How you can help to dig a water distribution trench in Africa?
You might ask, 'How can I possibly help dig a trench a continent away?' What's this trench for anyway? The simple answer is you really can help by donating to the project to pay the community members to dig the trench.
What's the trench for? Well, the trench is to extend the water distribution system in the Bergnek community, taking them off the critical list and getting them to the WHO minimum recommended amount of 50 litres per person per day.
So will it be 'BLUE' or 'GREEN'? Make a donation today!
What does the project look like?
Pick a trench on the town map! You'll see the 'BLUE' or ‘GREEN' lines on the map we've included in this update of the trenches that need to be dug out for the new water distribution lines that we hope to start in September of this year, and then to complete this part of the project in October and November with the tremendous help and support of Engineers Without Borders, Houston Chapter.
You may know, from our previous reports, that a lot of work has been done by the members of the Bergnek Community and its supporters to get us to this point. Now we are in the critical stages of the 1st phase of the 'One Brick at a Time' project. Without solving the core need for water, we can't go on to address sanitation, house building and an healthcare clinic,
There’s work to do and YOUR Contributions and DONATIONS MAKE the DIFFERENCE
You can support the My Arms Wide Open, ‘One Brick at a Time’ project and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the children and families we serve, by making a donation now or setting up a monthly recurring donation as well as sharing this report with your family and friends.
Please Donate Now!
We are grateful for your support. The women, men, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude for your support.
What does it take to pull a project together and implement it successfully?
The scope of the 'One Brick at a Time' project includes the research, analysis and implementation of identified needs around infrastructure development to support the community of Bergnek.
Drilling down into the core needs
Some of the biggest challenges the community faces and has clearly identified include water, sanitation, healthcare, food production and education.
What is the community saying?
The priorities established by the community members and the community council are focused on water and sanitation for the elderly, children and the general population.
The women in the community are quite jubilant about what is happening as there will be more water distribution points and the ability to get water on demand after the project is completed. This will be a first for the community of Bergnek.
Getting funding in place
Through our engagement process and once we know the extent of the core needs we begin raising additional funds to support community-approved initiatives. The funding comes from My Arms Wide Open volunteers, individual and corporate donors and grants. In most cases there is a formula as to where we raise the funds from and typically this is a requirement of a grant we may receive. In the case of the current Bergnek project to create a supply and distribution of 50 liters of water per day per person, we have received the support of Engineers Without Boarders, which we are truly grateful for. My Arms Wide Open acts as the sponsor of the project on behalf of the community and as such provides a level of funding. In addition to this we must raises 5% of the value of the project from outside and individual sources to support the project before we can proceed with full implementation of the first phase of the project.
What have we accomplished so far?
So far we have completed a number of site visits, and the site survey, assessment, analysis, and validation of the project. We have received approvals from Engineers Without Boarders for funding for the first phase of the project and they are now finalizing the plans for implementation of the project, scheduled for August 2015. We have come a long way over the past 12+ months.
To date this has taken quite some effort as well as funding to get the right professional resources into the community to do the assessments and the subsequent analysis. This has included third party resources to validate the data collected and the observations documented.
We must now raise the 5% of the value of the project in order to proceed and need to raise a total of $7,500 for all three phases and the ultimate completion of the project. Each phase is broken down into $50,000 increments for a total of $150,000.
The implementation phase of the project is scheduled for August of 2015, which does not leave us much time.
Your Contributions and Donations DO make the Difference
You can support the My Arms Wide Open, One Brick at a Time project and make a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls, women and children that we serve, by making a donation now or setting up a monthly recurring donation as well as sharing this report with your family and friends.
Assessing the real needs in Bergnek
In November, we made a trip to Bergnek with 5 engineers from Engineers Without Borders to fully assess the Bergnek Community Water Project. The group arrived a week before me to survey the current distribution and well infrastructure in Bergnek. By the time I arrived, we were all ready to start what turned out to be a 5-day marathon of meetings.
We met with the City of Polokwane Water Board, the Mayor's office, the city Engineering department, the Bergnek council and headman as well as finally the Regional Chief.
A Marathon of Meetings
Once we had established the requirements and current situation we need buy-in from all parties to support the project and most importantly the ongoing needs for maintenance of the equipment going forward. Getting the agreement signed by all parties was a challenge and involved daily meetings from morning until night for five days to get the approval of the cities legal department on the terms of the contract and finally to get all parties to sign and ensure we had them sign in the correct order to meet local tribal traditions as well as policy as far as the City of Polokwane was concerned.
The good news is we literally got it all done within the last few hours before we had to return to the airport to catch flghts back to the United States.
The next steps in the project is to collect all available survey information and create the design specification for the Bergnek Community to be able to provide an on demand, safe water supply of approximately 50 litres of water per day per person.
The implementation of the approved design is estimated to take place in August of 2015.
How we determined the volume of water needed to support the Bergnek Community Sustainabily
A number of our regular supporters and donors have asked us why this project is so important and so in addition to the update on our last visit at the end of 2014 we will also share the information with you as to why the My Arms Wide Open, One Brick at a Time project is so important to the community of Bergnek and communities who face similar circumstances.
Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General
Could you do it?
Could you or I survive on less than 10 litres of water a day for all of our daily needs? The people of Bergnek have no choice; they have to survive on less than 10 litres a day.
Ensuring access to water and sanitation, as human rights constitute an important step towards making it a reality for everyone. It means that:
How is having sufficient water available for daily use defined by the UN and WHO?
The water supply and sanitation facility for each person must be continuous and sufficient for personal and domestic uses. These uses ordinarily include drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation and personal and household hygiene. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met and few health concerns arise.
Most of the people categorized as lacking access to clean water use about 5 litres a day-one tenth of the average daily amount used in rich countries to flush toilets. UNDP
Most people need at least 2 litres of safe water per capita per day for food preparation. WHO
The basic requirement of drinking water for a lactating woman engaged in even moderate physical activity is 7.5 litres a day. UNDP
Some of the information we’ve presented here has been taken from the UN’s, The Human Right to Water and Sanitation, Media Brief
Please Donate Now!
We are grateful for your support. The women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities extend a warm smile and echo our gratitude and thanks.
Water, Water Everywhere... and they will Drink
Although this is a short update on our One Brick At A Time Project there is a LOT of Excitement in the Air!! Our trip is underway, with EWB already on the ground in Bergnek and me heading there this weekend. From all reports so far, things are proceeding as planned and we have a number of additional meetings during the Week of November 3, to finalize a few things. There is a lot of excitement in the air as this has been in the planning stages for over two years and it is finally coming into reality.
We are not out of the woods yet
We really need your help. We need to raise 5% of the total cost of the program ourselves, that's a total of $7,500. So we are asking for your help in getting more people involved in the One Brick at a Time Program, which provides a direct benefit to the children and people of the Bergnek community in rural Limpopo, South Africa.
Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
Assessment Trip is underway
The first step in the project, the assessment trip is underway to survey the land, determine where we can buy materials in country, visit existent available wells, and other suitable water sources. The EWB team will also be conducting Water Hygiene and Sanitation courses at the local school and community center, during the trip.
Once the assessment trip is completed, the EWB team will return home to begin the planning for the first phase of the actual build out. We will all return in 2015 to actually start the work. In the meantime, My Arms Wide Open and it's team will continue to ensure there is at least a source of water in the community, as we have for four years now.
There are many ways that you can support our effort to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the girls, women and children that we serve.
Water, Water everywhere… but not a drop to drink
In our previous update we brought the news of progress on our planning with Engineers Without Borders (“EWB’) in our ‘One Brick at a Time’ program. The latest news is that our trip with EWB has now been slated to take place the last week of October and through the first week of November. The timing is actually very good for us, because we will be at the end of the rainy season and before the hot summer weather actually sets in.
Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
We need to raise 5% of the total cost of the program ourselves and need your help. That's a total of $7,500. Help us to get more and more people involved in the One Brick At a Time Program, which provides a direct benefit to the children and people of the Bergnek community in rural Limpopo, South Africa.
An Update from EWB
Preparing for Solutions
Some may already know but I wanted to confirm that the Water Initiative Program in Bergnek has been approved and adopted by the EWB Central Houston Chapter. This is a large step forward. Many of us have been eager to get started.
This means that EWB Houston will be partnering with My Arms Wide Open in the water projects and potentially sanitation projects later on depending on our combined success together. This is a multi-year commitment from the EWB Central Houston Chapter and we look forward to working with everyone to deliver sustainable solutions to empower and improve the lives of the Bergnek community.
The first step, now that we have the official approval and adoption of the project by the EWB Central Houston Chapter, will be the assessment trip. During this trip we would hope to survey the land, determine where we can buy materials in country, visit existent available wells, and other suitable water sources. Furthermore, we would like to better assess the needs of the community by conducting surveys to cover health issues, hygiene, water access, amount, travel time, along with other topics.
In addition to the data collection we will want to have regular meetings with community stakeholders (daily, every other day, or as required while on the assessment trip. This way everyone can ask questions together, review progress, discuss needs, and the various topics meaningful to the group.
Pulling it all together
In summary, we want to gather enough information for us all to determine together where the most good can be done with the available resources and then have the data needed so we can start developing solutions.
Tentatively, we would like to travel between October 25th through November 8th and coordinate with Warren's travels. We would hope to assemble a team of 4 to 6 people for the assessment.
Your contributions make the difference
Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for your support.
Take a Trip and Get involved
Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the ‘My World In a Garden’ EcoTravel option.
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