Behind everyday generosity is the belief that the little things we do on a daily basis can add up to make a big difference. A mocha here, a mocha there — sometimes it’s easy to forget the big picture and hard to imagine how those sacrificed mochas add up over the course of the year. So we decided to take a step back and look at some of the impact Mocha Club members had this year.
The everyday generosity of Mocha Club members in 2017 turned into:
200 households in Mvera, Malawi have access to clean water (and electricity!) after developing a community-driven solution to the problems caused by a lack of clean water in their village — low school attendance among girls, high rates of waterborne illnesses, and more.
Over 40 women stuck in the sex industry in Ethiopia received counseling, medical care, and skills training, pulling themselves out of life on the streets and creating a sustainable, healthy future for themselves and their families.
95 students in Nairobi’s slums were able to receive a secondary-level education, something vital to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Kenya.
More than 30 children in Addis Ababa whose mothers are recovering from being trapped in the sex trade were provided with medical treatments and care, as well as nutritional support so they learn how to create healthy habits for themselves.
224 orphans and vulnerable children in Congo were counseled through the trauma they’ve experienced because of war and violence and taught life skills that will help them cope in the present and have hope for the future.
We can make an even greater impact if you commit to making your mochas matter in 2018!
A word from Mocha Club President, Emily Blackledge:
You’ve heard us say it over and over: you can make a difference simply by giving up the cost of a few mochas a month. But we’ll be the first to tell you – there’s no comparison between what you give and what you get.
While your lack of caffeine is temporary, your impact is not. Why? Because Mocha Club is dedicated to making sure your mochas matter long-term. Here’s how:
1. Collaborative Relationships : “We” is our favorite pronoun.
If you have been engaged with an organization or visited some of their work and you only hear “us,” “them,” “theirs,” or “mine,” it is a telling example of a group divided. Without shared values, a common vision and dreams, the work being done belongs to only part of the group. In the long run, these projects and partnerships tend to end poorly. Mocha Club’s strategy is different. Your mochas help provide education for local leaders in the form of a community development course of study — a course co-created by representatives from multiple African countries that takes these leaders through the process of identifying, prioritizing, and addressing community needs. The local community development class in Mvera that proposed the water project we told you about on World Water Day spent months surveying neighbors, friends, family, local businesses, schools, and more to get to a consensus on the greatest need in their area. Not the greatest need for one part of the village or the greatest need to one segment of society or even the greatest need as assessed by Mocha Club – the greatest need for the community as a whole, identified by the community as a whole. A community ceremony was just held to lay the foundation stone for the new water project. Here you see traditional leaders, church leaders, police and the Malawi Defence Force, government officials, and local residents. All turned out to collectively celebrate the beginning of the project. Mvera’s original well was built by missionaries and not owned by the community. This time around, “we” is who owns the project – everyone was involved in naming the need and finding a solution, each household will register to use the water and contribute a monthly fee to pay for upkeep and maintenance, and a local committee will be nominated to oversee the project’s continued success. When Mvera residents are still enjoying clean water decades from now, it’s your mochas that made it so.
2. Meaningful Impact: We know who calls the shots.
And it’s not the group of us sitting in offices here in the United States. One of the reasons Mvera has a water shortage is because it is in a hilly area full of rocks and the water springs dry out during the dry season. The other reason is man made. Mvera is in the Dowa district of Malawi – a district that Leonard, our local Country Director, tells us was “the first district in Malawi created by colonial masters” and means “a place of wild animals.” The well in Mvera was originally dug by missionaries. What was once 36 meters deep and fully functional turned into 7 meters deep and not at all sufficient for the community. Local Malawians didn’t determine its location, they weren’t trained on its upkeep, they weren’t involved at any point of the well’s life cycle. During its research, the community development class in Mvera discovered several potential needs during a social analysis – employment, education, health care. But because they approached the situation from a place of “we,” the community of Mvera determined on its own that the most pressing problem was the water shortage. It makes perfect sense — why would a group of people from a different culture, speaking a different language, be able to determine the best course of action for a community halfway across the world? How would my community know if the next best tool for the Mvera community is a grade school or a water well or a pig farm? Your mochas matter because the people calling the shots are the ones on the ground, the ones that know their communities inside and out.
3. Creative Solutions: We build with what we have.
An accurate understanding of reality is important, but leading with the worst qualities doesn’t really inspire anyone’s participation. We already know that without everyone’s engagement, without “we,” development isn’t sustainable. When strategy is focused on what is working – assets to build on, tools that already exist – you can do things you had no idea could be done. For example, in researching the options for a water solution in Mvera, the local class discovered that they already had much of what they needed – river sand, rocks, quarry stones, manpower, and expertise. They consulted professional builders in the community, engineers, the local electricity supplier, a pipe company, and the local government. Once this project is complete, they’ve already dreamed of building on it and expanding access to more and more people. Building with what you have attracts others (and their talents and resources) to join the dream. Asset-based development makes your mochas matter long into the future.
I am glad to report that the Mvera water project is progressing well. After the laying of the Foundation Stone, people in the community began the work and it has been very successful. Right now the community is mobilizing locally available resources for the construction of the tank (water reservoir). Here are photos showing the laying of the foundation stone and the actual work beginning. – Leonard Chipangano, Malawi Country Director
We’ve got another update from the Adjumani refugee camp where Mocha Club is providing zinc roofs for South Sudanese refugees!
Here, Tito, our South Sudan Country Director, shows Gabriel’s home in the camp. See the metal ridges on top of his house? Those are from members of the Mocha Club community — people just like you.
Ever doubt your mochas could make a difference? It only took one Mocha Club member to provide a roof like this one — each zinc sheet was $9. And we still need your help. Will you give up a few mochas a month to help continue our work with refugees?
But let’s take it back to the beginning — why roofs? Don’t refugees need food, water, medical care?
Mocha Club works through local Country Directors — leaders like Tito who live, work, raise their families, and are well known in the communities they serve. When we asked Tito how Mocha Club members like you could best serve the refugees fleeing South Sudan, he said in Adjumani, he kept hearing one thing over and over: a longing for something sustainable and long-lasting in the midst of near-constant uncertainty.
So they asked for zinc roofing to protect their families from the elements as long as they had to be there — a year, ten years, or perhaps even the rest of their lives. And you stepped in and met that need.
Through Mocha Club, you’re not just meeting physical needs. Tito recognized that the UN and other organizations were providing basic physical needs for refugees, but no one was focusing on their hearts.
Tito is holding trauma-healing workshops in the camps, helping refugees process what they’ve experienced and begin to heal. And once again, you, Mocha Club member, are behind him. The resources and materials he uses in those workshops? They’re from our Mocha Club members.
With solid roofs over their head and the community and resources to work through their experience, these families can truly begin to look toward the future. Thank you for your continued support of refugee families through Mocha Club. Your mocha matters.
We still need your help! Will you give up two mochas a month to help continue our work with refugees?
The fight against extreme poverty is not easy. War, refugee camps, hunger, rape, brutality – our South Sudan Country Director Tito has seen it all. He was conscripted by both the state and rebel armies of Sudan in his youth, lost family and friends to civil war, and has been forced to flee his home on more than one occasion.
Many of us would be ready to throw in the towel, tired of watching our country fall apart over and over again, but not Tito. He sees opportunity – a hope for his country as he is busy putting it back together. For more than a decade, Tito has been teaching local leaders how to engage with and improve their communities, even amid the harshest of conditions. And now, as so many South Sudanese are forced to flee their homes into neighboring Uganda – an estimated 800,000 so far, including Tito’s family – he is providing the comfort of a warm, friendly face welcoming many of them into northern Uganda’s refugee camps.
Tito is working diligently in several of these communities, starting leadership classes, holding trauma-healing workshops to help refugees process what they’ve experienced, and providing durable zinc roofs to those whose U.N.-issued tarps have failed to provide adequate shelter over their new homes.
And you, as a Mocha Club member, are right there standing beside him. Tito has transformed your everyday generosity into life change: the materials necessary for these workshops, the sheets of zinc that will protect refugees in their homes for a decade. You, me, Tito, members of the Mocha Club community around the world – we all play a role in providing a vital part of the healing process for refugees: HOPE. Your mochas matter in South Sudan.
REFUGEE: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.
This definition has been my understanding of a refugee for years and the images we see on US television paint a grim reality that thousands endure each year as they are impacted by the trauma forcing them from their homes.
In February, I was able to go and visit Mocha Club’s Country Director and staff who are working in northern Uganda with refugees fleeing the war in South Sudan. As we began our drive into the camps, my heart was ready for what my head was sure I was about to encounter.
Our journey led us to Adjumani, Uganda where I first met Anthony, an older man with a kind smile who looked to be in his late sixties. He was standing in front of the tarped structure he now calls home. Last September, when the fighting got close to his village in South Sudan, he sent his mother, his wife, and his five young children to safety in Uganda. He stayed behind, separated from his loved ones, salvaging what he could of their farm until army rebels took over three months later, forcing him to flee.
As Anthony shared his story, I could see the fear and heartbreak he had lived through on his face. He was not sure what he would find as he crossed the Nile and made his way to the processing tent at Adjumani where all new refugees must go to get registered and ask about their relatives. Did his mother survive the trek three months ago? Were all of his children still alive? Would his wife be there? It’s a reality I truly can’t fathom.
Anthony’s story lined up with what I have seen on TV or witnessed in other camps before. I had expected Adjumani to be unfathomable: hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees; makeshift communities dotted with tarped roofs; tons of stories just like Anthony’s.
I’ve been in many places like this before – places where poverty, war and trauma are overwhelming and it looks like – it feels like – all hope is lost. In these camps, there is a tension that exists and becomes normal. Refugee vs. Peacekeeper. Refugee vs. Refugee. Refugee vs. Local. This tension is often even tangibly represented by a huge fence around the camp – not to keep refugees safe, but to keep them in. In this reality, a refugee is fighting to survive – they never even dream about thriving.
Adjumani is different.
As Tito, our South Sudan Country Director, showed me around, I began to see things I had not expected. I saw smiles, I saw community, I saw – HOPE. Tito pointed out opportunity, vision, dreams, and plans for a future here. He was breathing hope to life.
I struggled to reconcile what I had expected with what was right in front of me, then it hit me… these people’s lives had been entirely wrecked, forever altered. But they were finally at a place where they could stop running.
Hundreds of thousands of people like Anthony had fought to make it here. But when they arrived, they found kindness and were offered land next to their Ugandan neighbors. I was able to ask several Ugandans, “Why are you so willing to share your land, your schools, your economy with so many South Sudanese refugees?” Their response? “Because ten years ago, they did that for us.”
For decades, this region has lived with civil war, with night commutes and child soldiers. Where we see a line separating South Sudan and Uganda, they don’t see anything. They lived here long before that line was drawn; they’ve been neighbors for centuries; they’ve hosted each other in times of crisis. And they continue to do so — because when all else fails, community remains.
I now had a new understanding and appreciation for refugees. While what I saw was different than my expectations, it did not diminish the very real needs, which are still present. Remember those tarp roofs? Tito shared with us that they only last three months and an immediate need in the refugee community is to find a solution for them.Thanks to you and the Mocha Club community we have been able to provide zinc roofs for many of the refugee families.
Oh, and Anthony? His family is one that will benefit from the zinc roofs – the roofs that are a result of your mochas. That’s me, Anthony, and his wife Betty in front of their current home, tarp and all. Soon that tarp will be replaced by the zinc sheets he has received. And for the next ten years, those zinc sheets – your mochas – will be the solid roof over his family in this community that has become their home.
I asked Tito what was next – for the refugees and for how Mocha Club could support them beyond a solid roof under which their families could lay their heads. He said he dreams of a place where they can rest their hearts as well. So he is beginning to teach these refugees how to walk through their stories of trauma and loss and begin to heal.
Mocha Club’s community leader writes…Mvera is home to 300 villages in central Malawi. It is pretty difficult to get water in this area — because it is a hilly area full of rocks, the water springs dry out during the dry season and boreholes are hard to drill. There are two wells: one that functions and one that doesn’t and has been broken for years. So the 300 villages in Mvera all rely on this one functioning well — including those who live 3+ miles away from it.
Mvera is also home to one of Mocha Club’s local community development classes. As the class spent time out in the community, listening to friends, neighbors, and local stakeholders, the gravity of the water situation became very clear — Lack of clean water is something that affects everything and everyone in the community.
Women and girls are often the ones forced to spend their days going back and forth to the one working well; women even keep mats at the well so they can rest while they wait in the long lines and the young girls miss school classes in order to help their families retrieve water.
The students in the community development class found that the local hospital was having a hard time keeping up with the rate of water-borne illnesses. It has even had to push expectant mothers out of the hospital because there is no water. In addition, new businesses don’t want to set up shop in a town without water either.
So the class went to work. They talked to local engineers, parts suppliers, professional builders and plumbers to get suggestions, cost estimates, and timelines. Fixing the old well — which they found out was dug in 1922, originally to 36 meters deep — was time consuming and expensive as it had gotten so full of sand and mud over the past 95 years that it now went only 7 meters deep. So they went back to work, consulting more members of the community and water experts. Turns out they had local resources to complete a piping project that would take water from the functioning well to a new purification tank further out and then, once treated, from the tank through smaller pipes to a distribution area easily accessible by 5,000 people.
They put together a proposal which included a plan for strategically piping water and purifying it for those communities in need. The proposal includes how they would utilize local resources and also the opportunity for funding to make this project become a reality and sent the proposal to Mocha Club’s local Country Director. It went through a few rounds of vetting — ensuring the project was feasible, practical, locally sustainable — now it is time to act.
Here’s where you come in — your mochas can become Mvera’s clean water. Your everyday generosity, together with the rest of the Mocha Club community, will be the reason 5,000 have safe drinking water, a functioning hospital, fuller schools, and new economic opportunities. And it will be the reason the next community, and the next community, and the next community after Mvera get clean water.
Mocha Club Members, THANK YOU!
Not a member yet? Want to help provide clean water to Mvera and other communities? Will you give up a few extra mochas this World Water Day?
Join today and we’ll send you a Mocha Club water bottle as a thank you!
I was born on 11th November in Githogoro, Kenya, as the third child in a family of five. My parents were both laborers in the coffee estates that surrounded the region.
When I was eight, my mom died from an unknown disease. Due to the family’s economic status, it was not possible to get appropriate medical attention; hence, the diagnosis of the illness that took her life remained unknown. I was class one (grade one), my two elder brothers, Nicholas and Phanuel were in classes three and four, respectively, while the two younger siblings, Freedom and Philip, were in baby class (pre-school) at the time. It was apparent that my parents valued education and took initiative to ensure all of us attended school.
Following mom’s burial, things took a negative twist. Dad bore the sole responsibility of fending for all five of us, which was hardly sufficient to place a single meal on the table. Our family was living on rented premises which made things far more difficult. Basic items such as clothing became a luxury alongside anything else. A day with one meal was considered an extremely good one.
Because of the intensified hardships, my eldest brother, Nicholas, dropped out of school to assist Dad in hustling. The combined effort did not yield sufficient income, so eventually the remaining four of us dropped out of school as well, each turning to the endless search for a meal. There were disappointing times when he came back home empty handed. This got us even more desperate.
Not long after, Dad came home with some news of a high school that was being started in the neighboring Huruma village. Many who had been out of school for years and could not afford the secondary education were interested when it was confirmed that the school was offering free education. This was music to our ears! The only requirement was for students to bring to school a bundle of firewood for cooking of our lunch. I was in high school at New Dawn Educational Centre with no fees required, no school uniform necessary and as if that was not enough, there was free porridge (uji) and the popular beans/corn meal (githeri) provided for lunch. Who would ever resist that? A miracle of miracles!
My experience at New Dawn transformed me totally. I came in hopeless, but I was filled with hope. We found a mom in Mama Irene Tongoi, the school director. She was so assuring that a lot of good would come out of our lives. Mama Irene ensured that we received a holistic education; intellectually as per the curriculum, socially by meaningful and impactful interaction amongst ourselves and the community around, as well as spiritually through the word of God. We had regular devotions and sessions of what was known as ‘vision conferences’. These spiritual forums provided opportunity to be affirmed and assured of God’s love and purpose for our lives. Our confidence was boosted and the sense of hopelessness gradually faded away. Where else would students be treated to good meals and even offered food to carry home for the next meal for the family? We were loved.
To my greatest amazement, upon completion of high school, I topped my class with a grade “B-” and qualified to join public university. And Mama Irene contacted me with grand news: a donor had showed up and was willing to pay the university fees for anyone qualified to join university from our class! God again provided the resources in my time of need.I was enrolled in a five-year degree course at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geomatic Engineering and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). All this was accomplished with the help of the scholarship.
I appreciate God’s work through the ministry of New Dawn and all the well-wishers who contributed towards the transformed life that has become mine. You did it not only for me but for the many others that have walked along the same path.
“Give me bread today and tomorrow I will ever be at your door knocking, but give me education, the key to life, and you will have transformed the world.”
2016 has been a year of discouragement in so many ways. Between the refugee crisis, the primacy of terrorism in world affairs, and, here in America, a presidential race that is perhaps the most hate-filled and controversial that this country has ever seen, the news cycle is often filled with fear and confusion. News from Africa, especially, is often dominated by images of war, devastation, even hopelessness.
So today when I opened my computer and found some happy news, I immediately wanted to share it. The image above was painted by Leslie Lumeh, a Liberian artist. When the Ebola crisis hit West Africa two years ago, Lumeh was one of the artists called upon to help formulate posters to educate the public on how to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. His posters went to multiple countries in West Africa, saving countless lives in the process. In addition, even after the crisis subsided, he continued to document life in Liberia, with colorful, winsome paintings like the one above.
Though Ebola-stricken Liberia was in many ways a fear-filled place, Lumeh’s art doesn’t just show that horror—it is also filled with hope. “I paint scenes and subjects that people can relate to,” he says. “You see it, you understand it, you know it, you feel it.”
Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has determined that Rwanda is becoming a technology hub for Africa. And the focus is drones. The technology startup, Zipline, will begin test delivering drones, and if approved, the drones will be delivering blood transfusions in small boxes to areas of need. They will be delivered to twenty-one different hospitals and health centers within a 40 mile radius. Drones could cut back 3.5 hour car trips to 45 minutes.
A study was done by UNICEF in which they used drones to transport HIV samples from newborn babies. The study was successful but the downside is the cost of drones is more expensive than motorcycles. Once drones start to become cheaper, countries will begin to use them for reasons other than just medically – including agriculture, forestry, and conservation.
Read the full story : http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701488-new-way-round-old-problem-help-above?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30
I think we all realize that, for the most part, when it comes to news stories about Africa, they are all pretty negative, and do not display Africa as a play that seems like it could in anyway be improved. However, in the shadow of the more prominent, often depressing news stories about Africa are events, people, and knowledge that can be shared as good news for Africa!
We wanted to take a moment to point you in the direction of this great article by Ian Bremmer for Time magazine entitled “These 5 Facts Explain the Good News About Africa.” In his article, Bremmer shares five facts that shed a lot of positive light on Africa for the reader. He includes facts like demographics (the fact that Africans will make up half the world’s population by 2050), and the increasingly, strong civil society growing in Africa, along with the introduction and moderate, yet growing, use of technology in everyday lives. Furthermore, Bremmer notes that events like issues with politics and civil wars, that are usually huge problems for African countries are dwindling. This proves that Africa is moving out of its negative state and into a more positive era! We think that the article is worth your while to read, and will lift your spirits about the state of Africa.
While they still need a great deal of our help, it is important to communicate that their situation is not hopeless. It is just different from hours, and we want to do all that we can to make it better!