We are halfway through 2014, and have made good progress at our Better Globe plantations in Kenya. In order to move forward, we have been analysing and fixing problems we faced in 2013. Unfortunately we experienced a loss of young trees in 2013, so the planting that was done this year was to compensate for a gap in trees. This loss brought us even more behind schedule, but still we chose to handle it properly and learn from our unexpected mistakes. We are still a very small company and our learning curve is still quite steep, which is something we just have to accept. However, we have also learned a lot about what we can do better, and are putting those lessons in action to improve our tree planting and the profit from our activities. One thing we know for sure is that we need to build our In Vitro lab ASAP, so we can start cloning Mukau trees and secure the quality of the seedlings. A feasibility study for that purpose is soon under way.
As stated in our February newsletter, we will begin planting Acacia senegal trees in Sosoma next year. By the end of 2014, we will complete a feasibility study for setting up a processing plant and check our numbers before we begin full-scale production. All information we have to date is very positive; if everything goes well, we will earn more profit for this product than we have projected for Mukau, which will be a great benefit for us and help pay-out tree profit the next 5-10 years.
Currently, the Better Globe-funded FSA bank has 1,130 shareholders and 34 lending groups. The share capital mobilized by the members is Ksh 1,701,000 and the loan balances are at Ksh 3,402,715. The loans have been funded partly through the donated equity from Better Globe Forestry. There are 365 members who have loan balances, some of these being repeat clients. The average disbursement per client stands at Ksh 10,500. Most loans that are acquired are used for (domestic) purposes, school fees, and small businesses. The FSA data has now been automated using Loan Performer Software.
Financial literacy is also being taught, to help change perceptions on how people can survive financially. The members of the FSA microfinance bank take loans to meet their needs and pay them off. Children are now able to go to school consistently. Members can acquire assets for domestic use like household items. The FSA has purchased a motor bike to facilitate field movements. Management will assess the levels of income and review the product offering to meet the needs of the larger community. An agriculture product (that would enable members acquire irrigation equipment to boost tree production) would go a long way in assisting farmers improve their income levels. However, this may not happen overnight due to the low liquidity position of the FSA for the time being.
The FSA microfinance bank covers a wide catchment area: Mbuvu where the FSA is located, Kabati 5 km from the FSA, Ukasi 18 km from the FSA, Mulinde 9 km, Ngomeni 14 km, Musovo 15 km, Maayi 20 km and Mboti 12 km.
Better Globe Forestry is doing a lot of work in the field of tree planting at schools, and we have decided to expand this idea by having an agent in each country selling a new donation concept. This new concept is called www.Trees4Family.com. We hope you will look at this website and donate one fruit tree to a school to see how it works. Commemorate a loved one and receive a gift certificate for your donation you made in their name. For every tree donated through Trees4Family, Child Africa receives support. Please share this link, so that more people can support the Better Globe vision and help reduce poverty in East-Africa.
This summer has been very busy for Child Africa in both Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya we have signed an agreement with Save the Children and gained their support in the production of Bingwa Magazine. They have supported us with US$50,000 so we could print 50,000 copies of Bingwa. They are also supporting us in the distribution of Bingwa in six new countries. Based on experience over 5 years, 100 children are reading each Bingwa Magazine. We therefore reach approximately 5 million children with our message of fighting corruption. We have also made a new website for the purpose of supporting our fight against corruption in Africa. You can get free access to the latest issue of Bingwa at www.bingwa.info and donate 10 Bingwa magazines to one school; thereby helping up to 1,000 children.
Child Africa won the first prize and the award called Tumaini Awards for NGO's in the biggest group Education on June 13th. Tumaini Awards is a very prestigious award, initiated by some of the biggest NGO's in the world. This is the first time that Child Africa has received a top level international award. Julie Solberg received the award at a gala dinner in Kampala, with the Minister in charge of the Presidency Frank Tumwebaze as the Guest of Honor.
Child Africa was also chosen to arrange The Day of the African Child in Kabale on June 16th. This is a yearly event to remember the lives of many children who participated in the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Over 1,000 children performed, and over 500 prominent guests were invited. See some videos from the event here; www.childafricasuccess.com/index.php/videos.
I hope that the above shows that we are still working hard to live up to our vision on eradicating POVERTY and CORRUPTION in Africa and that Better Globe and Child Africa already makes a difference.
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