4 Reasons for Giving Thanks

Children of Roke Fullah primary school - Sierra Leone

Thanks to you, students at the Roke Fullah school in Sierra Leone can drink safe water for the first time in their lives!

Patrick Manoah - Volunteer of the Year

Patrick is our 2016 Volunteer of the Year!

This is the season of Thanksgiving in the United States. I wanted to take a moment to count our blessings with you and update you with a little 2016 retrospective as well.

  1. Thankful for our volunteers. As an all-volunteer organization, Deeper Missions couldn’t make things happen without the passion, professionalism and wide-ranging skills of our volunteer team. We recognize one special volunteer each year as a top performer. This year’s Deeper Missions Volunteer of the Year is Patrick Manoah Musumba. Patrick was instrumental in identifying and vetting potential contractors for us in Kenya, and then coordinating site surveys for solar electricity and borehole well drilling projects. Patrick represents the sort of tireless and passionate volunteers serving with Deeper Missions. Thank you all!
  2. Thankful for lessons learned. Winston Churchill said something to the effect that, “I love to learn. I don’t
    Mohamed Nabieu at new Freetown office

    Thanks to you, Deeper Missions has a new Freetown office

    Ribbon-cutting celebration

    Open-the-Office ribbon-cutting celebration

    always like being taught, but I love to learn.” Some lessons are enjoyable to learn though there are challenges along the way–such as the process of opening the first Deeper Missions international office. Government bureaucracy is always a challenge; however, it was a great accomplishment with no setbacks while completing the paperwork with the various Sierra Leone Ministries and governmental organizations (Deeper Missions was actually highlighted by the country’s Association of NGOs for our diligence and punctuality in submitting our paperwork). Again, thanks to our volunteer and Board Member, Mohamed Nabieu, who was the driving force in this accomplishment. Our certification with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gives Deeper Missions official governmental recognition as well as the privilege of importing one duty-free shipping container per year.

    Borehole drilling in Kenya has its risks

    Borehole drilling in Kenya has its risks

    And then there are other lessons which are harder to learn. While Sierra Leone’s question about the presence of water centers on “how far to drill beyond 120 feet?”, we learned that, in Kenya, the first question to ask is, “is it there?”. We had a setback while drilling our first well in Kenya, for the Akili Preparatory School for Girls–after two attempts at drilling, even down to 300 feet based on geosurveying, the two borehole wells came up either dry or producing insufficient water to establish a well. The good news is that the drilling company only charged us for drilling one of the boreholes since neither were a success; the lesson that came with a bit of a price was that in many parts of Kenya, even with reliable hydologic surveys, unlike Sierra Leone, in Kenya there is a risk of drilling a nonproductive well, so get a second opinion. We now have that second opinion which increases our confidence in the existence and location of a productive drilling site and are looking forward to completing the well for these girls and their teachers in 2017.

  3. Thankful for partnerships. Earlier this year, the Deeper Missions Board of Directors refined our mission to partner with schools for a longer term relationship in order to bring clean infrastructure and related entrepreneurial opportunities to the schools so students can thrive. We are now teamed with some amazing organizations and schools who we are excited to work with over the next 3-5 years. Additionally, because of Deeper Missions work andGirls at Akili School in Kenya word getting around, we are engaged in some shorter term partnerships, such as with Rotary International chapters who have asked us to implement safe sanitation and solar electricity projects for at-risk rural schools where they are piloting education-enhancing projects.
  4. Thankful for our donors. Of course, no amount of “muscle” from volunteering and partnering could implement the level of impact created without the lifeblood of the gifts and goods donated by our generous donors. Highlights of our year include the fact that over 3700 students in Motema, Sierra Leone, will have access to safe sanitation for at least the next 15 years. And every day in central Sierra Leone, 200+ students and thousands of their family and community members are now drinking safe water instead of dangerous river water. Deeper Missions now has official standing with the Sierra Leone government (with Kenya soon), reducing project-by-project logistics and enabling us to bulk-import materials which cannot be bought locally.

Executive Director with Deaf School leaders and local childrenThe list could go on but I wanted to share these four special reasons to be thankful this year.  From me, my family, and the Deeper Missions Board, we  wish you and all those dear to you a Happy Thanksgiving.

In Grateful Service,
Derek Reinhard
Executive Director

By |November 24th, 2016|

Countdown to Kenya – Part II

Ross and I are pleased to see the details and arrangements are falling into place and we are getting excited to get this trip started.

MANDO-150x150We (Kim Hanson is joining us when we arrive in Nairobi) are ready for a whirlwind tour of southwest and northwest Kenya to see all the amazing projects MANDO-Maasai is involved with, meet leaders in the communities where there are (or ought to be) energy, water and sanitation projects, and take in the beauty of the country from the windows of a Nissan X-Trail. When MANDO’s Director, Michael Sayo, described the areas we’d be visiting and the routes we’ll be taking, I estimated 1000-1500 miles in 10 days–including a 2-day excursion to Kampala, which is Kim’s current base of operations with her Baylor University public health fellowship.Akili-150x150

Another NGO we hope to meet up with is the Riley Orton Foundation who are doing important work to empower girls through education at the Akili Prep School in Kisumu. Thank you, David Omondi, for reaching out to us after one of your visiting team members from Arizona met a Deeper Missions board member who told her about our work. Insert a comment here about it being a small world :-)

micro-grid-150x150There are a number of other active NGOs and nonprofits, as well as social entrepreneurs such as Access Energy, who are helping MANDO realize their vision. One nonprofit is Green Empowerment in Oregon. Before leaving for the airport I had a nice phone conversation with their new Executive Director, Miel Hendrickson. She shares our excitement for the work being done in Kenya and opportunities to team with MANDO and other NGOs, particularly in the area of water wells and micro-grids for communities in Southern Rift Valley.

Watch for more news and photos as we learn more about the people and places of Kenya and Uganda!

 

By |January 24th, 2015|

Nice closing out the year with a few more “Loo’s”

The #FlushedWithSuccess campaign on #GivingTuesday and run through the end of the year closed with a bang (more like a cha-ching!) with generous friends donating enough to purchase three waterless, solar composting latrines (Enviro-loo’s or Eloo’s). Thank you all and a special thanks to Dendra and the team at Wastewater Education for such great support! Here’s to a new year with safer sanitation for all!

wwe-graphic

By |January 8th, 2015|

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|

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

IWD_Logo

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.

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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.

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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|

Deeper Missions Joins the Global Water Partnership

Deeper Missions expanded its network of partners recently by joining the Global Water Partnership (GWP). The mission of the GWP is to support the sustainable development and management of water resources. The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) founded the GWP in 1996 to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information on sustainable water resources management. By joining GWP, Deeper Missions is now one of 2,800 institutional partners committed to the sustainable management of the world’s water resources.

GWP-Cover-150x150“Managing the world’s water resources is foundational to development. If you want to feed the world—and contribute to poverty reduction, human health, and economic prosperity—pay attention to water.” GWP

As part of their focus on capacity building and knowledge sharing, the GWP has launched a new online course on Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries. For more information on the GWP, check out their Annual Report here. Through our new partnership with GWP, Deeper Missions will be able to connect with thousands of organizations committed to working towards a water-secure world.

By |February 23rd, 2014|

Breaking Ground on Another Sanitation Project!

Thanks to a generous grant from the New Creation Community Church in Dover, Pennsylvania, another community in West Africa is receiving  a pair of waterless, solar composting Enviro-loos!

Executive Director and Eloo contractor discuss locating the project

Derek and contractor, Peter, discuss locating the Eloos with church leaders.

 

Deeper Missions broke ground at the Bishop Bangura Memorial United Methodist Church in Motema, nr Koidu in the Kono District, Sierra Leone on January 21st and have made great progress. During our summer team trip, some team mates and I traveled to the church and met with Pastor Smith and other church leaders to confirm their requirements. The contractor was also able to explain how he would proceed.

Last week Mohamed Nabieu, the Deeper Missions in-country project coordinator, met again with church and community leaders to remind and explain the benefits of this sanitation technology, answer questions, and get feedback.

Here are some comments he captured during the meeting:

Church’s Evangelist: “It is a Bluff/bloff (so proud) to us in this community. This is my first time seeing this kind of toilet. When I explain to friends outside this church about the kind of toilet my church has, it baffles them. They say how can a toilet like that work to provide manure? Honestly, I’m overjoyed. I want to thank all the donors”

Placing the Eloos

Mr. Jaka checks Eloo placement with workmen while some from the community look on

Local Chief: “ I am so glad for this work. This church is the most blessed church in the Kono District.”

Church Member: “I am telling papa God Tenki for the donors….I am so glad with this development. We are willing to help the contractor in all ways to finish up with this structure because we need it so much.”

Pastor Smith: “Thank God for his presence at Motema. I appreciate all that is happening here at my church. This facility will no longer be embarrassed, especially for our visitors.”

I would like to echo the gratitude of the Motema community and the congregation of the Bishop Bangura UMC for the generosity of our donors, especially the New Creation Community Church! Thank you!

By |January 26th, 2014|

Ground-Breaking Enviro-Loos to Help Stem Cholera

Rough-and-smooth-sand-to-be-mixed-together-for-better-concrete-work.-300x225From UNICEF: Cholera is known as a disease that affects the poor because of the lack of access to clean water and improved sanitation. The best preventive measure against cholera is access to improved water supply, basic sanitation and hygiene.

Deeper Missions is working at the heart of the problem in Sierra Leone. It’s most recent project was initiated to benefit Mercy Hospital in Bo and the surrounding community.

With the help of an innovation grant from the Child Health Foundation, we started our second waterless, solar composting latrine construction that will bring improved sanitation and protect ground water from leaking pit latrines to the hospital located in Kulanda Town, Bo.

Click here to read more on construction progress.

By |August 31st, 2012|

Wrapping Up Tasks and Meeting New Friends Who Aid

The visit ended in the same sort of whirlwind of activity it started with — we were fortunate that the rains were few and far between, which enabled ease of travel and meetings in the area.

Linda and I were pleased to welcome well-wishers who came to see us off and to go and visit with old friends who lived in the area; a wonderful surprise was to have a delightful young deaf man, Vandi, come by the missionary training center to say good bye.  Vandi was on his way to his job as an agriculture assistant supporting Manjama Clinic, one of the rural medical clinics associated with Mercy Hospital. Manjama also has a hybrid solar/wind power generation system to run their off-grid refrigerator.

Peter Jaka and Derek Reinhard

Peter Jaka, local contractor, and Derek Reinhard walk the Mercy Hospital grounds to site the Enviro-Loo project

 

In the afternoon, Mr. Jaka, the contractor who led the sanitation project at the deaf school in January, came to Mercy Hospital to meet the administrator and to walk the grounds and discuss placement of the Eloos when they arrive and construction begins.

The location of the four waterless solar composting latrines will be in line with the master expansion plan, which was initiated for Mercy Hospital recently.

Kulanda Town Local Students

Sanitation projects at Mercy Hospital will benefit the local community as well as staff and patients

 

It’s an exciting time as the capacity of Mercy Hospital grows. The Eloos are part of the overall waste management plan and will positively impact the surrounding community.

While at Bo Hospital yesterday morning, surveying for the pediatric solar electric project, Linda and I also met with a group of business and nursing students from Long Island University – Brooklyn, led by Dr. Mohammed Ghriga and Diane Kilts, RN.  The students were in Sierra Leone for two weeks, experiencing a variety of jobs and activities having to do with health care as well as with business, learning operations as well as going out to support the hospital personnel during a health-screening outreach at a local town.

Before the trip, students had been tasked to research an aspect of sustainability in the context of developing countries; I was amazed at the insight and questions each posed in an impromptu round-table discussion we had–there were observations about technologies and challenges to solar, wind, biomass, waste management and the like.  In the end Linda and I were invited to dinner the next evening to continue the conversation along with eat some really good Sierra Leonean dishes.

Dr Darius Maggi of West Africa Fistula Foundation

Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, meets Dr. Maggi of West Africa Fistula Foundation

 

At the dinner, I was honored to meet Dr. Darius Maggi of the West Africa Fistula Foundation (our impromptu meeting actually took place in an area of the WAFF’s current building at Bo Hospital).

Along with his passion for healing, Dr. Maggi provided a valuable perspective on medical business operations in Sierra Leone; he is keen to collaborate and I hope to continue the conversation with him and his energy engineers as he continues his work in the area.

May 18 — On the road…and what a pleasant surprise!

The past three trips I made to Sierra Leone, on the road near Freetown, I caught a glimpse of a compound which included a number of small solar panel arrays.  I made a note to look for it on this trip and, fortunately I have an awesome wife who pointed out a Solar Training Center as we zipped along the highway–this was the same location as the arrays I’d seen on earlier trips.

Figuring we had some time to stop (we were on our way to catch the ferry in Freetown across to the Lungi airport), I asked Abu, our driver, to return to the center.  You can imagine my excitement to learn of the “Barefoot Women Solar Training Center”, formed in partnership with Barefoot College in Tilonia, India.

Barefoot Women Solar Training Center

At the Barefoot Women Solar Training Center at Konta Line, Koya Chiefdom, Port Loko District

 

The Chief Solar Engineer, Nancy Kanu, and the General Secretary of the training center, Edward Ananque, were gracious and met my wife and I to describe their mission to empower uneducated women in rural villages by teaching them solar electric installation and maintenance.

I’m grateful for the meeting and hope to learn more from them, perhaps even partner with them, in rural village electrification projects sometime in the future.

By |May 18th, 2012|