Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Madonna in Malawi

Madonna's highly publicized work in Malawi has shed light on the growing orphan population and has also raised questions about the best response to this crisis. There are a number of approaches that have been taken--many of them controversal--ranging from adoptions to community-focused projects, and we are actively researching the merits and pit-falls of each. But I am happy to report that Madonna and her organization Raising Malawi Trust have built an impressive community-based childcare center in Malawi that is the type of organization Goods for Good is hoping to partner with. In fact just yesterday we visited the organization Madonna is working with, Consol Homes, and visited her center’s site for the second time. The site itself is very beautiful with two large pre-school classroom blocks, a huge meeting hall and a kitchen. Additionally the center has a large meeting space for the older children, a space for the elderly caring for orphans (which is thoughtfully designed in the model of village homes), several offices and a large play area.

The project was built for an existing community based organization and will serve as its new home and as the offices for Consol Homes. Madonna’s project is very exciting because she is directly supporting the community and community based care, which we at Goods for Good believe is an important statement for her to make. She did not partner with one of the huge NGO’s but rather with Consol Homes, a homegrown Malawi organization working hands on in over 90 communities.
In fact, the reason we visited the center wasn’t to see her project but was instead to visit several of these other communities. Consol Homes is known for providing excellent training across the spectrum of orphan care, which is the best way to ensure the sustainability of the community based care.
We visited Consol Homes to learn more about their programs and to explore how Goods for Good can complement the trainings with the provision of goods to these communities.

When stars bring focus to humanitarian crisis the results can sometimes be less than stellar, but I say bravo to this project!

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