Our Work





Strengthening Skills and Income Generating Opportunities for Youth Living with Disability/In Vulnerability: Local Production and Sale of Educational Toys in Eswatini

This is the second project operated by Palms for Life Fund (Swaziland) with main funding provided by the European Union. The contract for this project was signed in December 2017 and activities began in February 2018.

The Project has a dual purpose:

All Together, We Are Moving
  1. Designing and producing high-quality educational toys;

  2. Creating tangible social and economic opportunities for young adults and youth living with disability and living in vulnerability.

Siya Kanyekanye aims to create a financially viable social enterprise, which will make quality educational toys, by working with people living with disability (PWD) and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that serve them. The overall goal is to improve resilience and social inclusion for PWD and in vulnerable life situations in Swaziland, with a particular focus on youth, by generating new sources of income and employment, and reducing stigma. The Social Enterprise Project expects 4 important outcomes:

  1. A viable production line of Swaziland-made educational toys, produced at existing CSOs/vocational workshops that serve women and men living with disability/living in vulnerability[1];

  2. A sustainable marketing system for these toys, which generates income and employment, with additional proceeds supporting these CSOs/vocational workshops in their ongoing programming;

  3. Expanded vocational training opportunities for PWD/living in vulnerability based on the production of educational toys; and

  4. Reduced stigma for PWD through an inspiring, awareness-raising media campaign, in coordination with Government.

[1] Gender equity is important to the Project.  The proposed toys will be made of wood and cloth, which can be made by women and men.  Preliminary research at CSOs shows that, while more men tend to work with wood, and more women tend to work with cloth, both women and men can and do work with either material.  PFLF advocates for gender equity with all components of the Project, which should be included in all assessments in the FA.


As adults, we might think [that play] is wasted time, especially since game[s] do not show any significant results.  But for children of all ages, playing is not just a nice way to pass the time, but an exercise for life.
—   Von Simone Leinkauf, Intelligence - A Child’s Play

It is now widely accepted that early childhood education and appropriate play-learning are the building blocks for development (www.unicef.org).  Scientists who study play found that children’s brain activity increases significantly during play (University of Illinois, from Leinkauf, Intelligence- A Child’s Play).  For a young boy or girl, “there is no division between playing and learning; between the thing he or she does ’just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational’.  The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play” (P. Leach).  Playing in the early years of a child’s life is formative for intelligence, and emotional and physical development.PFLF’s Sinaka Umliba Project, which worked with 90 Neighbourhood Care Points and Community Preschools in Swaziland in 2014-2018, found that educational toys are extraordinarily rare at these marginalized Community Childcare Centres.  Swaziland’s Ministry of Education and Training notes that play-learning prepares children for primary school, and children who are not exposed to stimulating, early childhood care and play will be instantly disadvantaged in formal school.  This means that the overwhelming gap between marginalized children- those living in poverty/vulnerability and/or children who live with disability- and their more privileged counterparts will expand, from day one in primary school. A valuable component of the Siya Kanyekanye Social Enterprise Project is to engage the private sector and corporate social responsibility programmes to help lessen this gap by providing and/or subsidizing the purchase of some of the Project’s educational toys for vulnerable children/children living with disability.


Strengthening Early Childhood Development Services among San Communities in Namibia


In 2017, a joint initiative between Palms for Life Fund (PFLF), UNICEF, OSISA, Kalahari Peoples Fund, KIFO philanthropy and the Government of the Republic of Namibia conducted a Participatory Rapid Assessment of Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Programmes among San Communities in Namibia. See the report here. The resulting report and recommendations of this Assessment are a crucial contribution to the repository of knowledge available on the status of IECD programmes in Namibia.

This initiative obeyed to two key considerations: the need to provide all San children with access to quality basic education, as a basic human right; and the need to protect these indigenous San populations from the potential loss of their rich cultural and linguistic heritage. Safeguarding a true cultural patrimony of humanity!

All people in this world have the right to grow and to develop, to be safe and to thrive, regardless of the circumstances from which we came.
— Hannah Laufer-Rottman, Founder

The report highlighted the fact that San children are dramatically left out of mainstream education, starting with Early Childhood Development (ECD) and that it is urgent to address the many challenges that prevent these vulnerable San children from accessing these ECD services, as a basic human right.  The Government of Namibia invited PFLF to join them in that effort and to host PFLF within their Office of the Vice President, Division of Marginalised Communities. A MOU has been signed with the Government which confirms a tremendous support and endorsement by the Government who sees this as a priority investment.

Currently, we have started with the construction of a new ECD center for mainly San children in the region of Omahke. This activity will be accompanied by a firm government and local commitment to ensure children are being fed while attending the center, that caregivers are being paid and that the new construction will be duly maintained. The idea is to replicate such sustainable model nationwide, targeting mainly San settlements. It is expected that each center, that will comprise 2 classrooms, a kitchen, 2 child-friendly washrooms, one adult washroom and one storage area will have a cost between $60,000 and $80,000. That includes all new construction (in some cases, installation of solar energy), equipment, educational material and playground equipment, training of caregivers and food security. In some cases, septic tank will have to be built. Attempts will be made to ensure internet access to all centers. This will allow for high quality digital educational content to be easily transmitted to the children.





Reconstruction post Earthquake

Simpani Gairigaun Lift Water Supply for Drinking and Economic Sustainability

This project illustrates how WFP alumni can stay engaged and active even after retirement. Suresh Sharma is a former colleague of our founder and when he contacted Palms for Life in 2016 about supporting a project for Nepal, after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2015, we immediately accepted and offered our assistance. The Simpani Gaurigaon drinking water project was put up on our website where potential funders were able to find all the information they needed. Today, more than 35 families and their local school have access to drinking water. Below are the details and pictures of this achievement.

Project Cost: $41,778
A powerful earthquake hit Nepal on 25 April 2015: it killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened across the country. After the immediate humanitarian response, efforts were still being deployed to reconstruct villages and infrastructure and get life back to normal. At Palms for Life we have identified an opportunity to join such effort thanks to a partnership with the World Food Programme Alumni Network’s Nepal chapter. A micro-project was designed to restore livelihood for the families of Gairigaun in Kewalpur. The community had lost most of its water source which contributed to the loss of its existing water system and the people’s means of livelihood. Funding was needed to purchase and install pipes, water storage tanks and electrical pumps in order to restore safe drinking water to the community and support the local economy.

Full report available here



Local Partners










Burkina Faso





Become a Partner


 Palms for Life carefully selects its executing partner organizations by applying the following key criteria: 

  • Legally established private or public organization

  • At least seven years of experience working directly with poor communities in development projects

  • Sharing Palms for Life Fund goals and values

  • Active and experienced in Palms for Life Fund program areas

  • Demonstrated successes in working closely with local communities

  • Having benefited from other national and international grants

  • Capacity to produce semi-annual reports on activities performed

  • Producing audited accounts on use of funds

  • Able to provide evidence that it benefits from trust and acceptance amongst community leaders

  • Adequate infrastructure to operate at the grass root level

  • Capacity to provide technical and financial assistance

  • Capacity to carry out regular monitoring and evaluation

 Palms will expect partners to be well integrated in their country’s social and economic development investment in order not to duplicate efforts but rather coordinate their activities locally with all the key players, including and most importantly with the projects’ participants.


 Organizations interested in joining Palms for Life Fund should email their application to: admin@palmsforlifefund.orgApplications should be accompanied by the following: Partnership Application Form duly completed by the Director or President of the OrganizationLatest Annual ReportAn updated website address Applications will be reviewed within 15 days of receipt. Once approved, the organization will be invited to submit up to 3 projects for funding per year.



Managing High-Impact Social Investment Projects

Project Creation

Making your philanthropic dream a reality

  1. Research needs and opportunities in local communities

  2. Identify credible potential local implementing partners (NGO)

  3. Negotiate partnership agreement

  4. Design a project and assess technical and financial feasibility

  5. Present findings and proposal

Project Assessment

Assessing validity of existing project proposal

  1. Assess the idea in terms of feasibility, sustainability including environmental, participatory, empowerment of local communities, potential for impact, scalability, local management structure necessary and local, outsourced M&E services including audits

  2. Propose corrections and recommendations

Project Oversight/ Quality Control

  1. Carry out periodic oversight with local implementing partner and local Monitoring and Evaluation services to assess performance and impact

  1. Project duration of under 1 year

  2. Project budget under $50k

  3. Two main activities

  4. Two reports - mid and final

Boutique Project Management

Organizations need to be (a) approved by our Board of Directors and (b) have goals in line with our mission (addressing food, water and sanitation, and education).The modality we use is where all funds are received and managed by Palms for Life Fund, meaning the recipient organization that manages the project on the ground will receive funds directly from Palms for Life based on an approved budget and a schedule of expenses and periodic requests for funds. We need to make sure, however, that there is a solid level of financial control in place. Palms for Life applies a management fee from the funds that we administer; this is determined on a case by case basis and formalized through an agreement.

Please note that donations to organizations that we fiscally sponsor are not donations to Palms for Life. Fiscally sponsored organizations create their own, independent relationships with their donors and engage with them separately and directly.

Read more here

Fiscal Sponsorship