What are partnership projects?
Australian conferences may, from time to time receive a project application request from their twinned conference. These projects generally are under AUD 2,000 in value and are designed to build the capacity or provide assistance with earning an income of community members where the twinned conference operates.
Projects may include cow and goat banks, water systems, tailoring and other small livelihood programs. Projects may also provide technical skills through education and training, or support small enterprises in areas such as garment making, fishing, and food production through farming.
Who benefits from this service?
Project are initiated by overseas twins with their country's National Council, and are designed to help people the overseas conference supports move toward becoming self-sufficient. Donor Vincentians benefit by being exposed to the richness of faith, humility and hope of our twinned Vincentians. The National Council of Australia encourages conferences to support their twins in funding projects.
Myanmar Projects Update
In late 2018, Australia funded five projects for five Dioceses in Myanmar for conferences in rural areas. Each project was set up to provide a ‘revolving loan fund’ of AUD 2,000 to seasonal cropping farmers who have to borrow money to help with living expenses between crops. Beneficiaries used loans to buy goods for sale, which generated income for their families and allowed them to buy seed for the following season. It is difficult for such families to get ahead when their only options for borrowing money are at very high interest rates.
Beneficiaries pay back the conference the money that was loaned and use any profits to provide for their family. Some of the commodities traded were rice, rubber, tumeric, coffee, cardamon, mangosteen and durian.The capital is then loaned to other beneficiaries the following year. After 18 months, the Myanmar National Council provided progress reports on each project. A number of beneficiaries reported feeling trusted by being given a no-interest loan, and that this made them work more diligently. They felt included and cared for by the Society whereas they had previously felt outcast. Some other comments from beneficiaries:
Our children didn’t have to leave school to help us earn money for food.
We learned to be patient and hardworking if we wanted to earn more money.
In the first season of crops our Vincentian leaders worked together with us and showed us how to bargain. But this season we were allowed to do it on our own so we were a little excited. We were trusted by them.
Although we are willing to do any king of work to earn a living for our families, money with high interest is a drawback.
We learned to do business in buying and selling, and that working together helps to earn more.
After providing for their families, food and education supplies for their children, the majority of beneficiaries reported having a little extra money which they used to help others in their families or villages, usually to provided some medicine or medical care.