Annual Board Retreat – Focus on the Future

2016 Board Retreat Members

L-R: Derek Reinhard, Executive Director; Anthony Triplin, CFO; Kim Hanson, Board VP; Ross Meglathery, Board President; Michelle DeFreese, Board Member for Development

We held our annual board retreat in Alexandria, VA, again and were able to bring members from all over the area for a the day of celebrating the past year’s achievements, assessing governance and administrative needs, and reviewing our 2015 Retreat goals.

Among the celebrations was completing a long-standing task to install our remaining stock of Enviro-loos at a rural United Methodist primary school in the Kono District in northern Sierra Leone. Thanks to funds provided by the good people of the New Creation Community Church in Dover, PA, our country project coordinator, Mohamed Nabieu (also a board member) , facilitated the installation of the Enviro-loos.

Additionally, thanks to Nabieu’s tireless efforts filling out forms and visiting numerous office supply vendors, Deeper Missions was able to open our first international office near Freetown as well as complete registration as an international NGO with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, further strengthening our relationship with the government of Sierra Leone.

The major outcome of the retreat was refining our vision statement to better guide how we execute our mission. At the 2015 Board Retreat, the mission for Deeper Missions was adjusted to include clean and green technologies. In an effort to better align our long-term goals for the organization and our desired impact on the world – the board members discussed and adopted a new vision statement: “All students can thrive academically and physically in schools with sound infrastructure.”

The change Deeper Missions wants to see in the world means helping students learn and grow in an environment that doesn’t detract from their health and well-being. A huge part of the impact Deeper Missions is already making is thanks to the volunteers who are giving their time, energy, and support to these projects and initiatives. 2017 will see exciting new projects and further initiatives that have lasting positive impacts on lives and across Africa.

 

By |October 2nd, 2016|

Reflections from Maasailand – Part I

After arriving in Nairobi very late (and having a deep personal discussion with customs about the solar lamps we were bringing in as gifts–though they were looking to tax them just the same) Wildlife-150x150Ross and I made our way to the Greengos Hotel where, the next day, we picked up board member, Kim, who arrived on an overnight bus from Kampala, Uganda where she is participating in a year-long public health fellowship.

We all visited the MANDO offices in the suburb of Karen before departing for our campsite home for the next four days in the Southern Rift Valley. Coming over the ridge from Nairobi and descending into the valley provided some breathtaking views and glimpses of wildlife we would be seeing daily during our local travels.

On the way to the campsite we stopped to visit a pre-school to discuss their water needs. The local Maasai community was very welcoming and patient as they explained the challenge of supplying water for the young students.

PrimarySchool-150x150After a meeting that included words of greetings from the elders, the Deeper Missions team and our host, Michael Sayo of MANDO, were honored to be invited to take chai tea with a local family in their traditional minyatta home.Minyatta-150x150

We then toured the Oloikum Nasira Primary School and received more greetings, traditional Maasai singing by some of the children and an explanation of their school teaching material and water needs, and viewed the construction progress on the new classrooms which the parents and community are funding.

WaterDam-150x150On the way to the campground we also saw a water catchment where rainwater is captured for the community and their animals. As you can see from the photo, the stored water cannot be kept clean and presents health challenges for the families which use it.

The campground and amenities were comfortable and all the “staff” were very welcoming (I use the term staff Campsite-150x150loosely as they were all family friends and relatives of our host Michael). They explained that the Maasai consider visitors a blessing and, as such, are treated with great kindness. We were not disappointed.

 

By |February 6th, 2015|

2014 Volunteer of the Year Announced!

Kim_Hanson-150x150Congratulations to Kim Hanson who was selected as Deeper Missions Volunteer of the Year for 2014!

Kim moved from Rhode Island and started volunteering with Deeper Missions in 2013. She brought bright enthusiasm and fundraising experience to our organization. She expanded her impact by helping develop donation appeals, edit articles and attending events to share the Deeper Missions story.

In 2014 Kim volunteered to join the Deeper Missions board to futher help mature our governance and (despite taking a public health fellowship in Uganda) has been a regular and active board participant.

Thank you, Kim, for all your dedicated hard work and we look forward to seeing you in Kenya next week!

By |January 22nd, 2015|

Welcome our new Board President

At the first quarterly meeting of 2015 the leadership of the Deeper Missions Board of Directors passed to Ross Meglathery (second from the left inDM_Board_Retreat-2014-300x221 this photo taken at last year’s board retreat).

We are excited to have Ross bring his strategic planning experience and leadership to continue pursuing the Deeper Missions vision.

Derek Reinhard is stepping down as founding board president and will focus completely on his role as Executive Director.

Ross and Derek depart Saturday, January 24th on a two-week partnership exploration trip to Kenya and Uganda to visit projects being run by like-minded nonprofits in East Africa. So watch this space!

By |January 22nd, 2015|

Countdown to Kenya – Pt. I

Map-Kenya-252x300Hi All, a little over a year ago we were approached by MANDO to consider a partnership in the clean energy and water projects they are developing for Maasai communities in Kenya’s Southern Rift Valley and beyond. We originally planned to have a program and partnership trip combining stops in Sierra Leone and Kenya; however, with the Ebola outbreak continuing to be a health and safety challenge in Sierra Leone, with great sadness we were forced to skip that stop.

On Saturday, January 24th, Deeper Missions board members, Derek and Ross will meet up with Kim (another DM board member currently on a public health fellowship in Uganda) in Nairobi and start an awesome journey of 1000 miles visiting sites, meeting folks from social enterprises such as Green EmpowermentPowerGen and others.

Then it will be on to Kampala, Uganda which, along the way, will permit us to visit with other organizations which have reached out to Deeper Missions for help with power and sanitation needs.

We are looking forward to sharing this latest adventure with you as we go (connectivity permitting).

 

By |January 18th, 2015|

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.

Board_Retreat_With_Hon_Hannah-300x179

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: , , , , |