2016: A Feed the Minds Review of the Year

Dec 21, 2016

2016 is a year which will live long in the memory, for both good and bad reasons. At Feed the Minds, we always try to accentuate the positive and look forward with hope. So, as we wish you a Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2017, we ask you to join us in reviewing some key highlights from the year just past.

With 15 projects running all over Africa and South Asia, colleagues making countless visits to a range of countries, new partnerships forming, as well as a broad range of events being run on home soil, 2016 was as busy a year as ever for Feed the Minds.

The year began with us relaunching our Partner Sharing Forum. Remember, if you’re a partner, this is an online tool you can use to communicate and share ideas with other partners. We will be continuing to enhance this in the new year.

February saw us honour the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM and we reviewed powerful messages of support and belief from our partners ECAW. They work in Kuria, Kenya, to advocate for women and girls and to bring about an end to the awful practice of FGM. You can see and hear their message here.

Josephine - #ENDFGM

As so many of our projects focus on the needs and rights of women, it was only fitting that in in spring we celebrated Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day in quick succession. Our Director of Fundraising & Communications, Adam, inspired by his trip to India, wrote this lovely piece in tribute to his own mother. Meanwhile, for International Women’s Day, our Director of Programmes, Albha, used her recent travels in Sierra Leone to highlight the remarkable, brave and strong women she met there.

April 7th saw us commemorate World Health Day. We profiled our maternal health project in Pakistan, where we have made huge inroads into establishing safe health practices. You can read “From scythes to smartphoneshere. The end of the month marked the one year anniversary of the devastating Nepal earthquake, which hit very near where we run another one of our health projects. We held an interview with Eena, the project manager, to gauge how recovery was going and hear how their lives have been impacted.

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In May our Director Josephine and our Community Fundraising & Events Officer Sam flew off to Ireland to attend the General Synod of the Church of Ireland Synod. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness of our work in Ireland and continue to build new partnerships, too. If you or your community are looking to launch a new partnership, please do consider Feed the Minds when doing so.

Back in Blighty, June saw us hold a fantastic drinks reception at our London office. We were joined by Josephine from ECAW, our partners in Kenya. She spoke brilliantly about the ongoing battle to end FGM. Later that month we launched our new On the Ground series of blogs, where we ask special guest contributors to write for us be interviewed by us. Muzabel, who runs our vocational training project for refugees in Kenya, gave us this superb piece on what life is like in the Kakuma refugee camp.

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We really spiced up our life in July. The UN released a fantastic “Girl Power” video celebrating the global goals – you can read our reaction to it, and why we think putting women at the top of the list when it comes to development is a great idea here. We continued our On the Ground series with some interviews with some inspiring young people in Uganda, who we have helped train in work skills. We did this to mark World Youth Skills Day.

We were thrilled to announce our partnership with Project Literacy at the beginning of August. We are working with Project Literacy, a global network of literacy charities and organisations, to help raise the profile and importance of literacy in peoples’ minds, particularly with regard to its relationship with poverty. You can read more about Project Literacy here. 2016 was a truly remarkable year in the political world: we acknowledged this with a special feature on the women we work with in India, supporting them to get their voices heard in local politics.

Two young women who had just got their opinions heard in a village meeting.

September is an exceptionally important time for us. On September 6th, the world celebrates International Literacy Day (ILD). It’s a great time to reflect on the state of literacy around the world, and take stock of our goals and aims for the future. We wrote three special pieces this year. The theme of this year’s ILD was “Read the Past, Write the Future”, we examined what that meant to us here. We spoke to our colleagues in Sierra Leone, Craftshare, who provided us with some thoughts on how literacy enables opportunities for people to gain work, and what that means for their lives. It was the 50th anniversary of ILD, so we also took the time to look back on where we, Feed the Minds, were 50 years ago. We’ve come a long way since then!

It was food, glorious, food in October. We marked World Food Week with a special look at the work we do with MEWODA in Sierra Leone, and later in the month got another On the Ground dispatch from Cameroon, where we have been training cocoa farmers.

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Towards the end of the year, we were blessed with another visit from a partner from abroad. This time it was Benedict who came over from VAD in Uganda. Once again, we invited guests for a talk where he spoke about their work in skills training local people in the North East of the country. We also marked #GivingTuesday with another On the Ground blog direct from Kenya, where we heard from our partners PHARP about how they bring peace to the community.

Finally, in December, we honoured our special partners, the Church of Scotland Guild, with a powerful message from our colleagues in Kenya, where girls are at risk of FGM at this time of year in particular. We marked International Day of People Living with Disabilities too, and head from our colleague Henry in Uganda about challenges he has faced. At last, we rounded off the year with a magnificent Candlelit Carol Concert at Southwark Cathedral. We are now delighted to announce that the concert raised over £22,000 for Feed the Minds. Thank you to all of those of you who came and supported us.

What a year that was. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us along the way. We wish all of our partners, supporters and everyone involved in our projects a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. We hope 2017 brings you much health, joy and success.

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