Grassroots Action (formerly Powerful Information)
Building better futures
Registered Charity Number: 1091516
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
News Summary from 2014
23 Dec: Tackling Stigmatisation of Ebola Victims
People who recover from Ebola in Sierra Leone, and family members of people who have died, and being stigmatised by former friends and neighbours. Our colleagues in Education for Women (EFW) in Makeni have started an initiative concerned with tackling the stigmatisation of Ebola survivors. Fears and misunderstandings about the virus have led to Ebola survivors and the family members of Ebola-affected households being shunned by their neighbours. This is understandable but it has led to many cases of real hardship, especially amongst children and old people. EFW’s initiative, in six villages in Bombali is challenging such public attitudes and behaviour.
15 Oct: Radio Broadcasts for the Blind
Jonathan Conteh, Director of Vision for the Blind, (VFB) was interviewed on ‘In touch’ by Peter White (BBC Radio 4). He explained that people who are blind have to rely on others for guidance, involving physical contact which puts them at direct risk from contagious diseases The broadcast followed a report about VFB’s work carried on Bloomberg News, which Powerful Information helped set up.
We subsequently provided resources from our Comic Relief project for VFB to organise a series of 10 radio broadcasts on the subject of Ebola, specifically targeted at those who are blind.
We also provided funds to purchase portable radios for some of the blind/visually impaired children who we have been working with. This will enable them to access the educational broadcasts which are available while the schools remain closed.
The top photo is of Jonathan being interviewed by Peter White at the BBC when we brought him and five of his colleagues to the UK in 2011 on a Comic Relief/British Council - funded Community-Linking Project.
10 Aug: Veronica Buckets
During August, as the scale of the Ebola crisis was becoming clear, Powerful Information provided large buckets (with taps) plus soap to our local partners and 15 communities in Bombali and Koinadugu. In October we provided money for equipment for 9 more villages delivered by Aminata Conteh from Domestic Concern for Women. Aminata reported that the villagers were really appreciative of the help as there was little or no official assistance for their villages. The middle photo is of one learning cirlce chairlady demonstrating how to use a Veronica Bucket at a workshop in Koinadugu.
20 Mar: Farmer Field Schools
During a visit to Sierra Leone, Powerful Information Director Mike Flood met up with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests & Food Security in order to negotiate contracts for Agricultural Extension Officers to help run Farmer Field Schools for 15 of our learning circles. The bottom photo is of a senior Agricultural Extension Officer from Kabala advising some of our learners about their rice crop.
Two of the extension officers involved are women, providing valuable role models for the women learners, who often experience the exclusion of women from leadership roles.
15 Mar: Vision for the Blind
Powerful Information have been working with Vision for the Blind (VFB) since January 2013 on a project to enable blind or visually-impaired children to attend main stream schools. This project has been generously supported by Comic Relief.
Mike Flood visited the first six blind / visually-impaired children enrolled last year at the RC Primary School Panlap. He also met with 12 older BVI students that we will be helping in 2014/15.
28 Feb: Volunteers Programme
Powerful Information were invited by Network Rail to set up a stall in the foyer of their new office complex in Central MK to recruit volunteers, alongside 15 other invited local charities. As a result several people have decided to work with us, taking advantage of Network Rail’s scheme to grant up to five days paid leave for employees who volunteer with approved charities.
4 Jan: Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission
We have received a grant from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission to established seed banks for our women’s learning circles, and provide tools, fertilizer and training. This will give the women increased food security and make them more self-sufficient. We are grateful for this grant from GOAC and look forward to working with them on this exciting project.