About Derek Reinhard

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So far Derek Reinhard has created 63 blog entries.

Deeper Missions Board Sets Its Course

This past weekend the Deeper Missions Board held its first annual retreat. It was an exciting time and expectations for a great event were running high–and we weren’t disappointed.

The board celebrated the growth and maturing of Deeper Missions and, with some great discussion, honed our vision and mission (pleasantly, this effort essentially affirmed much of the direction we had been taking). Attention was given to clearly restating  of our values as an organization, starting with the view that every life that touches Deeper Missions is important and that value will shape our operations. We also further clarified some of our operational principles which included an emphasis on sourcing parts and labor locally to the maximum extent possible for all projects, and to conscientiously build into our plans the means to empower community ownership of projects delivered.


But wait, it gets better! We were honored with a visit from the Honorable Hannah Bundu Songowa, the Majority Deputy Chief Whip of the Sierra Leone Parliament. During our working lunch, the board received first-hand insight into the national government, candid discussions on challenges for both International NGOs and development efforts by the various ministries. Additionally, the Hon. Hannah put a personal face on the regional struggle against the Ebola outbreak.

The meeting continued with a panel discussion including the Hon. Hannah and Mr. Gibrill Jalloh who has worked with the World Bank, is a recent MPA graduate from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and earned a BSc in Environment and Development from Njala University in Sierra Leone.

All in all, for a first effort by a small group with big dreams, the day was very successful! Please look for more updates on the work Deeper Missions is doing (a new well is underway, and we are helping support the national effort for more Ebola protection supplies), and learn more about the goals we’ve set to further address the needs for safe water, proper sanitation and green energy for communities in Africa.

By |August 31st, 2014|Tags: , , , , |

Ebola in Sierra Leone

who_logoAs with many people, the Deeper Missions team is very concerned over the Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea, West Africa, in March and has now spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The situation, most recently reported by the World Health Organization, is that there are 50 confirmed or suspected cases in Sierra Leone. The confirmed cases and deaths are in the Kailahun district about 95 miles east of Bo (Bo is where most of Deeper Missions projects are located). At this time, there is one suspected case reported in Bo.

I contacted Sylvester Dean, the Director of the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf which Deeper Missions supports through our Hope For Kakua program, and Mohamed Nabieu, our volunteer, in-country project coordinator. Both men live in Bo; they are aware of the situation and are monitoring it closely.

In the early days of the outbreak, when cases were limited to Guinea near the Sierra Leone border, we heard stories of shortages of hand sanitizer in Conakry, Guinea. In anticipation of trying to support the situation in any way, particularly with hygiene supplies, Deeper Missions was fortunate to receive a donated gift card from Target Store T1076 in Alexandria, Virginia, thanks to Ms. Galiano.

Recognizing that Ebola is highly contagious under certain conditions, and special hygiene is required all the time, we also recognize that it takes resources on the scale of the Sierra Leone health community and World Health Organization to address the threat. Still, whatever small and localized contribution we can make should be made. Thanks for all who are willing to provide material and financial assistance to help comfort those in such a precarious situation.



By |June 2nd, 2014|

Amputee Camp Well Project: Complete!


There were many happy faces on both sides of the Atlantic as we completed our latest project in Sierra Leone. The Mattru-on-the-Rails amputee community was joyful at the site of clean water pumped by the sun, flowing from standpipes in their camp, no longer requiring them to walk miles for clean water.



Mohamed Nabieu, Deeper Missions volunteer project coordinator in Sierra Leone, visited the camp to see the new well in action. Traveling with Lappia Amara, director of the UMC artificial limb fitting center, they were greeted by camp leaders and residents who were enthusiastic about the project and the benefit it is already bringing to the community.

The project was initiated last year by Joy Jones in response to what she witnessed at the camp while on a medical mission trip (her original guest blog is here). The residents would have to walk three miles for fresh drinking water.

The design for the project was straightforward: drill a borehole well to the aquifer, (bypassing the groundwater table with its uncertain supply and purity), build a stand for a storage tank, wire a solar-powered water pump and then place the plumbing. However, gaining the funds in order to build the facility was beyond the means of a community which suffers from high unemployment, relying on subsistence farming and competing for day-labor work.

Mr. K, a camp resident, brought the impact of the new well into sharp focus for us when he said, “It has been long years now we have been straining for a facility like this. Initially, we have been using the nearby river for so many uses including even drinking. We have been struggling to get good drinking water in this camp and even its surrounding. We are over glad for this opportunity. ‘We say wata na life en na now we dae kam live we life de wae we want am’, meaning, ‘We say water is life. It is now the time to live our lives to the fullest with this safe drinking water’.”



Thank you to all our supporters, especially to Joy Jones who brought this need to our attention. Through her tireless and enthusiastic efforts, and by the generosity of her friends and the Deeper Missions family of supporters, there are over 75 families representing more than 350 residents of the amputee community who will be enjoying clean, fresh water every day all year without the challenge of walking miles to fetch it or having to settle for drinking from risky water sources.

In closing, I’d like to share the words of Ms. M, the amputee camp’s women’s leader, who was very shy for the camera, still had these wonderful words to share, “on behalf of all the women in this camp, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to Deeper Missions and all those who have done this for us. We the women will now be easily able to do our domestic duties more efficiently with this water. We will now find it easier to cook, launder, drink, wash and do other things with this facility. ‘Mu ngohun nein go waa ha boi gisa vaa’, meaning, ‘our hearts are so glad for this facility’.”


Even during the rainy season, there has been sufficient sunlight to keep the tank filled with safe drinking water for the community. The leaders have made an appeal to Deeper Missions that, for the sake of security, they would like to add a light to the area around the solar equipment. If you would like to “go the extra mile” with us, please click here to fund a solar-powered security light for the well area at the camp. Thank you again for your compassionate generosity!



By |May 27th, 2014|

Update: Amputee Camp Well Project – Construction and Plumbing


We received an update from our in-country project coordinator and from the contractor that the construction and plumbing phase is complete!

This past week, a team of local workers dug holes for both the reinforced footers of the storage tank stand and for the grounding pit to the solar panels. Everyone is working in earnest before the rainy season starts making it more challenging to dry concrete (and keep water out of holes!). Progress went well as you can see from the photos.

There is now a tank stand in place and three distribution points which will have faucets from which camp residents will be able to draw deep-pumped, fresh water any day, any time of the year.

Digging_watertank_stand_and_grounding_pit-300x225The team returned to Freetown after completing this phase to wait for the solar components to arrive. They will then return to finish the project by placing the storage tank on the stand and the pump in the well, connecting the pipes and complete the solar wiring.

I am so pleased at how much support this project has received and how much of a difference it will make for such a disadvantaged community! Word has gotten around and Deeper Missions has been approached by another group to provide a well for a primary school and its surrounding community. If you like the results you’re seeing with this latest project, please help us jump start our next project click here and making a donation that makes a difference. Thank You!


By |May 2nd, 2014|

It’s National Volunteer Week!

addtext_com_MTgyMDA4MTE5Ng-300x193It’s been an exciting start to 2014 for Deeper Missions as we completed another sanitation project; this time in the Kono District of Sierra Leone’s Northern Province, and we’re now half way through our well project at the amputee camp which is just outside the city of Bo in the Southern Province.

Additionally, I have been having a blast the past two weeks interviewing and “hiring” new volunteers, all of whom are extremely talented as well as passionate about the vision and work of Deeper Missions.

So it’s fitting to close out National Volunteer Week by expressing my gratitude for all the Deeper Missions volunteers who lead, manage and administer in various ways to keep Deeper Missions growing and making a difference in communities in Sierra Leone.

There are out-front volunteers, such as Michelle and Kim, who work on partnerships, outreach and others who have a passion for fundraising. There are behind-the-scenes volunteers, such as Pam, whose communication expertise helps polish and focus the Deeper Missions message, and Jerry, who helps craft grant proposals (as well as traveling on our 2013 team to help install the solar electricity system at the school for the deaf in Sierra Leone), and Linda who ensures the travel forms, packing lists, and plane tickets are in order, and there is the board volunteers steering the corporate ship.

There have been “one-off” volunteers who helped us complete short tasks which added value and knowledge to our organization. And there are our newest(!) volunteers, Charlie and Tulani, who will be looking after our social media channels so Deeper Missions profile remains clear and engaged with supporters and others who are cheering us on as we work to help heal communities and change lives with clean energy, safe water and sanitation projects.

So, here is my attempt to express inexpressible gratitude to all those who have and are making the Deeper Missions vision a reality! Thank You!

Oh, and if you or someone you know is interested in joining this hard-working team and contributing with your time and talent, please let me know by sending me details here.

Yours in Service,

Derek Reinhard
Executive Director

By |April 12th, 2014|

Today is World Heath Day

WHD-Graphic-211x300Did you know that malaria is one of the most serious public health problems in Sierra Leone?  In fact, it accounts for about 50% of outpatient visits and 38% of hospital admissions!  In addition, communities in Sierra Leone experience other vector-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and yellow fever, both of which are carried by mosquitoes.

Today is World Health Day which is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is held on the anniversary of its formation. This year’s focus is on the spread of these vector-borne diseases. The WHO describes one of the best ways to limit this type of disease transmission is to reduce stagnant water, such as that found in pit latrines – commonly used in communities across Sierra Leone.

To combat the spread of vector-borne (and enteric) diseases, Deeper Missions is installing waterless, solar composting latrines called enviro-loos or “Eloos” in Sierra Leone.  The Eloos are designed and made in Africa, for the African environment. They use the sun to dehydrate waste thus removing the risk caused by waste-infused stagnant water that attracts disease-bearing mosquitoes.  The bonus is that the Eloo’s composting system converts human waste into sanitized, usable fertilizer for use in gardens!  We’ve installed Eloos at the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf and Mercy Hospital, both in the city of Bo, and at a church in Motema in the Northern Province of Kono.

To learn more about how Eloos work, you can watch this YouTube video. If you are living in or traveling to a country with a high incidence of vector-borne diseases, learn more about how you can protect yourself from the World Health Day infographic here.

Deeper Missions posted this blog entry which explains more about our efforts to provide disease-reducing, sustainable sanitation in West Africa, and how you can help.

By |April 7th, 2014|

Breaking News: Breaking Ground on Amputee Camp Well

For Joy Jones, it all started with a visit to an amputee camp while on a medical mission trip to Sierra Leone in 2012. While there, she witnessed the daily challenges faced by people who were maimed during Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war, including a three-mile walk to access clean water. Joy knew she had to respond.  For those following Deeper Missions for a while, you may have read Joy’s guest blog from last November.


Well drillers survey for best location.


Eighteen months later, after tirelessly seeking funds, we are all pleased to announce the ground-breaking for an all-season’s well at the Mattru-on-the-Rail Amputee Camp. The facility will use solar power to pump water into a 3,000 liter storage tank and adaptive faucets so water can be easily drawn, no matter the disability.

Located just south of the New London Section of Bo, Sierra Leone, the Mattru camp was started in 2007 by Friends of Sierra Leone, a Norwegian NGO. The village is home to 75 amputees and about 250 family members.

Accompanied by Mr. Lappia Amara, Director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Artificial Limb Fitting Center, Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, visited the camp while traveling in Sierra Leone last summer.  Derek met with camp leaders and discussed possible sites for the well.

Breaking Ground for Well Drilling

Mr. Lappia Amara and well drilling team


“It was an uplifting and humbling time to meet people who, despite their harrowing experiences, were happy and hopeful for the future,” Derek reflected. “Deeper Missions is honored to work with Joy Jones and her circle of friends, as well as with Mr. Amara and the Mattru leadership to bring more water security for the families in the camp.”

We will keep you updated on the progress of the well on this blog, our Facebook page, and Twitter.

If you would like to help Deeper Missions continue to bring community-healing clean energy, water, and sanitation, please consider giving a gift today.

By |April 2nd, 2014|

Today is Pencil Day!

March 30 marks the day in 1858 when Hyman Lipman patented a means of attaching erasers to the end of pencils, a development that made the pencil an even more convenient tool!

Pencils-213x300Pencils have a long history tied to the discovery of graphite deposits in various parts of the world.  Pencils have been used by shepherds to mark sheep in England; by carpenters to inscribe wood; by authors like John Steinbeck, Raoul Dahl, and Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote their books in pencil; and of course by school children the world over who are familiar with the classic yellow-coated cylinder pencil – with attached eraser, of course.

Through Deeper Missions’ Hope for Kakua program, sponsors help supply students at the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf in Bo, Sierra Leone,  with books and school supplies (like pencils!), academic training and American Sign Language (ASL) instruction, school uniforms and shoes, and a healthy meal, all in addition to life-skills and vocational training.

To learn more about Hope for Kakua and to make a donation or sponsor a student, please visitHope For Kakua .

And be sure to use a pencil today and thank Hyman Lipman for that handy eraser!

[Pencil information courtesy of www.http://www.Wikipedia.org]


By |March 30th, 2014|

International Women’s Day – 3 Ways Deeper Missions Impacts the Lives of Women in Sierra Leone


Women are the most affected by lack of adequate water and access to sanitation. In honor of International Women’s Day, Deeper Missions would like to highlight how we are contributing to the improvement of women’s livelihoods in Sierra Leone.

Access to Water

In many developing countries, women and girls are the primary household members charged with collecting water, often spending a considerable amount of their day traveling long distances to collect water in containers weighing over forty pounds. The UN estimates that every year, collectively, women from Sub-Saharan Africa spend about 40 billion working hours collecting water. See more facts on the challenges rural women face here.


Deeper Mission’s Amputee Camp Well Project is working to change those conditions for one community by improving access to a clean water source in Bo, Sierra Leone. Reducing the amount of time dedicated to fetching water has shown to have a positive impact on a number of areas in women’s livelihoods. A study by UNICEF and the International Water and Sanitation Center cited that in Tanzania showed a 12% increase in school attendance when water was available within 15 minutes compared to more than half an hour away. By creating a safe and clean water source at the Amputee Camp, Deeper Missions is contributing to the reduction of the burden of women and girls so they can spend more time on their education and income-generating activities.

Access to Sanitation

Women’s livelihoods are disproportionately affected by a lack of sanitation infrastructure. Over 1 in 3 women in the world lack access to safe sanitation. Women are often at risk of physical assault as a result of seeking a place to relieve themselves; a UNICEF report describes this as women and girls being “prisoners of daylight.”  As a result, women and girls living without toilets spend an estimated 97 billion hours each year finding a safe place to use the bathroom. Deeper Missions works with institutions, such as Mercy Hospital in Bo, Sierra Leone, to install safe, readily available sanitation facilities. 

WASH for Schools

Inadequate sanitation facilities affect school attendance, especially for girls. A UN-Water Global Annual Assessment, less than half of schools in least developed and low-income countries have adequate sanitation facilities. During school years, access to toilets reduces school attendance because of increased incidences of diarrhea and worm infections. Over 40% of diarrheal cases in schoolchildren are sourced from schools.

Through our sanitation projects, Deeper Missions is helping to provide safe facilities for school-aged girls so they can spend more of their time focusing on their studies and less time out of school.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on March 8th. The theme of this year’s Women’s Day is “Inspiring Change”.  Deeper Missions honors all women across the globe who inspire change by overcoming challenges, even environmental challenges, to better their lives and as a result, the lives of their families, their communities, their nations and our planet. Through our projects, Deeper Missions contribute inspire change by addressing the important role that water, sanitation, and hygiene has in the lives of women.

By |March 8th, 2014|

Deeper Missions Joins the End Water Poverty Coalition

The End Water Poverty (EWP) Coalition, is a civil society coalition comprised of 260 organizations in 60 countries and forms a global network of local organizations, national networks, and international NGOs committed to WASH projects and initiatives. The coalition focuses on creating an international alliance to end water poverty and improve sanitation.


The EWP is active in campaigning for water security at conferences and events including the Least Developed Country Conference and the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting. The next SWA Meeting will be held on Friday, April 11, 2014 at the World Bank in Washington DC. The EWP is also active in promoting the annual series of World Walks for Water and Sanitation in conjunction with World Water Day on March 22, 2014.  

According to The Water Project, half of the people in Sierra Leone get their water from unprotected sources. Infections caused by, and parasites most often found in contaminated water, lead to the largest cause of death in Sierra Leone. Deeper Missions work includes clean water and sanitation projects; our most recent effort, starting in March, is a well with solar pumping and adaptive faucets for the Matru-on-the-Rails amputee camp near Bo, Sierra Leone. The well will provide clean water for 350 members of the community who currently have to walk miles to get to the nearest clean water source. For more information on the project, visit our previous guest blog post by Joy Jones here. Donations for the amputee well project can be made here.

As a member of EWP, Deeper Missions will be able to connect with a global coalition and international network dedicated to ending global water poverty and improving sanitation.

“Together we can take actions in countries around the world at the same time so that all our efforts go further.” — Esmee Russell, International Campaign Coordinator and leader of the EWP Secretariat.


By |March 7th, 2014|