Projects 2019-04-27T20:29:26+00:00


+$2,500 to support Planting Justice’s (PJ) new program to provide paid internships for formerly incarcerated youth released from Camp Sweeny and other at risk youth to work at PJ’s 2- acre nursery in East Oakland, CA. This program is an extension of FFI’s 2017 funding involving many of the same youth. This program will also offer resume-building, income generating and life skill building opportunities for these youth.

+ $1,000 for laboratory construction and $1,800 for hospital beds and other furnishings.

FFI previously funded the construction of piping so clean water could be delivered to the Chewele Health Clinic and Community Centre. The Clinic’s facilities now need to be updated in order to receive government accreditation to provide care for government insured patients (the only health insurance for rural populations). Once renovations are complete and clinic facilities approved for the National Health Insurance Fund, the project improvements will be fully sustained by funds from patient care activities. All eligible patient care will be paid for by the government’s reimbursement and income will increase to the Clinic by more than 80% above present levels. The changes that are required include the renovation of a laboratory and 10 rooms in the Comprehensive Care Centre (of which 4 currently hosts the HIV/AIDs program) with the remaining rooms to be used for maternal/child related and other clinical services. Without these required changes, the clinic facilities will not be accredited to provide care for government insured patients and very few patients will be able to attend the existing healthcare resources at the clinics. FFI will help fund part of this important project.

+$2,775 to support this women’s shelter to expand its food delivery program to the surrounding area.

The funding will be used to launch a training program to train residents in making and selling nutritious food. An instructor will be hired to teach the residents to cook healthy food, and a refrigerator, stove and other cooking utensils will be purchased with the goal of doubling the number of women who receive free meals on a weekly. The secondary goal of the project is to help the shelter become more self sufficient by selling meals to working women in the community.

+$3,000 as continued support to U’wa indigenous women to build female leadership, improve public health, and work toward the demarcation and defense of territorial lands.

+$3,020 to purchase, transport, plant and provide maintenance for trees and organic vegetables in three rural villages north of Mandalay.

$2,500 to support the conservation of important heritage sites in Nepal.

+ $2,500 to reduce the amount of plastic waste that makes its way to coastal zone areas and into the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System from Honduras. The funding will be used to engage neighborhood associations, middle schools, and university students to clean up waste and collect data about the composition of waste generated on the island and to draft a new municipal ordinance on waste reduction and source separation.

+$1,500 to address the problems of flooding and damage to marine life caused by the improper disposal of plastic wastes in rural communities. This funding will assist this environmental organization to create awareness about the dangers of plastic waste, starting with school children in rural communities of Freetown. This initiative will help invigorate the movement toward legislation to address the high level of plastic use in the country.


$3,000 as continued support to U’wa indigenous women to build female leadership, improve public health, and work toward the demarcation and defense of territorial lands.

$3,268 was provided for the purchase, transportation, planting and maintenance of 950 trees in Kyun Bin and U Yin villages, north of Mandalay. The need for tree planting is paramount, especially in a country like Myanmar, sandwiched between India and China, world leaders in greenhouse gas emissions. Temperatures in Myanmar continue to rise more than most other countries making it imperative to plant as many trees as possible.

+$2,500 to transport 15 youth from Camp Sweeney Juvenile Justice Center to Planting Justice’s East Oakland nursery on weekends to be taught from inspiring & formerly incarcerated educators about urban sustainability, environmental justice and economic development alternatives and give these youth a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help transform a 2-acre empty lot in their community into a globally significant plant nursery. This mentoring program taught youth how to propagate fruit trees, plant and harvest, cook healthy meals with ingredients grown on-site or sourced locally and participate in a health and wellness curricula.

$3,340 for trauma based therapy for this group home involving survivors of sex trafficking . Between January –November, 2018 seven women were provided up to 270 counseling hours. Funds were spent on specialized staff training, a program to work with residents in making handicrafts and a meal delivery program geared to elderly survivors in the community.

For the year, 330 meals were delivered to about five women per month (fruit, bread/butter & eggs or roti, vegetables and chicken) and four community meals were held at the residential center involving 117 needy people.

+$3,000 for for ProPublic to file legal actions to protect various waterways and groundwater threatened from development projects.  ProPublic is a public interest organization in Nepal that FFI has funded for decades. The groundwater in the Kathmandu is decreasing at an alarming 2.5 meters annually and the Bagmati and Bisnumati Rivers are severely polluted due to industrial and residential discharges into the rivers continuing without any enforcement. In one case Propublic seeks to stop illegal construction in a World Heritage site that has dried up the local water source. In a second case, ProPublic seeks to protect Queens Pond, a square-shaped pond that dates from the 17th century that is one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks and known for its religious and aesthetic value. It is an important source of water for birdlife and a significant place for the recharging of underground water in the Kathmandu Valley. ProPublic filed a unique action against government officials to hold them criminally liable under the Ancient Monument Protection Act. After continuous lobbying, protest, and filing the criminal case, the government decided to restore the pond to its original form.

$2,400 to these schools in Lowarengak, a town of roughly 15,000 pastoralists and fishers along Kenya’s Lake Turkana near the Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopian borders. This area is undergoing massive scale livelihood collapse – primarily from the effects of the Gibe II dam which has radically reduced river flow, destroying traditional fishing and lakeside grazing vital to the survival of thousands of Turkana. Hunger, malnutrition, and diseases (including cholera) are prevalent in this region.

In light of this background, FFI provided funding to purchase 200 straw sleeping mats and 20 new mattresses (children of families from distant locales/orphans), repair pipes and carpentry work in the school kitchen, repair desks, construct new benches, construct a security fence, paint classrooms, purchase social studies, math, history, science, exercise and fiction books, wall charts, paper, pencils and small supplies and two large first aid kits (with medicines, ointments, bandages etc.) –there are no first aid facilities in the region).

$2,000 for the purchase of wonderpads – washable sanitary pads for young girls. The Kliptown Youth Program provides tutoring training, meals and supplies to approximately 500 children. FFI partnered with the Kansha Foundaiton and the Mark Day School in Marin to provide funding for the purchase of wonderpads for girls at the youth program and primary school.

The rationale behind the wonderpads is simple: When girls have access to reliable menstrual health products they can focus on education and stay in school every day. Over 800 packs of wonderpads were purchased and distributed.



$2,500 to Aisha Rising to assist women in the red light district of Kolkata, India who are no longer involved in prostitution. This unique project seeks to interrupt the cycle of exploitation by providing older women, many who have suffered prolonged illness and trauma with alternate pathways for sustaining themselves. Funds will initially be used to help create a permanent home for these women (a five-year lease on a home for 6-7 women is already in place), procure food, medical check-ups counseling, attend literacy classes and eventually find employment. Funds will help establish a kitchen area to allow the women to cook aloo/puri and later sell to women in other organizations.

$3,000 to Mujer U’wa who work with the U’wa in their fight for human rights and environmental stewardship of their native lands in Columbia. After a tremendous victory in 2015 whereby Ecopetrol abandoned the Magallanes gas exploration block, the U’wa require additional funding to continue existing legal cases to protect U’wa lands. FFI’s funding will go to help the U’wa oppose other gas exploration wells, mining concessions and pipelines on their land. FFI facilitated a 2013 law internship for the current legal advisor to ASOUWA, the U’wa governing council. The internship blossomed into a key partnership between the U’wa and Earth Rights International, which led to the reactivation of a case at the Interamerican Human Rights Commission.


$13,000 for the purchase and installation of a water tank and 600 meters of piping to provide water to the Chwele health clinic and community center. Now, patients at the clinic and the community center can drink safe and clean water as the previous water source in the village was badly contaminated. Funds were also used to construct 8 toilets and a septic tank at the community center.

$2,000 to Mama Hope for a greenhouse project in Kisumu, Kenya: The funds from FFI were used to construct a new large greenhouse to grow organically grown tomatoes. The tomatoes to be produced will supply part of the food for the Kisumu Children’s Rescue Center, an orphanage for vulnerable children, with the remainder sold in the community at local markets and given to women who participate in the planting and harvests. There are currently 26 children at the Rescue Center who are victims of HUV/AIDS, neglect, abuse poverty and hunger. They are provided with in-house food, shelter, clothing, health care, specialized education, psychosocial support and skills training.

$3,000 to Global Student Embassy (“GSE”) Project, Nicaragua: In Chacraseca, Nicaragua, GSE has had past success building strong collaborative relationships with schools, cultivating student and parent leaders, and creating the fencing, irrigation and greenhouse infrastructure to grow bountiful organic gardens in formerly severely degraded soils. GSE partners with complementary organizations to lead comprehensive training programs that will build capacity among Nicaraguan families to become experts in sustainable agriculture methods and harvest food for their families. FFI’s funding helped support the growth of eco-education programs at four Chacraseca schools in Nicagarua. FFI’s support trained teachers in the region and created an ecologically integrated curriculum. Funds directly supported the development and printing of essential training materials, as well as funded the implementation of new trainings. Supplies were purchased for gardens, including fencing, tools and grey water catchment infrastructure.
$3,000 to Mujer U’wa for general support and legal activities in Colombia: The U’wa continue to fight for their human rights and environmental stewardship of their native lands and FFI continues to help. 2015 funding was used to file a legal case to nullify the environmental license granted to Ecopetrol to begin oil exploration of the Magallanes block on U’wa territory. A documentary made with UCSC students on the U’wa. Presentations regarding activities impacting the U’wa people were made to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. FFI funds were used for a Mujer U’wa Board member therapist to conduct trauma workshops and therapy for U’wa women. In February, 2015 Amazon Watch issued the following press release: “The U’wa people would like to inform national and international public opinion that the Magallanes gas exploration block has been completely dismantled. Ecopetrol has removed all the machinery that had been found there in a demonstration of respect for our rights as an indigenous people.”

Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Approximately 85% of the country’s 45 million people live in rural areas without access to electricity. In health facilities without electricity, health workers work in near darkness and the provision of skilled care at night is nearly impossible. Health workers struggle by kerosene lanterns, cell phone lights, or candles to conduct life-saving procedures. FFI’s funding was used to install solar powered lights at several health clinics to address this deficiency.

$600 for the Beninese Water Tower Project: This project involves the pumping of water from a river to a water tower for a drip irrigation system for a community garden in the village of Govi in Benin, West Africa. FFI’s funding was used for the purchase of metal piping and construction costs associated with the creation of a support structure for the water tower as well as transport of the material to the project site. The drip irrigation system is being used to grow okra, tomatoes, local greens, hot peppers and corn. Within a short period of time after the system became operational, the villagers were already earning income from the sale of the local greens and okra.

$6,650 to provide Drinking Water for the Dadeldhura Eye Hospital and Karigau Village in far western Nepal. Water resources are scare in this region and villagers have in the past had to walk outside the village to find water sources. The village has about 70 families with a population of 370 and the population in the region is growing. The recently constructed eye hospital has 20 beds with one-two Ophthalmologists to provide eye care services for the village and surrounding region. The hospital will provide needed eye care to combat blindness and reduce visual impairment through preventive and curative eye care programs. Several years ago, a source of drinking water was identified 8 km from the village. The goal of this project is to provide accessible drinking water and sanitation for the village and hospital. As of 9/27/15, 4,000 meters of piping had been purchased and installed with need for 3,000 additional meters. The cost of the project is shared between FFI, villagers and the Dadeldhura Eye Hospital. Additional funding is needed to finish this project.

Solar Installation Completed: Several years ago, FFI held a benefit at the Freight & Salvage for this project. FFI is now proud to announce that the solar installation is complete. There are now 18 children living at the Jacmel Children’s Center. See www.jacmelchildren.org.

Many years back, FFI funded a legal case filed by Pro Public to set aside the Nepali government’s approval of the controversial Godawari Marble Factory. In response to a Petition filed by Pro Public in 2001, in April, 2015, the Nepal Supreme Court finally directed the government to shut down the factory, holding that the quarrying and extraction activities caused adverse impacts on the local environment and threatened the existence of globally important flora and fauna. These include 330 types of butterflies, 254 types of birds, 80 types of trees and 571 types of fruits. This case represents a tremendous victory for Pro Public after many years of contested litigation. See: Republica April 27, 2015 news article.



$600 to assist drip irrigation project to produce fresh vegetables (especially for the dry season) in conjunction with Peace Corp volunteers working in the rural village of Govi in Benin. Funding for construction of the structure for which a water barrel will rest and the purchase of a water pump.


$4,520 Global Student Embassy – Continued support for the Advancing Agro-Ecology Gardens program. In 2013, FFI assisted this youth-led organization to develop an innovative community gardening curriculum utilizing sustainable agro-ecology principles. In 2014, FFI will support GSE to utilize this curriculum in support of its community gardening program in Chacraseca, Nicaragua.

$5,000 Tanzaniza LEAT: Support for litigation to eliminate lead from paint in Tanzania. FFI has supported several successful actions by the LEAT team over the years. In 2014, LEAT will be working to eliminate lead paint sold in stores and prohibit its production and import.


$3,000 Mujer U’wa, Colombia. Support for law schools costs for female U’wa.

$2,500 for Global Student Embassy (“GSE”), an international youth student organization. The funds will be used to conduct curriculum development for Eco-Action programs in Nicaragua and Ecuador.

$2,500 for the continued construction of the Tajikistan Women’s Resource Center. Tajikistan is located in the southeastern most corner of Central Asia, sharing borders with China to the east and Afghanistan to the south. Tajikstan is considered the poorest of the Central Asian republics with nearly half of its inhabitants living below the poverty line. The first floor of the Community Center has been built and FFI’s funding will facilitate construction of the second floor. The mission of the Center is to improve the socio-economic situation of low-income families, increase the role of women in society and prevent discrimination against women in society and in the family. Major activities to accomplish these goals will include community seminars for parents and young girls on the importance of education and on domestic violence issues, in-house legal assistance and psychological support to women, young girls and teenagers, especially victims of violence and free education for women and young girls in literacy, computer courses, embroidery and sewing courses. NEW: See update report on Tajikistan Women’s Resource Center.

$2,900 to the Friends of the Cambodian Child’s Dream Organization whose mission is to promote sustainable village development in partnership with the Cambodian people by helping to provide clean water, sanitation, education opportunities, health care, improved nutrition and economic empowerment. In this project, funds will be used for personal hygiene, with emphasis on hand washing to reduce the spread of disease. The focus is to conduct workshops in ten villages by establishing Tippy Taps in each of the villages serving over 8,000 people. The Tippy Tap is simply a plastic container with water that can be poured on one’s hands for washing, instead of the traditional wash basin that has been identified as a source of disease. Each kit to be distributed will be comprised of gravel, bamboo poles, nails, string, plastic jug and soap.
$3,000 to Eco-Friends, India to educate the public, monitor, and take measures to reduce pollution in the Ganges River.


$1,000.00 to the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) to litigate a case against five regulatory government agencies for their failure to perform their duties relating to the maintenance and operation of a sewage treatment plant in Harbour View, Jamaica. JET obtained a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court ordering the National Water Commission to construct within six months an interim sewage waste facility to treat the untreated sewage that has been escaping from the plant into the surrounding coastline and sea for the past three decades and to construct a new facility to meet all regulatory standards within 18 months.

$5,100.00 to Centro para Justicia y Derechos Humanos en la Costa Atlantica Nicaragua (CEJUDHCAN) to work with the Mayagna Indians to protect their territorial rights against foreign corporations. The group has produced a guidebook of environmental laws to instruct indigenous peoples of the Atlantic how to obtain title to their lands to prevent destruction from a major logging development. Recently, FFI funded the group to engage in a women’s empowerment training on issues affecting local communities.

$3,500.00 to CEPDA, an environmental public interest law firm in Chile working to protect pristine forest areas in their country from foreign logging interests and harmful development projects.

$15,742.00 to Corporacion De Defensa De La Vida “(CORDAVI”) for legal assistance in helping grassroots and indigenous organizations in the Amazon River Basin in Ecuador defend their environmental rights affected by oil and mining activities. The lawyers for CORDAVI have worked with local communities and the government to create forest reserves and legal title to land in order to protect the rainforest from environmental disastrous projects. CORDAVI lawyers have been requested to provide legal and technical assistance to the Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador and collaborates with Luis Macas, the indigenous leader. Dr. Byron Real has published a book that serves as Ecuador’s seminal citizens guide to environmental enforcement.

$8,900.00 to the Lawyers Environmental Action Team (“LEAT”) to fight for the rights of the Masai people whose lands have been exploited and confiscated in Tanzania and to protect the largest remaining continuous mangrove forest in East Africa. LEAT obtained an injunction stopping the African Fishing Company from developing the world’s largest proposed industrial prawn farm which would have destroyed 25,000 acres of shoreline mangroves.

$3,000.00 to YEUANI, a public interest law firm fighting to protect maquiladora workers from exposures to toxic chemicals in Tijuana, B.C. Mexico. YEUANI provides free legal and consulting services, and provides workshops and training to maquiladora working women, grassroots communities and other non-governmental organizations. In the last year, YEUANI offices have been vandalized repeatedly by the government and an attempt was made to kill the director.

$500.00 to Project Underground’s outreach campaign to individuals and organizations working in support of the U’wa indigenous peoples in Columbia.

$16,500.00 to Eco-Friends in Kanpur, India for their legal and educational campaign to improve the water quality of the Ganges River which has been severely degraded from cremated bodies, industrial pollution and sewage discharges. Eco-Friends obtained a cease and desist order from the Supreme Court and continues its efforts to monitor compliance and mobilize thousands of students and Indian people to protest generations of neglect. Rakesh Jaiswal, the founder of Eco-Friends was recently recognized by His Holiness The Dalai Lama in an awards ceremony called “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” this summer in California. Based on FFI’s initial support, in 2002, Eco-Friends was able to obtain several grants from larger foundations in order to conduct toxics monitoring of the Ganges and to continue its efforts to protect the River.

2007 Smithsonian Article: A Prayer for the Ganges

$17,800.00 to Pro Public in Katmandu, Nepal to help this environmental advocacy and litigation group fight to protect the air, land and water of their country. With the financial support of Friends Foundation, Pro Public established the “Friends Foundation Pro Public Scholarship Fund to fund two girls from the untouchable community to further their educational studies. Pro Public was successful in a legal challenge against several factories polluting the air quality of the Katmandu Valley. The government issued a notice to close down these factories and a study took place to improve the pollution control technologies of these facilities With FFI funding, Propublic has conducted trainings for the judicial on environmental issues.

FFI funding helped Pro Public achieve several legal victories including an order from the Supreme Court to the Ministry of Health to set up a committee to include Pro Public to study the problem of medical waste management and an order form the Supreme to the government to provide potable water for those compelled to drink arsenic contaminated water. FFI funds supported Pro Public to obtain a favorable ruling in the Court of Appeal to protect a valuable wetland in which the Court ruled in favor of public ownership. From 2009-2012, Pro Public in Nepal was successful in three of its legal cases.

The group obtained a Writ of Mandamus from the Supreme Court ordering government agencies to 1) take immediate measures to protect the endangered one horned rhino in and around Chitwan National Park; 2) follow the provisions of the Water Resources Act, enforce the licensing system and control the illegal exploitation of underground water; and 3) safely dispose of pesticides to make public areas safer for children and residents, study the impact of pesticides on the health of local residents, provide free medical treatment and establish a fund for compensation of injured persons.

$15,300.00 to the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (“ELAC”) in the Philippines to help document mercury contamination from a mining company, seek rehabilitation of the Bay, pass an ordinance to ban the quarrying of mine tailings and to protect tribal ancestral lands in Palawan by drafting guidelines to protect such rights. Quarrying activities have ceased and proposed mining activities have been put on hold. ELAC has brought a successful legal action to stop fishing companies from employing child laborers and will be filing a case to prohibit illegal fishing involving dynamite. ELAC has worked to protect mangroves from illegal developments and has successfully reduced illegal fishpond development activities occurring in these areas. Currently, FFI supports ELAC to protect indigenous Tagbana communities in northern Palawan from illegal land schemes that are taking these properties away from the original inhabitants.

$14,500.00 to the U’wa Defense Project/Amazon Watch and Mujer U’wa supporting the U’wa fight to preserve their indigenous territory in Colombia from oil exploitation. FFI funding over the years has gone toward a collaborative legal action to protect U’wa land from Occidental Petroleum’s massive oil drilling project in northeastern Colombia. In August, 2001, the oil company withdrew its plan to drill in the first exploratory well site on U’wa ancestral territory. Despite this victory, the State petroleum company is now exploring for oil on U’wa territory. FFI has supported leadership training for U’wa women and women’s workshops on human rights/environmental rights. FFI has provided financial assistance to the first U’wa women ever to study law at a Colombian University and for post degree international and human rights law training program.

$6,000.00 to the Center for Environmental Justice in Sri Lanka to help restore the devastation to the country from the December 2004 tsunami, provide water testing, green belt restoration and conducting legal aid clinics in the Tsunami affected areas.

$1,000.00 to rural Honduras for a training program to utilize improved agricultural techniques to increase food production.

$1,800.00 to ELAW Peru to fight against the government granting commercial licenses for harmful pesticide products, to develop federal legislation to ban certain pesticides and to promote alternatives to pesticides. Successful legislation was passed in Peru with help from this group.

$1,025.00 for the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law to assist ICEL’s efforts to curtail toxic contaminants from pulp, paper and tannery companies into the Ciujung River on the island of Java, Indonesia. The river is used by communities for drinking, bathing, irrigating rice fields and other agricultural products. ICEL was successful in getting best available control technology from a major polluter of the river.

$450.00 to purchase a video camera to document the environmental degradation occurring in the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve in Costa Rica from deforestation and coal and other development projects.

$600.00 to a medical clinic in the San Blas islands in Panama for refrigeration of medicines.

$700.00 to Centro de Pesquisa Indigena (The Indian Research Center) for reforestation of the Krenak indigenous reserve in eastern Brazil. Numerous trees were planted based on our donation.

$650.00 to the System Environmental Protection Project to provide village workshops in Nigeria to educated farmers and community members on alternatives to slash and burn agriculture and the harmful effects from agricultural chemicals.

$430.00 to Individual & Community Rights Advocacy Forum, Inc. (ICRAF) to educate the local people in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea about the environmental consequences to forestry and mining activities and to develop contacts to organize an opposition for to such projects.

$100.00 to Alberto Muenaca as seed money to begin to develop a film about the plight of the Quichua Indians in Chile.


$1,000.00 for the second edition of the Natural History of the University of California, Santa Cruz campus which was completed in 2008.

$2,400.00 to the Dick Cooley Endowment at U.C. Santa Cruz for student projects that will have a positive impact on the environment.

$900.00 toward the preparation of a conservation management plan for a wilderness area in Alaska.

$600.00 toward the making of a film on the harmful effects of the ozone depleting chemical methyl bromide which is often sprayed on much of the food we eat.

$200.00 to help start a newsletter and organize the community regarding toxic pollution of the Fort Belknap Indian reservation by the Pegasus gold mine in north-central Montana.

$300.00 to examine the genetics of several rare and endangered plants in northern California areas pressured with development proposals.