Greetings from the Friends of Yimbo.
Things continue to go well with our effort to help the folks of Yimbo. As reported in my Summer 2013 update, the water project has been a success. Clean, safe water is available in the area for the very first time.
We're now working quite a bit with the Muguna (Yimbo area) Womens' Group to help them develop successful business opportunities. More specifically, the consultants mentioned in the summer 2013 update have used their expertise to help the women develop a business and marketing plan for raising chickens. Similar plans, developed with the help of the same consultants, to sell chickens and eggs that help satisfy a large and growing local demand have been successful in nearby communities. Our support will allow Muguna women to enter this lucrative market. I should be able to provide an update on their progress in my next report.
Our organization consults with the local community whenever we can. When the "Friends" are actually in Yimbo, we meet with locals in a "Village Forum," where conversations take place about what the community needs most. The conversation at last forum in summer 2012 coalesced around the need for a health clinic, which took priority over drilling the planned second water borehole. So we decided to make the construction and stocking of a clinic our next major project.
Finally, we held two successful fundraisers in California since my last update. The first was over the Labor Day weekend in Sacramento while the second, in Orange County, was just two weeks ago. Check out the pics at the link below.
If you're interested in meeting one of the founders of our organization and learning more about its history, check out the attached video.
The first half of 2013 hasn't been as exciting as 2012. Why? In a word, bureaucracy. Certainly not much fun, but of course necessary. More specifically, we've been occupied with some of the bureaucratic details of managing the new well. It took a while, but we finally got approval to have the community use the water with all the proper government approvals. Earlier in the spring, our local water committee secured a "completion and compliance" permit from the Ministry of Water, which was necessary to secure the second permit from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). I'm happy to report that this second permit was granted and signed on June 19. Our local committee will keep the rest of us apprised on any developments that arise, but for now, I'm happy to report that clean safe water is being used by the entire community. Thank you all for your help in making this happen. It's certainly one of the most exciting developments in Yimbo in recent memory.
On a different front, FOY has begun working with the Muguna Women's Group and the Uyoma Village Youth Group (both from the Yimbo area) to study the feasibility of funding small business startups. We retained two local consultants who produced needs assessment reports on the proposed business ideas. The Women's Group is proposing a bee keeping business, and the consultants report that a viable market does exist. FOY will provide startup funding if the group members undergo the best business practices training recommended by the consultant's report. The youth group's primary proposal is to begin an information and communications technology business and/or a tree planting/nursery business. As of now, the youth group needs to convince FOY that it can identify viable markets for its services and execute successful business plans before we provide startup capital. We will encourage them to do so. Even if we ultimately don't fund them, the skills they learn while developing their plans should provide them with excellent experience. Who knows? Maybe all these businesses will be successful! I'll of course update you on these groups' progress in my next report.
Finally, an FOY Northern California fundraiser is planned for August 3 in Sacramento. I expect that the proposed health clinic I mentioned in the January report will be a topic of much discussion. These events have been quite successful in the past because they allow us to connect with our "friends" in the area. We expect the August event to be no different. I'll tell you about it in my next reoprt.
Until then, I wish you all the best on behalf of the people of Yimbo and their "friends" like you who help so much.
As reported in my last update, safe water is now flowing from the new well in Yimbo. Since then, our local village water committee has secured the well and is successfully managing access to help assure the water is used according to the plan developed before drilling commenced. So all is "going well," so to speak!
Also from the last update, we still plan to drill a second well in the neighboring village of Angwenyo after completing another hydrological survey there. So we're not done with water projects yet, and we could still use your help. We estimate that surveying, drilling, and securing the second site will cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000.
While getting the water flowing was our most satisfying achievement in the past year, we did accomplished other things. Adding textbooks, maps, and magazine subscriptions to the Muguna Primary School library FOY built in 2009 has helped student achievement in measurable ways. The drama and debate teams, for example, received accloades for their performances in regional competitions. We also completed wiring the school and supported US educators to give three professional development workshops to the local teachers.
On another front, FOY helped support volunteers who distributed 450 health related kits and conducted health care workshops during summer 2012. Related to this, FOY provided tuition support for a local high school student to enroll in one of the top 10 schools in Kenya. His goal is to graduate from medical school and return home to practice.
As you may have guessed, this health care effort is high on the priority list of the Yimbo community. So the next big project we plan to tackle is to build a community health clinic. We plan to begin researching the feasibility of this project this year, so my next report should have some more details. We've built a school library and drilled a well in the past three years. With your help, we believe we can build and stock a health clinic in the not-too-distant future as well.
So with all that in mind, the Friend of Yimbo and the Yimbo community thank you all for your interest and support in the work we're doing. We hope you continue to follow our progress and help us along when you can. On behalf of all of us, I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013.
It's been a great summer for the Friends of Yimbo. After a difficult winter, things have really turned around. Why? Because, as promised, water is now flowing in Muguna village in Yimbo! Thanks to the help of many, and the incredible generosity of one particular Friend of ours, the first of two planned bore holes was successfully drilled in late June. The hydrological survey I reported in May was accurate, and potable water was found. Samples have been tested at labs in Kenya and the US, and the results show the water is perfectly suitable for domestic use. A manual pump and meter have been installed, and the community has begun using it. Our local water committee will monitor the fee structure and usage rate. They're also going to build a fence and water kiosk at the site, and we'll share the cost with them.
It's not easy to convey here the magnitude of what has happened in June, but it brought tears of joy to everyone there. For the first time, thanks to the Friends of Yimbo and the commitment of the local community, Muguna Village has a viable source of safe water in its midst.
As mentioned in my May report, we plan to drill a second well in the neighboring village of Angwenyo after completing another hydrological survey there. So we're not done yet, and we could still use your help. We estimate that surveying, drilling, and securing the second site will cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000.
The Friends of Yimbo are on a roll. We're successfully following through on our commitments, and we have no plan to stop. Please help keep us moving forward helping. Our friends in Yimbo sure do appreciate it. We hope this report convinces you that your donation will be used well. As always, thanks for being a Friend of Yimbo.
All the best!
We have good news! My last update mentioned the need for a hydrological survey to determine the feasibility of drilling a borehole to meet the water consumption needs of the Yimbo community. Just last week our contractor, Water Masters (K) Ltd., submitted their report on developing a new borehole, and it contains good news.
In a nutshell, the report states that a borehole sunk into an underground aquifer in the immediate area will produce enough good quality water to meet the community's consumption needs. Of course the report recommends that samples be tested for physical, chemical, and bacteriological analysis before the water is used for human consumption, but it foresees no critical problems. The report also says that this new borehole will not affect any others because it's far enough away from them.
The next step is to get drilling. That's the most expensive part, and we're still working hard to make it happen. The Friends of Yimbo's Southern California March fundraiser was a success. We raised over $4,000, but that's not nearly enough to complete this project. Water Masters estimates that drilling the new borehole, together with all the ancillary drilling requirements, will cost 1,587,000 Kenya shillings. That's a big number. It translates to about $18,400 at the current exchange rate, which is still a big number. And it doesn't include the cost of a pump and filtration system, which may add another $5,000 or so. We also plan to drill a second borehole sometime in 2013 so that the two Yimbo communities currently working together, Muguna and Angwenyo, can take full advantage of this opportunity. That's why our project goal is to raise $40,000.
So we still need your help to bring this project to fruition. As always, the Yimbo community remains committed. They're still pledging their time and money to help make it all happen. Please help them make their effort (and their shillings!) go farther.
All the best!
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