In the United States we grapple with ideas of essential and non-essential activities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. These distinctions vary worldwide based on local conditions. Most importantly, the present and the future have to be considered simultaneously, and that is a challenge.
As we confront the current and future needs in this context, we see that we need to maintain many ICSEE activities. For example, it is important to continue strengthening the livestock investments of the women who are striving for financial independence.
We want to maintain as much employment as possible. This includes supporting our staff as they prepare for programs that will be urgently needed in the near future. These must not be abandoned.
Here is an overview of preparations, organizational work, plans, and practical work designed to meet the hardships of normal life ahead. While we are continuing to fix problems that may arise with existing stoves or solar systems, we’re focusing on these larger-scale efforts that are safe to continue in the midst of pandemic concerns.
ICSEE CURRENT WORK OVERVIEW
ICSEE’s organization of stove-installing women and the eleven widow’s groups have goats and cows which will soon be ready for selling into the food supply chain. The animals are strong and healthy and the groups have invested funds and hard work to get them to this point.
All the villages have weekly markets that continue to stay open. The women have individual businesses there. They buy corn, oil, or beans in bulk and sell them in household-sized quantities to other women. Loans from the cooperative banks ICSEE supports have helped these businesses flourish.
Mesha, Kisioki, and our team have just visited all eleven widow’s groups and found women expressing their great happiness because of their independence. They are making decisions and plans because they now have their own well-earned money.
Food for livestock
A good rainy season just ended and there is plenty of grass for maintaining healthy cattle, including the ICSEE breeding herd. But the dry season is coming and there is a possibility of a dangerous drought, as in recent years.
The ICSEE Cow Fodder Factory will be ready to begin producing when the need for food supplementation hits. The factory now has powerful grinders and mixers and hundreds of bags of raw material are in storage, ready when needed.
It is gratifying to be able to produce fodder of excellent quality from agricultural waste. The factory will employ five or six people who can live in the facilities we have built for them.
The chlorination systems protect people from waterborne disease, especially children
ICSEE now has six active pond-side chlorination systems bringing safe water to 1000 families. Their 4000 children are free from waterborne disease.
To provide safe water for all the people in the district would require another 150-200 of these systems. It is frustrating how slow it is to bring safe water distribution solutions to the pastoralist regions, when we see what a difference they make.
We are very happy that the Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) of the government is joining in, at long last. With their third of the funds added to ours and the third from the villagers, Loksale village will soon have a 10,000 liter-a-day system.
We are now buying tanks, valves, and pipes at our plumbing supply vendor in Arusha. The experienced ICSEE installation team will teach the government team.
Also of importance, we are bringing some business to suppliers and collaborators. It is so difficult now to keep their long-term and loyal employees on their payrolls and our business is helpful.
New program at Cypress Hill
We have suspended gatherings and workshops at our Cypress Hill campus. The computer center is there, and our two watchmen provide 24-hour security. Looking ahead, we have plans to implement strong new educational and social programming.
ICSEE is currently preparing a program to help girls get academically strong for secondary school while learning to protect and care for themselves as they mature as young women.
ICSEE is preparing the necessary facilities for this program. This includes finishing the Cypress Hill open-air restaurant with its nice roofed eating and meeting area.
Thank you for all your help as we move through these extraordinary times.