HARAMBEE strongly vaues accountability to those who entrust us with their donations. Our costs are low—our staff of one is unpaid, and we pay no rent or other overhead. We plan carefully so that whatever we do in a faraway country will benefit a maximum number of people and will be implemented sensitively and responsibly. We work with established schools and clinics so that there is good management and sustainability. All of our projects are partnerships, not charity; we believe it is fair and empowering to expect something back so that those we help can participate in the development of their community.
The 2006 medical volunteer program continues to reap rewards. There have been several publications and media interviews to draw attention to sub-Saharan Africa and the need for medical education addressing global health and social justice. Several students returned to Kenya in February of 2007 to continue work with community development and will return again. Donations for crafts from the groups in Kenya help us all by supporting the Kenyan families affected by HIV and enabling us to raise funds for future projects.
The 2007 "Critters for Kenya" program is a delight and we still are getting orders for goats and chickens & donations for more beehives. (In March we sent 10 Kenyans to beekeeping school & outfitted them with hives.) Groups of women all around Kenya are making and selling soap because of Barb Bodner’s expert consultation and teaching. Carol Flasnick brought Montana to Africa and Africa back to Montana with her skill teaching oral rehydration therapy. Next year I hope to hear of babies saved with this important health tool. It was a joy to share in my daughter Kate’s first experience of Africa as she worked with us.
In 2008 we are launching a new initiative: solar cooking stoves. In Kenya we see many women spending hours each day collecting firewood. This takes valuable time and hurts the environment due to deforestation, pollution, and fire hazard. The solar stoves are an ingenious solution and a reasonable investment of about $75 each. They are simple: a sturdy box-like device with reflector panels focusing sunlight on a central area holding a pot. This quickly heats—hot enough to boil water (another advantage: easily purified water). We have assurance that these stoves are perfect for an equatorial country like Kenya and we’ll begin with a pilot program to ensure that all the bugs are worked out before a major investment is made. Our goal: 200 families with solar cooking stoves by the end of the year. That’s much labor and wood saved, fire hazard reduced, and a lot of smoke not going into the air.