Greetings Family and Friends,
As most of you know I will be spending four months next year in Mwanza, Tanzania working with a community health and women's empowerment initiative called the African Probiotic Yoghurt Network (APYN). The mission of the APYN is to improve community health, especially for people living with HIV/AIDS, while at the same time reducing poverty and advancing development through the economic empowerment of women and youth. To accomplish this mission, the APYN supports the establishment of community kitchens run by local youth and women, known as “Yogurt Mamas”, who produce immune-boosting probiotic yogurt and distribute it for free to nearly 750 registered individuals living with HIV/AIDS, 60 malnourished children under the age of five, and pregnant women at risk of bacterial vaginitis, a condition which predisposes women to HIV/AIDS and other STIs. The Yogurt Mamas also sell their nutritious product to more than 700 local individuals daily, enabling them to generate a steady income.
In addition to pursuing my own doctoral research on the gender impacts of this program, my main objective while working with the APYN is to help organize their first ever network wide event: a two-day conference bringing together the members from all ten existing yogurt kitchens to share challenges and best practices, to network, to enhance solidarity, and to be given training on different aspects of the program. On the final afternoon of the conference we would also like to organize a public celebration and awareness-raising event, open to all project beneficiaries, local leaders and the general public.
Some of the workshops that we would like to facilitate include:
- Reducing HIV/AIDS Stigma
- Yogurt Quality Control
- Business Marketing and Strategic Planning
- Women's Empowerment
- Enhancing Knowledge of the Health Benefits of Probiotics
- Solidarity and Capacity Building
If made possible by your donations, this conference will be incredibly important for building the capacity of the APYN and each of the ten existing kitchens, who, due to the cost of transportation, have never before had the opportunity to come together and share ideas, strategies and successes. Most of the yogurt mamas have not even seen the other kitchens in the network because they have never been able to justify the cost of transportation.
We Need Your Help
The APYN is a new organization, established less than five years ago, and is run entirely by three extremely devoted young women. With virtually no funding available internally or from the local government in Tanzania, we need your help raising $2500 to put on this important event!
The major costs associated with the conference are as follows:
- Renting a conference facility for two full days- $250
- Transportation for all 100 participants, speakers and hosts to and from the conference- $500
- Breakfast and lunch for all participants for two days, plus water both days- $750
- T-shirts (a.k.a. new uniforms!) for the youth, yogurt mamas and APYN staff- $400
- New signage (gloss vinyl banners) to hang outside all ten kitchens in the APYN network- $350
- Printed materials such as conference programs and event invitations- $100
- SWAG bags for all 80 yogurt mamas containing their new uniforms as well as pens, notebooks, etc. -$150
Any and every size donation is appreciated.
- Donations of $10.00 CAD will buy brand new (and for many of the kitchens previously non-existent) uniforms for three yogurt mamas!
- Donations over $100 CAD will constitute a major event sponsorship. Your name or the name of your company/organization will be published in the conference program.
- Donations over $250 CAD (received before January 3rd, 2013) will consistute a major event sponsorship. Your name or the name of your company/organization will be printed on the back of the yogurt mamas new uniforms!
Non-monetary donations are also needed.
- SWAG Bags: If you live in or around London and want to donate pens, paper, pins, stickers, highlighters or anything at all to the conference SWAG Bags (even the bags themselves), let me know and I will arrange pick-up. *Please note that there will be 80 participants invited to attend the conference, so you must be able to supply at least that amount of any item.
- Spread The Word: If you feel comfortable doing so, send a link to this website to anyone you know who might be interested and able to provide sponsorship for this event.
Regardless of whether or not you are able to make a donation if you are interested in receiving updates on the conference and my work with the APYN in Tanzania, simply send an email to [email protected] with the subject line "blog info and conference list", and I will add you to the mailing list right away.
Warm regards and many thanks,
Kate and the APYN Team