For the Environment
In 2017 Planet Aid helped divert more than 90 million pounds of clothing and other textile materials from disposal, thus saving resources for reuse and recycling. Clothing that is disposed of in landfills releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Clothing that is instead reused not only reduces landfill burdens but reduces the need to produce new textile fibers and manufacture new clothing—a resource intensive process requiring large inputs of fossil fuels, water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Reusing clothing thus saves resources and reduces harmful environmental impacts, including reductions in harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. Read more about our recycling efforts.
For more than two decades, Planet Aid has been supporting development projects across the globe helping to fight poverty. Through the funds generated by collecting and selling used clothing and by receiving support from public and private donors, Planet Aid has been able to provide life-changing, sustainable assistance to those in need. Below is an overview of the projects we supported in 2017.
Locations of Our Development Projects
Types of Projects We Support
Food and Nutrition
Countries: Malawi, Mozambique
Malnutrition in children and pregnant women is often a problem within developing countries, leading to a high level of child mortality. The nutrition projects supported by Planet Aid in Malawi and Mozambique seek to reduce malnutrition by improving nutrition knowledge and practices within target communities.
The projects reduce malnutrition as the residents gain knowledge on the importance of eating diverse foods, learn to garden for themselves, and improve their cooking practices and processes. By introducing a diversity of fruits and vegetables and empowering residents to grow their own food, these nutrition projects have seen a definitive drop in the number of malnourished residents.
In 2017, the projects planted more than 47,000 fruit trees and established hundreds of gardens.
Food for Knowledge Project
The Food for Knowledge Project (FFK) is Planet Aid’s comprehensive school lunch and education initiative. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.
In addition to providing daily meals for students, the project trains primary school teachers; establishes school gardens and small-scale farms; facilitates after-school learning clubs; builds literacy skills; provides nutrition education; and helps construct and refurbish school kitchens, wells, and latrines.
The Literacy Component of FFK was fully operational in 2017, helping children learn to read and write in their local languages. FFK, in partnership with Cambridge Education, developed early grade reading materials in two local languages used by the children at home. This has helped to remove a key obstacle of having to first learn to read in Portuguese (the language traditionally used in schools and less familiar to most students). Additionally, more than 9,000 children received textbooks and other teaching and learning materials in their native language that were developed by the project.
In 2017, FFK also continued to serve a hot lunch to 82,000 children, and trained more than 1,500 teachers.
Teacher Training Projects
Countries: Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Mozambique
Developing countries often suffer a dearth of qualified and skilled teachers for primary schools. Those teachers who do exist are working with large classes—often more than 60 students at once. This situation puts dedicated and resourceful teachers in high demand.
Planet Aid supports teacher-training colleges that prepare and equip future teachers with a comprehensive set of tools to enable them to be change agents in the classrooms and communities they will serve. Along with technical knowledge and training in mathematics, reading, writing, and other subjects, these teachers are prepared to create exciting learning environments and encourage students (many of whom face pressure to drop out) to stay in school. In 2017, approximately 5,000 teachers were trained at the colleges.
The teaching practice is not only valuable for the soon-to-be teachers, but also for the communities. For example: three schools near the teacher-training college in Kunene, Angola would not have been able to be in operation (due to a lack of full-time teachers) if it weren’t for the student teachers. Their presence in the village allowed over 100 children to continue their education in 2017.The teachers in training focus on the pedagogical aspects of teaching; learn important background information about the schools, communities, and students; visit various areas of the country to see where teachers are most needed; and practice teaching at primary schools.
The teachers trained through Planet Aid–supported teacher-training colleges also learn how to mobilize, strengthen, and encourage community development, expanding their reach beyond the children in the classroom to families, villages, and larger communities. These community outreach projects vary from a focus on women’s empowerment and sanitation, to nutrition and environmental protection.
Kadam Step-Up Center
The focus of the Kadam Step-Up Centers is to provide children who have never attended school, or who have dropped out, with “bridge education” so they can transition into regular public education. There is a large number of migrant families in India where the centers operate, and many of those children haven’t had the opportunity for education due to a lack of funding, a lack of legal documents, and many other factors.
The Step-Up Center’s curriculum covers mathematics, science, English, and computer training, along with other subject requirements established by the Government of India. In 2017, Planet Aid supported 318 Step-Up Centers and helped over 12,000 out-of-school children, and approximately 5,000 of which were transitioned to mainstream schools throughout the year.
Early Education Initiatives
Countries: Mozambique, South Africa
Planet Aid-supported preschool initiatives provide access to early childhood education, a key to ensuring proper development and academic success. These community-based preschools not only teach young children the basics of learning, but also seek to increase the involvement of parents and guardians in their children’s day-to-day lives and their education.
Preschools are often not part of the formal education process for children in developing countries, but it is important to their cognitive development to be stimulated and given problem-solving challenges. The aim of these projects is to establish a sustainable model for integrating preschools into the formal education system, giving more children a better foundation for later learning.
In 2017, the early education initiatives supported by Planet Aid reached nearly 4,000 preschool children and their parents, trained 500 local leaders on the importance of preschool education, and built 44 preschools in Mozambique.
Nikhalamo—Girls Stay in School Project
Nikhalamo in the local Chuabo language means “I am here to stay.” This name affirms the project’s aim to reduce obstacles for girls transitioning from primary school to secondary school to ensure that they stay in school.
The project has three main goals: first, to improve girls’ school retention and performance rates; second, to transform learning environments through improving water and sanitation, and promoting gender equality; and third, to build a community-led support system for the girls, which includes mentoring in life skills and moral support. The project worked with more than 1,300 vulnerable girls and conducted 270 door-to-door community campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of girls’ education.
School Improvement Program
The School Improvement Program aims to promote the learning of girls in schools by identifying the core obstacles that adversely affect their education and putting components in place to help alleviate those obstacles. Mainly, the project provides academic support through implementation of support centers that provide after-school academic guidance, group study sessions, and interactive activities in all subjects. The School Improvement Project not only improves academic success, but also encourages good communication, presentation, and creative skills.
In 2017, the School Improvement Project in Tamil Nadu, India added seven new schools and ended the year serving 8,000 young girls through 253 support centers. The project worked with 93 government schools, and conducted 540 co-curricular and cultural activities.
Ponesai Vanhu Junior School
The Ponesai Vanhu Junior School provides shelter, education, and support for orphaned and vulnerable children (age 18 and under) who would have been abandoned, abused, or destitute. The children are able to live in a supportive environment that helps to rehabilitate them with an education and social development.
The school focuses on providing good education in gender equality, diet and nutrition, and technology and computer studies. The students do most of their learning via tablets and desktop computers, and in 2017, the school provided 15 tablets and training to 38 teachers at the nearby Chindunduma Primary School. This allowed the primary school to help better educate 800 children.
Ponesai, supported by Planet Aid, provides the basics for a stable and healthy life with food and nutrition, clothing, medical attention, and psychological support. During 2017, the school housed 56 children, two of whom were reunited with their families during the year.
Vocational and Skills Training
Countries: Angola, Zimbabwe
Planet Aid supports four vocational and skills training schools, which enroll men and women, aged 12 to 20, to increase employability and opportunities for entrepreneurship. In 2017, these schools trained 550 young people.
Courses at the schools expand on the foundational knowledge of mathematics, reading and writing, biology, chemistry, and other subjects. Students may also study in particular vocational areas such as business, clothing design, mechanics, masonry, catering, and horticulture. Students are also instilled with knowledge on economics and commerce to empower entrepreneurial thinking.
During their training, students often acquire apprenticeships or gain hands-on experience in other ways. For example, the masonry students at the Ponesai Vanhu Technical College in Zimbabwe won a construction bid for the Chemhondoro Secondary School. They began construction on two classrooms, two teachers’ houses, and two latrine blocks in February of 2017 and completed construction in November.
Frontline Institute trains individuals in development, helping create a dedicated cadre of development professionals working to alleviate dehumanizing circumstance around the globe. Located in Zimbabwe, students at Frontline gain a unique and international view of the challenges of development and the tools to make development efforts more effective.
Most Frontline students are from countries where Planet Aid supports projects and will often take the knowledge gained back to their home countries and communities to further the efforts of development teams already in place. So far, Frontline has trained more than 4,500 students, most of whom are still working within the Humana People to People Federation (of which Planet Aid is a member).
Frontline trains activists to be on the frontlines of development and to pave the way for the expansion of projects and fields. Frontline trains students to become political and cultural persons who act when they observe injustice and are passionate about creating development together with people in rural communities.
In 2017, Frontline trained 112 students who produced enough organic livestock and crops to make the school self-sustaining, planted more that 400,000 trees, installed 38 handwashing facilities in the surrounding communities, and connected with over 400 households to educate them on the symptoms, severity, and prevention of Malaria.
Child Aid Projects
Countries: Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Ecuador, Laos, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Child Aid projects are community-based initiatives that use a holistic approach to mobilize residents into organizing themselves and attacking community problems. The goal is to improve their living conditions and ensuring a sound upbringing for their children.
The projects empower communities with essential skills in the areas of health, water and sanitation, education, agriculture and food security, income generation, environmental awareness, and childhood development opportunities. The aim is to improve the conditions of households and communities where the children live.
While the goals of all Child Aid projects are the same, the implementation varies greatly between each project location. The projects seek to address specific problems within each community and serve as a tool in expanding the capacity of the residents to solve their own problems.
In 2017, Child Aid projects supported by Planet Aid established 3,200 gardens, which helped insure proper nutrition for 2,000 orphans; vaccinated more than 3,000 children; ensured a preschool education for 8,500 children; and distributed more than 100,000 condoms.
Community-Based Diabetes Detection and Care Project
Awareness is a key component in ensuring better treatment and control of diabetes, a disease with growing prevalence in India. To create more knowledge around diabetes and promote healthy lifestyles, Planet Aid supported the Community-Based Diabetes Detection and Care Project in 2017.
This project takes to the streets, testing community members for diabetes, spreading knowledge about the disease, and ensuring proper and continued care for those diagnosed. The participants are partnered with others so that they can encourage each other and motivate their neighbors in continuing treatment. This helps develop a favorable environment within the community to prevent diabetes.
This project reached out to nearly 80,000 people, encouraging them to be tested for diabetes, testing over 14,000 of them, and then establishing a treatment plan for 1,000. The project also trained 44,000 students and community leaders in prevention techniques.
Total Control of the Epidemic
Countries: Malawi, South Africa
Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) is the model Planet Aid–supported projects use to help communities take control of the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics that plague their families.
TCE projects play an important role in capacity development and knowledge sharing by facilitating links between health services and the communities, and by introducing innovative approaches for wide-scale reach and buy-in of services. The main activity in TCE is door-to-door campaigning to provide HIV/AIDS and TB testing in the comfort of the person’s home, and then connecting HIV positive individuals with treatment facilities. This also allows the facilitators to explain the spread and impact of sexually transmitted infections and non-communicable diseases.
TCE projects supported by Planet Aid reached out to over 200,000 people and distributed 48,000 condoms in 2017.
Countries: Botswana, South Africa
HOPE is a people-to-people intervention model that reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB, and offers care and support to affected people. The aim is to give hope to participants, encouraging them to see that they can overcome the epidemics and look towards a future free of HIV/AIDS and TB.
To do this, HOPE uses a community-based, bottom-up approach where the community is engaged and encouraged to become the agents of change and to prevent new infections in their communities.
Hope provides HIV/AIDS and TB in-home testing, referral for treatment, condom distribution, support groups, psychological support, awareness education in schools, and establishes food gardens and nutrition centers.
HOPE projects also host community meetings to inform residents on the importance of behavioral change in relation to spreading HIV/AIDS and TB. Some topics covered at these meetings are: improving gender relations; encouraging and enabling support for orphans and other venerable children; fighting stigma associated with HIV/AIDS; preventing mother-to-child transmission; the importance of family planning and strategies to achieve it; the necessity for treatment adherence; and the benefits of male medical circumcision.
In 2017, the 10 Planet Aid-supported HOPE projects connected with 240,000 people, testing 40,000 for HIV/AIDS and/or TB, and distributed 6.6 million condoms.
Countries: Belize, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Zimbabwe
Planet Aid supports small-scale farmers through Farmers’ Clubs, which help to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers through conservation farming. The farmers in one project area are broken into groups (or “clubs”) and work together to learn and improve their farming techniques.
The farmers are trained to mitigate and adapt to climate change, becoming more resilient in their changing environments. The clubs receive agricultural training in topics like crop and environmental management, vegetable production, and crop diversification. The projects also provide technical assistance and facilitate visits among farmers so that they can share experiences on sustainable farming and low-cost solutions.
In 2017, Planet Aid-supported Farmers’ Clubs involved more than 18,000 farmers and helped plant more than 73,000 trees.
Similar to the Farmers’ Club, the Fishers’ Clubs in Bahia Pesca, Brazil, seek to improve the sustainable management of natural resources and empower local fishermen and women to diversify their diets, increase their food security, productively market their product, and be a part of social decisions and organization.
This project, supported by Planet Aid in 2017, served 1,250 fishing families and saw a reduction of poverty and an increase in the participants’ belief in their own capacity. More citizens are actively participating in their communities to further progress on the key issues of health, food production, education, and social welfare. The fishermen and women in the project connected with another 2,250 fishing families in the area to share their knowledge. The Fishers’ Clubs in Brazil are also supporting women’s empowerment. Two-thirds of the participants in the clubs are women, with many taking on leadership roles within the clubs.