First Peoples Worldwide, and myself, Neva Adamson would like to apologize for the long period of silence regarding our food and water delivery project to the San peoples of the Kalahari. First Peoples Worldwide has pretty much given up on getting a response from the Botswana government, but we have not given up on the project. We have never met a roadblock, government, or any other challenge we have not been able to creatively navigate and successfully implement our project. This is no different. A few months ago we began in-house discussions how to help the San and circumvent the government stalling.
Earlier this year we reported that the San won water rights, which was a well-earned victory for them. This gave them the right to re-commission and sink (drill) new boreholes (wells). While waiting to hear back from the government and in light of their victory First Peoples began to look for at creative ways to help the San without going through the government permit process, which was becoming increasingly apparent wasn’t going to be granted. It is time for us to change our strategy. Instead of a food and water delivery project we will be doing a borehole project, a few factors went into this decision. We wont need the permits from the government, it is way more sustainable than our original project, which we knew wasn’t sustainable but we also realized the dire need in our communities, and so ultimately this project will provide lasting solutions for our communities.
I have been working with several San community members who have informed me that Gem Diamonds (a large mine in Botswana) provided funding for sinking new boreholes. The problem is this funding was provided seemingly without the additional support to ensure the boreholes would be successful. My contact shared with me that three of the four boreholes drilled were salt water, and therefore unusable. With that knowledge in hand, and our full budget from your donations to GlobalGiving being nearly doubled because First Peoples is matching your donations we will be visiting Botswana in February.
We are sending Jim Brumm an esteemed board member for First Peoples to oversee this project. But we have some groundwork to do before his trip. Currently we are partnering with Blue Planet so that First Peoples can ensure before we get to Botswana that we avoid the current unsuccessful projects that were recently implemented. We are working with hydrologists to ensure that borehole drilling is the best solution for the San, and not another solution like water catchment, we are reading all the hydrology reports done on Botswana, most specifically the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where we intend to drill, and working with on the ground engineers to avoid the salt-water boreholes. Since First Peoples’ primary focus is Indigenous Peoples we felt to strengthen and ensure the success of this project that we should partner with an organization whose primary focus is water, and Blue Planet fit that bill.
As we move forward with our research and trip this February we will keep you posted as to our progress. We want to thank you for your support to the San and look forward to continuing to share our progress.
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