Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
Over time, the global environmental impact of reuse of clothes has become more and more important too. We believe the most sustainable piece of clothing is the one already made and work to close the loop between production and waste, while also doing research about the social and environmental impact of the clothing supply chains.
Humana People to People members and associates collect clothes through clothes collection containers and shops across Europe and North America. The collected clothing is processed, sorted and given value; some clothing is sold in second-hand stores in Europe and North America, while other items are sent for further sorting and sale in Africa and Central America, including Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Belize. The clothing sent to those countries is being reused and worn by millions of people, whilst also contributing to employment.
This work is critical in avoiding valuable textiles ending up as waste; promoting reuse; providing affordable clothing to developing communities; and raising funds to support social development projects. With the reuse of recovered materials in consumption cycles, there is a strong decrease in CO2 emissions compared to the production of virgin materials.
Simultaneously, clothing that is transported to developing countries and sold is proven to support jobs and provide an important source of quality clothing which could not otherwise be afforded. In some rural communities, people take advantage of the affordable used clothing to create sustainable livelihoods by adding value to garments and reselling them on local markets.