One Village At A Time

One Village At A Time (OVAAT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-government organization (NGO) whose mission is to create small, sustainable programs for AIDS orphans and their villages in Nambale and Siaya, Kenya, with the final goal being that each village is able to create its own resources for feeding, clothing, and educating itself. Our Sustainable School Feeding Program helps three schools and their communities become self-sustaining. We impact about 7,500 people. One Village initiated its program in the Busia District of Nambale because of its extreme poverty: 70% of its residents in the district live on less than $1 a day. The impact of the AIDS pandemic in Kenya has been catastrophic....
Nov 26, 2012

Finding their voices

"Now that my daughter has [sanitary] pads, she speaks up in the house and teaches me what she learns. She has found her voice." A mother in Siaya, Kenya, whose daughter would hide in the bushes during her menses, shared this revelation with us. Her daughter is now able to attend school every day because she has the supplies she needs during her menses.

The key to keeping Kenyan girls in school is to make sure they have the necessary supplies. Yes, pencils and tablets are important, but more important are sanitary pads. Without pads, the girls miss one week of school every month and miss out on vital education.

Last year One Village At A Time started giving the girls pads, but it took a full year before they told us that they were also missing the panties they needed to use the pads. It is difficult to comprehend poverty in which little girls do not have underpants. And it was not until they trusted us enough to tell us that we could change the situation.

In the schools where girls received pads and panties, we've found that they are more confident; they feel empowered to speak up in class. They also teach their mothers about reproductive health. When you educate a girl, you change the life of the village!

Thanks to GlobalGiving, we can now equip our girls with the panties and sanitary pads they need ... and all the girls in our 3 schools can attend school every day. Thank you for helping our girls find their voices!

For more, please check out this video: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op0gklYqCrA&feature=share&list=UUmQUKYHGJ4n4wJUCCkTpFgw

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Sep 10, 2012

We didn't know that!

In Kenya, the children are in their final school term. Thanks to Global Giving, all our girls who are menstruating have what they need to go to school all 4 weeks of every month. So when they sit for the national exams in November, they will be alert, prepared, and ready to outshine the boys once again.

What we did discover this term is that many of the girls did not have underpants to hold their sanitary pads in place. They finally admitted that they were using woven root stems to hold the pads on. Because we have been able to serve these girls through your donations, they now all have underpants and are fully equipped.

The greatest lesson in working with poor rural communities is that there are things we can’t imagine they don’t have. Even our workers in Kenya who are of the same tribe assumed the girls had panties, yet it took 2 terms before the girls told us of their predicament. 

So often it is the very small things, not the big ones, that truly make a difference. At $1.50 for underpants and $10 for pads, each girl has all she needs. And, frankly, changing the lives of the mothers of the next generation for $11.50 is a pretty reasonable cost.

Jun 18, 2012

Meet the Girls of Malanga Primary School

Our girls learning about their bodies.
Our girls learning about their bodies.

One Village At A Time, in conjunction with KMET, uses a reproductive health specialist to teach the girls about their bodies. Most of the girls know nothing about how their bodies mature, how to take care of their changing bodies, and what to do when “that time of the month” comes along.

When we first got to Malanga and asked the girls about their menses and how they handled it, they hung their heads ashamed. They said that they missed one week of school every month because they had to stay home. With only one uniform, no girl wanted to risk the embarrassment of her flow being seen. And most importantly, they had no supplies. The girls admitted that they used leaves or even cow dung to stanch the flow.

We have supplied all 386 girls at Malanga Primary School with reusable sanitary towels that are made by the women funded through our microfinance program. The results of this effort have been amazing. The girls are now scoring higher on their exams than the boys, because they don’t miss school.

Thank you for your continued support. It truly is changing the lives of women and girls in Kenya!

Teaching the girls.
Teaching the girls.
A lesson on how the pads work.
A lesson on how the pads work.

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