Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dream/Innovate: Revolving Fund Connects People to Medical Care

Peter Kariuki, the leader of Shalom City, is working tirelessly to ensure that 3,000 displaced families are resettled on safe land that is good for farming.  He has built trust and a community identity among these 3,000 families that remains strong even when the group is scattered on their new land (Read about how this community formed).  The families are being settled in groups ranging from 50 to 450 families together on land given by the government.

Peter addresses the families gathered at Shalom City
  Because the families are settling on farming land that is unoccupied, it is often quite remote from any town.  This poses a problem for residents who need to access medical care, especially in emergency situations.  To overcome this challenge, Peter is taking the idea of a revolving fund to help each community purchase a vehicle for emergency use. 

Revolving funds are often made up of a group of women who meet weekly and each bring a designated amount to contribute to the common pool.  Each week, one woman is the recipient of the pooled funds.  She might use the funds to purchase a sewing machine, make a home repair, or pay her childrens' school fees.

With the Shalom City revolving fund, each family gives the equivalent of $1.30 each month to the common pool.  Then, from the pooled funds, a car is purchased for one community at a time until each group has an emergency vehicle.  Right now, the idea is still a dream that Peter has and has not been implemented yet.

Africa Rising recognizes and encourages the innovations of African leaders which often come from a dream of meeting a community need.  We look forward to seeing how the Shalom City revolving fund connects people to emergency medical care through grassroots efforts of families that share a common dream.

Example of vehicle that will be purchased through Shalom City revolving fund

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Share: Kilisa Village Demonstrates Sand Dam Technology

The village of Kilisa in Kenya is building sand dams (also called sub-surface dams) in seasonal rivers to secure an adequate supply of water to support life, agriculture, and economic development.  With encouragement and support from the African Economic Foundation, an Africa Rising partner, the village has not only built their own dams, but also serves as a demonstration site for surrounding villages.  In a short time, four neighboring villages also built their own sand dams.  The Kilisa village sand dams are a powerful example of how Africa Rising partners share knowledge to expand the impact of their work.  The impact of sand dams on the environment and community are clear from the images below:
Dry river bed without a sand dam

River bed upstream of a sand dam with grasses growing due to groundwater storage
Here's how sand dams works: "Upstream of the dam sand accumulates, resulting in additional groundwater storage capacity of riverbed and –banks. This reservoir fills during the wet season, preventing quick runoff of valuable rainwater out of the catchment and out of the reach of the community. Water availability during dry seasons is prolonged and generally guaranteed. The quality of the water is protected against evaporation and contamination. Water quality is even improved through natural filtration in the soil." -From "An Introduction to Sand Storage Dams"
Kilisa residents showing Mary from Africa Rising a sub-surface dam