Village Volunteers Programs
Ceramic Water Filters Program
Village Volunteers helped to build a ceramic water filter plant that makes 10,000 to 12,000 water filters a year. With more than a million families without potable water in Kenya, 60% of rural village deaths in Kenya are caused by illnesses related to unsafe water and sanitation. The water filter plant increases access to clean water through the manufacturing and distribution of low-cost water filters. The plant provide local economic opportunities and is owned and operated by the Common Ground for Africa a partner program that also disseminates public health education. Each filter provides clean water for 8 -10 people a day, lasts for three years, and removes 99.88% of all water borne.
The Moringa Tree Project
The fruits, leaves, and pods of this “miracle” tree are used for food, cooking oil, cattle feed, clarifying water, and bio-fuel; creating enterprises that foster economic development and generates income for rural villagers. The moringa tree project is a sustainable approach to combating poverty, malnutrition, and environmental degradation. Trees purchased from the local school farming clubs, funds their education and provides social enterprise opportunities for rural women’s cooperatives, schools, orphan homes and clinics. Growing the moringa tree in impoverished and deforested areas, using the derivatives to improve nutrition in areas of malnutrition as well as provides economic opportunities.
The Water Hyacinth Sanitary Pad Project
The Water Hyacinth Sanitary Pad Project is a sustainable social enterprise that produces biodegradable sanitary pads out of water hyacinth, an invasive aquatic species that is taking over fresh water resources and is detrimental to communities who depend on local water sources. A two fold problem with an abundant source solution.
Without access to sanitary hygiene products girls can miss up to 50 days of school per year, causing them to fall behind in class and be ill-prepared for national exams. Therefore, they are rarely eligible for scholarships and are often unable to attend secondary schools.
Access to education can significantly change the course of a girl’s life. It is estimated that when a girl receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children, giving her the opportunity to reach her full potential. Additional schooling also provides life-saving public health education, such as HIV/AIDS prevention.
Water hyacinth is one of the fastest growing, invasive plants on the planet. Water hyacinth also provides optimal breeding conditions for vectors that spread illnesses such as malaria, encephalitis, bilharzias, gastro intestinal disorders, and schistosomiasis. The proliferation of water hyacinth threatens biodiversity and destroys native plants, fish and other species by depleting natural nutrients and deoxygenating the water. Water hyacinth speeds water evaporation, therefore, shrinking sources of fresh water at an incredibly rapid rate. It is estimated that the flow of the Nile has been reduced by 10% as a result of the water hyacinth in Lake Victoria.
The production of a locally made pad from water hyacinth provides girls and women a low cost, biodegradable product that sustains income-generating jobs and provides girls with access to necessary personal hygiene products.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In the ten years since the founding of Village Volunteers, we have built schools rooms, dormitories, libraries, health clinics and resource centers that are thriving. We support hundreds of vulnerable children; Together with our local partners, we train in organic farming techniques, plant tree nurseries and school gardens, provide seed funding for village microcredit programs, provide curriculum for business, public health and environmental education training.
The ceramic water filter plant just filled an order of 3,480 water filters for UNICEF to provide clean water for a refugee camp.
We have given scholarships to fourteen young women to attend college in East Africa to become teachers and nurses through the Butterfly Scholarship Project. These girls are selected through their hard work and dedication to return to their village to be role models.
Our needs are to expand the micro-credit program, preschool feeding programs, plant more tree nurseries and school gardens, and sponsor water filters for school classrooms. We have several wonderful applicants for girls to attend college at $1,200 per year for three years.
We are hoping to establish water hyacinth sanitary pad projects as women run "franchises" in Africa and Asia. .