submitted by Bill Maule and Fredrick Branchflower
The mission of the Cambodian non-profit organization, Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP), is to enable the members of indigenous communities, both men and women, to effectively and equitably participate in decision making, allowing them to choose their own future, in particular, to assure their rights in sustainably managing, using and developing their land and natural resources that form the basis of their livelihoods and cultural.  This program has recently spread it's work into neighboring Laos.
Non-formal Education
·         Increase literacy and numeracy among indigenous communities, in order to help communities improve their  livelihood, maintain their culture, and preserve their language and natural resources
·         Develop a sustainable pool of literates in both Kavet and Khmer
·         Enhance the indigenous communities’ capacity to solve problems and issues impacting their daily lives (e.g. health, environment, food security, natural resources management, etc.)
Above are photos of Lao literacy book printing and distribution, from our POC, Ann Thomas.  The Ratanakiri literacy staff (all ethnic minorities themselves) received a study tour from Laos (Ministry of Education Officials and Sekong Privince World Concern staff) in May 2015, so they have a part in supporting the literacy in Laos. Of the 1200 Lao literacy books photographed, most are for use with ethnic minority groups. Of these,  150  are being sent to Sekong Province in southern Laos, to the same people who came on the study tour. Sekong is the poorest province in Laos, and Ratanakiri is the poorest province in Cambodia. Cambodia and Laos are the poorest countries in SE Asia.
Moving from Asia to Africa,  literacy training has been at the center of another  Club project.  The Hamar tribe of Ethiopia abruptly lost its centuries-old nomadic life style when the epic African drought eliminated all pasturage for its livestock.  Now settled in villages,  tribe members subsist on food aid programs. GTLI (Global Team for Local Initiatives) is helping  tribal members  enter the modern world.  Our Club first donated to GTLI  for water wells and sanitation training, but in recent years GTLI and our Club concentrate on adult literacy and numeracy programs,  the first essential step for tribe members to open small businesses.  It has been mostly the women who succeed.  The first success was a small store, the only one less than a day’s walk away. Other tribe members have started small businesses, including such enterprises as pig or chicken farming, or opening drip-irrigated  market gardens.  None of this would be possible without that first step,  to learn to read and write and to perform basic business math.
Our Club will continue its interest in literacy programs, supporting the sponsorees  as they expand  programs from Laos to Cambodia, and from the Hamar tribe to neighboring tribes.