Book a Night (or more) With Village Earth Affiliate “Earth Tipi” on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Earth Tipi

Earth Tipi


Earth Tipi is working to create accessible, sustainable housing and food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They recently created this listing for a tipi near their headquarters on the Pine Ridge Reservation on the home-sharing website “” What a great way you can learn more about Earth Tipi while also helping to support it.

This 16′ tipi purchased new this year! Ample space for up to 5 adults in sleeping bags. 2 twin sized beds are available. In this case only room for only 2 adults. 8 mi to Wounded Knee Massacre Site. Central location to explore Pine Ridge & Badlands.

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The Space
How many times have you had the opportunity to sleep in a tipi on an indian reservation? Deer and coyote are often spotted crossing the site. We are also immediately adjacent to horse pastures on all sides. We are also home to a sustainable homestead model site and education center. Tours are available of our cob/strawbale hybrid home as well as our light straw clay office.

Guest Access
There are currently solar showers and composting toilets on site. We may be adding private showers and toilets for the tipi site but currently these amenities are shared with our campers. There is a covered picnic area for eating and in case of rain during the day. There is an outdoor kitchen that is primarily for group use but, use can be arranged for tipi renters if arrangements are made in advance (hours may be specific/limited)

Interaction with Guests
We live on site and are available to answer questions about the area.

The Neighborhood
We are centrally located on the reservation. If you are coming to tour the area ours is a great spot to start off. Wounded Knee Massacre site and museum are just 8 miles away. We are 2.5 miles from a convenience store and just 3.5 miles from Betty’s Kitchen a local favorite restaurant.

Getting around
There is a reservation shuttle service that operates within the boundaries of the reservation. This is an easy and economical way to see the entire reservation. Stops 2-3 times per day at Pinky’s store in Manderson (2.5 miles on the paved road).

Update from Empowering Youth Cambodia – Student Profile Video | Humans of Phnom Penh


Cambodians have their own New Year holiday on April 13th which is the biggest holiday of the year, and next week the city of Phnom Penh will be quiet as people head to their families’ villages. Many EYC staff and students will be headed to their ‘homelands’ to welcome in the year of the horse and relax during the hottest month of the year (averaging 94°F / 34°C).

As EYC enters its 9th year we can see constant improvements in the maturity of our work and the abilities of our team.  We thank all of our donors who make our life-changing work possible, and assure you that our 620 students get significant benefits each week from our programs. We are happy to show you a great 5 minute video about one student’s life, Ratha:

Humans of Phnom Penh: A Photoblog

A group of EYC students have started an interesting photoblog on Facebook calledHumans of Phnom Penh. It gives an insight into the daily lives of some of the capital’s residents through photography and short interviews and it was inspired by a similar blog, Humans of New York. Each student chooses individuals they meet in the city and who they find interesting to include in the project. Phnom Penh through Cambodian eyes. The blog is in Khmer and in English, take a look:
Also, read the story about Humans of Phnom Penh in The Phnom Penh Post.

Happy Khmer New Year to everybody and thank you for all your support. Don’t forget April 16th!

Get a 50% Match on All Donations to Empowering Youth Cambodia April 16th.

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Exciting news!  We are happy to share that GlobalGiving is hosting a Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day on April 16th.  Here are the terms and conditions of the campaign, with matching funds provided by Microsoft:

Terms and Conditions

  • The Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day will begin April 16th, 2014 at 12:00:01 PM (noon) EDT and will end April 17th, 2014, at 11:59:59 AM EDT, or when matching funds run out.
  • There are $100,000 available in matching funds from Microsoft.
  • Matching is applied at 50% for every donation from $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project/microproject.
  • The project or micoproject that has the most unique donors on Microsoft YouthSpark’s Bonus Day will receive an additional $10,000 from Microsoft.

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VE Affiliate, “Mni” on the Cheyenne River Reservation Launches New Website!

Mni Website

Mni Website

Village Earth Global Affiliate “Mni” launches new website at Mni is a grassroots, non-profit, indigenous-led collaboration to restore the water cycle worldwide using eco-friendly rainwater harvesting techniques. Springtime on the Cheyenne River Lakota homelands, finds Mni coursing steadily towards their goal of healing the world water cycle by bringing water restoration to indigenous homelands. Mni is pursuing partnerships with other tribal peoples who recognize that a healthy water cycle is critical to planetary balance and human survival and to help them initiate water management techniques in their own territories.

Mni Cheyenne River Reservation

One of Mni’s proposed projects was recently funded to bring intertribal volunteers together for a water sustainability camp on the Cheyenne River reservation. Participants will learn basic skills in rain water harvest and ecosystem recovery in a culturally respectful manner.

Prior to the two-week camp (scheduled for June 22nd to July 5th), Mni, in collaboration with the Cheyenne River Youth Project, will mobilize a reservation-wide clean water campaign. They will bring tribal elders and youth together to demand tribal government protect drinking water by eliminating toxins, beginning with ending fluoridation. To join the Mni effort for clean, accessible water and to create a sustainable water future for all mankind please go to

Interested in learning more about Mni and how you can get involved 1. Check out their shiny new website, 2. “Like” their page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, 3. Sign-up for their mailing list in right-hand column of this page, 4. Make a tax-deductible donation.

Titukuke Rural Community Development Association, Creating a Culture of Education in Zambia


Updated submitted by Gertrude Soko, Director of Titukuke Rural Community Development Association

Here are some recent photos from the Titukuke day care trust school. We are running a pre-school, grade one and grade two classes at present. We have also introduced adult education in the afternoons for parents and guardians of our pupils so that we develop a culture of appreciating the importance of educating the children . It had been difficult to find children in large numbers because most parents do not see the value in taking children to school. These parents pay 20 Zambia Kwacha per month about 4 Dollars. The teachers get 60% whilst the school gets 40% of the total proceeds. The school has also introduced basic computer lessons to the grade ones and twos so that they are prepared at a tender age to appreciate and use ICT
in their lives.


The other pictures show the income generating garden aimed at helping meet the cost of paying the school staff who are failing to raise enough funds from the pupils. The pupils pay little fees this year due to failure to meet full fees last year. Some of the pupils do not pay anything due to their vulnerability. There is need find sponsorship for these children use none payment is affecting the school negatively. We give thanks to The friends of Titukuke in The Netherlands-SSTZ for the construction of the school, irrigation equipment, solar energy, the garden materials, school materials and equipment as well as financial support to
enable us reach this far.



Click here to learn more about Titukuke Rural Community Development Association in Zambia


Spread the Love With These Donation Gift Cards From

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Sample gift card. Choose from 5 Village Earth projects to support and customize your message.

Need a last minute gift for that special someone? These donation gift cards from are a great way for your both to share your love around the globe. Choose to support one of 5 Village Earth’s Global Affiliates featured on the site. You can either print-out your personalized card or send it via email anywhere in the world!

Order your gift card today by clicking on one of the projects below and then choosing the “Gift In Honor” tab.

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Below are the Village Earth Affiliate Projects eligible – click the graphic to learn more and donate. 


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From the slums of Phnom Penh to possibly studying in the US… Empowering Youth Cambodia

EYC Star Students

EYC Star Students

“I would do the preparation class anyway”, said Keo Yary, an EYC student in 11th grade, when asked if she would attend this class even if there was no lure of a possible scholarship to the US. Yary is one of five lucky EYC students who have been selected for an excellent program created by EducationUSA Advising Center under the United States Embassy. The program is called the Opportunity Fund, and it aims to prepare youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to access higher education in the United States.

The five students are Keo Yary, Ho Andy, Chon Sreyroth, Luck Chamnab and Ear Serivichara, and they are from Aziza School, Impact School, and Youth School, respectively. Now seven months into the program, the students were not at all “randomly selected”. There was a rigorous testing and interviewing process where the students had to demonstrate not only good English skills, but also strong academic skills, general knowledge, and leadership skills. And it is with good reason that the students are carefully chosen – the program invests a lot in them.

Three times a week the students attend class for two hours, where they learn advanced English and also learn about culture, food, and general knowledge. In addition, the students meet every Sunday morning to discuss the book that was assigned for that week’s reading.  Later in the program they will learn about scholarship applications, how to write an essay for college applications, get help with the passport application, and more. The program aims to fully prepare the students to apply for college and scholarships to study in the US.

But there is no guarantee of admission to a US college. And each student not only needs to be admitted, they also need to find a way to fund the studying.  But as Keo Yary said, she is happy to do this class no matter what – nobody can take away the knowledge she gets from the program.

Good luck to them! (by Annette Jensen)

Maloca – Empowering Indigenous Kamayura of Brazil to Document and Protect Culture

Kamayura filmmakers

Kamayura filmmakers using equipment provided by Maloca

By Luminita Cuna, Director of Maloca

In January 2014, Maloca director visited the Kamayura community in Mato Grosso state and discussed with the community the project to protect the Kamayura culture through new technology. The idea to document and record the Kamayura tradition by the Kamayura people themselves, using modern technology, existed in the village for a while, however, due to lack of resources, the Kamayura were unable to start this process. Now, your generosity will turn this community-generated idea into reality.

Everybody was excited to learn that the fundraising for the equipment started. The Kamayura identified a few people that would take a very active part in the project, once it starts, and that would carry it forward. Furthermore, we discussed creating a Kamayura Memory House (Casa das Memorias) in the village. This micro project would be an essential part in creating Casa das Memorias in the Kamayura village, a cultural point where the Kamayura traditions are collected, stored, and shared.


One important thing that our donors need to be aware of is that the process of discussing and planning with an indigenous community is very different than what we imagine and it takes longer than one would expect. There are a lot of one-to-one discussions in informal settings ( on the way to the river, coming back from tending the manioc garden, around the fire waiting for the fish to cook). The discussions have to take place according to the community’s ways/rules, and following their own timing. These preliminary talks, which sometimes are very repetitive, have an important role, as they help interested community members to really understand how the project works (including fundraising over the internet). When people have enough information, the chief calls a general meeting in the center of the village, where facts and information is presented to everybody.

While in Brazil, Maloca contacted Brazilian film makers and identified potential candidates to visit the village to provide training (filming, editing) to the Kamayura. We are in the planning phase, both with the community and the film makers, and it looks like the summer of 2014 will be a good time to have the first training session.


This  project will buy a good HD video camera for the Kamayura community. As prices are soaring in Brazil, the camera will be purchased in the US. The camera will be handed to the community personally by Maloca director, during the upcoming Summer 2014 trip. The months of June to September are the best for starting this project because this is the time where all the important rituals of the community take place, it is their “holiday season”.

We are continuing our efforts to raise funds to purchase external hard drives (where all the films will be stored), and hopefully another camera.

Village Earth Affiliate “Eco-V” Sri Lanka reflects upon its successes in 2013


Thank you 2013…..we had a great year! with new initiatives and successful results!

We had a great successful year in 2013. Paapedi 2013 the bicycle journey for Climate Justice was a very successful campaign we had for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation work. Also we got involved with Good Market ( and started “Nature Kids” a very unique programme for kids to get connected with Mother Nature.
Nature Talk before Nature Walk
During Nature walk
Some Nature kids with animal flags
Also we started two educational stalls at Good Market under the kind sponsorship of Dilmah Conservation. One on Eco Education and the other on Conscious Consumerism.

Eco Stall
Eco Stall and Consumer Voice Stall
Reading about food and health on consumer voice stall
Sugary drinks and conscious consumerism
I personally completed two important training programmes. One on Consumerism (Consumer Association of Penang, Malaysia) and the other on Climate change leadership with former Vice president of USA Mr. Al Gore “Climate Change corps” in Istanbul, Turkey. Both programmes were very helpful for me to get more confidence and also loads of information was passed down to various working groups of ECO-V. I also attended a conference in Malaysia on “Interfaith Dialog for Peace and Sustainability” with the kind invitation from Seva Lanka (a NGO for social development work in Sri Lanka) as a Climate Change and sustainable living campaigner. It was great opportunity to participate at People’s Forum of The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.  Also I was invited to be at prince Charle’s B’day party held in Colombo during his CHOGM visit to Sri Lanka.
In Istanbul
People’s Forum, CHOGM 2013
We had many international volunteers who visited and helped us in our activities. ECO-V won a grant from Kate Stork memorial Awards, UK for our “Nature Kids” programme and it’s the second award from them we won. Thank you for KSMA Awards! We were able to continue our great work with kids at Good Market because of you. Then Nature Kids won the “Environmental Impact Award” of the annual award ceremony of Good Market! This is what we call ripple effect for positive change!! One start leads for something else…
Kanchana and Uvasara with Impact award at Good Market
Having our own training center is the long term plan for ECO-V and we have been working towards it always. Dhanushka from Udawalwa is One of our youth leaders we trained for last 5 years under various programmes (starting from friends of Pelicans, then KSMA youth trainee, kelani nade yathre and Paapedi 2013 yathree). After kelani Nadee yathra he decided to start a farm in his own land as a post journey project. We were thrilled and guided him to start a permaculture farm which we can develop as a training center eventually. The year 2013 was a successful year for him as he able to build a natural building, a toilet and basic accommodation facilities. Thanks to Journeys For Climate Justice in Melbourne who is our partner organization for both journeys we had who sent us International volunteers to work with his team and him were able to get exposure to more wider world.

Dhanushka and team making compost
Dhanushka’s team
Also I started a small permaculture plot very close to our office and trying to develop it as an educational center and make it more sustainable for ECO-V future work. Also we started selling extra vegetables (after sharing the harvest with neighbors and friends) at Good Market and willing to join with them under participatory Guarantee System (3rd party organic certification).

Eco Garden of ECO-V
Harvest of Eco Garden
We started a very special programme for students at School for Deaf. It’s called talking through Nature which is still in progress. We managed to create a butterfly garden with all native plants and our volunteers did more shramadana work (sharing work) with these differently able children at school. I still remember their exited faces when they saw the first ever caterpillar reported on a herb that they planted.
Volunteers involved in painting walls of Butterfly Garden area
Students and volunteers working together
We continue to teach about nature for them using this space. Our face book page ( exceeded 2000 members which is very helpful to spread the messages of our work among volunteers and also helped us to raise funds for our work.
So thank you very much for all of you who were with us in 2013 and we very much hope that you will continue to stay with us in year 2014 in this journey.

Latest News and Happenings from Knife Chief Buffalo Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation




Project Report

This report covers October 2013  through December 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.


October 2013 –  In observance of the spiritual calendar, spiritual offerings were made and taken to the Purification Lodge on October 15 for the sacred site of 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 sponsored a benefit conference for the pte oyate (buffalo nation) on October 11 & 12 in Rapid City, SD.  Twenty-five (25) participants attended the conference on “Historical Trauma:  Impact and Healing.”  This two day workshop addressed how historical trauma has impacted Lakota and indigenous peoples and how we can integrate healing from historical trauma into our families, schools, programs and communities.  Presenters were Richard Two Dogs, Richard Moves Camp, Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart and Josie Chase.

We were honored to have three well-respected Wakan Iyeska in the group for both days.  A basic explanation of the term “Wakan Iyeska” is that these persons are interpreters between the physical and the spirit world.  Their roles and responsibilities are based on their individual dreams.  The three men are Ohitiya Mani (Roy Dennis Stone), Hmuya Mani (Richard Two Dogs) and Wicahpi Koyag Mani (Richard Moves Camp).


 Conference participants visiting during a break


(L to R Presenter Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, Participant Marcella LeBeau, Presenter Josie Chase


November 2013  –  On November 01 we received a loan of $18,275.00 from the First National Bank of Gordon, Nebraska to pay for two annual pasture leases, home to the pte oyate (buffalo nation).  Payment was made to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.   We began our sixth year of this relationship with the First National Bank of Gordon.

We assisted with a Koskalaka Wicayuwita Pi (Young Men’s Gathering) camp on November 01 – 03 in which eighteen (18) boys and young men, ages 9 –17.  Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Okiciyapi (Lakota People Caring for Children), the Pine Ridge Reservation’s tribal welfare agency, were given the opportunity to send young men who were currently in the foster care system. The agency sent nine (9) young men and one parent brought his son from a neighboring reservation in South Dakota, the remaining participants were residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The group came together to learn Lakota traditional teachings about becoming or being a man from their older male relatives and mentors, blessing the food, raising the tipi; bow making, singing and drum, preparing a spiritual kit, and Horse Nation teachings.  Other activities and teachings included honoring relationships, purification lodge preparation, spiritual cleansing, greeting the Morning Star and sun prayer and song, and gun safety and hunting, Lakota traditional healing. Twelve (12) participants received a Lakota spirit name at a ceremony.

The volunteer mentors included seven (7) men and a Wakan Iyeska (interpreter of the sacred) or “medicine man” as he is sometimes referred to.

The participants and mentors slept in five tipis which were raised by the young men as part of the teachings. Three mentors guided the participants in an early morning hunt and two deer were taken.  Talking Circles were held on the first and final day.


 Camp participants learning to raise the tipi


 Raising the tipi: home for 2 nights and 3 days


 Learning to skin a deer after the early morning hunt


Developing a relationship with our relatives, the horse nation


Receiving teachings about the drum and songs

On November 04, the buffalo caretaker gave a tour of the buffalo pasture to staff of Gunderson Lutheran Hospital from Minnesota.  Staff provide medical services on a monthly basis in Porcupine.  They are provided with information about the Lakota culture and the Pine Ridge Reservation.

December 2013  – We participated in a debriefing session on December 13 with the Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Okiciyapi (LOWO) staff at their office building in Pine Ridge, SD.  The session centered on the Children’s Camp held in September and the Young Boys/Men Camp held in November.  A number of children and youth in the foster care system participated in both camps.

We sponsored a conference entitled “Woakipa Etan Woasniye” (Healing From Trauma) on December 17 & 18 in Rapid City, SD with thirty (30) participants.  Topic and presenters included: Lakol Wicohan Un Woakipa Api Iciya Pi (Healing from Trauma Using Lakota Culture), Richard Two Dogs; Addressing High Rates of Traumatic Stress Among American Indian/Alaska Nation Children, Marilyn Brugier Zimmerman; Discovering Healing Pathways:  Arts Informed Counseling for American Indian Youth, Elizabeth Warson; Trauma in the Womb, Barbara Vancil; Tewicahila Pi Ogna Unspewicakiyapi (Teaching/Educating with Love, Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs.


Presenter Barbara Vancil sharing information about trauma in the womb


Group working session at the December conference

In observance of the spiritual calendar, spiritual offerings were taken to the Purification Lodge (Inipi) on December 21, the Winter Solstice.

Donations – We collaborated with Ken Lundsford, Barbara Keel and Rick Hagens of Fairburn, AL and with Terri Yellow Hammer, Minneapolis, MN on a winter gear drive for children (infants to 10 years).  Other items received  included  toys, blankets, shoes and coats for adults.  Due to the frigid weather and the lack of heat and the lack of water in the building we planned  to use, distribution  has been  set for the week of January 20.  We greatly appreciate the organizing efforts of Ken, Barbara, Rick, Terri and her husband, and we are  also very thankful to the donors.

Future Events and Plans

  • January 24 – 26, 2014 – We will help to sponsor a Men’s Basketball Tourney to raise funds for a Boys/Young Men Camp in May, 2014.
  • February 02, 2014 – We will sponsor a workshop on “Preparation of Can Sasa (red willow bark), a cultural and spiritual teaching.
  • March 2014 – Will assist with the planning of a proposed conference for alcohol and drug prevention counselors.  One person volunteered  to do a presentation at this conference.
  • May 2014 –  (a)  will have work camps to continue fencing project; (b)  will help sponsor the Boys/Young Men Camp on May 24 – 26
  • June 2014 – Will sponsor the Students Shoulder to Shoulder Camp on June 02 – 08
  • August 2014 – Will sponsor a Children’s Healing Camp from August 05 – 08

Fencing Project - Our fencing project will continue as the weather permits.   One pasture of 1200 acres is fenced.  We plan to complete the fencing of 1500 acres which is approximately seven (7) miles.  One mile of steel posts are set up now and  holes are dug for wood posts to be put in the ground.  We are working to purchase 400 steel posts and will continue fencing when weather permits.  We are working on a plan to establish work camps in May 2014 for native and non-native youth and adults to assist with the fencing project.


Our relatives, the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) within the fenced pasture


Again, we extend a heartfelt appreciation to the people who support our efforts whether it be 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 for their teachings, i.e., 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).


For more information, contact us at:
Telephone:  605-407-0091
or look for Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization under Global Affiliates



Technical Support & Training for Tribes/TDHE’s for Challenging the Indian Housing Block Grant



March 30th, 2014 is the deadline for Tribes/TDHE’s to submit challenges to the Federal Census numbers used for allocating funds for the Indian Housing Block Grant as well as other programs including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, The Child Care and Development Fund, Social Services Block Grant, Administration on Aging, Special Programs for the Aging, Title III, Part C, Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, Community Services Block Grant, funding for local schools, road construction and repair.

No entity has more experience conducing IHBG challenges than Village Earth. We can assist you to collect the data population and needs that meets HUD’s guidelines for Census challenges. Plus, using the latest digital data collection technology, we can help you keep costs low while ensuring high-quality data. Call today for a free consultation and estimate 970-237-3002 Ext. 504. or email David Bartecchi at

The Audacity of Hope Made Real: Clean Birth Kits for the People of Burundi

Health Inst #1 Dir, Asst

Health Inst #1 Dir, Asst

By William M. Timpson – Director Amahoro Project

In rural Southern India, three million women live in poverty and lack access to a clean birth environment. Each year in India, 78,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth and about one million neonatal deaths occur due to complications resulting from infection. To combat this problem, the social venture AYZH distributes clean birth kits called JANMA that cost just $2 each and can dramatically reduce fatal childbirth infection. These kits are sourced and assembled in India by rural women and are composed of quality, low-cost components. These kits have now been brought to Burundi, East Africa and introduced at the University of Ngozi.

In April, alumna Zubaida Bai, founder and CEO of AYZH (pronounced ‘eyes’), accepted an award on behalf of her company at the 8th Annual World Health Care Congress and WHCC Affordable Health Innovations Global Initiative Exhibit in Washington, D.C. The company distributes JANMA through an established network of local pharmacies, clinics, non-governmental organizations, and local women’s self-help groups. By setting up supply chains for local manufacturing, costs are kept low and economic opportunities are created for women in the communities they serve. Most importantly, the JANMA provide mothers a safe, clean, and hygienic delivery whether she delivers at home, at a primary health care center, or in a government hospital. The rate of maternal and infant mortality in Burundi during home deliveries is a real problem although government officials are hesitant to be very public about the exact numbers.

AYZH conducts extensive market research to assess consumer demand and then tests technologies on their affordability, appropriateness, and aesthetics to meet that demand. In addition to the JANMA birth kits, AYZH also is working to provide household water filters (called Sheba Filters) that provide high-quality drinking water at an affordable cost.

“We use a tiered approach to first address women’s basic needs. The idea is to get women and their families healthy so they have the time and strength to work. We then provide them with income generating tools to help increase their livelihood. With a healthier family and more lucrative opportunities, the women can attain a level of self-sufficiency that translates into a more vibrant society,” said Bai.

AYZH’s management is an international team passionate about making the lives of poor women better through technology and entrepreneurship. In addition to Bai, the management team at AYZH consists of alumni Habib Anwar and Kellen McMartin. All three founders of the company earned a Master’s degree in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise from CSU’s College of Business. Hopefully this innovative idea will take hold in Burundi.

Introducing the Clean Birth Kits in the region of Ngozi makes sense since this area was a refuge when the ethnic killings were happening everywhere else in Burundi for the forty years that followed independence in 1962, beginning with the genocide of 1972 through the civil wars that erupted in the 1990’s. In Ngozi, however, Hutu and Tutsi leaders maintained the calm. They went further and created the first private university in Burundi in the wake of all that violence and dedicated to promoting peace and reconciliation. The audacity of hope made real. Accordingly, the University of Ngozi now serves as a base for curriculum reform and innovation. One such idea is this Clean Birth Kit. Introduced in the summer of 2013, staff at the University of Ngozi are exploring its use through the medical and health sciences programs.

William M. Timpson is a professor in the School of Education at Colorado State University and the author of several books on peace, reconciliation, diversity, and sustainability. He has served as Fulbright Specialist in Peace and Reconciliation Studies in Northern Ireland and Burundi, East Africa.


Pine Ridge Reservation 1887 Allotment Map Now Available For Order

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Available printed in full color 60″ X 40″

In response to several requests from Tribal members, we have made the Pine Ridge Allotment map available for purchase in a large printed format. We have teamed up with’s high-quality print-on-demand service to make this possible. This map contains the original allotments along with the names of the original allottees as well as hand drawn notes and color-coding to designate different classes of lands.

The creation and issuing of allotments began on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1904, under Executive Order of July 29, 1904 and continued until 1923. During this period, government officials carved up the Reservation into parcels and issued them to Lakota families. Village Earth created this map by scanning and georeferencing the original allottment books provided to us by the Bureau of Indian Affairs office on Pine Ridge. As far as we know, this is the only known source for this map.

We have made three different versions available for purchase.

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Sample resolution of map – note that you read hand-written names of allottees, notes made by Bureau of Indian Affairs, streams and roads.

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Zoom-in of map with districts, roads, town names, and topography.

Chronology of the Plan to Create a Bison Pasture in the South Unit of the Badlands


View above map in online map viewer

For an interactive map of the Pine Ridge Reservation with layers of the Badlands Bombing Range and Original Allotment maps go to

The South Unit of the Badlands has a long history riddled with controversy and violence and that’s no different today with the current conflicts regarding the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s proposed plan to create a 100,000 acre bison pasture in the South Unit. The so-called “Highway-to-Highway” plan was approved by the Oglala Sioux Tribe on June 11th, 2013 through OST Tribal Ordinance_13-21. The ordinance also called for the cancelling of leases for all ranchers in the proposed area by October 2015 and left many Tribal land owners and inhabitants to the area confused about their future – would people living in the proposed area be forced to move? Would tribal land owners be forced to sell their lands? What would happen to sacred sun-dance circles utilized on an annual basis by the families in that region? What about the livelihoods of the ranchers leasing land in this area and the lease income collected by the Tribal landowners?  This ordinance also exposed historical trauma deeply embedded in the people and the land when in 1942 the U.S. Government forcefully evicted the Lakota residents to make-way for a bombing range.  But it also served as another site of conflict for the ongoing struggle between the Oglala Lakota people (the Grassroots Oyate) and a Tribal government that many Lakota distrust – a government imposed upon them by the U.S. Government through the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and one that many Lakota feel is illegitimate. The layers of this conflict run deep – so deep in-fact that it sometimes makes it hard to understand things from a rational perspective. Is expanding the buffalo pasture a good thing? If so, does that somehow outweigh the impacts it will have on residents and ranchers or the ongoing struggle between the Tribe and the Grassroots Oyate? That is not for Village Earth or any outside organization to decide. Rather, we believe this must be a debate that takes place among members of the Tribe. However, we do feel we can help facilitate this dialogue by providing objective information which I have attempted to do here.  We feel the best way to understand the current situation is to look back into the history of this contentious landscape. With this goal in mind, we have put together a chronology of the South Unit from 1890 to the present. I hope to update this as new information becomes available. Much of the information here is excerpted from a post written in 2010 by former Village Earth employee Jamie Way: The Fate of the Badlands South Unit and a Forgotten History

In 1890, after the Lakota along with their Cheyenne and Arapahoe allies, were massacred by the 7th Cavalry in the Wounded Knee massacre, the survivors fled to what is now the Southern Unit. They took shelter in the natural fortress formed by a butte surrounded by cliffs. The area served as a refuge for those who escaped the cavalry. For this reason, and because Lakota Ghost Dancers were buried in this location, the land came to be considered sacred.

On July 20, 1942 the War Department advised the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that they would be taking over an area of 40×15 miles across the northern portion of the reservation. While a small portion of this land lay within what was then Badlands National Monument (337 acres), the vast majority of the land was located within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation ( The dispossession would impact some 125 Oglala families. And while the dispossessed families were to be supplied with some relocation compensation, assistance and supplies, actual accounts vary as to how much the families received if any at all.

Until 1958, the land was utilized for bombing and gunnery practice by what was then the Army Air Force. Even past this date, the South Dakota National Guard retained a small portion of the land for training purposes. When they left, the land’s future was far from resolved. Moreover, they left behind them dangerous ordnance and never fully lived up to their responsibility of cleaning the land. To this day, unexploded ordnance can be found on the site.

In 1968, Public Law 90-468 was finally passed, and lands declared excess by the Air Force were to be transferred to the Department of Interior. The law afforded those displaced (whether their land was held in trust or in fee) the possibility of repurchasing the land that had been taken from them if they filed an application with the Secretary of Interior to purchase the tract. This application needed to be filed within a one year window from the date a notice was published in the Federal Register that the tract had been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Secretary. Needless to say, the displaced were not properly notified of this option in many cases, in part due to their geographical dispersion. The law also stated that the original inhabitants that wished to repurchase their land were to pay the price the U.S. government had paid for the land, plus interest. Thus, those that decided to repurchase their land explained that they paid much higher prices for the land than they had originally been paid for it when the government confiscated it.

By the end of the early 1960’s it was clear that Department of the Interior bureaucrats intended that the area should be taken over by a Department of the Interior Agency, and not returned to the Tribe.” The Park Service promised the tribe that by creating the park, they would invigorate the reservation economy through tourism, while the a Senate committee simultaneously strong-armed the tribe threatening to “dispose of the land in question under surplus property agreements if the Tribe refused to lease land,” (Igoe 2004 – Bridge_Report_Good_Land_Igoe).

In 1976, the Tribal Council under Chairman Dick Wilson, whose questionable leadership during the AIM struggle on Pine Ridge has solidified his legacy as a harsh and corrupt leader, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Park Service. The Stronghold District of the Badlands National Park, which includes 133,300 acres of land, from this point on has been held by the National Park Service in conjunction with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

In 2002, relations between the NPS and some tribal members degenerated to the point where a grassroots movement of Lakota defending the burial place of Ghost Dancers, called the Keepers of the Stronghold Dream, felt it necessary to physically occupy the land, guarding it from the invasion of hikers, park visitors and fossil poachers in an attempt to reclaim it (Igoe 2002). Unfortunately, this confrontation settled nothing and the issue remains unresolved to this day.

The NPS and the tribe both had complaints about how the area is being managed. The NPS complained that they had not been given proper access to manage the site as needed. The tribe felt as though the NPS had not lived up to its promises in the 1976 MOA including filling NPS jobs at the site with tribal members and reintroducing buffalo into the area. Moreover, they were concerned with fossil poaching and environmental destruction of the region by outsiders.

In 2006, after the park failed to resolve this matter through negotiations, the NPS decided to initiate a separate management planning process for the South Unit which did not begin until 2008.

By 2010, the NPS had developed seven management options available for comment by the public. While none of the NPS options include returning land to those that were displaced prior to WWII nor giving the land back to the tribe with no obligations, the options did include giving the tribe more control over this portion of their land. Option 2, considered the “preferred option” by the NPS, would have the NPS and the tribe create a “National Tribal Park.”

June 2, 2011 - OST President John Yellowbird Steele signs record of decision (ROD) with the NPS affirming the Tribe’s acceptance of proposed Option 2 which recommended the creation of a Tribal National Park.

April 26, 2012 – NPS releases its final management plan which recommended the creation of the first Ever Tribal National Park.

May 2012, Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority (OSRPA) with support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) solicited consultants to assist with the development of a feasibility study for expansion of the tribe’s bison herd. Ranch Advisory Partners based in Bozeman, MT was awarded the contract fall of 2012.

south_unit Study

Download Study:

On May 17th, 2013 Ranch Advisory Partners finalized the South Unit Bison Feasibility Study which provided various recommendations for the expansion of the Tribe’s bison herd as part of the broader development of a Tribal National Park. The preferred option, referred to as the the “Stronghold – Highway to Highway” option, would establish a bison pasture encompassing 100,000 acres approximately between State HWY 40 to the west and BIA 33 to the east and include range units 501, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 510, 515, 518, 536 (the area highlighted in yellow in the map above)

June 11th, 2013  Ordinance_13-21 “Approving and Adopting Alternative A – The Stronghold Unit – Highway to Highway as recommended per the South Unit: Buffalo Expansion Feasibility Study was passed by the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council 6-11-13 special minutes. The ordinance directed the BIA to notify all permittees and landowners, as well as prioritize all land sales and exchanges within the proposed area.

November 12th, 2013 - Members of the Red Shirt Community (which is at the western edge of the proposed pasture) learn about Ordinance 13-21 and call a public meeting inviting members of the Tribal Council.

November 26th, 2013 – Another meeting is held in Red Shirt where community members voice their concern about their lands located in the proposed bison pasture and the impact it will have on ceremonial sites including several sun dance circles in the area.

December 10th, 2013 – Despite the public outcry, the  Oglala Sioux Tribal Council voted to postpone a motion advanced by Tribal Council member James Cross  from Pass Creek District to rescind Ordinance 13-21 until after the Tribe could facilitate presentations on the Tribal National Park in each district of the Reservation. Note: this chronology originally included information from a December 13th Rapid City Journal article which stated that the motion to rescind Ordinance 13-21 had passed. I have since received information that it was postponed and corrected the article. However, I do not have a copy of the meeting minutes to verify this.


January 13th – 17th – OST President Bryan Brewer along with the “core team” working on the Tribal National Park including Ruth Brown, Trudy Ecoffey, Barry Bettyloun, Anita Ecoffey, Birgil Kills Straight, Shawn Swallow, Chuck Jacobs, Michael Catches the Enemy and Angie Sam will host a series of informational meetings in each District. Also attending will be a representative from the OST Land Office and Eric Brunneman from the National Park Service. According to the press release dated January 15th, “[t]he sole purpose of these meetings is to bring correct information to the oyate regarding the issue of the proposed Tribal National Park in the South Unit.” According to Susan Shockey Two Bulls, one of the leading opponents of Ordinance 13-21, ” these presentations should have been done months ago.”

January 29th, 2014 – Tribal Council upholds Resolution 13-21. But Tribal ranchers and those opposed to the resolution continue to organize holding a meeting January 31st at Rocky Ford School.

October 6th, 2014 – OST Tribal Council tabled draft proposed federal legislation needed to authorize the Tribal National Park. During the same meeting the Council voted to rescind the controversial ordinance 13-21. Source: Rapid City Journal

We encourage community members to provide any corrections to this chronology and provide us with new information as it happens.

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. 

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

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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!

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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

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


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

Women and her children enjoy A meal is prepared in less time than expected.

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.

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