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....
Mar 13, 2014

Hello, Guyana!

As we say goodbye to Kenya and our good works there, One Village At A Time will be saying hello to Guyana. 

OVAAT is a nonprofit NGO that seeks to develop sustainable solutions to healthcare problems by bringing a unique and distinctive approach to the issues of each individual village, city, or region.

As you know, we have used microfinance, education, and nutrition to "Empower 200 mothers and 1,000 girls in Kenya" to help move their AIDS-ravaged region away from a consistently impoverished situation. We also created programs to support a village and region as a whole by empowering local leadership, businesses, and parents to support the children and the community. Our work is Kenya has helped girls and women get educated, gain self-confidence and a voice, and grow as women and community leaders -- and they are so grateful to us.

This summer, OVAAT will move into Guyana, South America, to tackle pressing issues related to extreme poverty, water quality and flooding, access to healthcare, limited infrastructure, HIV/AIDS, malaria, child mortality, mental health and environmental degradation. 

We have so appreciated all of your support in Kenya and we hope you will follow us on our journey into Guyana. 

We have put together an amazing team that will be making wonderful things happen in Guyana. 

Susan Gross: Executive Director, OVAAT

Onslo Carrington: Project Manager and Assistant Executive Director , OVAAT

Jonathan Gartenberg: Community Integration and Project Implementation

Kerry Foley: Filmmaker and Project Documentation 

Meghan Maupin: Architect and Consultant/Board Member

Peter Costolanski: Grant Management, Project Development, and Project Evaluation

Elena Richardson: Consultant, Research Development, and Public Health Evaluation

Jonathan Slawsby: Attorney/Board member

Thank you for your ongoing support!


Dec 9, 2013

Our work here is done

Life skills class for girls in Got Oyenga
Life skills class for girls in Got Oyenga

Thank you!

As One Village At A Time says goodbye to Kenya, we look back with fond memories and lessons learned. Our “Empower 200 Mothers and 1,000 Girls in Kenya” project helped girls and women get educated, gain self-confidence and a voice, and grow as women and community leaders. And we couldn’t have done it without you.

Adolescent girls in Western Kenya bear the burden of a number of challenges ranging from the HIV/AIDS epidemic and unsafe abortions to teenage pregnancies and early school dropout/poor attendance due to many factors, such as a lack of basic needs. These basic needs include something as simple as sanitary pads, which are too costly for these girls whose families live below a dollar a day.

Our reusable pads program has been one of our biggest successes. Before this program, girls missed a week of school each month because of their menses. But with the reusable towels, these girls are in school full time. In 2013, in just three schools -- Nina, Nangeni and Got Oyenga – 451 girls got sanitary towels.

The impact of the reusable sanitary towels program has been far-reaching. The girls experience:

  • Improved self-confidence; they are participating more in class and co-curricular activities as they are assured of good protection during menses;
  • Improved hygiene;
  • A better understanding of the changes they undergo during adolescence   and how to deal with social issues;
  • Regular attendance in school.

Among our goals with this project was decreasing the dropout rate among girls. The girls have been doing very well and the dropout rate has decreased! And fewer girls are getting pregnant, thanks to the life skills sessions they attend every month that address reproductive health issues.

And to top everything off, in the year 2013, more girls than ever enrolled for the national exams.

This all bodes well for the future of this country.

As we say goodbye to Kenya, we are excited about future projects in Guyana. Please stay tuned to GlobalGiving as we will be posting a new project soon.

Thank you so much for your wonderful support and for helping and empowering so many women and girls in Kenya.


Aug 5, 2013

Making a difference in the community

Participation at a PICD meeting in Got Oyenga.
Participation at a PICD meeting in Got Oyenga.

The community of Got Oyenga in Siaya, Kenya is receptive to the Participatory Integrated Community Development (PICD) process. This is clear in the response of those who regularly attend the meetings.

Got Oyenga Primary School is doing wonderful work with adolescent girls as part of your funding to One Village At A Time. Life skills sessions are held regularly with high attendance. Girls are purchasing reusable sanitary pads that allows them to stay in school during their menses. Our girls are empowered, confident, and vocal. This is rubbing off on the community.

At the Got Oyenga PICD meetings, the women are more vocal and participate more than the men. The teachers from the school, including the head teacher, are always present during the meetings and participate well.

One Village, in partnership with Kisumu Medical Educational Trust (K-Met), identifies a community and school with severe poverty and children suffering from malnutrition and high HIV rate. As a team, we introduce PICD to help the community being to coalesce and form a strategic plan for feeding the children in the school and to become self-sustaining. We set up a team that works regularly with the school and the community.

The PICD process has enabled the community members to realize the reasons some projects were started within the community but did not last due to lack of ownership. But the community of Got Oyenga is taking ownership of the school feeding program.

Parents contribute maize and beans toward the school feeding program. The pupils bring any available food from home to eat for lunch at school. Students are not allowed to leave the school grounds during lunch, necessitating sharing. That means that even those who do not have anything to eat will still have food. The school also has a garden where they cultivate maize.

Thank you for your support of One Village At A Time. Together, we are making a difference!

PICD session in Got Oyenga.
PICD session in Got Oyenga.
Students at Got Oyenga eating lunch.
Students at Got Oyenga eating lunch.