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Friday, February 25, 2011

Big orange rig a symbol of hope in southern Ethiopia

Over the past twenty-five years our venerable TH-60 water well drilling rig has produced clean water for more than 60,000 people in southern Ethiopia’s rugged Awassa region.

The fact that the rig is still in operation two and a half decades after we first provided it to the people of southern Ethiopia is a testament to the determination and diligence of the Ethiopian drilling crews who transport and operate the rig.

For the people of Awassa, the bright orange rig is a symbol of hope throughout the region.

In this region of southern Ethiopia, where water-borne diseases kill one in every five children before their fifth birthday, the TH-60 drilling rig is a lifesaver!

When the rig rolls into a remote village, people know that their days of drinking dirty, parasite-infested water are over. Clean water will be theirs to drink, not just for today, but for generations to come.

Ten years have past since the last major refit of the rig and today, our Ethiopian colleagues need to refurbish the rig. When they're done, the rig will be back in the field for another ten years and is expected to drill enough water wells to bring clean water to an additional 30,000 Ethiopians!

Visit today and learn more about what clean water means to the people of southern Ethiopia, and how you can help our Ethiopian colleagues refurbish the venerable TH-60.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toilets: The Marvelous Tool that Turns One Dollar Into Nine

HOPE International Development Agency is widely recognized as an organization that works with the poorest people in the world to bring clean water to their communities. But we have a lesser-known but equally persistent passion - sanitation for the poor. Or, to put it much more frankly, toilets for everyone.

Once we start working with a community, its members decide on a set of enforced guidelines meant to manage their projects (like water systems or new school buildings) and sustain and protect their benefits (like improved health). These guidelines always include a requirement that every family should have a well-built latrine.

It is truly staggering to examine the benefits that come from toilet usage and good hygienic practice. To not place an emphasis on sanitation is to miss out on an incredibly effective way to ease the burden of poverty for a very small investment.

In fact, for every dollar that you spend on improved sanitation, you earn back about nine dollars worth of benefits.

These benefits range from 1,000 extra productive hours for every household (that would otherwise be spent lining up at a public toilet, or searching for somewhere private), to saving 12% of sub-Saharan Africa’s health budget, where typically half of their hospital beds are filled with people suffering from diarrhoeal diseases. What useless misery.

There is a fantastic fact-sheet here that outlines the incredible benefits of investing in sanitation. Reading it, we are reminded of why this is such a critical emphasis in our ongoing work with the poor. Perhaps we should talk about this topic more often. It would not bother us a bit to be associated with toilets, when you consider how much they do to protect the health and wealth of all people.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sri Lanka - Flood victims remain in great danger

Unprecedented rainfall and massive flooding in Sri Lanka over the past few weeks has left 350,000 people homeless and more than one million at risk.

The torrential rain and widespread flooding also submerged tens of thousands of hectares of rice fields, depositing tons of mud and debris on the valuable farmland. As a result, an entire season’s rice harvest – nearly 25 percent of the country’s total rice harvest – has been destroyed.

HOPE International Development Agency has been helping affected families in Sri Lanka since the flooding began, but we need your help to continue.

Food shortages, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases are among the big concerns at the moment. Homes, damaged or destroyed in the flooding, need to be rebuilt or repaired as quickly as possible otherwise displaced families will remain without shelter.

You can give today to provide urgently needed help such as emergency food, cooking utensils for displaced families, materials to repair or rebuild their homes, medical attention for the injured and sick, and assistance to mothers who are pregnant.

Learn more and give today.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Volunteers: Bridging the Gap, Having A Good Time Too

While we gear up for our spring series of Film Premieres and Dinners, we must acknowledge that HOPE International Development Supporters are active all year long in advocating and raising funds for the poor.

This is always inspiring for those us of us working in the North American offices, and it goes without saying that it’s deeply encouraging to our colleagues overseas. Most of the time, they are indigenous members of the communities that they serve, and they’re invested very personally in the work they do. To know that there are people here who are working on their behalf as volunteers makes them feel that they are not alone.

So we must give kudos to Niko Kozobolidis in Vancouver, BC, who organized an event on January 20th. He and his guests helped provide the funding for a community water system in Rijuyp, Guatemala. By all accounts, the singing, dancing, storytelling, and food were all good reasons to be there.

Secondly, we know of a group of students in Calgary, AB, who are planning an Art Showcase event to raise funds for the families affected by HIV/AIDS that we support in South Africa. The Showcase is scheduled for February 5th and will include a fashion show, donated art, silent auction, live music, and refreshments. The organizers can be seen here in T-shirts that were made for the event.

Thanks to all who are working hard on behalf of the poor. HOPE International Development Agency is always ready to help with these kinds of endeavours. If you’ve ever had an inclination to take on something like this, don’t hesitate to contact us (link) for ideas and support.