It’s said that an organization’s mission is defined by its budget priorities, and at Bread and Water for Africa® our priority is to save lives.
That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a literal statement of fact.
For 2024, our largest single budget item – 23 percent — is grant support to the orphanages we support in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe as we have for decades, with the addition of our newest orphan care partner in Tanzania.
The loving care given by our partners, respectively, the Lewa Children’s Home, the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Centre, the Lerato Children’s Village and Watoto Wa Africa (Children of Africa) has taken vulnerable children out of bad situations of abuse, abandonment and a possible life on the streets, and instead enabled them to spend their childhood receiving three nutritious meals every day, a warm bed to sleep in every night, the healthcare they need to grow and thrive as well as the education they need to succeed in adulthood.
We literally shudder to think what would have happened to the thousands over the decades who have called Lewa, Kabwata, Lerato and Watoto home without the grant support they have received from Bread and Water for Africa® — all made possible, of course, by our compassionate, loyal and generous supporters across the U.S.
Our clean water program, which make up 20 percent – one-fifth of our budget expenditures, has literally saved lives by eliminating the risk people living in small, rural and remote villages throughout sub-Saharan Africa of contracting deadly waterborne diseases such as cholera, Typhoid Fever and many others, by digging wells, drilling deep water boreholes, protecting spring water sites from human and livestock contamination and refurbishing well pumps which had been disused for years due to lack of general maintenance.
For 2024, our clean water development program includes the construction of three wells in Zambia with our new partner there, Village Water Zambia, the construction of two wells in Zimbabwe, the implementation of 12 more spring water protection projects in Uganda with our longtime partner, Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder), the construction of four wells in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) with our new partner there, Technologies Appropriées pour le Congo (marking our return to working in the DRC now that the embattled country has become more stable), the rehabilitation of 16 wells at community centers, health centers and schools in Ethiopia, and the construction of 12 wells in remote villages in Malawi.
In total, these 49 projects – serving a conservative estimate of 1,000 villagers each – by the end of this year will be providing roughly 50,000 individuals, not only saving lives and preventing illness, but also making a tremendous impact on the primarily girls and women who had been wasting many hours each day fetching water for their families from likely contaminated open water sources such as streams and lakes.
Our healthcare program makes up 16 percent of our cash grant budget, but also includes a projected $20 million in in-kind support in the form of medicines, medical supplies and equipment and wheelchairs for our partners which operate hospitals and clinics providing free and extremely low-cost medical care to tens of thousands of individuals, especially expectant mothers and infants and children under 5 years who otherwise would go without – certainly preventing and treating illnesses and saving lives!
Through cash grants, we will continue our program support for both remote and urban healthcare centers in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi and Sierra Leone, along with in 2024 funding for the renovation of remote village health centers in Sierra Leone. In Malawi, we will be continuing our support of a mobile clinic operated by our partner there, Our AIM Foundation (OAF), which travels to the most hard-to-reach communities providing free medical care to tens of thousands of residents serving an area consisting of 125 villages in the district of Mchinji. In addition, this year we are planning on providing financial support of a laboratory or examination room for clinic construction project that will be undertaken by OAF in the Mankad community.
Next with 11 percent of our budget, is our agriculture/food self-sustainability program which will continue to provide support to agricultural training for female smallholder farmers (who do most of subsistence farming in sub-Sahara Africa) and youth in Sierra Leone operated by our in-country partners, Rural Youth Development Organization and Faith Healing Development Organization. Our goal for this year is to sponsor 150 individuals with training in best agricultural practices for their tiny tracts of land, along with providing them with garden tools, seeds and seedlings to cultivate such staples as cassava and groundnuts (peanuts) to feed their family as well as to sell any surplus at local markets, fertilizers and pesticides.
In Tanzania, our food self-sustainability budget includes funding for the continued development of an agricultural development program to feed 84 orphaned and street children living at the Watoto Wa Africa orphanage in Mwanza, as well as generate income to support its overall operations.
In recognition that education is the key to success for any child and youth – especially for those living in dire poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and their only path to success – we are devoting 9 percent of our budget, which includes school fee support for students in Cameroon, the Republic of Chad, Kenya and Zimbabwe, as well as general education program support to our education partners in Tanzania and Zambia.
Our in-kind support includes the shipping of thousands of textbooks and general reading books to primary and secondary schools, as well as reference books that will benefit tens of thousands of students year after year for years to come. In addition, we will be continuing our partnership with The Reuse Network to provide school desks and other furniture to schools in remote villages (locations to be determined – we’ll be sure to keep you posted throughout the year!).
And last, but certainly not least, 3 percent of our budget is dedicated to the more than 200 children who are fortunate enough to attend the Seed School in the Nairobi slum of Kibera, Kenya, (among the largest on the continent) who will continue to receive two meals each school day, likely the only meals they would receive.
However, as Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema knows from years of working with our partners in support of children’s homes and orphanages, schools, health clinics and more, many unexpected and unplanned needs are likely to arise in the coming 12 months, 18 percent of our budget is reserved for “miscellaneous relief” as a sort of insurance policy to ensure that in the event of an emergency we will have readily accessible funds to address those needs of our longtime partners, or perhaps to utilize for pilot programs for new partners. (It’s also good to have a reserve fund on hand to offset the rampant inflation in some of the countries where we work in critical program areas, such as continuing to be able to purchase food to feed orphaned children living at the children’s homes we support.)
We admit all this is an ambitious goal, but it’s something we have been able to do year after year – all thanks to compassionate, loyal, and generous supporters across the U.S.