Explore the projects:
- Access to justice, Afghanistan
- Collective action for adolescent girls, Nigeria
- Empowering women with maternal health, Burundi
- Faith leaders championing women and girls, Zimbabwe
- Power to women, Sierra Leone
- Conflict resolution, Myanmar
- Safe humanitarian spaces, Colombia
- Honey hubs, Kenya
- Inclusive coffee value chains, Burundi
- Inclusive value chains, Central America
- EqualiTea, Bangladesh
- The Social Enterprise Programme, worldwide
- The Quilombola land rights project, Brazil
- Project Maria, Colombia
Duration: November 2017 to October 2020
Overview: Working with Afghanistan’s two coexisting legal systems to improve the provision of justice to marginalised citizens in Herat and Badghis provinces. Access to justice in Afghanistan is inconsistent especially for women – in a recent study by the United Nations, just 18% of cases of murders of women resulted in conviction for the accused.* If successful, this project will create a model for the justice delivery mechanism of two provinces and thereby support approximately 300,000 Afghan citizens’ engagement with improved and sensitive judicial systems.
Key impact: Community-based human rights committees, comprising local men and women as well as trained human rights defenders have been established in 90 villages, comprising approximately 54,000 people There have already been examples of the committees advocating for otherwise vulnerable members of communities, one of which you can read about here.
Key learning: 17 of the 90 villages where committees were established refused to have women sitting on the council. Rather than trying to push these communities on inclusion, the project team will have regular communication with community members including demonstration women’s capabilities from other villages.
* UN report: Injustice and Impunity Mediation of Criminal Offences of Violence against Women, May 2018
Duration: April 2016 to March 2018
Overview: In Kaduna state in northern Nigeria, 56% of girls are married by the age of 18*. Marriage often restricts girls’ education and, conversely, girls with less education are more likely to marry early. We worked through faith and community leaders in 12 communities in Kaduna state to transform attitudes about girls’ rights and roles.
Key impact: In total, according to end of project evaluation, 93 of the 144 faith leaders working with the CAAGI project are taking action to improve the welfare and opportunities for adolescent girls. Specifically, there have been numerous instances of faith leaders stepping in on behalf of adolescent girls, to prevent forced, early marriages. You can read about some of these stories in more detail here. Key to the success of engaging faith leaders has been the development of the faith leaders’ toolkit, which uses scripture to explain the arguments for equality between men and women. The toolkit is now being used beyond Kaduna state.
Key learning: Early marriage can be a highly sensitive topic. Even where the reasons for its justification aren't based on religion, they tend to be deep-seated and not easy to challenge. The baseline study conducted at the beginning of the project revealed that in addition to religion, cultural reasons and expectations from family members (including mothers) were cited as the basis for girls marrying at a young age. Equipping faith leaders, who are trusted members of the community has proven to be a successful means of broaching the subject and to challenging deeply held beliefs - and avoiding a backlash.
* United Nations Development Programme, 2012
Duration: December 2015 to January 2018
Overview: Changing cultural traditions around family planning in Burundi, a densely populated country, where women have six children on average.* This project engages influential faith leaders on family planning, using scripture to challenge attitudes and equip them to change the culture within their communities.
Key impact: In many cases, family services are available in Burundi but aren’t being used. 86% of faith leaders involved in the project testified that they had referred men and women asking about family planning to the appropriate health services. Additionally, communication between men and women on the topic of family planning improved. The percentage of couples who spoke openly about birth spacing and birth control rose by 87%.
Key learning: As one might expect, there is a spectrum of attitudes to family planning among the faith groups that the project worked with. This did mean that a common tool to equip faith leaders on the topic of family planning, which could be used across denominations, was not possible. Although leaders from the Catholic Church were opposed to the promotion of modern contraceptive methods, a number of priests did actively engage with the project and encouraged natural methods within their congregations. Engaging with the Catholic Church on family planning is a potential area of research for the future.
Duration: January 2017 to December 2019
Overview: In Zimbabwe, one in three women will have experienced sexual violence before turning 18.* Cultural agents of change - people who can influence and challenge cultural norms – are required across Zimbabwe, and with 80% of the population regularly attending church, faith leaders are well positioned.** Engaging faith leaders on gender equality and using scripture as a key point of reference have been central to this project.
Key impact: There are pathways defined by the Zimbabwe government for victims of gender-based violence to receive help – how to report an incident, which organisations to engage with for support etc. However, in many cases there isn’t the necessary coordination between the likes of health services and the police. By encouraging communications between these stakeholders, the ITL project, along with other stakeholders, was able to secure guarantees of better coordination in the future. The fruits of this were seen in the town of Chimanimani, where a support centre was set up, providing critical services such as counselling, health and legal support.
Key learning: In addition to working with leaders through the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), one of the key parts of the project is working through men’s ‘chapters’ – locally-based groups of men where positive aspects of masculinity and gender equality are promoted. A learning is that training for these groups needs to involve theological perspectives on gender – as most chapter members are Christians and conversations with the chapters often happen within a biblical context. The theological training has been facilitated by leaders from various denominations across the ZCC, who also contributed to the development of a training manual, to enable training to be replicated in the future
* The Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children in Zimbabwe
Duration: August 2014 to July 2018
Overview: The project aimed to enhance women’s active participation in governance, focusing particularly on increasing awareness and enforcement of domestic violence laws. Sierra Leone has a traditionally patriarchal society and has only 11.6% representation of women in parliament.* The project works across remote rural areas, primarily through two women’s networks in Kono and Kailahun districts.
Key impact: Through the support of the project, women’s networks member Rebecca Yei Kamara was elected as the first female MP in the district of Kono. In Kailahun district, Emilia Loloh Tongi became the district's first female MP who is unaffiliated with any of the major parties. In one of the district’s other constituencies, Bernadette Songa became the first female MP.
Key learning: Despite the three break-through victories mentioned above, there was a reduction in the total number of elected female local councillors across Kono and Kailahun districts. Subsequent conversations with women’s networks revealed that in addition to insufficient finances to run election campaigns, a deeper-rooted barrier was a lack of awareness of how to keep up with the rules and administrative requirements of candidates – for example knowing when to pay party registration fees. In future elections there may need to be education of women candidates around navigating these requirements, as well as supplemental funding for candidate’s election campaigns.
Duration: September 2015 to March 2018
Overview: Addressing the effects that decades of violence and oppression have had on local communities. We trialled an innovative listening approach to encourage conflicting ethnic groups to trust and talk to one another through interviews facilitated by trained community members. Findings informed further dialogue sessions to address tensions and ultimately feed into national peace processes.
Key impact: This project has equipped 33 men and women with dialogue facilitation skills, who in turn carried out multiplier training to 527 people from different ethnic groups. Through them, different ethnic groups in the target communities enjoyed the culture of dialogue, identified issues and discussed about possible solutions. At the start of the project, various ethnic leaders refused to conduct dialogues as they thought this would provoke violence. However by the end of the project, there has been a wider acceptance of the dialogue sessions in the communities and even support from village authorities, who mobilised communities to participate in the dialogue sessions and took care of security during the sessions.
Key learning: The dialogue sessions revealed a misconception that all Kachin people are part of the KIO (Kachin Independence Organisation) whose military wing is one of the main parties in the conflict in northern Myanmar. Among the Kachin people, there were accusations of violence among the intra-ethnic groups.
Duration: August 2015 to October 2018
Overview: Establishing and embedding neighbourhood ‘humanitarian spaces’ previously beset by extreme gang violence in Buenaventura, considered to be Colombia’s most dangerous city. These are self-declared peace zones, where civilians are not allowed to carry weapons. The project combines practical protective measures, including a permanent armed police presence, with international observers, high profile visits, media and advocacy work, which all play a vital part in keeping people safe.
Key impact: There has been increasing violence between mafia groups and paramilitary groups looking to gain control after the peace agreement. The ability of the state to control these groups is limited. However, the humanitarian spaces continued to remain safe for inhabitants despite this without any murders in either of the two spaces.
Key learning: Social leaders in the humanitarian spaces are able to get the attention of national and international authorities to a greater degree than leaders on the outside. In fact, they are increasingly being asked to do so on behalf of other communities.
Duration: April 2014 to October 2017
Overview: Supporting beekeepers to increase the quality and quantity of their honey, and secure better prices. Beekeeping is an important source of income for thousands of people living in poverty-stricken arid areas. However, the opportunity is untapped. Kenya has potential to produce 100,000 tonnes of honey annually but produces about 25,000 tonnes which is insufficient to meet market demand.* Newly-established ‘honey hubs’ enabled isolated rural producers to collectively process, store and sell their honey, and access loans and technical support. The project came to a close in December 2017.
Key impact: By the end of the project, all four hubs were fully operational, with 2,146 registered beekeepers of which 1,414 are men and 732 are women.
Key learning: A visit was made to the Honey Hubs in January 2018, including Christian Aid staff and a fair-trade markets expert to ascertain future commercial opportunities. It was observed that the ITL project did not have enough of a commercial emphasis, and an incentive for beekeepers to produce larger amounts of honey was not built into the project. However, it was deemed that if a private enterprise is set up to market the honey from the hubs to suppliers, there is commercial potential.
* David Gachocki from Honey Care Africa
Duration: July 2014 to August 2019
Overview: Organising 6,000 small-scale farmers into cooperatives and enabling them to take advantage of the market potential of coffee, by improving quality and quantity of production and forging relationships with international buyers. Coffee represents 70% of the country’s total exports but sales are still low compared to other countries.
Key impact: Quality of coffee continued to increase, which some cooperatives have managed to translate to revenue. Ubwiza Bw’ikawa Cooperative has seen its income increase from £22,484 year one of the project to £ 53,930 in year three.
Key learning: The project encountered some significant challenges with the accuracy of yield figures reported by farmers. Work is ongoing to improve data collection from farmers and wider monitoring and evaluation practices at partner level.
Overview: This multinational programme empowers small-scale cocoa, hibiscus, cashew and shrimp farmers to trade their goods in wider markets, and for better prices. Through projects with 11 cooperative groups in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, the programme provides technical, financial, business, networking and advocacy support.
Key impact: In December 2016, the Hibiscus Cooperative graduated from the ITL programme. Starting out as a producer group within a local NGO, the cooperative is now a sustainable, independent business which no longer needs ITL funding.
Key learning: Lack of access to credit is one of the many barriers poor producers face, preventing them from investing in the equipment, staff and tools to improve quality or scale up production.
Duration: April 2015 to March 2019
Overview: Tea has significant commercial potential in Bangladesh. Sales are growing an average of 14% every year, while production is growing at just 3%. It is also one of the few crops that can thrive in the sandy soils in the north of the country. However, prohibitive start-up costs and a lack of technical knowledge prevent smallholders from entering the market. This project is supporting more than 1,000 farmers to grow tea on previously fallow land.
Key impact: By the end of the year, average household income among 1,000 tea growers had increased by 50% from the beginning of the project.
Key learning: The project is progressing well and tea growers are experiencing better income. However, a key challenge is ensuring policy interventions to achieve a better business enabling environment for them. The project team is engaging regularly with the ministry for trade to advocate on behalf of the sector, but a stronger collective voice may be needed before policy change can happen.
Duration: January 2017 to March 2019
Overview: ITL has been funding commercial enterprises to help them grow and become self-sufficient since 2014. As well as funding, we identified that enterprises also need support to build their business skills and capacity, and so the Social Enterprise Programme (SEP) was formed. Enterprises are identified by Christian Aid's locally-based offices for investment and support, based on the positive impact they have on their wider community. The core purpose of the programme is to generate learning and insights by working with a handful of small enterprises, testing various forms of business support.
Key impact: As well as providing impact investment to growing businesses, the SEP also enabled ‘business acceleration’ services to companies across Bolivia, Bangladesh and Colombia – one of which is Mercados Agroecologicos, an organic farming business. They received technical support as well as the provision of grants (which are provided on condition of fulfilling certain requirements such as formal registration with the government or adoption of good financial management practices). They increased revenue by 30% and appointed a sales and marketing team. With the grants, they have improved their accounting reporting, hired a manager and invested in sales and marketing.
Key learning: The business acceleration support received by Mercados Agroecologicos and other similar enterprises included some ‘light-touch’ business consultation, which they could take advantage of on an ongoing basis. However, this service tended not to be taken up by the enterprises, partly because they were provided remotely. Instead, workshops at the beginning, mid and end points helped the enterprises to identify areas to focus on next. So, the key learning is that that face to face support, perhaps more so than with other business sizes, is essential. Another key learning has been that although businesses initially see their primary need as financial investment, it's often the improvement of processes that they require help with.
Duration: July 2014 to September 2017
Overview: Supporting Quilombola communities in the Amazon rainforest to protect their land against increasing pressure from mining companies, while guiding remote forest producers to reach customers and make a decent living.
Key impact: After 23 years of struggle, and thanks to the work of the ITL project, the community of Cachoeira Porteira won the battle for 225,000 hectares of their land. This is an important victory not only for the communities who live in the region, but also those who can continue earn a living by growing and selling cassava. Additionally, our partner CPI, were able to use the momentum of this to help Quilombolas from another region of the Amazon – in Peruana – to secure land rights for 2,000 hectares of their land.
Key learning: Much of the progress made through the project is under increasing risk with the recent changes in the national regulation of land titles – making the ministry of agriculture responsible for deciding on lands claimed by indigenous peoples. This will represent a new, challenging landscape for the Quilombolas and those who stand by their side to defend their land rights.
Duration: September 2017 to December 2018
Overview: In the last financial year, an exciting opportunity arose for ITL to fund a pioneering piece of research in post-Peace-deal Colombia. In the country's remote rural areas, despite government programmes to promote crop-substitution, reliance on illegal economies by smallholder farmers remained common - in 2016, the year the peace deal was signed, cocaine production rose 34% from the previous year. * The research focused on uncovering the barriers for farmers to engage in formal economies, as well as understanding what aspects of the informal, illegal economies made them successful.
The project is entitled 'María', after human rights defender María Caicedo.
The findings from the research are currently being analysed and will be shared later this year. They will help feed into the design of a project which will test approaches to effectively migrating farmers to formal, legal economies.