Clean and accessible bathroom facilities are something that most of us take for granted and expect as an everyday convenience; it is almost impossible for us to imagine any other kind of situation. But for 2.5 billion people – 40% of the world’s population – the options are unsafe toilets or practicing open defecation.

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Conventional sanitation – a flush toilet connected to a centralized sewer system – is possible for only a small fraction of people in the world. In developing countries, with water already a scarce commodity, it is impossible to build a centralized sewer system to begin with. This is why Deeper Missions seeks to use the latest in waterless, culturally correct latrine designs, such as the “Eloo”, made in Africa, for Africa.

One of the central components of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); poor sanitation and hygiene hinders meeting MDGs related to improving child health and mortality. WASH improvements can be as straightforward as the design and availability of improved latrines that do not contaminate ground water and prevent the breeding of germ-carrying insects. In Sierra Leone, only 31% of the entire nation have access to improved sanitation, the majority are people living in urban areas.

Every year, food and water tainted with fecal matter cause 2.5 billion cases of diarrhea among children under five, resulting in 1.5 million child deaths. Chronic illness hinders child development by impeding the uptake of essential nutrients that are critical to the health of children’s minds, bodies and immune systems.

Deeper Missions is committed to bringing health-building solutions to communities, schools and hospitals, such as the Eloos for the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf, and for Mercy Hospital, shown above, and built in part with a grant from The Child Health Foundation.

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).

 

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!

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News about Operation : Going Deeper

OpGoDeeper-Logo-Framed-300x260We’ve been sharing with you our activities and news on finished projects. This month, as a result of the Ebola crisis’ impact on our work in the region, now we’d like to share with you a forward-looking initiative to address immediate outbreak-related needs, as well as building partnerships and increasing the capacity to expand our programs. It’s called Operation : Going Deeper“. 

We originally planned to hold our annual Celebration in November. However, due to the Ebola outbreak currently ravaging Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – and its threat to other countries, we thought it best to direct our resources and attention in a different way than the planned year-end event.

We look forward to the healing effects from a positive global response to the suffering brought on by the epidemic. We also hope to soon reschedule our West Africa Celebration. We will gather again then to appreciate West African arts and culture and to celebrate the receding impact of the Ebola virus in the region.Eloo-Shipment

Operation : Going Deeper focuses on helping alleviate the Ebola outbreak’s impact on the deaf community in Sierra Leone, and on expanding and building partnerships to increase our impact in Africa.

Word of our work has gotten around, both over the internet as well as word-of-mouth. In the past 18 months, Deeper Missions has been contacted by multiple organizations in Kenya, as well as in Ghana and Ethiopia, seeking to partner with us for sanitation, water and solar electric projects to benefit communities they serve.Keeping in mind the possibility of expansion and the current West Africa travel restrictions, through Operation : Going Deeper we will concentrate on three efforts for the next six months:
  1. Continue to support Sierra Leone’s deaf through our Hope for Kakua program to help alleviate the impact of the Ebola crisis on the lives of the students and their families–access to food and disease prevention supplies has become restricted and expensive,
  2. Raising more support for opening the Deeper Missions office in Freetown in order to deepen our work in Sierra Leone and to serve as a base for expanding our Africa operations, and
  3. Increasing our capacity to work in East Africa through partner-building site visits in February 2015

This is where you all come in! 

Calling All Partners in Operation : Going Deeper!
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If you would like to help us go deeper in our work, then please make a tax-deductible contribution , you can click here to make a secure online donation.
You can also send a check made out to “Deeper Missions” to
5765-F Burke Centre Parkway #209
Burke, VA 22015-2233. 
Thank you in advance for your continued generosity and we look forward to continuing the good work you have enabled us to do so far .

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.