Archives for 2013

14 Reasons to be Hopeful in 2014 and How You Can Support It!

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In his 2007 New York Times bestselling book “Blessed Unrest“, Paul Hawkins makes a rather compelling argument – that the problems plaguing the planet, like environmental degradation, climate change, global poverty, and the struggle for human rights and social justice, will not be solved by Governments and the large NGOs. Rather, he argues that the real hope for the future will come from a emerging movement made-up of a multitude of individuals and small-grassroots people’s organizations around the globe whose expansion has been stimulated by “information technologies becoming increasingly accessible and affordable to people everywhere.” Hawkins describes this movement as comprised of:
“a network of organizations that offer solutions to disentangle what appear to be insoluble dilemmas: poverty, global climate change, terrorism, ecological degradation, polarization of income, loss of culture, and many more. … Even though the origins and purposes of the various groups comprising the movement are diverse, if you survey their principles, mission statements, or values, you find they do not conflict. … What its members do share is a basic set of fundamental understandings about the earth, how it functions, and the necessity of fairness and equity for all people dependent on the planet’s life-giving systems.”
Village Earth agrees with Hawkins’ argument and was founded back in 1993 with a similar purpose: to support genuine grassroots mobilization and local, people’s organizations from the bottom-up. Our Global Affiliate program is the latest evolution of this approach to catalyzing social change, the purpose of which is to provide a support structure for the formation and growth of local grassroots organizations and to help connect you to groups around the globe that you might not have ever heard of – groups that have a big impact in their communities but who often work in obscurity and struggle to secure funding relative to larger outside organizations.
Below are the 14 members of Village Earth’s Global Affiliate Program and the 14 reasons why we are hopeful for the New Year and beyond! We hope you will also be inspired and decide to make your 2013 tax-deductible contribution to one of our affiliates now. 

 Amahoro ProjectEarth Tipi Eco-Friendly Volunteers Empowerng Youth Cambodia Forum for Cumunity Change and Development Jenzera Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Lakota Buffalo Caretakers Cooperative Lakota Lands Recovery Project Living Roots Maloca Sarada Group of Development Initiatives Tasunke WakanAffilateThumbs_51
Can’t decide on a specific Global Affiliate to support, use the button below to let Village Earth decide where the funds are most needed. 

Donate to Village Earth

I thank you in advance for your continued support and for making Village Earth everything that it has become over the years.



David Bartecchi
Executive Director

Support Village Earth Whenever You Shop (3 Easy Steps)

Set Village Earth as your Amazon Smile charity by going to

Set Village Earth as your Amazon Smile charity by going to

Here’s a great opportunity for anyone making end of year purchases. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Village Earth. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. Use it for purchasing textbooks, electronics, gifts and more.

How to Set Village Earth as your Amazon Smile charity. 

  1. Go to com
  2. Login using your existing account info (or create a new account if you don’t already have one).
  3. Search for Village Earth under “Or pick your own charitable organization and select it from the list.
  4. That’s it! Now, When you shop at, you’ll find the same shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Village Earth!

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Redeem Your Gift Card to Support a Village Earth Global Affiliate

landing_bigcardsDoes your company or organization participate in’s corporate giving program? If so, we hope you’ll choose to support one of Village Earth’s Global Affiliates. Why? Because Village Earth has over 20-years of working with grassroots groups on the front-lines of social justice and sustainable development. Each one of our Global Affiliates undergoes an extensive due-diligence process and is selected because of their overall impact and focus on addressing the core issues behind poverty and powerless in their region.

Below is a list of Village Earth Affiliates with projects listed on Click on the their image below to link to their donation page.
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Empower Grassroots Organizations With A Year-End Gift to Village Earth

Time is running-out to make your tax-deductible donation count in 2013!

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Village Earth provides strategic, autonomy respecting support to 14 different grassroots organizations like the Forum for Community Change and Development (pictured above).

Village Earth provides strategic, autonomy respecting support to 14 different grassroots organizations like the Forum for Community Change and Development (pictured above)

Make a donation now and not only will you be supporting grassroots organizations around the globe realize their OWN strategies and solutions but as an added bonus, you’ll also get a deduction on your 2013 taxes!

Why donate to Village Earth?
We believe the answer to global/local problems lies in the commitment, passion and creativity local, grassroots organizations. Your donation has a bigger impact when it’s being used by local organizations to carry-out local solutions using local expertise, labor, and materials (rather than being used to support the salaries, travel, and lodging for an expatriate staff). Rather than carrying-out projects ourselves, Village Earth’s Global Affiliate Program empowers grassroots organizations around the globe directly with strategic, autonomy respecting assistance – creating a support structure for them to work with their own communities to realize their own strategies and solutions. Your donation today makes all this possible, providing support without all the “strings” and pre-determined outcomes that come with come grants from foundations and governments.


Use the button above to choose one of our 14 Global Affiliates or select “area of most need” and Village Earth will decide how to allocate your donation to have the greatest impact.


Urgent Action: Fighting in S. Sudan Forces Village Earth Affiliate FOFCOD to Evacuate

Civilians Seek Protection after Fighting in the Capital City of Juba

Civilians Seek Protection after Fighting in the Capital City of Juba Photo: United Nations

Village Earth Global Affiliate, Forum for Community Change and Development (FOFCOD) in South Sudan, is carefully monitoring the situation in their country due factional violence that erupted this week after President Salva Kiir, accused his former vice president of attempting a military coup.
We are in panic, We are planning to see how to evacuate some of  our staff to neighboring countries Uganda until the situation comes to normal.

“We are in panic, We are planning to see how to evacuate some of our staff to neighboring countries Uganda until the situation comes to normal.”

According to FOFCOD “the situation in Juba remains calm. Government security forces are in control. The town of Bor in Jonglei is no longer under the control of government security forces. Rather, it is controlled by troops who have apparently defected from and attacked the SPLA. Many persons have fled to the safety of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) compound. There is now a single, as yet unconfirmed, report of an attack on the compound. There has been fighting in Akobo, north-east of Bor, again apparently between factions of the SPLA. Many persons fled to the UNMISS compound for safety but it is now confirmed that the defecting troops have breached the UN site and there are reports of a fatality. There are reports of shooting, assumed to be fighting, to both the north and the south of Bentiu, in Unity State. No further details are available at this time. We are in panic, We are planning to see how to evacuate some of  our staff to neighboring countries Uganda until the situation comes to normal.”

Joining in 2013, FOFCOD is one of Village Earth’s newest Global Affiliates. The current conflict in South Sudan is a clear illustration of the urgency of their efforts to contribute to the national development through programs of Human rights, democracy, conflict resolution, health, education, livelihoods and food security, entrepreneurship, peace and justice in South Sudan.

Please Support FOFCOD in South Sudan


Need a Last Minute Gift Idea? Send One of These Beautiful Donation Gift Cards.

This year, through our partner, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to one of Village Earth’s Grassroots Affiliates in honor of a friend or relative. Choose from two holiday gift designs or one birthday card design (see below).

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Below is a list of Village Earth Affiliates that have this donation option available. Click on the their image to go their donation page at

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Once on the project page, to make a donation as a gift in honor of friend or family member, simply click on the 12-12-2013 10-47-01 AM  tab on the project page, enter the name of the person you would like to make the donation in honor or memory of, choose whether you would like to Print or Email the card (for those last-minute gifts) or send a physical card via USPS or FedEx. You then can choose from several different payment options.

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FOFCOD Empowering Women in South Sudan through Improved cooking stoves project.

Women after receiving their ICS

Women after recieving thier ICS

fund-projectJust $60 Provides a
Stove and Training
for a Family in South Sudan

Empowering Women through Improved cooking stoves project.

FOFCOD LogoDevelopment is not possible without access to energy, Energy is vital for women’s development in terms of reducing their time burden for collecting firewood used in cooking and heating, supporting livelihoods activities, improving health and well being and providing opportunities for enterprise and capacity-building.

Conventional energy policies have tended to focus on energy supply, with little attention to the social issues relating to energy. Energy policies miss vital opportunities to ensure projects draw on women’s vital local knowledge and their influencing capacity within households and communities. FOFCOD carried out a research in yei, Studies show that many rural women spend up to five hours a day gathering fuel and carrying heavy loads. This burden leaves them with little time for productive activities or leisure, puts women and girls at risk of long-term health problems and increases their vulnerability to physical or sexual violence. spending long hours indoors with traditional wood burning stoves can result in health hazards such as lung disease and eye infections for women and children. The provision of clean cook stoves can mitigate these negative impacts while promoting women’s empowerment, as the time that would have been used to collect fuel can now be used for other productive and economic activities.

The pleasure of using an ICS. A woman awaits her meal as it get ready

The pleasure of using an ICS. A woman awaits her meal as it get ready

Project Outcomes include

Reduced level of domestic violence against women and primary education enhancement

The burden of household tasks such as firewood collecting falls primarily on women and children, so by using the ICS the time spent wood seeking has been  significantly reduced and cooking times is  much faster. Such changes  helped to reduce problems of overworking which are often linked to increased domestic violence. Furthermore it has  helped to improve the attendance and performance of primary school students who had dropped out of school, or whowere failing to perform for reasons such lateness or tiredness.

Time for luch, Woman prepares stove for Luch for her children

Time for luch, Woman prepares stove for Luch for her children

Decreasing the level of deforestation in the area
through encouraging the use of ICS this campaign has reduced the level of household firewood used by up to 90% in more than 900 families built this stove.This project has educated local leaders about the role of forests.  the communities have been encouraged to plant more trees in line with national policy.

Saving biodiversity

By reducing the level of firewood consumption and educating local leaders about the role of forests the movements of people in natural forests has been significantly reduced.

IEC material with a message

IEC material with a message

We are grateful to our supporters Rain Forest Action Network, Global Green Grants Fund and Rufford.

Village Earth Proud to Announce New Partnership with Duke University Continuing Studies

logo_vert_#001A57_lrVillage Earth will now be offering our Sustainable Community Development Certificate Program through Duke University’s Department of Continuing Studies.  We expect that this will be a very fruitful partnership in that Village Earth will bring its world-renowned online sustainable community development training program to the academic excellence of Duke University.  We hope that through this partnership we will be able to reach even more community leaders, development practitioners, and others around the world with an interest in increasing their knowledge and skills in sustainable community development.  Courses through Duke University begin January 17, 2014.

We will be offering the same great five-week courses and numerous specializations to tailor the program to meet participant’s needs and interests.  Our instructors will continue to be the same seasoned professionals who are practitioners in their fields.  An application for admission is not required to enroll in a course or to pursue the Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Duke University.

Duke University is ranked the #7 university in the United States.  “The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society… around the world.”

Village Earth will also continue to offer the Sustainable Community Development Certificate Program through Colorado State University as well.  Visit Village Earth’s Sustainable Community Development online training page for more information about this program including how to enroll.  If you have questions, please contact Village Earth’s Training Director at [email protected].


Help Raise $10,000 to Sustain the Vibrant Ranchero Culture in Baja Mexico – Living Roots


Earlier this year in Spring, five valiant young souls from the San Javier secondary school laced up their boots and hoisted their packs to walk the 25 kilometers across dry mesa tops to visit and interview the local cowboy hero, Dario Higuera.


The trekkers, 11 to 16 years old, learned how to find waterholes in the desert, and the many valuable uses of local flora – traditional skills that are fast disappearing.  The experience was filled with pride and laughter, good stories and sore feet, and above all an incredible appreciation for the Baja Ranchero lifestyle which is these students’ heritage.

Thank you for being a part of creating this invaluable experience for sierra youth. Your support is instrumental.

For outsiders, an appreciation of the richness and preciousness of the Baja Ranchero culture comes naturally. But for sierra residents, the uniqueness of their traditional culture may not have the same romantic appeal when they are faced with limited economic and educational opportunities inherent in living on, and off the land. 

You are an important part of promoting a vibrant Baja Ranchero lifestyle that will attract and sustain future generations. Click here to make a Donation

Community Empowerment

  • A critical step is giving people greater control over the influences that shape their lives, control that comes from having the tools to forge their own future. This year:Seven committed and respected community leaders, primarily women, have stepped up to facilitate decision making in their communities
  • Through their efforts and the Living Roots training and support model, the San Javier Community Cultural Center will celebrate its one year anniversary on February 2nd

Economic Development

To make the ranchero lifestyle sustainable, additional income generation capacity is needed.  An important enabler for additional income is business and financial management capability. Living Roots continues to provide this entrepreneurial training. This year:

  • Nearly $70,000 pesos earned through tourism and product sales entered the local economy
  • 33 community members sold traditional artisan craft through the San Javier Cultural Center and reached new markets
  • 18 sierra residents had direct hands-on experience learning how to manage product sales and interact with customers and tourists

 However, while we are making significant progress, we still have more work to do.

 Youth Engagement

As we know, no culture will survive without the enthusiasm, will and dedication of the next generation.This year:

  • Two young men, ages 17 and 30, have been chosen by the community to manage the San Javier Cultural Center.
  •  The students who walked to visit Dario have been exhibiting photographs, videos and journal entries across the state of Baja California Sur to share their experiences and help spread their passion for who they are and where the come from.
  •  Also, thanks to your support, we have begun a school garden in the San Javier secondary school to give students hands-on skills in organic gardening, composting and seed conservation.

We need your help to continue Youth Programing!

In the coming year, we would like to co-create more programs that get and keep youth excited about the unique culture, environment and lifestyle of Baja’s mountain ranges.  

To develop and grow youth programs, we are seeking to raise $10,000 dollars from people like you, who share our passion for and devotion to helping Baja’s mountain communities develop and thrive on their own terms.  We are already seeing the seeds of a sustainable community emerging and eagerly anticipate the day when the community can be a model for others in Baja.

 Making an end of the year contribution to Living Roots. Donate Now.


 Thank you again for your continued support, you make this grassroots effort possible!


McKenzie Campbell

Director, Co-Founder

P.S. – Continuing the saddle raffle tradition – This year we are working with saddle-maker Luis Arce Arce from Rancho San Gregorio, Sierra San Francisco, to exhibit a Silla Vaquera that is truly a work of art.

To enter to win the saddle, simply add an additional $25 dollars to your end of the year contribution and let us know you would like your name entered in the hat!  The drawing will be held on December 13th at a Holiday Posada/Artisan Fair in Loreto.

5For more pictures of the saddle and an interview with Luis visit Living Roots/Raíces Vivas on Facebook.

Village Earth Consulting Catalyzes Success for Sustainable Schools International

Originally posted at:
Re-posted by permission of SSI

Written By Kari Grady Grossman, Director of Sustainable Schools International


We started in a school with 50 kids sitting on logs in a dilapidated dirt hut, in a village called Chrauk Tiek where no one had ever finished sixth grade. Five years since Sustainable Schools International was conceived to tackle the problem of sustainable rural education in Cambodia, we are now operating in five rural schools with over 2,000 primary and secondary students, and 28 Leadership Academy students from these very same villages in high school and college. The first college graduate is back in his village working and the second will be joining him this year. Most importantly, that first school at Chrauk Tiek is generating enough income to pay 25% of the school budget we provide, within the next five years we expect it to operate without us – in other words, our first Sustainable School.



We could never have gotten this far without the help of an amazing organization called Village Earth and it’s director, Dave Bartecchi. We’d struggled for several years with our vision of a sustainable school, often banging our heads against the wall as we confronted problem after problem with social conflict among the villagers, teachers, principals and students we were trying to help. We tried a community owned, low tech cooking fuel business to support the school and it failed. We found out that you can’t have a community business or any community owned institution without a coherent community. Since community ownership is a basic tenet of sustainability, this was a big obstacle to our mission.

In Cambodia, where 30 years of civil war have wreaked havoc on people’s honesty, trust and solidarity, we knew we had to start there in order to pull the community together, but we didn’t know how. After taking a community development course with Village Earth, we knew the theory of social change we had to apply, but the Cambodian staff struggled with how to dot it. Their work in the village faced complex challenges daily that felt overwhelming. We needed help that was specific to our situation.

So we went back to Village Earth and asked for a private workshop for our staff. With our Cambodian program director and our first college graduate from the village holed up in a room with Dave Bartecchi for a week, we peeled back the layers of the problems and examined them. We didn’t mess with academic theory because our Cambodian staff didn’t have the education to process it. Dave held that in his head and used it to guide us through questions for five straight days. At the beginning our problem tree looked like a vast web of roots and tentacles and by the end we had a neat and simple set of School Success Logic Models that everyone could understand.

Those Logic Models are great communication devices. They hang in every rural school where we work, in our Leadership Academy in Phnom Penh and have been shared numerous times with government education officials. We refer to them on a daily basis. They have made the way so much clearer for our staff it enables their decision making process to focus and spend money on things that really matter, in the order they are most effective. As a result they have now built a coherent team of parents, teachers, principals and students across multiple schools around the sustainable school vision. With this critical mass of, dare I say it – empowerment – our impact has begun to accelerate.

I highly recommend the Village Earth sustainable development workshop program to any organization that faces the social conflict we face, but be forewarned, it may make you more successful that you are ready for. Our new challenge is growing our organization to keep up with the demand for our school success program!


Logic Model developed during Village Earth workshop.


SSI, getting to the root of the problem during Village Earth workshop.

Program Update from Village Earth Global Affiliate: “Earth Tipi” on the Pine Ridge Reservation, SD.


It was a great year and we would like to thank all of our supporters for contributing to our success!


Just as the cold was subsiding and the warmth came we started the installation of a rocket mass heater. We were joined by community members and others to learn about the process! The bench is now complete and keeping the home office warm while being a great inspiration to others who would like to build an efficient wood heater for their homes.


Thanks to your support and through collaboration with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation we were able to plant five new fruit tree orchards throughout Pine Ridge Reservation and gave away 100 fruit trees to community members for a total of 300 apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot and peach trees planted.  Thank you also to Audubon, Fargo, North Dakota for collaborating to apply for and win the TogetherGreen  Volunteers Day grant which supported associated costs.


The first orchard was planted at Red Cloud School. Red Cloud serves approximately 400 Kindergarten through High School students.  There were 32 trees planted with the help of the 9th and 10th grade sciences classes. Next up was Lakota Hope in White Clay, NE located on the southern most border of the reservation. We are very excited about this location as there is a nursing home currently under construction right across the street. Lakota Hope has committed to serving the 82 elderly residents that will occupy the new space as well as serve the Pine Ridge community. At Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation located at Sharps Corner in the Porcupine District we planted 15 trees to add to the permaculture food forest they started there last year. There were also 20 trees planted at the Oglala Lakota College at Piya Wiconi . These trees will be part of a study to determine best planting practices for our area. Lastly,  at Little Wound School in Kyle 82 trees were planted. Little Wound serves approximately 1000 pre-school – high school students as well as young parents working towards their G.E.D’s.


We welcomed the Ave Maria Church from Parker, CO. They were here to help welcome a new member to our family the same day she arrived. ChetanWin Sylvie was born in the light straw clay office on June 26! Here she is at four months to with a great view of the home office that we started last year!


It was great to partner with Re-Member this year on our garden! They sent wonderful volunteers each week on Mondays and Tuesdays through September and made sure the garden was a great success! Earth Tipi and Re-Member shared the produce. Re-Member gave their produce to the comment and we used our share to feed ourselves, volunteers and to put on canning workshops!


We welcomed two church groups. They brought supplies, materials and professional labor to assist the Zaitz family in Wounded Knee towards finishing a home project they started in 2011.  Over $2500 in materials was donated and approximately 870 hours were donated to the family. Projects completed were wiring, plumbing, drywall, flooring and more!

Thanks to two Americorps NCCC teams who came in July and August we completed a number of projects around the homestead that really add to the site. The bench for the rocket mass heater we started in April was completed and a marked trail complete with detailed brochure describing local herbs and foods along the trail. Other projects we could not have completed without the help of Americorps was the organizing of our storage trailer, new fencing along the border (materials donated by Ave Maria Church), a chicken coup, plastering on the outside of the home office, grey water system improvements and garden gate replacement to name a few!


It was also great to see the folks from the William Penn House again! They came for a week with their youth group and helped alongside the first Americorps NCCC team.

We were happy to welcome the Wolf Creek School 8th grade class for a jam making and canning workshop. The class of 5 enjoyed making chokecherry jam and each took home a jar for their families.

Exciting things are being planned for next year including a collaboration with Will Allen of GrowingPower ( We are always looking for support both financial and volunteer. If you would like to support us with a donation please visit us on our website or use the donation page through Village Earth .

If you or your group would like to join us next summer please email us!

Thanks again for your interest and support!

With Kind Regards,


Founder/Executive Director
Earth Tipi
[email protected]

Choose Village Earth on Colorado Gives Day – Donate on December 10th, 2013

24 Hours to Give Where You Live

CGD 2013_Master (1)

Support Village Earth on Colorado Gives Day!

During this time:On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Coloradans will come together again to raise millions of dollars for nonprofits like ours. Last year, a remarkable $15.7 million was distributed to Colorado nonprofits. Help us reach our goal to raise $5000 during this 24-hour period.

  •  100 percent of your donation will come to us.
  • When you give online any time on December 10, the value of your donation will be increased by the FirstBank Incentive Fund.
  • Donate online at any time during the 24 hour period of December 10 to “give where you live!”
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Pre-schedule Your Donation Today!
(Your credit card won’t be charged until Dec. 10th)

Greenhouse Gas Levels Break Another Record: Community Adaptive Capacity Critical

According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, greenhouse gases are at an all time high for the ninth year in a row.  From effects on food security, human health, and local economies; climate change is causing wide spread implications for many sectors of community development.  One of the most severe needs is to strengthen grassroots adaptation capacity.  As community development practitioners, it essential that we learn the techniques and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on communities.

A community’s adaptive capacity is their means of coping with these changes and uncertainties.  The poorest communities tend to be the most vulnerable to these changes.  Communities need to have the knowledge about and understand carbon offsetting and global mitigation schemes such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) in order to decide whether these are useful mechanisms for their community.

To learn about climate change and community development, check out Village Earth’s newest course Local Communities and Climate Change Mitigation Strategies.  Register online by November 10 by clicking the link.

Village Earth Global Affiliate Delivers Medical Services to Cambodian Youth


Empowering Youth in Cambodia (EYC) provides medical care at each of EYC’s 4 schools in poor communities, otherwise known as slums (i.e. residents do not hold land titles).  Students in the schools are provided a basic but holistic set of health services including regular health and hygiene training, weekly medical clinics at each school, referrals for serious cases that can’t be treated in the clinics, and dental care.  Additionally, the people in the community receive health services including family planning training and long term birth control, medical treatment, and de-worming treatment every 6 months.


EYC started in 2006 providing education and leadership development for young people.  The services made a difference and are still much appreciated by the community, but the founder Drew McDowell was constantly confronted with illnesses in the students and their families. For EYC’s first 3 years they were unable to do much beyond taking kids with serious problems to a clinic or hospital, as well as some to a private dentist.  “Kids were constantly getting sick, and we weren’t doing much to address it.  Our team was good at inspiring and training young people, but when people got sick, and sometimes it was serious, we felt pretty helpless” said Drew.


As the medical NGO One-2-One started to form and partner with EYC, they were able to provide a whole new level of support for students and their families.  Not surprisingly, the costs to provide health services started to rise, and EYC had to reign in expenses. Once a monthly budget was established, the team in EYC was able to work to support the health programs, establish partnerships, train volunteers from the communities, and the results were impressive. So impressive, it is hard to summarize or understand without seeing it firsthand; sick people being treated, cavities being filled (smiles returned), behaviors changed and hygiene improved, a new generation that understands reproductive health, woman in control of their bodies, and real care being shown to people who are in a tough situation. Each week there is a line of people waiting to see the medical team, there are tuk tuks full of kids going to the dentist, and there are trained young people on the ground to educate and help in all kinds of situations.

In 2012 EYC (with help from our partners) accomplished ;

2,515 Patient-visits with a doctor.

1,152 Patient-visits to a dentist.

73 Women received long term birth control (IUD or implant).

While the road to improving the health of a community is not an easy one, these results along with a continued health education message will affect long term changes in the communities EYC works.

Indigenous Women’s March a Success and New Developments for Maloca


In October, Maloca organized a successful fundraising campaign that supported more than 100 indigenous women from the Ecuadorian Amazon to walk to Quito and protest against the destruction of the rainforest by oil exploitation and against the constant violation of indigenous peoples’ human and territorial rights.

Maloca will start supporting a cultural preservation project in Brazil. This project is initiated by and will benefit the Kamayura people from Xingu Indigenous Park. The project’s aim is to provide the community with the equipment necessary to record their culture and traditions and create a digital archive of their culture, thus preserving it with the help of modern technology for future generations. By involving the youth in this project, they will learn more about their own culture and their past, they will grow to appreciate it more, and they will learn how to research and record their traditions using modern technology. The Kamayura decided this is a good way to keep, value and share their culture. This project will be a model to follow by other ethnicities living in the Xingu Indigenous Park.

This project has been accepted by Global Giving:

Meadowlark Jivin Concert to Benefit Village Earth – Friday, Nov. 8th


Meadowlark Jivin will be bringing the soul, funk and that certain je ne sais quoi that they’re known for on Friday November 8 at the Bas Bleu in Fort Collins! The concert will be sponsored by Village Earth and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go towards their efforts to support indigenous organizations worldwide. Also Freedonia Brewery one of N. Colorado’s up and coming breweries will be serving up their award winning German style lagers for the event. With impeccable acoustics, and an intimate setting that puts the music first, the evening will be an auspicious chance to see Meadowlark Jivin in their element.

Reserve Your Ticket Now Online


Price: $12.50

Transform Columbus Day into Indigenous People’s Day


Today, in the United States, much of Latin American and the Caribbean, people are celebrating the holiday of Columbus Day. In the United States, it’s even recognized as a Federal Holiday. The story of Christopher Columbus is woven into the mythical imagination of Americans at a very young age as the hero who defied his critics and great odds to “discover” America. It’s a narrative that is very central to the American dream and the promise of this county. Yet, despite the centrality of this story to the origin myth of the United States, the average person would be appalled by the true story of Christopher Columbus which is more a story of unfettered greed and brutality than that of a noble explorer. No historian has been more successful and correcting the popular understanding of Columbus than the late historian Howard Zinn. His bestselling book “A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present” uses Columbus’ own writings and first-person accounts to tell a story very different from the one most children learn in grade school. Below is an entry from Columbus’ log as quoted in Zinn’s book.

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

— Quoted in Zinn, Howard (2005). A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present. Harper Perennial Modern Classics

Columbus made good on his promise to subjugate the people’s of Arawak. According to a first-hand account by the priest Bartolome De Las Casas, also quoted in Zinn 2005, “there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it….”.

As an ally with Indigenous peoples and their organizations, Village Earth is part of the growing movement to transform “Columbus Day” into “Indigenous People’s Day.” You can join us by educating your friends and family about the truth of Christopher Columbus but more importantly, you can help contemporize this day by educating yourself and others about the current and ongoing subjugation of Indigenous Peoples around the globe and by taking an affirmative stand by joining them in their struggle as an ally.

Part of our mission at Village Earth is to help create these kinds of connections. Through our Global Affiliate Program, we serve as bridge for innovative indigenous-led and allied organizations from around the world – connecting them to people with passion, time and resources. Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day by supporting one of these organizations today.

Tasunke thumb







Fall Online Courses are OPEN for Registration



GeneralPromo_02 2Fall Online Courses are OPEN for Registration

Fall Session II (November 15 – December 20, 2013) courses are open for registration.  Registration ends November 10.  The following courses are offered:


Watch Village Earth’s video about our training philosophy:
Spring 2014 courses will open for registration on October 15, 2013. 

Click on the Course Calendar to see future course offerings and plan out your schedule for completion of your Sustainable Community Development Certificate.

Online Certificate Program in Sustainable Community Development

Students who complete the “Approaches to Community-Based Development” course along with three other elective courses will receive a certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Colorado State University.  Students may also choose one of seven specializations to receive a specialized certificate.
All courses are organized in a seminar format and last five weeks. Each course is $390 USD.  All course materials are provided and can be downloaded from the course website after registration. More information can be obtained by clicking on the desired course (see links above).

 Kristina Pearson
 Training Director 
 +1-970-237-3002  ext.503

FOFCOD to Host Gender Based Violence Film Festival

From 9-11h December 2013, Forum for Community Change and Development (FOFCOD) will hold the 1st Juba Gender based violence Human Rights Film Festival to mark the sixteen days of activism against Gender Based violence and mark international Human rights Day. The festival will screen 9 Gender based violence human rights related films and will be followed by often passionate and emotional discussions about women’s rights and how to report violence against women. One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavour entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and discrimination. After each screening a public debate will be held on the topic related to the film screened. The festival is expected to receive about 2000 visitors and a lot of national and international media attention. The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

Gender based violence is a matter that affects large sections of the South Sudan society yet often a taboo topic. It is on the lips of all and sundry yet its remedy remains largely shrouded in mystery as silence, discrimination, victimization, trauma and suffering continue to antagonize its victims. We recognize that there are diverse strategies in place trying to address gender based violence and discrimination. While most interventions usually use exceptional data on the intensity of gender based violence and also explain how victims can seek out remedy through the law, very few interventions cross-examine the assorted fundamental socio economic and even political factors that amplify gender based violence, stigmatization and the discrimination that go with it
In South Sudan, Sexual and Gender Based Violence is a very serious problem. Information available indicates that defilement is amongst the top crimes in over 70% of counties the country. For instance in a report by the Yei County Probation officer & Police Child &Family Protection Office (CFPO) indicate that on average 75 GBV related cases are reported & handled every month. The CFPO indicate that rape & defilement was the second leading crime of GBV nature registering 30 cases per month. In the war-torn South Sudan SGBV is even more common. A study conducted in Yei County in 2012 by Forum for Community change and Development found that rape, attempted rape and forced marriage were common. In IDP camps, return areas, settlements and refugee hosting areas, domestic violence (wife battering) is always quoted as the most common form of gender violence followed by defilement and forced and early marriages. In South Sudan IDPs Camps which has about 15,000 refugees, there were 399 reported cases of domestic violence, 156 cases of defilement, 15 cases of forced marriage 37 cases of early marriage, 37 cases of marital rape and 5 cases of rape reported over a period of one year, between July 2011 and June 2012. There is no single day that passes without some form of GBV reported on radio in South Sudan. Some of the stories are appalling. There are cases where parents, mainly fathers, have been reported to have defiled their own children. High levels of domestic violence are reported in IDPs and Refugee Settlements. There are increasing incidences of women being killed by their partners in gender related violence.

The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavor entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and domination.

Update from Knife Chief Buffalo Nation



Project Report

October 2013

This report covers June 2013 through September 2013.  Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization) continues to provide a pasture/home for members of the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) and the community continues to reap the benefits in terms of spiritual and physical nourishment from them.  Below is a summary of our activities for this period.


Two Wakanyeja (sacred beings – children) at the Children’s Camp 2013

            June 2013 – we implemented a partnership with the Students Shoulder to Shoulder organization which is described as an “international school of global citizenship”, 13 students and 2 chaperones came and assisted Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization with scraping tipi poles that are used for the ceremonies including the Sundance ceremony and the children/youth camps.  Did you know the Lakota word for “tipi pole” is “tushu”?  Did you know that each pole represents a Lakota value, e.g., the first pole at the door of the tipi represents “Waunsila”, the Lakota term for “compassion”.  This value is a reminder to have compassion for all who enter your home, feed them, clothe them if needed and be kind to them.


Students Shoulder to Shoulder participants in Tipi Pole Scraping Project


Tony and Lew showed the students how to scrape the Tipi Poles

The students also assisted with the fencing project for the buffalo pasture.  They were exposed to cultural speakers and activities throughout the week.  This international organization sends teams of youth to various communities around the globe to assist with community development and as a cultural exchange.  Their assistance to the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation community was greatly appreciated and their respectfulness was also appreciated.


Mila Yatan Pika Ti Okiju Wakan Ceremonial Grounds Sunset First Day

June 2013 – Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization helped with sponsoring the annual Mila Yatan Pika Tiokiju Wakan Wi Wayang Wacipi, a very important ceremony where people make offerings and sacrifice for the future generations.  Above is photo of the tipis at the ceremony (the youth from the Students Shoulder to Shoulder camp contributed to us being able to use the poles for the tipis you see in the photo).

August 31- September 2, 2013:  A children’s healing camp was held on these dates on the grounds of the Tasunke Wakan Okolakiciye (Medicine Horse Society) in Porcupine, SD.  Approximately 30 children participated with their adult relatives and guardians.  Many of them received a Lakota spirit name, Lakota traditional healing, Lakota equine assisted activities, a swimming trip and a huge birthday party for all of them.  The children’s ages ranged from 2 years to 12 years of age.  When asked what they liked the most about the camp, they drew pictures or related that they liked sleeping in the tipis, the Inipi (purification lodge ceremony) and the swimming.  We were blessed with many volunteer relatives that assisted with setting up the tipis, chaperoning the children, providing activities, cooking/food preparation, taking down the tipis and assisting with the traditional healing ceremonies.  We say a special Wopila (a big thank you) to the Tunkasila (grandfathers) and Uncis (grandmothers) of the spirit world for blessing this camp and the children and to their Interpreters Ohitiya Najin (Stands Brave – Roy Dennis Stone), Hmuya Mani (Walks with a Roaring – Richard Two Dogs) and Wicahpi Koyag Mani (Wears the Star Walking – Richard Moves Camp) and to all the volunteers and donors to the camp.  Without all of your help, this camp would not have been possible.

children's healing camp

Wakanyeja Woapiye Wicoti (Children’s Healing Camp) 2013


Children and Mentors at Healing Camp with the sacred Horse Relatives, Porcupine, SD 2013

Future Events and Plans

We plan on assisting with a Koskalaka Wicayuwita Pi (Young Men’s Gathering) camp in which boys and young men, ages 11-18, will gather to learn Lakota traditional teachings about becoming or being a man from their older male relatives and mentors.  Some of the activities include Lakota values teachings, honoring relationships, greeting the Morning Star, Lakota traditional healing and receiving a Lakota spirit name if they don’t have one and would like one.  This camp will be held on October 31-November 2, 2013.

We continue to observe the spiritual calendar, the next sacred site visit is on October 15, 2013 to Pte Ta Tiopa (Doorway of the Buffalo) near Buffalo Gap, SD in the sacred Black Hills. This is the time when the buffalo return to the sacred Black Hills and when we (humans) know to make spiritual offerings.  The spiritual calendar was taught to us (Lakota people) by the Pte Oyate (buffalo nation) and to whom we continue to honor and care for.

We also plan to sponsor a Historical Trauma and Healing conference on October 11-12, 2013 (see for conference information).  Our fencing project will continue as the weather permits.  We continue to work toward maintaining the pasture for our relatives the buffalo and honoring the relationship we have with them.


For more information, contact us at:

Email:  [email protected]

Telephone:  605-441-2914 or 605-407-0091


or look for Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization under Global Affiliates


We extend a heartfelt appreciation to the people who have supported our efforts whether financially, physically or spiritually.  Your support is truly appreciated and we especially appreciate the Tunkasila (spiritual entities) for their continued support and guidance.  We also acknowledge the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) for what they inspire in us and their teachings – protection of the young, conservation of the land and the strength and fortitude to endure whatever comes.  Lila Wopila Tanka!! (We thank you all very much). We ask you the general public, our friends and relatives, what you think we should do to expand our work so that others can learn from the teachings of the buffalo nation?  We are very interested in hearing from you!


Knife Chief Buffalo Pasture, February 2013