No time to loose
This was the first trip of the year for AVA and we went to work straight away.
Our founder was on hand to check out some of the existing programs, making sure their success is still in-line with AVA’s goal, and implement some new ones, building strong partnerships based on mutual respect, sustainable practices and trust.
We have made friends with a new school who we feel can offer quality education to our new sponsorship children, and of course gathered all the reports from the existing sponsorship children. Team members met some of the sponsorship children and got to hear their personal story first hand. It was emotional to hear these children’s plight with poverty and what they had to over-come. We will be sharing some of these stories over the next month so you can get a real idea of what these children have had to go through.
The water station
Jess also travelled West to check out a water station that was being built by a group of AVA volunteers, giving a community of 4000 people access to clean water. This water station used the same methods as a previous one built by a volunteer who was an engineer. Implementing charcoal into the water station acts as a filter for the unsafe and unclean water, purifying it on the way through enabling it safe to drink straight for the source. The water would otherwise have to be collected, boiled and left to cool prior to drinking it. It’s ideas like this that make volunteers so relevant and important to achieving our goal. This project was part of the humanitarian aid side of what we do.
Staying in touch
When we speak about alleviating poverty in the communities we work in, we wanted to get a strong, crystal clear idea of what that meant. What it means to the people, what it looks like, what work needs to be done. Poverty is a multifaceted concept defined by people living on less than $1.90 a day. With AVA’s humanitarian aid side of things and the way we have in the past dealt with poverty can be categorised into 5 categories-food, safe water, shelter, education and health. We’ve worked with various communities to provide what aid we could in these areas, so we needed to go back in and look at how well our past methods have worked and what has changed in the communities.
It became painfully obvious the more we spoke with community’s members and visited on ground past projects that we haven’t quite hit the nail on the head when we visited these communities. Sure, we have done and accomplished wonderful things by installing new water stations that provide safe drinking water or by renovating schools, but we didn’t seem to be much closer to our end goal. We still saw poverty rear its ugly head in all the communities we have past worked in. Because of this observation the board of directors made a decision to discontinue the programs that were not beneficial to the communities by end of June 2018. This gives any project partner on ground the chance to wrap up our projects associate with them. For more information on what projects we no longer support please check our website or contact us directly.
What we did notice working extremely well was our community development projects. The mentorship, community enterprise and empowerment programs. It became clear that these projects were working because they tackle the underlying problems the communities are facing. Many times, underlying causes relating to poverty are too complex for one person living with the affects to address themselves. And what we saw that was different about these programs is that these community led initiatives are giving the community members a chance to understand address and solve their own issues without the constant need of ongoing foreign aid. Enabling the members of the community the chance to pull themselves out poverty, once given the skill set, knowledge and support they need.
We came to understand community development is the way forward to eliminate the persons poverty. It was exciting to see some many of last year’s mentees from the mentorship program doing so well and maintain their small business enterprise. We met with some of the members from last year’s program to see how they were going, what was working and what wasn’t and the feedback we got blew us away. Four families have pulled themselves away from the cycle of poverty. Giving hope to their children and other communities members. It was amazing to see their accomplishments and how proud they were of their personal success and how it helps their communities.
Moving forward, better
AVA are now looking at the most effective ways to assist a community tackling poverty and will continue to push what works and discard what doesn’t. It’s exciting as a relatively new charity to still have the freedom to strategise new methods that prove to be more effective.
We are looking forward to the partnerships we created on this recent trip and creating a more measurable impact in the local communities and focusing our efforts on the more effective programs. With these new ideas we are excited about what is coming in the near future for us, AVA and the communities and people of East Africa.
We are strongly focused on the idea that a hand up not a hand out is the way forward to achieving our goals.