A LETTER FROM STAN
Friend, I want to tell you a story...
As we walked down the dusty path, past small gardens, sleeping dogs, and grazing goats, Lucy led the way with a spring in her step. She passionately pointed out her new latrine with the tippy-tap hand-washing station. She talked about what her life had been like before Blood:Water’s local partner worked with her community to build a well and offer sanitation and hygiene training, opening the door for the establishment of HIV/AIDS support groups. Lucy is HIV-positive. Before, she could hardly get out of bed, making the mile-long walk to get water almost impossible. Lucy now has the medicine and support she needs to manage her health as well as access and training that has radically improved her life. What Lucy doesn’t know is that as a result of the capacity building program Blood:Water engaged in with our partner, the communities around hers are also building wells, forming support groups, and working together to change their futures. And this growth has no horizon.
...but is it making a difference?
That is a question we often ask when we engage with nonprofits because it’s why we made the donation in the first place. I’ve just returned from meeting all of the Blood:Water partners in Africa as well as visiting one of the first partners Blood:Water ever worked with and I can tell you without reservation, together, we are making a difference!
My name is Stan Doerr and I am the new Executive Director of Blood:Water. I moved to Swaziland, in Southern Africa in 1981 and have been living or working in Africa ever since. My first two weeks with Blood:Water were spent in Nairobi meeting Blood:Water partners at our 2nd Annual Partner Summit. Each partner affirmed how impactful the water, sanitation, and hygiene training, and HIV/AIDS programs you’ve helped fund have been for the communities they serve. However, the organizational structure reviews Blood:Water has helped them conduct have been even more transformative.
The beauty of this aspect of Blood:Water’s work with our partners is that it goes far beyond drilling wells or providing latrines and hand-washing stations to address sanitation and hygiene. It goes beyond funding clinics, training community health workers, and establishing HIV/AIDS support groups. This work is about building the capacity of local African organizations to provide these services to their communities for decades to come through the partners’ vision, growth, and expansion.
We have exciting days ahead and your partnership with Blood:Water makes all of this possible. We have a clear vision for where we are going and how we can be most effective in bringing hope to those we serve in Africa. Our greatest days are before us and as a result, so are great days in the future of those we serve in Africa.
If, as you hear from our partners in the video below and read about the impact being made in northern Kenya, you would like to engage with us more deeply, I’d like to ask you to consider making an additional gift at bloodwater.org.
Thank you again for your partnership. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you soon.
2nd ANNUAL PARTNER SUMMIT
In August, we gathered representatives from each of our partner organizations in Nairobi, Kenya, for a week of collaborative learning, sharing, engaging, and relationship building. This was our second annual gathering, designed to create opportunities for our partners to share ideas, experiences, and victories. Hear directly from our partners about what this time means to them.
ADDRESSING WATER SHORTAGE IN A DESERT COMMUNITY
Bubisa means “windy place.” It is a harsh, desert environment in northern Kenya, where scarce resources like water are critical for survival for the people and their livestock, upon which they depend.
In 1954, a borehole was installed in the community, and the population of both people and livestock has been consistently on the rise since. With the increased population, the community still experiences water shortages at times throughout the dry season.
Our local partner, FH-Kenya, worked with the community as they formed a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) committee, and Galgallo Godana has stepped up as the chairman of the committee.
Acting as the liaison between FH-Kenya and the community, the WASH committee activated the community and, with Galgallo’s oversight, three water kiosks have been added to distribute water to different points in the community.
Galgallo monitors operation to determine how to ration the water, allowing community members to plan when to collect water and how much they will need based on the posted schedule. The committee has been trained and is responsible for making necessary repairs to the kiosks and borehole, and collecting water fees from community members. And, because they have been trained in sanitation and hygiene, they share this with the other community members, and ensure that the water is being used appropriately.
By strengthening and building the capacity of organizations working at the community level, we are able to affect change that will last for generations. In Bubisa, this has meant the development of a rationing system to allow for a more dependable water supply, a shorter walk for the women and children responsible for their families’ water collection, and a healthier community as a result of the comprehensive WASH program.