GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Meet Mama Africa, Anna Anatoli, GWWI 2008 Graduate and 2011 Trainer in Training

Project: Safe Water Solutions for Sub-Saharan African Women

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GWWI is proud to share this interview of Anna Anatoli, or as she was so aptly named, ‘Mama Africa’.  That’s a big name to live up to, but Anna does a great job filling the bill!  Anna came to the Global Women’s Water Initiative in 2008 to our inaugural Women and Water Training in Kenya. The moment she stepped onto the grounds of the Green Belt Training center in Nairobi, we knew we were in the presence of a powerful leader with deep passion and unwavering persistence.Because of her incredible drive and immense effort to share all the knowledge to her community in Arusha, she was invited to participate in the GWWI Trainers Training program in Uganda in 2011.The development of the GWWI Trainer’s Training Program was inspired by and designed for leaders like Anna to help deepen and expand her knowledge in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions.  Anna brought two young women from the Tanzania Girl Guides (the international version of Girl Scouts) to ensure that this knowledge is instilled in the younger generation.

Anna is the founder and Chairperson of ANEPO (Attraction of Natural Environment, we Protect and Organize) from Arusha, Tanzania. Anna works at the forefront of addressing environmental issues as a means to sustain water issues in her community. In a community that faces drought and lack of safe and available drinking water, Anna provides education and training through ANEPO. She trains women on healthy eating and shares all the different techniques and technologies she learned at the GWWI trainings – solar cooking methods, purifying water using the WAPI, (Water Pasteurization Indicator), construction of Biosand Filters and toilets. She also teaches women to harvest rainwater and to use drip methods to grow trees and organic vegetables. She is also the Regional Secretary of the Tanzania Girl Guides Association, an organization that trains girls to become strong women and good citizens.
Africa’s future is in good hands with water champions like Mama Africa taking the lead in building local water and sanitation programs!
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Angella and Martha Win an Award and Buy a Brick Machine!

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Martha
Martha

Angella and Martha have two big reasons to celebrate and are one step closer to reaching their goal of providing their community with access to water!  First, they were able to raise funds from their local supporters and community members to buy an ISSB brick-making machine to build strong water tanks and rainwater harvesting systems! At the cost of approximately $1500 which is quite an accomplishment!  And second, they won the Best Booth at the Moyo District Women’s Day Celebration!

Angella
Angella

Angella and Martha are from Marindi in Northern Uganda, a region that has been plagued with conflict for decades. Both are retired nurses and have been working tirelessly as facilitators and volunteers to improve community health for the most vulnerable people in their communities – women, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).  Angella and Martha came to the Global Women’s Water Intiative through Patricia Eiyo-Elotu of the UN-World Food Programme. Patricia not only nominated the team, she also led the Climate Change workshop at the GWWI Women and Water Training held in Kamapala last July 2011.

Angella and Martha learned how to build a variety of different rainwater harvesting systems including capturing water from thatched roofs, ferro cement tank construction and how to repair and clean gutters.  On a field trip to Connect Africa, they saw the ISSB tank and new that this technology was the best option for their community situation. The ISSB (interlocking stabilized soil block) machine makes a special kind of brick that is composed simply of marram (earthen clay), sand, a little cement and water.  Because the blocks interlock, the structure is much more stable and requires less cement to bond them together. They went straight home, mobilized their community and built a rainwater harvesting tank for a local school!
Patricia
Patricia

At Moyo District’s Woman’s Day Celebration they offered a workshop that was attended by the Chairman of the District Council. They made bricks with the ISSB machine, promoted the bricks and offered a demo of the Biosand Filter! Angella and Martha are no stranger to recognition as they have won the Home and Environment Competition for three consecutive years! They have strong relationships with the community and its leaders and because of their transparency, they have developed a deep trust that will ensure that this program will succeed.

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GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays:  UCOBAC Receives the Gift of Hygiene from CNN Hero, Derek Kayonga!  

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

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The Global Women’s Water Initiative is thrilled to share this video featuring CNN Hero Derek Kayonga of the Global Soap Project (GSP) providing UCOBAC with recycled soap thanks to GWWI Fellow, Lily Dimling!
A primary goal of GWWI is to create an international network of women leaders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector providing a platform for learning and sharing.  When Lily, a leader at Global Soap Project, was selected to participate in the GWWI flagship Fellowship program, one of her main objectives was to learn more about WASH implementation on the ground so GSP could expand their services through WASH education initiatives to supplement their mission to distribute soap. In summer of 2011, the GWWI Fellowship Program mobilized a global team of women graduate students and development professionals to gain a holistic and hands-on training in international development, WASH-related education and appropriate technology.

UCOBAC is one of the two returning organizations that participated in our 2008 and 2010 Women and Water trainings. Led by Solome Mukisa, UCOBAC provides services to improve the welfare of vulnerable children in Uganda through trainings of relevant actors, advocacy and networking using community-based initiatives. GWWI has since sponsored four UCOBAC members to attend GWWI trainings who have learned how to build technologies addressing all three major water challenges – water access (rainwater harvesting techniques), water quality (various water treatments like the Biosand Filter, Solar Cookit ) and sanitation (Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines).  With these skills and technologies, UCOBAC is on their way to becoming a full service Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service center.
GWWI knew this would be a perfect opportunity for the Grassroots Teams to be able to partner with an organization like GSP and for Lily to learn nuanced community strategies and witness first hand the challenges grassroots women and communities face. And as it turns out, it was beyond perfect! What an amazing gift for UCOBAC not only to receive soap for their health clinic and other HIV/AIDS orphan programs, but also to have been featured in Derek’s Introduction video for CNN Heroes! Look out for, 2008 graduate and UCOBAC Executive Director, Solome Mukisa at about the 1 minute mark!  Much of the footage is taken in the slum where UCOBAC offers free health services and the site of the UCOBACs first toilet that the community, Lily and others helped build.

Let’s hear it for Water Heros and Sheros bringing hope where it is needed.

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GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Eye on iCON

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When the Global Women’s Water Initiative organizes a training in a region, we identify a strong partner who will be our local host. They are GWWIs most important lens into the intricacies of the regional issues that women face. They also offer their expertise into the appropriate design of the program and ensure that we follow all cultural protocols with respect and reverence. In 2011, GWWI invited iCON Women and Young People’s Leadership Academy ( http://iconwypla.org/) , a Ugandan civil society organization offers transformational leadership trainings to unleash the entrepreneurial leadership potential of women and young people (male and female) who have been socially marginalized to fully take the lead in developing innovative approaches to address poverty, violence, gender inequality and gender inequity in all areas of society.
Debbie Kaddu Serwadda, Executive Director, iCON
Debbie Kaddu Serwadda, Executive Director, iCON

 

Ruth records her SWOTs for display
Ruth records her SWOTs for display

This set the tone for the entire week. Women had arrived feeling a bit intimidated – some feeling a little scared because they had never built anything before, others fearful about speaking in public. Debbie created an incredible safe and powerful space for the women to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) as leaders, a process that brought a profound sense of vulnerability and motivation. Each woman recorded and displayed their own SWOTS on poster paper and hung them all around our conference space.One of the most powerful moments during the training was the “gallery walk” where the women learned each others SWOTs. The women identified other women who had strengths where they themselves felt weak and connected to them for inspiration and support. By the middle of the week women were laying bricks, singing, collaborating, dreaming and standing up in front of their groups boldly declaring their vision for their community!GWWI believes that technology implementation is only a piece of the puzzle. Technology solutions will not replicate themselves! Programs work because of people, not because of technology. Developing leadership is a key initiative in GWWIs program design. Debbie Kaddu-Serwadda, iCON Executive Director, spearheaded the leadership sessions at our training, greeting us every morning as “Water Champions”!  Our first course of action was to claim our leadership names!  You can do this too! Take the first letter of your name and find a word that starts with that letter that most exemplifies one of your best leadership qualities! For the rest of the workshop, we called each other by our leadership names to give vibration and voice to each of our sisters to acknowledge that we see them as powerful leaders. We had names like “Daring Dade” and “Inspirational Irene”!  Can you imagine how confident and relevant you feel when other people are seeing and acknowledging you as one of your most powerful qualities?

Elizabeth declaring that one of her strengths is having big ears to listen
Elizabeth declaring that one of her strengths is having big ears to listen

As you’ve seen from the blogs, the women are stepping into their leadership with grace and power! Thanks to Debbie and iCON for unleashing our power!

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UBUNTU

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n:  an Nguni word from South Africa that addresses the notion of our interconnectedness as human beings. Sentence: “Umuntu ngumuntu ngamuntu:” “I am a person through other people.”

 

I have been contemplating the implications of ubuntu in my journey to finding my life’s purpose. One February afternoon, I met with Phil Hutchings, founding member of BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration), to learn how his experience with activism could inform my direction as an emerging activist. During the civil rights movement, Phil played a role in organizing youth to protest racist Jim Crow laws, leading to his involvement in the founding of BAJI.  His work with in the civil rights movement manifested ubuntu in a profound way – it brought attention to our interconnectedness as humans.

 

I was born in Ghana, but have lived in the United States since I was eight years old. My efforts to embody ubuntu remind me of the privileges I enjoy in a society where I have all the tools to reach my highest potential. Reflecting on the tension between my privilege, and having family members who don’t enjoy the same privileges, influences what I do. Currently, I am a Research Fellow at Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA), an organization that highlights the role of women in the environmental sector. I spend my time with the Sub-Saharan Africa program that supports ongoing efforts of African women to create holistic and women-led solutions to environmental challenges. The recognition of our interconnectedness and interdependence is reflected in WEA’s core belief that “when women thrive, communities, the environment, and future generations thrive.”

 Global Women's Water Initiative East Africa Women and Water Training Program 2011
Global Women’s Water Initiative East Africa Women and Water Training Program 2011

If the notion of ubuntu is to be manifested in our everyday lives, then we have a responsibility to act when other human beings cannot enjoy their basic rights and live a life of dignity. Ubuntu presents infinite possibilities for us to bring our highest selves, knowing that “when we do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

“Umuntu ngumuntu ngamuntu:” “I am a person through other people.”

By Priscilla Ankrah, Research Fellow, Sub-Saharan Africa Program – Women’s Eartha Alliance