School garden. Founded 2011.
Dear Supporters and Friends,
On June 26th our travelers returned from Lingira Island, marking the EDGE Project’s fourth successful year implementing our projects on the island. Projects from this past year covered several different goals of ours. The diversity in our ideas was enabled by the number of travelers we had, that is, eight people in contrast to three from last year. The increase in both human power and brainpower ensured the completion of work on this trip that we can all celebrate. Claudia, David, Elise, Eric, Katie, Kristin, Leeza, and Paul send their thanks to all of you!
Many of our projects this year were self-contained enough that we can report on them fully, now. The manual water pump we installed in the secondary school garden falls into this category. The pump was utilized several times while we were there, and will surely increase the likelihood that the garden will come out of the dry season in good health. We were also able to “hand over the keys” to the secondary students by creating 8 plots for student management. To give structure to that, we worked with teachers to establish the Student Farmers Club to facilitate involvement and learning in the garden. We’re very excited about these students having an opportunity to own a resource and learn how to develop it.
Girls’ football, a former project of ours, was meant to be researched this trip for possible re-implementation after a falling out. To our surprise, the EDGE ladies were invited to join the secondary school girls’ team as they prepared for a match they had set up themselves against Lingira Girls Football Club. We were able to speak with the female leaders at both institutions about the sustainability of the teams, and even moved into Lingira camp to speak with the younger females involved with the original LGFC. After a very successful, well-attended match, it seems that we may have a role in supporting both teams’ activities and their rivalry.
In contrast to the rest of our projects, one of our larger projects, Quench Lingira, took a lot of time while on the island, and will continue to be well monitored. The technology performed as expected, collecting around 97% of E. Coli bacteria at peak. If someone has no means, such as chlorine drops or charcoal to boil water, that number would be a fantastic improvement on the lake water they currently drink. However, 97% effectiveness for kegs, or even the 98.5% for just a pot filter will still result in occasional sickness. Therefore, both of these household systems pale— mildly, next to the community chlorination systems that SHIM promotes in the region. Given the relatively low density of residents taking water direct from the lake, we elected to not send and inferior solution into competition with our hosts. A more recent development will see the SHIM water team take up the filters to new territory where the frequency of residents that would actually gain water quality is higher.
Other intervention we were happy to bring to bear were hosting WORI (Women’s Rights Initiative) and putting on first-aid training sessions at the secondary school. The duo of women from WORI, Rose and Annet, who are the lifeblood of the Jinja-based NGO were wonderful enough to come out to the island twice and plan a third return. Prior to their arrival we placed anonymous question boxes and found a lot of material to gauge what we could address in a seminar. Together with several EDGE members, they led a two-hour interactive session that involved the entire school, including the teachers. Topics included Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS Awareness, and Sexual Harassment. Women’s and children’s rights and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS were highly stressed and discussed. The anonymous questions and a couple medical emergencies inspired our own team to put on first aid workshops to fill an unacceptable void of information. Through playacting and real-life examples we did well to transmit the principles known as common knowledge. In the future we hope to be training people to train others in first aid and basic emergency medicine. While there are further, mostly smaller interventions, space and time make this a good point to close.
Overall, the projects this summer were able to touch on many different issues on the island, and we were extremely lucky to have such a great group that was able to be both creative and flexible in their solutions on the island. We will have a lot to work with during this upcoming year, but we have the advantage of having many returning members that have traveled. Check the blog for more updates, and more information about the rest of our trip. We thank you all so much for your support of our mission! Be in touch as you are able; feedback and company is always welcome.
E D G E | Project