Reflections from Maasailand Part II

Campsite_View-150x150I must say that the camping arrangement was much more comfortable than I expected (even with the no-hot-water camp showers). Each morning saw a blazing sunrise climb into our valley location and then ended with a similar evening sunset.

The last two days of camping had us ranging further away into the Southern Rift Valley. We visited the community Entasopia_Solar_MicroGrid-e1423940813486-150x150at Entasopia where MANDO had supported the implementation of a solar mini-grid within the community. We stopped at the local medical clinic (called a “dispensary” though it had all the facilities for outpatient and basic surgical care). This clinic had sufficient solar to light the lights but not to run the equipment. Additionally, it was too far away and required too much power to receive the benefits of the solar mini-grid. The Deeper Missions team discussed options including the clinic’s own solar mini-grid.

We also visited a rural girls’ school originally built by Compassion International before being handed over to the local government. The assistant director showed us around the grounds and we were able to greet students and staff and get many of our questions answered Girls_School-150x150regarding the sufficiency of the school’s access to energy, water and sanitation.

Our visits to possible project sites in Maasailand concluded with a visit to the planned location for a safe house for girls under risk of early marriage and FGM and to a community needing a borehead well. The second stop, the busy Eremit_BusinessWoman-150x150Enkoireroi Market Center enjoys the benefit of a solar mini-grid installation but lacks water security. Deeper Missions has already teamed with MANDO to submit a small grant proposal to a Washington, DC area Rotary Club in order to top-off the funding already secured for this very needy project.

With confidence that there will soon be a reliable water supply the community has already embarked on building a medical clinic between the bustling business area and the local school.

Because the Maasai culture values and respects its visitors, the local family clans pulled out the stops, slaughteringMaasai_Warriors-150x150 and roasting a goat in our honor and provided an evening of Maasai warrior experiences with young men demonstrating singing, dancing and jumping all against the backdrop of a blazing fire and bright starlit night. It was a wonderful capstone event that made our brief time among the Maasai people a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

From here we began our trek north and west to visit other NGOs on the shores of Lake Victoria and into Uganda.

By |February 14th, 2015|

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|

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.

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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.

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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|

UVA World Water Day Expo

This year’s annual UN World Water Day (WWD) will take place on March 22, 2014. The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH) are co-organizing the event. The theme of this year’s WWD is Energy and Water; two key components of Deeper Missions’ work. The objectives of this year’s WWD are the following:

  • Raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy
  • Contribute to a policy dialogue that focuses on the broad range of issues related to the nexus of water and energy
  • Demonstrate, through case studies, to decision makers in the energy sector and the water domain that integrated approaches and solutions to water-energy issues can achieve greater economic and social impacts
  • Identify policy formulation and capacity development issues in which the UN system, in particular UN-Water and UN-Energy, can offer significant contributions
  • Identify key stakeholders in the water-energy nexus and actively engaging them in further developing the water-energy linkages
  • Contribute as relevant to the post-2015 discussions in relation to the water-energy nexus.

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In celebration of World Water Day, Deeper Missions will take part in the upcoming World Water Day Expo and Symposium (WWDS) at the University of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus on Friday, March 21, 2014. The symposium will feature presentations, exhibitions, and lectures by organizations and leading figures in the field of WASH and public health. The expo will also include exhibitions by student groups and non-profit organizations in Virginia that focus on sanitation and hygiene, conservation, water accessibility, and public health policy.

The event will also include presentations by John Oldfield, CEO at WASH Advocates as well as keynote speaker, Jamie Pittcock, Senior Lecturer at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University (ANU). A schedule of the event is available here.

Be sure to check out our booth at the Expo and learn about how you can volunteer for our upcoming clean water projects in Sierra Leone.

For more information on additional WWD events recognized by UN Water, visit here.

 

By |March 16th, 2014|

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

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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|

Save the Date

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Woman Collecting Water in Achefar, Ethiopia, (Flickr: waterdotorg)

Save the date for the upcoming event on “Modern Africa – A Symposium on Opportunities for Women in Energy and Water Access” hosted by the Africa Program and Energy & National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in collaboration with the Brookings Institution, the Center for Sustainable Development in Africa, and the United Nations Foundation.

The event will take place on February 13, 2014 (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.), and will be held at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Visit the Center for Sustainable Development in Africa www.csdafr.org for more information. Registration details for the event will be shared in January 2014. The event will broadcast live on the web for those who cannot attend in person.

The event announcement can be downloaded here: Modern Africa Symposium (PDF).

By |December 29th, 2013|