Host Organization: Village Health Works (VHW)
Village Health Works (VHW) is an extraordinary non-profit organization and community health centre in Kigutu, Burundi (HQ in New York) founded by Deogratias Niyizonkiza, a Burundian man who fled from his war-torn country to America in 1993. VHW tackles issues from healthcare, food security, to education, while addressing social and economic needs. Learn more about VHW: www.VillageHealthWorks.org. We also highly recommend Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder, a book that tells the amazing story of Deo’s life.
WATP delivering final presentations on nutrition to volunteers of VHW
EPN proudly funded the Women’s Agricultural Training Program (WATP) offered by VHW’s Food Security Program. The program teaches (mostly) women agricultural skills and educates them on issues such as healthy nutrition, animal husbandry, and the importance of passing their knowledge onto others. Many of these women are refugees and internally displaced persons from the recent genocide – in other words, this program is assisting some of the most marginalized people in the world. This project is funded by the largest financial budget EPN has undertaken to date, and it has unmistakably been a great investment. It did not take long for us to begin seeing the signs of long-term positive impacts in the communities of Kigutu, Kirungu, Mugara, and other surrounding areas. Few of these things include:
- Not long after the launch of the program, the participating women began meeting up one hour before class to practice their literacy skills together on a regular basis.
- Many graduates of the program are now helping out with the new WATP classes.
- Many graduates have since started their own home gardens or agricultural cooperatives.
Read a progress summary of the program’s first year here:
“Cultivating Communities from the Ground Up”, By Cindy Huang, Oct. 19, 2011.
WATP Class 1 Graduates, June 2011. (Image Courtesy of VHW)