Skees Family Foundation Partners Off to a Great Start in 2021

Categorized as: , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2021. Related Grantees: Bean Voyage, Embrace Her, Idea4Africa, KadAfrica, Preserve International, Tech Me.


Editor’s Note: As the United States has begun to emerge from the pandemic over the past two quarters, some of our partners are also beginning to emerge, while others are still struggling to contain the virus while waiting for accessible vaccines. We continue to be impressed and encouraged by how these organizations, each one, has managed to continue serving their clients and even growing their organization in many cases. Read on to see how they’ve been creatively adapting to their unique circumstances.

By Sally Skees-Helly, Director and CFO

Catalyst Partners

Bean Voyage: Costa Rica 

Abhinav and SungHee published their 2020 Annual Report, detailing their remarkable achievements through a very trying year. They also produced a super entertaining video that compresses their entire annual report into two minutes of energetically-conveyed information. 

In March, they graduated 202 smallholder women from the largest capacity building training so far. Abhinav and SungHee chose not to be at the forefront of this training, but handed the responsibility over to their team of ten local facilitators to take on more of the front-facing work of Bean Voyage. They recognize that as two foreigners, they need to be cognizant in making space within the organization for teammates and facilitators. This is exactly what we love to see…building Bean Voyage into a truly community-led organization. 

Idea4Africa: Rwanda and Uganda

Idea4Africa have had great success using What’s App to keep engagement and materials available during the pandemic. In fact, a side benefit is that they are saving on printing costs. Additionally, printed materials are only in English. Now that materials are virtual, they are translating content into other languages. So far, they’ve translated into five languages.

Idea4Africa clients Byamungu and his wife (L) and Jonas Kahindo (R).

KadAfrica: Uganda

In January, KadAfrica launched a new male engagement program, training men (partners, fathers, and community leaders in their rural and refugee communities) in:

  • Family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
  • Positive masculinity and healthy relationships.
  • Awareness and action steps toward reducing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality.

They are in the process of launching a new project with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) involving a value chain approach for economic integration and self-reliance in a new refugee community. 

Clairice Nyangoma and Merveille Mwadi teaching how to make reusable menstrual pads.

Two members of KadAfrica’s Experience Program spent International Women’s Day teaching the menstrual cycle, menstrual health and hygiene, and how to make reusable pads to young people and other community members at Kyaka II Refugee Settlement.

Seed Partners

Embrace Her: Zambia 

In mid-April, Embrace Her launched their third cohort of small market women entrepreneurs, giving loans to women trading in vegetables and fruits, second-hand clothing, and restaurants. The loans are made over a 26-week period, during which their progress will be monitored, and advice given. And they are growing!

Young Women Empowerment Initiative Cohort.

In May they launched a monthly Women Connect Session. The theme was Financial Vision Boards. These are networking and learning sessions where women from different ways of life meet and share ideas and learn from one another on issues such as personal finance, business development, and leadership.

Young and Smart Financial Education Cohort.

Also in May, they conducted a training for their four newly recruited Financial Literacy Ambassadors, ages 18-25, a volunteer opportunity that promotes financial literacy to youth and women, while gaining experience and training.

Preserve International: Northern Uganda 

Preserve International was able to deliver at least three new Sparky dryers in April to the Berean Women’s Farm Group in the BidiBidi Refugee Settlement, and two other locations in the Yumbe District.

New Sparky Food Dryer Delivered to the Berean Women’s Farm Group.

They recently hired a new team member, Paul Ayikobua, as the new Compound Supervisor who will be providing maintenance and repairs to the dryers and Preserve vehicles, as well as transportation of equipment and people. He also acts as the unofficial Preserve International photographer, capturing all of their work in Yumbe.

On May 6, 2021, Elizabeth hosted a “Cocktails for a Cause” fundraising event in Fort Worth, TX, a celebrity bartending competition. It’s good to see organizations getting back to in-person fundraising events!

TechMe: Nigeria

In February, Tech ME signed a partnership with Scoutan Nigeria, a job platform that connects entry-level job seekers with companies and Bertatech Solutions, who provides customer acquisition and management solutions for clients in industries such as food, hospitality, education, manufacturing, and retail. The agreement allows Tech ME to give graduates of their program’s employment opportunities through these two organizations.

WIN Trainees Hard at Work.

Training started in April for the most recent cohort of Women ICTpreneurs of Nigeria (WIN), a six-week digital skills course focusing on web design for women between the ages of eighteen and thirty living in Lagos. Trainees from this cohort are currently interviewing for entry positions with Tech ME’s partner companies.

All photographs courtesy of our amazing partners.

LEARN more about all of our nonprofit partners here.

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