Rural Zimbabwe Villages are High Priority for Bread and Water for Africa® Water Project

Rural Zimbabwe Villages are High Priority for Bread and Water for Africa® Water Project

In the Dora Wards 5 and 35 in Mutare District in Manicaland Province in eastern Zimbabwe there are just nine boreholes in a region with 23 villages and where thousands of residents live without easy access to safe drinking water.

“From these statistics, it is therefore beyond doubt that there is a need for more boreholes in the two wards,” says Rudo Mharapara, a social worker with our longtime partner there Shinga Development Trust.

(Note: a borehole differs from a well in that it is drilled by a machine and is relatively small in diameter, while a well is usually dug by hand and is larger in diameter. The main advantage of a borehole is that it is possible to penetrate the aquifer to a greater depth ensuring a reliable supply of water in times of drought or high usage, according to The Well Drillers Association.)

That’s why Bread and Water for Africa® is working with Shinga to drill 10 new boreholes in the two wards that are projected to serve 3,000 individuals each, ensuring that these 30,000 will no longer have to walk more than 500 meters (about three-tenths of a mile, or about the length of five football fields) to collect all the clean water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.

Shinga founder and executive director Margaret Makambira is working with area schools where children and youth who live at Shinga’s Lerato Children’s Village attend so that the boreholes will benefit entire student bodies as well as the population in the surrounding communities.

“The whole communities of Dora Wards 5 and 35 have the general challenge of food access, especially considering it is a drought-prone region not favorable for farming throughout the year,” noted Rudo. “This leaves the communities worse off considering the general population has no access to water.”

As a result, “the Dora population collects most of their drinking water from dirty sources like streams, ponds and unprotected wells…and their health standards of living are poor,” she said.

The residents of the area are primarily marginalized people who make their living molding bricks, Rudo told us.

“People lack basic needs like clean water, which is vital for a healthy life.

“In Zimbabwe, rural areas have been given the lowest priority when it comes to water.

“For many years now, Dora community members have been suffering because they have to fetch water very far from their homes. Women and children are the ones who suffer the most from a lack of water in the community.

“They must walk a distance of two kilometers (nearly 1.25 miles) with a 20-liter (5.2 gallons weighing more than 44 pounds) container on their heads.

“Some of the villagers use polluted from the nearby streams to avoid walking long distances which results in them getting sick since most of them do not boil the water to kill the germs.”

At Bread and Water for Africa® we have been working for decades in sub-Saharan African countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and now Zimbabwe digging wells, drilling boreholes, protecting springs and more to provide easy, convenient access to hundreds of thousands of children, families and elders to ensure they do not get ill – or worse – from drinking contaminated water – all thanks to our generous and compassionate supporters from across the country.

Bread and Water for Africa® Commends and Supports UN’s International Youth Day Through Food Self-Sufficiency Program for Youth in Sierra Leone

Bread and Water for Africa® Commends and Supports UN’s International Youth Day Through Food Self-Sufficiency Program for Youth in Sierra Leone

This Friday, August 12, is the United Nations’ International Youth Day “bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.”

At Bread and Water for Africa®, we commend the UN’s action and support the mission by recognizing and encouraging the efforts of youth and young adults in sub-Saharan African countries including Sierra Leone where our youth food self-sustainability program is providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to become successful farmers.

That means helping them to become more than subsistence farmers, barely eking out enough food for themselves and their family members, but actually enough to have a surplus that they can sell at local markets and transforming them into entrepreneurs with the potential to grow.

The objective of this year’s theme, “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages” is to “amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve [the UN’s] Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.

“It will also raise awareness on certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole.”

Working with our partner, Rural Youth Development Organization – Sierra Leone (RYDO-SL), we are helping youth and young adults like 21-year-old Fofie Sawyer who had to leave school in 2020 to return to his rural village in the Bumpe community following the death of his father.

“He had to become independent and find ways to survive,” reported RYDO-SL program director Joseph Kobba.

In December 2021, Fofie was identified by older RYDO-SL staff members as a hardworking, but struggling young man who was in need of agricultural training and support with seeds and tools to carry out his farming work.

“Fofie said one of the most difficult things he had been facing in his farming work was his lack of tools and seeds which are expensive,” Joseph said, adding “but the empowerment (training and tools) he received from Bread and Water for Africa® helped him to acquire needed skills in farming.”

As for Fofie himself, he says the training and support he received “has made life meaningful for me and other young farmers as they can now develop their own farming and business plans.”

He also reported that his crop production has increased significantly since his training.

“Before, I used to be late in cultivating the land because of the lack of seeds and tools, but with timely seeds and tools support, I got an earlier harvest and I am doing well now.

“I gained much knowledge during the training conducted by RYDO-SL and I am grateful to Bread and Water for Africa® for the support.”

And we at Bread and Water for Africa® are grateful for our supporters who make it possible for us to fund the agricultural education program for hundreds of youth in Sierra Leone just like Fofie.

Thousands of Children and Youth Benefit from Bread and Water for Africa® Education Programs Year After Year

Thousands of Children and Youth Benefit from Bread and Water for Africa® Education Programs Year After Year

At Bread and Water for Africa® we believe that education is THE KEY out of a life of dire poverty for millions of children throughout sub-Saharan African, especially for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children and youth whose fondest wish is to be able to attend school.
But sadly, for far too many it remains just that – a wish, a hope, a dream – that will never become their reality as they waste their lives away struggling day to day at menial, manual labor earning just enough to feed themselves for that day.
That’s why at Bread and Water for Africa®, and thanks to our generous supporters, we enable thousands to attend school, from the youngest nursery and primary school students to graduating secondary school scholars and for a few especially talented and dedicated young adults, even post-secondary college.
128,017
That is the number of children and youth in Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – who in the past three years alone – have benefited from our education support program in one way or another.

Some benefit directly by having the school fees paid, mandatory uniforms purchased and school supplies provided; others benefit from classroom and other school building expansions enabling more to attend; or through our support of teachers’ salaries which encourages and rewards the best and brightest to remain as educators; and the tens of thousands of students at all grade levels benefit every day from the nearly 90,000 text and reference books we’ve shipped to Ethiopia and Uganda.
What is a relatively small investment on our part, such as $200 to pay for a child’s education for an entire year, pays off in big dividends and transforms lives.
Such is the case of an orphaned secondary student in Zimbabwe named Lorcadia who describes the supporters of the Bread and Water for Africa® education program her “guardian angels” and expressing her sincere gratitude “in appreciation of the good work that you are doing in my life.

“I have been suffering a lot in the past years when both my parents died,” she told us. “I was staying with my grandparents and they could not afford to send me to school or provide me with a school uniform and stationery.

“I want to express my gratitude to you – because of you I am now going to school every day and my school performance is improving in that regard.

“It is really a wonderful thing that you are doing, because of what you are doing I am now able to have a second chance in life.”

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, puts the dire state of education in sub-Saharan Africa this way:

“Of all regions, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of about 6 and 11 are out of school, followed by one-third of youth between the ages of about 12 and 14.
“According to UIS data, almost 60 percent of youth between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school.
“Without urgent action, the situation will likely get worse as the region faces a rising demand for education due to a still-growing school-age population.”
And at Bread and Water for Africa®, thanks again to our supporters, we are helping address the issue of “education exclusion,” not just one student at a time, but thousands year after year.

Textbooks Desperately Needed in Ugandan Schools Where 10 Students Share One Book

Textbooks Desperately Needed in Ugandan Schools Where 10 Students Share One Book

In schools,  in the United States and elsewhere in developed countries around the world, more and more students are using tablets, Chromebooks and other electronic devices in their classrooms replacing traditional textbooks, but in Third World countries, such as Uganda where in many places there is not even electricity, books remain the primary educational teaching tool.

That’s why, we are hoping to fill a 40-foot container soon with some 22,000 books to ship to our partner there, Bega Kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) for distribution to at least 170 rural schools in the 16 districts where it works.

Bega kwa Bega (BkB)  program manager David Ssagala notes that “Education is of critical importance to any development agenda,” and that for 22 years BkB “has included strong elements of education in every project we manage.

“We have educated thousands of villagers, built and repaired schools, developed model schools, trained teachers at our Teacher Development Center and provided educational resources to hundreds of schools, including textbooks.”

What is innovative about BkB is that once they receive the books from Bread and Water for Africa® is that they do much more than simply drop off boxes of books at the schools, they ensure the teachers know how to use them and how to convey the information they contain to their students.

“BkB’s outreach program will recruit teachers from all over the country to participate in our training event and use our resources to learn and improve their classroom skills,” says David. “We plan to distribute books to at least 170 of the outreach schools where the participating teachers are employed.

“Upon receiving the books, teachers will be coached on how to use them and how to help their students use the books to improve their literacy and become lifelong learners.”

He also pointed out that BkB is constructing an “education renewal center” which includes a model nursery school, a primary school and a center for professional development of teachers and early educators.

“Realizing the poor state of primary education in Uganda, and drawing from the expertise gained from our two successful nursery school programs, BkB will achieve a level of superior scholastic achievement through a careful and meticulous training program for teachers,” he told us.

“This training will allow for a curriculum that teaches students a broad array of necessary subjects, both traditional and new, to prepare students for secondary school and beyond,” he added. “Lessons learned by teacher trainees will benefit schools and students all over Uganda and in other African countries.”

David also provided us with a vivid picture of the communities and schools where the books will be distributed noting, that most of the outreach schools which will receive the books are located in rural areas where the literacy level in men is just over 50 percent, and less than 45 percent in women.

The majority of the people in these communities are what he describes as “farming peasants,” and the primary schools their children attend consist of as many 800 students, with class sizes as large as 70 students per teacher.

“Few schools have power, water or sanitary facilities with children sharing outdoor latrines. The only physical items available in most classrooms are one bench seat per six children, one blackboard and chalk for the teacher, and perhaps one textbook per every 10 students.

And David gave several reasons why the need for more new books for the students are so critical:

“Most children find it difficult to learn and master their reading skills – especially in English – due to a lack of books.

“Due to economic hardships, neither the government nor the local community has funds to establish libraries.

“Teachers have an acute shortage of books and materials for their continuous professional development. They must rely on their college lecture notes, and those loaned to them by colleagues.

“There are no public libraries for the most part in Uganda. The shipment of textbooks and materials will enable the Teacher Development Center to better serve the educational needs of both the local teachers and students, plus offer reading materials to the local community on a lending-library basis.

And when do they hope to receive the books from Bread and Water for Africa® that the schools and students so desperately need to progress forward with their education?

“As soon as possible,” says David.

 

School Building Desperately Needed in Chad for Students With Big Dreams

School Building Desperately Needed in Chad for Students With Big Dreams

Longtime Bread and Water for Africa® partner Hope International Foundation (HIF) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, was founded in 1994 has provided holistic humanitarian services to more than 100,000 vulnerable persons – primarily children – since its inception in a number of ways.

And that includes through its school fees program for impoverished children, supported by Bread and Water for Africa®, who would otherwise have zero opportunity to realize their fondest wish of getting an education, their only path out of a life of dire poverty.

HIF Founding President and CEO Esther Ndichafah is a nurse and midwife, but she is also indirectly an educator who has made it possible for thousands of children and youth to attend school not only in her home country of Cameroon, but in neighboring Chad as well where it is seeking formal governmental status as an official nongovernmental organization.

“We provide partial and full scholarships which include tuition, books, school bags and supplies to orphaned and destitute children to enhance their overall performance and retention in school.

“This project is a longtime achievement.”

Working in Chad, Esther’s first priority was getting students enrolled in school, which in many cases does not involve an actual school building with classrooms but sitting on wooden benches underneath a shady tree – better than nothing, but of course not ideal.

“We have been sponsoring children in Chad for several years now and during our tours to schools we have seen the need firsthand,” says Esther.

So she turned to Bread and Water for Africa® for financial assistance in constructing an actual school building, and for that she chose the isolated village of Bakaba which is “only accessible with particular car models and strong motorbikes.”

The village, with a population of about 1,500, has no electricity (although residents can use solar energy for their most basic power needs) and no pipe-borne water as the entire village gets it water through four wells.

“There is just one primary school – with no structure,” Esther informed us.

During a visit by Esther and HFI staff last fall, “the community of Bakaba emphasized their need for a school building,” she told us, adding “neither the government nor local authorities have been able to take up the responsibility.”

The “school” is currently staffed by seven dedicated teachers who are paid by the Parent Teachers’ Association “and this project will be a great motivation for the communities and local authorities to put in the effort,” which she noted is the only school accessible by children in Bakaba and three neighboring villages.

“Thus, this project is of utmost necessity.”

Esther also told us the proposed project has the overwhelming support of the general community, including local chiefs and schoolteachers, which “is already taking concrete actions by gathering some materials that will be used in the construction, such as sand and gravel.

“They also offered up unskilled labor free of charge that will accompany the experts during the construction of the school,” she informed us.

In addition, the land for the project “has been freely provided by the community because they perceive our good intentions as far as improving their livelihood is concerned.

“Community involvement is one of the keys to success on this project and we can guarantee it is something we have already succeeded to obtain.”