It was a privilege to partner with Bridgeport Elementary School as we prepared for Walk4Water9. You can read some of the remarkable stories we featured in this May blogpost, and now we are delighted to share a follow-up story! After participating in WaterAfrica’s interactive presentations to learn about WASH in Zambia, students from Bridgeport Elementary wrote letters to students attending Bimbe Primary School in Zambia. Our guest and World Vision Deputy National Director in Zambia, Chikondi Phiri, delivered these letters to Bimbe Primary School.
In June we received a video response. We look forward to sharing this with Bridgeport Elementary School students this fall and we continue to celebrate WaterAfrica in action: Raising Awareness, Raising Funds, Transforming Lives.
Walk4Water9 marked the 4th year of Walk participation for Girl Scout Troop 40473. This faithful group of girls continues to bring energy and heart to our work raising awareness and money for clean water in rural Zambia.
Prior to Walk4Water9, 3 of the 5th grade girls made presentations in their classrooms and invited peer participation through class pocket change jars and bottle return collections. Together the Troop raised $725 this year, through cookie sales, cans and bottles, and pocket change!
The girls led the way as we walked together through downtown Lake Oswego, and after the Walk they were available at their presentation table to discuss Water Systems and the Village Display they have developed and updated over these past few years.
Troop Member, Stephanie Ward has been working on her Girl Scout Bronze Award by demonstrating leadership as she invests service hours in WaterAfrica’s Walk4Water. (Stephanie and her Girl Scout colleague Echo Smith were featured in the Lake Oswego Review’s article on WaterAfrica’s youth involvement this spring.) The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest a Junior Girl Scout can receive and we are delighted to have Stephanie focus her energy on bringing clean water to rural Zambia as she embraces the Girl Scout mission to Make The World A Better Place.
In other exciting news, Troop 40473 recently received approval from Girl Scouts to make plans to travel to Zambia in 2019. This has been their hope since they first began working with WaterAfrica, and they are excited to be on track to get to Zambia and see firsthand the impact they have made. As Girl Scout Cadets (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) they can earn their Silver Award and this will focus their efforts with WaterAfrica’s Walk4Water in the next few years. We look forward to working with Troop 40473 in this endeavor and we are so grateful for their commitment to help bring safe, clean water to people in rural Zambia: Raising Awareness, Raising Funds, Transforming Lives!
In order to keep Clean Water Clean, World Vision has developed a comprehensive WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) program. Water is provided by drilling a deep borehole and installing a pump, which the villagers are trained to maintain and keep clean. Villagers learn the importance of installing and maintaining five Sanitation and Hygiene elements which keep the water clean and reduce infection. In our work to raise awareness about the need for clean water in rural Zambia and to raise funds to help World Vision provide that water, WaterAfrica has created a set of sanitation & hygiene stations to help us tell the story.
The week before Walk4Water9, Kindergarten – 5th grade students at Horizon Christian School in Tualatin, Oregon, participated in small group interactive presentations to learn about World Vision’s WASH program. Students from Margaret Hanscom’s 4th grade class volunteered to be “experts” on the stations and prepared to present their knowledge at the Walk. These expert students took notes during the small group presentations and learned more when Chikondi Phiri spoke at their school assembly on Wednesday. On Friday they ate lunch together to review their notes and on Saturday morning they nailed it!
In the weeks leading up to Walk4Water9, parents, staff, and students at Bridgeport Elementary School in Tualatin engaged in a variety of activities focused on water, sanitation and hygiene. Every Wednesday in April the school announcements included Water Words – a short focus on concepts of clean water and the reality of living without. The school library supported class and independent learning with resources on water conservation, the water cycle, and the importance of clean, safe water. The K-2 classes read Just Add Water while the 3-5th graders studied Linda Sue Park’s book A Long Walk to Water. Bridgeport Elementary 4th grade teacher Lisa Helm has a family connection to Salva Dut, whose story is told in A Long Walk to Water and this personal connection helped to bring the story to life.
In early April, WaterAfrica Co-Founder Diane Savage and Bridgeport parent Sarah Mattecheck led 500+ students in small group interactive presentations using WaterAfrica’s WASH stations to learn about the sanitation elements World Vision implements in rural Zambian villages before bringing clean water. Students learned that hand washing stations, bathing shelters, dish drying racks, garbage pits, and toilets help keep Clean Water Clean. After these presentations some students wrote response papers and several classes wrote letters to students attending Bimbe Primary School and Makonkoto Primary School in Zambia.
One Bridgeport kindergarten class got a memorable illustration of the challenges and hazards in maintaining a safe water supply when their teacher set up a simulation exercise. She placed buckets of water across the school field, at a significant distance from the classroom, and when the students needed water for projects throughout the day they had to cross the field to collect it. At one point the entire class headed out together to collect water they needed for their next project when they spotted a dog across the field, walking off-leash near their buckets of water. Almost as if on cue, the dog lifted his leg and peed in their water. The students had learned from Diane’s presentations about pigs, goats, and cows drinking from the same water holes as villagers in rural Zambia and they had heard about the animals going to the bathroom in the same water. This unexpected illustration drove the point home.
In response to their month-long water focus, the school gardening club planted seeds and sold the starts to raise money for Salva Dut’s organization, Water For South Sudan. Additionally, each classroom had a bucket labeled “A Drop In The Bucket” to collect change for WaterAfrica.
On the Friday morning before Walk4Water9, Chikondi Phiri visited Bridgeport Elementary for a school wide assembly. Students sat with full attention as Chikondi told them about kids in Zambia whose lives have been changed by access to clean water, good sanitation, and hygiene. Bridgeport students asked thoughtful questions after Chikondi’s presentation, and at the end of the assembly the students presented Chikondi with their buckets of change and letters for him to deliver to the Zambian schools.
After the assembly, all the kids had returned to their classes and the room was quiet. WaterAfrica visitors were preparing to leave when a young girl came back into the gym and walked straight toward Chikondi. When she reached him she looked up and spoke a few quiet words as he leaned close to hear. When she was finished speaking she opened her hand and gave him her donation which had not made it into her class bucket, and then she quickly wrapped him in a hug. It was an exchange he will not soon forget, nor will any of us who were privileged to be present in that moment. Indeed, WaterAfrica: Raising Awareness, Raising Funds, Transforming Lives.
Thank you, Bridgeport Elementary School Students, Staff, and Parents for joining us in this important work.
If you’ve attended a WaterAfrica event in recent years you’ve had opportunity to explore the sanitation and hygiene stations built by Michael Olen in 2012. After returning from Zambia that summer, the WaterAfrica Travel Team reported how they had seen World Vision’s comprehensive Water program emphasize the importance of Sanitation and Hygiene to make sure clean water stays clean. As the Travel Team prepared their trip report that fall, Michael built models to accompany the presentation. The Handwashing Station, Dish Drying Rack, Bathing Shelter, Rubbish Pit, and Latrine were on display at Walk4Water6, along with informational posters for each sanitation station, designed by Kate Bluhm.
We regularly use these stations for our Water, Sanitation & Hygiene presentations and this year we are delighted to add the final element to our display! WaterAfrica Friend Vince Tylman researched the measurements and angles of design to build us a full scale replica of a water pump for WaterAfrica to use in presentations. Vince started with plans for an India Mark II pump, converted measurements into inches, made CAD drawings for each piece, cut out the pieces (or in some cases machined them), painted them and put it all together.
Once complete, we put the pump to work immediately by taking it to our recent elementary school presentations where it was an instant highlight. Students got to actually pump the handle and make connections to the life-changing impact of clean water in rural Africa.
Thank you, Vince for helping us tell the WaterAfrica story!
Be sure to look for our new pump this Saturday morning in the WASH display at Walk4Water9!
Sparked by their reading of Long Walk to Water for the Oregon Battle of the Books, this year students at Horizon Christian School in Tualatin have been learning about the need for access to safe water in rural Africa. WaterAfrica Board Member and Horizon teacher Margaret Hanscom was featured in the Lake Oswego Review last month for her work to organize a variety of opportunities for students to explore and expand their understandings.
The study culminated this week in several high-interest interactive experiences. On Tuesday students engaged in small group presentations to learn about the elements of sanitation and hygiene which World Vision uses in its Water Program to ensure that clean water stays clean.
On Wednesday morning Chikondi Phiri, World Vision Zambia’s Deputy National Director spoke to the students at a school wide assembly, telling them stories about individual students whose lives have been transformed by access to clean water alongside good sanitation and hygiene.
At the end of his presentation, Chikondi fielded many excellent questions from the Horizon students:
…. Do you have warm water for your showers?
How long does take to make a well?
How you get soap?
Do you hurt your feet when you walk to the water pits? …..
After the assembly students went outside for their own Walk4Water! The sun was shining as students walked laps carrying buckets of water to simulate the experience of rural Africans collecting dirty water for their daily use.
We look forward to walking with many of these students and their families this Saturday morning at Walk4Water9!
Chikondi Phiri will join us for Walk4Water9! Chikondi is Deputy National Director for World Vision Zambia and he brings a wealth of experience and insight to share with us on April 23.
The WaterAfrica 2015 Travel Team got to meet with Chikondi while in Zambia last summer and now we look forward to welcoming him to Lake Oswego and introducing him to you this month!
Chikondi has served World Vision for 20 years in a variety of roles including Project Coordinator, Area Development Program (ADP) Manager, Planning and Resource Development Manager, Regional Operations Manager and Operations Director; providing overall leadership to field operations and sectoral technical teams. He holds an MBA in Leadership Development from Eastern University (USA); a Masters of Science in Agricultural Engineering from Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania); and a Bachelors of Engineering in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Zambia.
Chikondi is a gifted speaker with a deep passion for the children of Southern Africa. You will be encouraged and challenged by his stories about the transformational power of accessible clean water in rural Zambia. Please Join Us April 23!
2016 marks WaterAfrica’s 9th Walk4Water in downtown Lake Oswego and our first Walk4Water in Colorado Springs! As our WaterAfrica Community takes root in Colorado we are connecting with Team World Vision. Team World Vision is encouraging people to participate in our Walk and we hope you’ll consider walking or running with them in September.
Team World Vision empowers people to experience radical life transformation through endurance races, community advocacy, and social giving for the sake of clean water in Africa. You can Run or Walk the American Discovery Trail Marathon and Half Marathon on Labor Day, September 5, 2016 with Team World Vision in Colorado Springs and provide sustainable clean water for communities in rural Africa.
Find more information at Team World Vision’s website.
For more than a century International Women’s Day has been a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year the call to action is to work for accelerated gender parity and this resonates with our work here at WaterAfrica!
Women in rural Zambia spend hours each day collecting water and then managing varieties of difficult consequences. We have seen firsthand the life-changing impact that comes to these women when World Vision works in their communities in holistic, sustainable ways to bring clean, safe water near to their homes.
Life spent collecting water is life spent on survival. This International Women’s Day please join us in the important work toward gender parity as we raise awareness and money for clean, accessible water in rural Zambia. We know this frees women from the daily work of survival and opens the door to opportunities for education, economics, and fullness of life.
Would you like to take action today?
Register for Walk4Water9 – Lake Oswego April 23
Register for Walk4Water – Colorado Springs May 14