20 April 2015

i guess it's time we got a website.

Last week I wrote about how I helped start a saving and loaning group to help young mothers raise some cash money in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Well, now this super awesome blog is not the only place to advertise the work being done at the local NGO where I work as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner.

Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI) finally has a modern website with current and accurate content that will be updated on a regular basis. You can view the homepage below or just visit the EBLI website for yourself.


EBLI begin in 2007 as a capacity building initiative and was registered in 2009 as an NGO working in Mwanza, Tanzania. The work of EBLI focuses on two areas:
  1. Behavior Change Process: providing sexual and reproductive health education to adolescents (ages 13-18) in secondary schools to reduce the rate of school dropout due to pregnancy.
  2. Economic Empowerment: sponsoring those young mothers who do leave school early to attain computer literacy and business skills training for increased capacity for employment or self-employment.
My work at EBLI focuses on the latter - economic empowerment - striving to reduce poverty in our community...one young mother at a time. 

While Tanzania is known for its dramatic landscapes and stunning wild animals, it is also a country of abject poverty: 68% of Tanzanians live on less than USD 1.25 per day, and the average Tanzanian earns just USD 2.19 in a single eight-hour workday (Source: Trading Economics). Inadequate education, lack of infrastructure and widespread corruption contribute to the nation's extreme poverty. 

Against such a backdrop, many Tanzanian girls drop out of secondary school due to pregnancy. With limited education, intense social stigma and a child to care for, these young mothers are left with few options. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority struggles to meet their basic needs.

That's where my work and that of EBLI comes in. 

Recognizing an opportunity, we started two initiatives: (1) Young Mothers Computer Literacy and (2) Young Mothers Entrepreneurship and Group Enterprise. Both projects serve Tanzanian girls (ages 15-23) living in Mwanza who dropped out of secondary school due to pregnancy. Combined these are designed to bring our young mothers economic emancipation through increased capacity for employment or self-employment. 

Both of these initiatives fall under my "department" at EBLI, though while I started the latter of the two initiatives, the computer literacy component was already underway when I joined EBLI one year ago. 

EBLI is a young and small organization, but we work with passion and creativity. Below is a sample of our achievements over the past year since I joined EBLI as it relates to economic empowerment:
  • Total young mothers having completed computer literacy and business skills training: 110
  • Average age of each young mother upon entering computer and business training: 19
  • Percentage of young mothers without any work prior to computer and business training: 5%
  • Percentage of young mothers who are employed or self-employed after computer and business training: 77%
  • Average monthly income per young mother prior to computer and business training: USD 2.65
  • Average monthly income per young mother after computer and business traIning: USD 41.00
  • Total loans distributed within our saving and loaning group (after ten weeks): USD 1,767
  • Loan repayment rate within our saving and loaning group (after ten weeks): 100%

Donating to EBLI is admittedly challenging at the moment for individuals, but a donation to my Ministry Account with Maryknoll Lay Missioners is one way to support the work of EBLI.

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