One of the amazing experiences that I had when I was in Kenya was meeting the women’s collective of the Marura village. These women had decided to work together to raise money to buy water tanks.
Clean water saves lives. It is really that simple. Instead of walking to the stream, to scoop up dirty and often contaminated water, the water tanks collect rain water, which is then treated so that it is drinkable.
The women put KES 100 into the pot every month, the equivalent of about 75p. For the price of about 1/2 a packet of Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, the women are put on the list of those who will eventually receive a water tank. Think about that the next time you fling a packet of Tunnocks into your shopping trolley.
They need 250 water tanks for the whole village to have one. At present they have 78 tanks, some of them donated by the Nairobi Rotary Club. The small tanks (1500l) cost KES 13000 – just under £100 – and the large 5000l tanks KES 50000 – about £370. They hope to buy more of the larger tanks, even if it takes longer, as it gives the women clean water for a longer period of time. In the dry season, they run out of water, even when they carefully conserve it.
A bigger tank also means that they can cultivate a vegetable garden, which means healthier diets for the family. Many of the young mothers in the village have to share water tanks with their inlaws, which causes friction. Clean water means healthy children – not just illnesses like Typhoid – the biggest killer of babies and young children is the simple tummy bug. One woman told us,
‘They shout to us in the evening, and by the morning they are not there’.
Clean water means healthy children, and less births. The women feel confident at stopping with two or three children, because the chance of them growing into adulthood is higher. For the elderly having a water tank is a great boon, as they have clean water right outside their home. They need not rely on younger, fitter family members to bring them water from the river.
The women are finding that their standing in the community is being raised, they are empowered by their activism.
How many times have you been asked for a donation to a charity, and you have hesitated because you weren’t sure exactly where the money was going?
How often have you thought that you would like to donate directly to project that you have chosen?
How would you like to be able to do just that – chose a project, decide how much to ‘invest’ and then watch the progress of that project?
Catapult.org is the first global crowdfunding website for women and girls. The idea is very simple. Choose your project, and how much you want to donate. You can link up with some friends and fund raise together, or go it alone – totally up to you. Launching today, on International Day of the Girl, Catapult was developed by Women Deliver, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Their aim is
‘to provide a platform in order to drive investments from people to projects that advance the lives of girls and women globally’.
Donors can browse different projects by location, topic or need – so if you are interested in funding education in Africa you can search for such a project. You can search for projects that support maternity services in India, or elderly care in South America.
Catapult does not take a fee from partners, and once a project is fully funded, donors will be able access detailed information on how their funding has been used to change lives. Crowdfunding is becoming ever more important for charities, with over $670m donated in 2011, growing at an average rate of 43%. Catapult aim to give small projects a way of finding donors.
‘By listening to women’s funds and organizations, and providing a platform for their projects, Catapult will strengthen the efforts of individuals and organizations working for gender equality. The platform provides an open, direct channel between projects in need of funds and a new generation of citizen donors, leveraging existing networks to fund, sustain and bring work to a global audience’
Transparency is the watch word for Catapult. Donors can follow the progress of the project, and will receive an update after one year.
So who is in? I am starting a Mumsnet Team on Catapult and would love some company. Let us come together to help women such as those I met in Kenya.
By Parents, For Parents, is the Mumsnet tagline.
Catapult Mumsnet Team — By Women, For Women.
If you are not a Mumsnetter – don’t let that stop you.
Sign up with Catapult, either alone, or start your own team and start helping women and girls around the world.
You can make up a team with your colleagues, your friends, a sports club, an activist organisation…
(This is not an ‘official’ MN Campaign, it is a MNetter activist group, but MNHQ are very supportive of the idea)
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Photo by Lynn C Schreiber