28 February 2012

This is the Generator that "Jack" Donated

Time for a conversation {would love your feedback} on foreign aid and it's potential effects on a village. Time for the Story of the Gifted Generator.

So, a few years ago, a Catholic aid organization {NGO: non government organization} came into the village of Megadali to drill a well and install a diesel generator-powered well pump.

Nice gift, right?


But here we have a very expensive, deep well. And a large pump requiring fuel and maintenance. And come to find out -- the water is still making them sick. There is a PH imbalance presumably from the high mineral content of the water and their health is affected.

Also -- when parts need repair or replacement, even if they are inexpensive, finding a place to buy them is nearly impossible. It's more than an hour walk into town to catch the bus and then a 12 hour bus ride to Addis Ababa. And of course, they'll need a bit of "birr" {Ethiopian currency}. So -- when it breaks, they go back to searching for dirty water in nearby {dry this time of year} riverbeds.

So around here these NGO gifts are unfortunately not as helpful as they were probably hoped to be. It's called "dump and run" aid with no follow-through and no education.

GHNI specializes in follow-through and education.
They teach locals how to teach villagers. They develop committees and set goals. It's called empowerment and it's continual, not "catch and release". During five years of village sponsorship, great change is possible!

The local staff here in Dire Dawa are looking for more cost-effective options for water acquisition, whether it be through solar or wind power, hand pumps....{insert alternative energy/water acquisition method here} And then, once the best option is found for the village, there will be training and support. Every week, either Alemayeh or Lemi will visit and work together with the committees to help them reach their goals.

They have been trained in the fundamentals of TCD {transformational community development} and have formed five committees in each village -- a water committee, a food committee, a wellness committee, an income committee, and an education committee. We will be meeting with these committees tomorrow when we visit the village of Megaladi for the second time, to learn what progress has been made over the past year and what their short-term goals are for the future months.

These fathers want to provide for their village. They love their children dearly, just like all fathers. They want to meet the basic needs of their family members, so they can all live healthier, happier lives.
  • They want their children to be able to attend school instead of walking two or more hours each day to retrieve water.
  • They want their nursing babies to be well nourished by their mothers.
  • They want to have an income source to buy new shoes or clothes for their children.
  • They want their elderly to remain healthy into old age, bringing wisdom and strength to their families.
  • They want to dream big dreams for the future of their children.

They just need a little boost. A little encouragement. A little training. A step in the right direction. These people may not even know what the right direction is. They don't see the potential because they are simply living from day to day. Surviving.

They need to grab the hand of someone bringing hope.

They need to feel our passion. They want to know that someone believes in them.

And so, we are here to help them take these first steps. Toward hope and a better future.

That's why we came. We believe in them. We believe in the local staff, Alemayeh and Lemi.

You can believe in them too.

Soon, the village of Megaladi will be open for sponsorship.
Quite simply -- you can have the opportunity to be part of this community development experience. Monthly sponsors receive regular updates on the village blog and Facebook page, tracking progress. If your small group sponsors a whole village or even a portion of a village, you may have the opportunity to virtually visit your village via Skype {once or twice a year}.

It's "small money"="big change". Your monthly support funds the local staff who visit the villages regularly {huge time investment}. Your support makes it possible to have a regional director {Zerihun} who trains and encourages the local staff. Your contribution makes community development using local resources and local support possible.

Hold out your hand. They are quick to grab on. They will change your life.