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|

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|

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|

Amputee Camp Well Project: Complete!

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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.

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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’.”

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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’.”

UPDATE:

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

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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|

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.

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|

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

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|