Monday, December 5, 2011

GYVN Projects in Mizoram, India

 Malaria Detection Clinics 

Mizoram is a remote, mountainous state located on the southernmost tip of Northeast India. It is nestled in-between Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma), where malaria is the number one killer. In these remote areas, there are no nurses or doctors. Sometimes it takes many days to get to the road, often leading to prolonged symptoms and further health deterioration. It is this delayed in treatment that there is such a high rate in malaria deaths, especially in rural areas. If detection and treatment can be caught and administered early, then malarial death rates can be decreased.

Malaria detection clinics currently exist in 49 villages. The first established clinics were equipped with second hand microscopes donated by Canadian universities and Global Youth Volunteer Network (GYVN). These initial clinics are now self-sufficient. Low cost, high quality microscopes can now be purchased within the country. However, there is a need to open more clinics to effectively combat the increasing instances of malaria. Every year, about 4000-5000 blood samples have been collected and tested for Malaria. The total number of malaria tests performed currently stands at 14,512.

GYVN is continuing its partnership with the Relief and Development of the Baptist Church of Mizoram (R&D BCM) by providing funds for the expansion of these malaria clinics. New clinics are now being called ZoClinics. This expansion includes the building of more ZoClinics in other towns and villages within Mizoram, where the testing of blood pressure and diabetes will be included. The existing 49 clinics are being upgraded to include these additional services. With these added services, there is a need for training local technicians and an upgrade in equipment, such as microscopes.

Benefits and Impacts of ZoClinics
  • A total of 49 villages populating about 51,498 people have greatly benefited.
  •  In 2010, malaria deaths decreased by 50%.
  • Villages where ZoClinics are operational, malaria deaths have been reduced by more than 90%.
  • Expansion on testing for other health issues - typhoid, diabetes, and blood pressure.

 Farmers’ Sponsorship Program 

In Mizoram, 65% of the people are partially or fully dependent on agriculture. As the population increases within the state, the “slash and burn” shifting agriculture no longer allows lands to properly fallow and therefore dampen crop production. This greatly reduces farmers’ incomes, making poverty an inevitable reality as 30% of people are currently living below the poverty line (with an annual income below Rs.36000 or just under $900 CDN).

The Relief & Development of the Baptist Church of Mizoram (R&D BCM) hopes to implement a 3-year SALT Farming project where they yearly acquire 50 new slope hill farmers and assist them with farmland development using a sustainable, agricultural system through the education and training of SALT farming. SALT or Slope Agriculture Land Technology is an effective and economic farming solution. It minimizes soil erosion and increase crop yields. Farmers plant nitrogen-fixing trees to bind the soil, generate fertilizer, and provide food for livestock. Food crops grown annually and perennially can be planted in-between the hedgerows. SALT farming is an innovative agricultural technique as fruits and vegetables can grow on the farmer’s own lands, phasing out rice production on different plots of lands and increase a farmer’s to profits by 30%. The intended outcome of this project is for each farmer to establish environmentally stable and economical farms to ensure a sustainable livelihood.

Global Youth Volunteer Network (GYVN) has partnered with R&D BCM to help financial support this program which will support 150 farmers annually for 3 consecutive years. GYVN is launching the Farmers’ Sponsorship Program where donors will financially support one farmer participating in the SALT Farming Program and their family for $20/month for 3 years. A monthly donation of $20/month will go towards the farmers’ education and training on SALT farming, purchase of planting seeds, seedlings, and tools for maintaining a farmer’s plot of land.

Benefits and Impacts of SALT Farming in Mizoram
  •  Access to Legal Land entitlement
  •  Land entitlement chances will be created to poor farmers
  •  Restoring the environment, reducing the soil and tree destruction
  •  Labor cost for farming is reduced
  •  Improve the quality of seeds and seedlings to provide crop variety
  • Food security with regular source of income
  • Soil fertility will lead to improvement of socio-economic conditions for farmers
  • Income from farming can potentially increase to about 30% in third year and even up to 50% after 10 years

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