Congrats to Gemma Bulos, GWWI Director Selected as Stanford Social Entrepreneur Fellow!

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A huge congratulations to GWWI Director Gemma Bulos for being selected as 1 of 3 people from around the globe to be a 2013 Stanford Social Entrepreneur Fellow (SEERS Program). This highly competitive program selects social entrepreneurs working on the ground bringing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
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Launched in July 2011, the program recognized the need to bring a practitioner’s perspective into the classroom at Stanford University and infuse the research agenda of Stanford’s scholars with a first-hand account of the challenges confronting the increasingly interdependent and connected world. Faculty and researchers at Stanford are eager to access the valuable experience of global practitioners whose insights into the reality of democracy and development on the ground can enrich and deepen their scholarship and theoretical work. Similarly, the creativity of these social entrepreneurs can inspire, provoke, and mobilize the immensely talented young people who study at Stanford and help them to engage even more purposefully with the world.
Gemma will be mentoring students, auditing classes to strengthen GWWIs programs and teaching workshops in Social Entrepreneurship from her experience in East Africa with GWWI and in the Philippines with A Single Drop for Safe Water. Gemma’s work in the Philippines developing an innovative approach to community driven water solutions garnered her top awards from renowned Social Entrepreneur organizations such as Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation, Ernst Young and the Tech Awards. Her breadth of experience has also been recognized by Reuters’/Alertnet where she was named one of the Top 10 Water Solutions Trailblazers in the world and by Filipina Women’s Network as one the 100 Most Influential Thought Leaders and Innovator Filipinas in the USA.
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GWWI Graduates Launch the First Local Chapter in Moyo, Uganda

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Martha and Angella have been friends since they were young children. In 1979 during the Liberation War in Uganda, most people of Moyo, the town on the northernmost tip of Uganda, had to flee their homeland across the border of Sudan to safety. Angella and Martha’s families with their young children left with only their documents, no money and whatever belongings they could carry on their backs. They walked across the border into Sudan and lived as refugees in separate areas wherever they could find shelter.  After 8 years, during the resettlement they had a teary and bittersweet reunion when they returned to find that their town of Moyo had been completely destroyed. No houses or buildings anywhere.

As they restarted their lives back home, they were committed to help rebuild their community. They helped start the Marindi Cooperative Society, an organized group composed of women and men to carry out small scale credit and savings services to its members.
 


 
Angella and Martha, as a retired nurse and midwife, respectively, wanted to provide more services to improve the health of their community.  In 2011, they were selected to participate in the GWWI Women and Water Training in Kampala, Uganda. When they learned about WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and how to build WASH technologies, they knew that this was one way they could meet their goals. Because lack of access to water was a very big issue for Moyo citizens, they elected to learn how to build rainwater harvesting systems (RWH) with an ISSB tank (interlocking stabilized soil block) to provide water to their community.

When they brought the RWH technology back to Moyo, their organization was so impressed with it and their capacity to build it, they supported them to build a RWH system and tank at a local school serving over hundreds of students and some neighboring families. After seeing how easy it was to build and training other Moyo women to be able to construct the technology, the MCS chair helped the women members form a new organization called the Moyo Women’s Water Initiative (MWWI), inspired by the work of the Global Women’s Water Initiative.

The first order of business was to mobilize over $1200US from the community to buy an ISSB machine so they can make their own bricks, sell them and construct more tanks. The 30 women members of the MWWI have registered with the government and are now well on their way to realizing their collective dream!

And don’t forget:

SAVE THE DATE:
Thurs, Oct 25 in Berkeley, CA
“Women Making Waves: GWWI Report Back from Africa”

GWWI Report From the Field: Sophia Elected As Chair of the Water Committee

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

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The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee
Sophia, grandmother of 33 is elected as the Chairperson for the Water Tank Committee

Sophia lives in Odesso, Nyamasaria a slum in Kisumu, Kenya, where the main source of water is a contaminated river that runs alongside her community. Everyday you’ll see people fetching water, bathing, washing clothes, dishes and motorbikes, with animals using the water alongside.

In the past year, she had been participating in a program conducted by Kisumu Medical Education Trust (KMET) who facilitated a planning process whereby her community was able to identify their most pressing needs – which they concluded was access to water. When GWWI Graduates Rosemary and Joy of KMET returned from the GWWI training in Kampala in July 2011, they went to Sophia’s community to offer a WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) seminar in her community and introduced the rainwater harvesting system (RWH) with storage tank. Sophia jumped at the chance to participate in the seminar as well as the construction to learn how to build the system. As a grandmother with 33 grandchildren, she knew that it was important to have this knowledge to ensure that they have a hopeful future.
KMETs mission emerged from the Founder’s desire to address maternal mortality in her community. It has since evolved into the provision of health and social services in 45 communities. As a result as of the GWWI training, Rosemary and Joy are determined to integrate WASH education and technologies into KMETs mission, which they believe is a cross-cutting issue that is crucial for KMET to meet all their community health goals.
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
A Water Tank committee was formed consisting of all women!
Rosemary and Joy trained the Odessa RWH team alongside GWWI Training partner Connect Africa. They built their tank in 5 days where the women made their own bricks, laid the foundation, and built the tank. A water committee was formed to maintain and manage the system and Sophia was elected as the Chair. The committee now sells the water at a discount price to the community. Normally water is sold at 10KSH ($.12US) per 5 gallons and the Odessa Water Committee sells it for 3KSH ($.04US). The money earned is given to widows and orphans to pay their school fees and uniforms.
In the past year, Sophia has seen more houses being built around her community because they want to be closer to the water tank so they don’t have to use the river water. Sophia is so grateful because her family no longer gets sick and she has not heard of anyone getting sick who has purchased the water.
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
Powerful partnership between KMET, Water Tank Committee and GWWI!
  Sophia proves at any age, you can be a Water Champion!
Save the DATE: Join us on Oct 25, 2012 at the David Brower Center for the Global Women’s Water Initiative Report Back! More info to follow…

GWWI Report From the Field: Women Prisoners Provide Their Own Clean Water

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

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The Global Women’s Water Initiative Team has been traveling through East Africa to visit the women teams that were trained in our 2011-2012 year long training program. Meet the people whose lives they are changing.
GWWI Team – Gemma Bulos, Director; Rose Wamalwa, Kenya/Tanzania Field Coordinator; Comfort Mukasa, Uganda Field Coordinator
Lydia, Naivasha Women's Prison Warden
Lydia, Naivasha Women’s Prison Warden
 
Lydia, the senior warden of Naivasha Women’s Medium Security Prison in Kenya believes that prisons should be a place for rehabilitation and transformation. In her experience, she has seen that the majority of the women who have been sentenced to time spent in prison are often convicted of crimes such as prostitution and/or abandoning their children. Despite the reasons for women feeling forced to resort to prostitution to provide for their children and having to abandon them to do so, it is still a crime and women can spend up to 3 years in prison for such offenses

Lydia believes this is an opportunity for women to transform their lives and create a new beginning. She has introduced different vocational opportunities such as craft making, sewing and embroidery for the inmates to consider doing as an alternative when they are released. When she learned about the Biosand Filter from one of GWWI Graduates Susan Njeri and Catherine Wanjohi of Life Bloom International, she thought it would be a perfect technology for the inmates to learn while being able to provide clean water for the prison.
Life Bloom, prison guards and inmates and GWWI Team with the biosand filter
Life Bloom, prison guards and inmates and GWWI Team with the biosand filter


Life Bloom International uplifts the lives of abused women with an emphasis on ex-commercial sex workers and provides them with opportunities for leadership and alternative livelihoods for a brighter future.

Inmates perform poetry
Inmates perform poetry
Inmates and GWWI team dance!
Inmates and GWWI team dance!
Susan, an ex-commercial sex worker herself, went through the Life Bloom program, transformed her life and found herself alongside Director, Catherine Wanjohi as invited participants in the GWWI Women and Water Training Program. They brought the BSF back to Naivasha and were invited by Lydia to train the inmates in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) education and to construct the BSF. The inmates were able to build two filters that are now providing all the water for the female inmates, the guards and the four children living in the prison (children under four live with their inmate mothers).
Prior to having the Biosand Filter, there were very regular outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting, with the worst of the outbreaks happening just before the training.  They have had the filter for nearly 9 months and there has not been one episode of diarrhea since then. The male prisoners are now asking that the BSF be installed in their prison.
Thanks to the incredible inspiration of Lydia and the expertise and commitment of Life Bloom, the women prisoners now have a future full of hope!

Mary Saves $1000s With Clean Water

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

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Mary in her organic garden
Mary in her organic garden

Meet Mary, a businesswoman who sells clothes in a small shop and lives in a small house in Matejo, a slum area in Arusha, Tanzania. A few years back she had an operation on her back and was advised by her doctor to take safe water only. She was also told not to take boiled or bottled water.  Following her doctor’s unusual prescription, she sought alternative options to treat her water.  After trying a few local options and not liking them because they still made her nauseous, she found out about the Biosand water filter from Anna Anatoli of ANEPO, a GWWI graduate who was selling this new water treatment in Arusha.

Anna learned how to build the Biosand Filter at the GWWI Women and Water Training and brought it back to her community to start a small micro-enterprise.

Mary attended an ANEPO Health and Wellness Training which was a 2-day Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Training educating the community about the benefits of good hygiene, promoting the Biosand filters (BSF) as an option for clean water, and the benefits of planting organic food for healthy eating. Here she learned how important it was not only to have safe water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning dishes, hand washing and bathing. Mary was immediately impressed by the BSF because it could remove up to 97-99% of bacteria and it could produce over 100 liters of water per day – enough for her whole family to have safe water for all their water-related activities.

Mary’s son next to the BSF with a safe storage container on top

Before buying the Biosand Filter, when someone in her family fell sick from typhoid from the contaminated tap water piped to her house from the municipality, she would end up spending much of her pay on treatment, which made it difficult for her to save money. Because she had 14 people living in her household, she could spend sometimes up to 500,000TSH (approx.: $350) per week on medicines and hospital visits – not to mention lost wages from missing work. After having the BSF for 7 months, there has not been one incidence of typhoid in her family since they installed the filter.

GWWI African Field Team with Mary and neighbors
GWWI African Field Team with Mary and neighbors

Mary is so grateful to have been relieved from the financial burdens of water related illnesses that have held herself and her family back from opportunities.  Based on ANEPOs Health and Wellness Program she also learned how to grow organic vegetables in recycled grain bags in the small spaces in front of and next to her home. Thanks to GWWI graduate Anna Anatoli and ANEPO, Mary has clean water, healthy food and is thriving!

Visit GWWI’s website for more.