For the Environment
In the United States, 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 that help 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 2018.
Locations of Development Projects
Types of Projects We Support
To escape from the cycle of poverty, children in low-income countries need more opportunities to obtain an education. Unfortunately, qualified and skilled teachers for primary schools are in short supply, resulting in challenging class sizes with upward of 100 students per class.
In 2018, Planet Aid donated funds to support training new primary school teachers at 14 colleges in India and 3 African nations. The philosophy of the colleges, which follow the DNS methodology, emphasizes innovation and self-reliance. Students plan their course of study within a given framework. For example, approximately a quarter of their time involves learning outside the classroom, including an extended field trip to rural areas to acquire a deeper understanding of what challenges face those who live in poverty.
Teachers in low-income countries frequently work in schools with scarce materials and limited facilities. The DNS approach prepares teachers to create exciting learning environments, despite the challenges of teaching in schools that sometimes lack even a roof or walls, let alone teaching supplies.
In addition, teachers are also trained in how to effectively engage with the community and become local development activists. This approach recognizes that learning is contextual and that to be effective, teachers must sometimes go beyond the classroom walls to gain support and achieve results.
For example, Sarah—a graduate of the Planet Aid-supported teacher-training college in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—teaches at Mankengho Primary School about 50 miles from Mbankana. The principal at her school, Isaac Kudiabuna, has observed Sarah’s unique commitment to helping students.
“At the beginning of the school year, Sarah went from door to door to mobilize parents to send their children to school,” he writes, “which has resulted in an increase in the number of children enrolled in our school.”
In addition to her teaching duties, Sarah has been involved in helping local women become more empowered. She organized a local association with 80 members, primarily female, and is facilitating their growing cassava to generate more income. Sarah also created a nursery of acacia seedlings to help regenerate the village forest that had been cut down to generate charcoal.
Like Sarah, the graduates from the other Planet Aid–supported teacher-training colleges are similarly prepared to mobilize the local community and help spur initiatives to improve the condition of people’s lives.
In 2018, the colleges Planet Aid supports graduated 1,500 new teachers.
Kadam Step-Up Center
The Kadam Step-Up Centers in India—created and operated by Planet Aid’s sister organization Humana People to People India—are helping the country's disadvantaged families. The centers offer a way for children who have never attended school, or who have dropped out, with “bridge education,” helping them “step up” to meet the demands of regular public education. Nearly 6 million children are out of school in India. Many of those children haven’t had the opportunity to obtain an education due to a lack of funding, a lack of legal documentation, or other factors.
Kadam children enroll for a one-year program to catch up on learning at their age-appropriate level and at their own pace. It is a blending of formal learning and skill-based experiences, engaging children for six days a week.
The Step-Up Center’s curriculum covers mathematics, science, English, along with other subject requirements established by the Government of India. Some of the centers also offer computer courses for the students. The Kadam methodology is also used in remedial education programs in the state of Tamil Nadu for girls from grades 2-8 who are at high risk of dropping out of school.
In 2018, 338 Planet Aid–supported Kadam centers assisted more than 19,000 children, and approximately 9,000 made the transition to regular schools.
Food for Knowledge
Food for Knowledge (FFK), is Planet Aid’s comprehensive nutrition and education initiative 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 86,000 students, the project also focuses on improving local education by training primary school teachers, creating after-school learning clubs, building literacy skills, and providing training in good nutrition.
FFK’s newest component is the bilingual early grade reading program. This component is helping children learn to read and write in their local languages. FFK, in partnership with Cambridge Education, ADPP Mozambique, and the Government of Mozambique, developed early grade reading materials in two local languages used by the children. 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 163,000 textbooks and other teaching and learning materials were distributed.
Some of the projects Planet Aid supports specifically address gender issues that affect young girls and women in the developing world. The “Girls Inspire” project in Mozambique was among these projects—an initiative of the Commonwealth of Learning to help women and girls who are either at risk of or have become victims of forced child marriages.
The project—which worked in Nacala, a port city in Northern Mozambique, until the project's end in December 2018—addressed the barriers that prevent women and girls’ independence and empowerment. The project was based on the premise that gender equality is a right and that providing learning opportunities for vulnerable women and girls can help achieve sustainable development. Mozambique has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriages; 48 percent of girls are married before they turn 18. It is also one of the world’s least developed countries.
Girls Inspire focused on girls who were out of school and provided them with better access to education, including the development of life skills, employment, and entrepreneurial skills. In 2018, more than 1,400 women and girls were enrolled and graduated from three-month vocational courses at the Institute for Vocational Training and Professional Development, operated by Planet Aid’s sister organization ADPP Mozambique.
In addition, the Girls Inspire project reached over 4,500 women and girls in 2018 through its educational support and awareness campaigns. It hosted 152 community events and trained 56 teachers in gender-sensitive support. Girls Inspire was implemented in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning and was funded by the Government of Canada, Planet Aid, and other partners.
Nikhalamo—Girls Stay in School Project
Forced marriage, teen pregnancy, and socio-cultural norms that frown on female education are among the factors that put pressure on young girls in Mozambique to drop out of school. In the Zambezia Province of Mozambique, 40 percent of girls are pregnant before the age of 18, and only 4 percent of girls complete junior secondary school (grades 8-10).
The Nikhalamo project, implemented by ADPP Mozambique in partnership with Girl Child Rights and funded by USAID with supplementary support from Planet Aid, is helping girls in the Zambezia Province complete their education. "Nikhalamo" in the local Chuabo language means “I am here to stay.” The project’s name affirms the 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 by 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 supported approximately 5,000 vulnerable girls in 2018 alone, who were aided by girl education promoters and girl mentors and by training teachers in gender sensitivity. Other activities included building latrines and distributing sanitary pads. It also paid the school registration fees for nearly 1,300 girls who were either orphans or otherwise vulnerable.
Ponesai Vanhu Junior School
The Ponesai Vanhu Junior School was established in 1994 in Zimbabwe to provide shelter, education, and support for orphaned and vulnerable children (age 18 and under) who experienced hardship in their lives. The school offers children a supportive, nurturing environment and helps them heal and find their way toward a better life.
Ponesai Vanhu provides the basics for a stable and healthy life with food and nutrition, clothing, medical attention, and psycho-social support. The school is operated by Planet Aid's sister organization Development Aid from People to People Zimbabwe.
During 2018, the school housed 56 children.
Vocational and Skills Training
Planet Aid supports four vocational schools, which enroll students from grades 7 to 9, between 13 and 18 years old. Students are able to complete two-year courses of study in a number of different disciplines, depending on what is offered at each school (there are also shorter three-month courses available at some schools). For example, in Mozambique students may be enrolled in civil construction or business administration, whereas in Zimbabwe the training options include cosmetology and motor mechanics. No matter the specialty, the vocational programs also cover the basics, such as: mathematics, reading and composition, biology, chemistry, and other subjects.
In 2018, the vocational schools Planet Aid helped support had a combined population of more than 700 students.
Frontline Institute was established in 1993 with the aim of providing a unique educational opportunity for youth from Southern Africa. Today, students also arrive from as far away as Ecuador and Brazil to attend the Frontline program.
The training is focused on creating a dedicated cadre of development professionals and world citizens, and cultivating a passion for making the world a better place. Over it’s more than 25-year history, Frontline has trained more than 5,000 students, with most working as leaders within the Humana People to People Federation (of which Planet Aid is a member). In 2018, Frontline trained 183 students.
One World University
One World University in Mozambique is a Planet Aid–supported four-year institution of higher education operated by Planet Aid's local partner Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo (ADPP Mozambique). At OWU students have the option of undertaking courses in either pedagogy or community development.
The pedagogy option prepares students for a career in education, whether as instructors at a teacher-training college or for other positions within the field. Combining classroom instruction with independent study and high-levels of hands-on teaching experience, OWU inspires students to learn all that they can. In the process, they discover first hand that learning must be made relevant and enjoyable, so that children feel positive about attending—and remaining—in school. Graduates also understand the importance of involving parents and the community, and how to foster a positive environment that places a high value on obtaining an education.
The community development course shapes students into critical thinkers and local activists who can tackle development challenges common to rural areas. Graduates are prepared to assess community needs and to mobilize individuals to carry out initiatives that can vary from health and education to agricultural productivity and mitigation of the effects of climate change.
In 2018, more than 200 students were in training at the OWU campus in Mozambique, and an additional 460 students were completing their studies through the university’s distance learning program. The OWU campus in Changalane, 80 km from the capital Maputo, was built with the assistance of Planet Aid and with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, EDULINK, and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Child Aid Projects
Child Aid projects are community-based initiatives that use a holistic approach to mobilize residents into confronting and working toward resolving community problems. The goal is to improve living conditions and thus achieve a healthy and nurturing environment for 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.
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.
For example, the agro-based community in Rushinga, Zimbabwe was affected by a severe farming season drought, leaving 1,200 families without enough food. To address this, the Rushinga Child Aid project supported the development of nutritional gardens and introduced sustainable agricultural methods like the use of organic manure and natural pesticides.
Overall, in 2018, Child Aid projects supported by Planet Aid vaccinated more than 2,000 children, trained almost 4,000 young adults in financial literacy, established 840 gardens, planted over 20,000 trees, distributed almost 200,000 condoms, and much more. The combined projects impacted over 33,000 families.
Malaria Prevention and Treatment
In 2017, eight Southern African countries launched Elimination 8, a regional, cross-border, malaria prevention and treatment program. The program was funded by numerous donors and covered Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
DAPP Zimbabwe, who receives support from Planet AId, was among the Elimination 8 providers, establishing five mobile health stations, which became permanent stations also delivering primary health care services. Additional primary health services include: pre- and post-natal services, treatment of minor illnesses, and referrals to hospitals for other services.
Outside of the Elimination 8 program, Planet Aid also supported the Malaria Prevention Project in Mozambique. Implemented by ADPP Mozambique, this project helps reduce the malaria burden in the provinces of Nampula and Niassa, in partnership with the Ministry of Heath’s National Malaria Program. This project helps communities take control of malaria by mobilizing the communities to strive for early detection and treatment through use of health centers. In 2018, the overall level of achievement of the target goals was close to 100 percent.
Over 460,000 people were reached through the two projects, with thousands of cases treated. Along with detection and treatment, the projects carried out malaria education campaigns and distributed mosquito nets.
Total Control of the Epidemic
Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) is an intervention model to help control major epidemics, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria, that afflict communities in lesser developed countries.
In 2018, the TCE projects Planet Aid supported focused on fighting TB in Laos and Malawi. These projects go by the abbreviation: TC-TB.
Laos has one of the highest disease burdens in Southeast Asia. Planet Aid’s sister organization, Humana People to People Laos, has been implementing a TB prevention project in two rural districts of the Bolikhamxay Province. Awareness of TB is very low in rural Laos and the project has focused on educating communities on the signs and symptoms of TB and encouraging them to get screened. More than 12,000 individuals were screened in 2018, and a total of 7 cases of TB were confirmed.
In Malawi, the TC-TB project came to an end in April. It had been working in Thylolo District and had reached over 8,000 individuals through door-to-door visits. More than 800 people had been screened.
HOPE is a project aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS that also offers care and support to victims. The project plays an important role in helping to regain quality of life for those infected or otherwise affected by the disease and to restore their hope for the future. HOPE provides HIV/AIDS in-home testing, referral for treatment, condom distribution, support groups, psychological support, awareness education in schools, and establishes food gardens and nutrition centers.
HOPE’s basic approach is to establish a center in the community as a base for community mobilization and support for those affected, and from which house-to-house visits are launched to increase prevention behavior.
Domestic violence is among the issues addressed by HOPE centers and is in many ways related to HIV infection. To meet this threat head on and shine a bright light on this destructive behavior, the HOPE project organizes meetings and facilitates discussions in the community that focus on harmful gender norms and other factors that lead to gender-based violence. In Botswana, for example, these meetings were well attended. The target for people to attend meetings was 500 in 2018, but nearly 800 were reached by the campaign.
Overall, in 2018, the three Planet Aid-supported HOPE projects in Botswana and South Africa reached 160,000 people, testing 65,000 for HIV/AIDS and distributing more than 1.5 million condoms.
Food and Nutrition
Malnutrition is a widespread problem in lower-income countries and impacts children the hardest by impairing growth and development. Planet Aid is involved in two projects in Mozambique that seek to alleviate this situation by improving nutrition knowledge and practices within target communities. Through training and other outreach efforts, residents gain knowledge on the importance of eating diverse foods, learn to garden for themselves, and improve their cooking practices and processes.
Mozambique is one of the least developed nations in the world, according the United Nations’ Human Development Index. The levels of chronic malnutrition are very high with two out of five children under five suffering from chronic malnutrition.
The Planet Aid–supported Nutripesca project in the Province of Zambezia provides nutrition education to children and young women. The project utilizes a variety of avenues in helping the population understand how changes in behavior, particularly greater diet diversity, can lead to improvements in health and development. In 2018, the outreach included such things as radio broadcasts on nutrition-related topics and the development of cooking demonstrations involving different foods grown in kitchen gardens to supplement household diets. The project also organized more than 5,000 women in nutrition groups.
The other nutrition project, Food for Knowledge (FFK), is Planet Aid’s flagship 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 comprised of a nutritious corn and soy fortified porridge, the project trains primary school teachers; establishes school gardens and small-scale farms; creates after-school learning clubs; provides nutrition education; and helps construct and refurbish school kitchens, wells, and latrines.
In 2018, FFK also continued to serve a hot lunch to 86,000 children, with more than 9 million school lunches served during the year.
Planet Aid supports over 9,000 small-scale farmers in five countries through Farmers’ Clubs, which organizes rural farmers into cooperative-like groups and trains them in conservation farming techniques and in how they can better respond to local market challenges.
One of the essential facets of the conservation farming training is how it can help them adapt to climate change and become more resilient, and have greater capacity to deal with extreme weather, especially droughts. The projects also provide technical assistance and facilitate visits among farmers so that they can share experiences on sustainable farming and low-cost solutions.
The Farmers’ Clubs are also geared toward increasing gender equality through support of women in leadership roles within the clubs and club activities. For example, the Recôncavo Farmers’ Club in Brazil has women in 70 percent of its leadership roles, leading trainings, finding markets for their products, and much more.
In 2018, Planet Aid–supported Farmers’ Clubs worked with over 6,700 farmers, increasing the income of many by 10 to 15 percent. The projects also helped plant more than 60,000 trees.