August 17, 2011
Our president and founder, Knut Brundtland, and our European Representative, Cecilie Malm Brundtland, just came back from a trip to visit our Kenya projects! As soon as they arrived in the Samburu region, they were met by two eldermen who came to say hello and thank Voss Foundation for our work — the first time in our 3 years working in the region in which elders have come to us outside of any sort of ceremony, just to say thanks! Knut and Cecilie brought back lots of updates, including a very important lesson from the Swari project:
It’s been a year and a half since the completion and the inauguration of the Women-Helping-Women-funded solar water system in this Samburu village, and all follow-up reports we’ve received have been positive. However, when Knut and Cecilie visited, they saw some disturbing sights — the lid on the water tank was unfastened, some portions of the buried pipeline were exposed, and (last and least) the painted sign on the tank was damaged.
Fortunately, our partners at Milgis Trust sent staff immediately to secure the water tank lid, cover the exposed pipeline, and have since had the painter fix the signage. They re-tested the water system, had a talk with the water managers, and all is well.
However, the experience reminded us just how important it is that we continue to monitor — and visit! — all of our projects, and work with partners who have a long-term presence in the regions, to ensure sustainability. Milgis Trust are fantastic partners and send their scouts round to the projects regularly, and we were lucky to catch all of these relatively minor issues before they became serious!
In other (good) news, the Latakwen and Ndonyo Nasipa projects looked great — there was 100-person queue at the NN village kiosk, which you may remember as the site of a very warm welcome from the Samburu women in January!