HOTLINE - week of December 7, 2009

Afghan girls and their parents gain literacy skills; Addressing climate change locally and globally; Dairy farmers in Bosnia improving their lives and livelihoods; Check out alternative gifts for Christmas

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Girls attending a CWS-supported class  
Afghanistan—Girls attending a CWS-supported class.
Photo: Chris Herlinger/CWS


The success of the Church World Service-supported Girls’ Education Project in Qarghayi District, Laghman Province, is bringing hope for positive change in an area where the literacy rates are among the lowest in the world, particularly for women and girls.  An initiative of Church World Service and partner Afghan Development Association, the project helps to increase girls' participation in primary education

The newest endeavor of the project is to provide literacy classes for parents and others associated with the girls.  Two classes--one for women and one for men--began in August and are continuing six days a week through the end of March 2010.  In addition to equipping participants with basic reading, writing and math skills, the classes are raising awareness about health and hygiene, and promoting the importance among the parents of education for their children.

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Addressing climate change

As government representatives gather this week in Copenhagen, Denmark, to focus together on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, more than just an agreement is at stake.  The people who are suffering the most from climate change are the poorest of the poor in both industrialized and developing countries.

For example, families in the arid Pokot region of western Kenya have gained access to a reliable supply of water thanks to a Church World Service-supported sand dam project.  However, the effects of global climate change and resulting erratic weather patterns could undo the local progress that has been made and again threaten their lives and communities. 

Women in Pokot used to have to get up before dawn every morning to find water.  Now, with the sand dam, which the community helped to build, families have water close at hand.  They are able to grow vegetables, which they never had before.  Their children--particularly the girl children--are able to go to school. 

Even these gains could evaporate if climate change is not addressed on a global scale.  Global environmental changes disproportionately affect communities like Pokot, communities where access to adequate food and water is always a challenge.

Church World Service encourages people to work both locally--using resources responsibly and equipping communities to improve their food and water security--and globally to achieve agreements on carbon emissions. To view a video on the Pokot community and climate change, visit, click on Emergency Response and then scroll down to the video window.

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In 1995, Slaviša Jovandić and his family fled the war in Bosnia.  By 2001, all had returned to their village. Their enthusiasm for living again on their own land was the only thing that drew them to this raw life without electricity or water. 

The family decided to renew cattle breeding--what they were doing before the war--and through a Church World Service-supported project, they got a male and female calf.

With hard work they increased their herd.  And, in 2008, they became part of the Bosansko Grahovo dairy cooperative. The family currently has seven milking cows and is one of the biggest milk producers in the area.  Some 70 families are now participating in the cooperative, and providing milk for the local community.

Now the family says it is making a solid living and they again have electricity and water. There is work on the farm for all household members and for a neighbor who returned to the village last year.

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Best Gifts

Looking for a unique Christmas gift? Shop from  the Church World Service Best Gift catalog at and surprise the special people in your life with "gifts" that bring help and hope to families in need.  All Best Gifts are examples of how CWS works in partnership to assist people in the world’s poorest countries to find effective ways of tackling poverty and injustice.  Whatever gift you buy, your money will fund one of the program areas related to your gift: Agriculture and livestock, emergency and disaster preparedness, care for vulnerable children, water and environment, or women’s empowerment.

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Your support for Church World Service work around the world and in the U.S. is urgently needed. 


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