Bridges to Africa: Enabling Communities
Over a billion people on the planet live on less than $1 a day. That's 1 in 5 people. Groundwork Opportunities (GO) is a nonprofit organization operating development projects in neglected communi
What is the overall purpose or mission of your organization?
Over a billion people on the planet live on less than $1 a day. That's 1 in 5 people. Groundwork Opportunities (GO) is a nonprofit organization operating development projects in neglected communities across the globe. Extreme poverty leads to increased hunger and malnutrition, a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and very low primary school completion rates, among other things. The mission of GO is to invest funds and resources into vulnerable communities, promoting a cycle of self-sufficiency and sustainable development that will enable the improvement of the human condition. The efforts we target are those that can make the biggest difference for individuals who have the most difficult time when impoverished: children, women and the infirm.
What makes GO tick is a simple idea: If everyone in the Western world took the responsibility to help five individuals in the developing world, the burden of poverty would vanish. Through extensive research, strategic partnerships, and our ability to form strong global networks and relationships on the ground and in communities, GO has developed efficient and sustainable globalization solutions with almost no "operating costs", ensuring that 100% of donations go straight to cause.
What is the purpose or program for which funding is requested? How will funding be used?
Following a trip to Israel in January 2009 to visit thousands of displaced Sudanese refugees, GO has been working in collaboration with The International Christian Embassy, Operation Blessing International, UNHCR and the African Refugee Development Center to fund sustainable and long-term solutions for Sudanese Refugees in Israel, as well as refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan, Congo, and Eritrea. GO is proud to aid in the creation and operation of an African Refugee Education Center in Jerusalem that will not only provide aid and education for women, men, and children as part of a Sudanese re-integration effort, but will also create programs geared to assist, support and empower all the refugees as they progress towards self-sufficiency and social integration in Israel. Funds raised from our "Bridges to Africa" initiative will go directly towards this education center and towards returning small groups of refugees back to their homelands.
Additionally, GO aims to take a holistic approach to aid and focuses on investments that create a repeatable cycle of change and, ultimately, enable the community to rebuild and thrive. As such, GO has begun a partnership with The John Dau Foundation, whose mission is to build and support health care clinics and programs in South Sudan. This unique combination of education for refugees, repatriation to Southern Sudan, and health care support will be an important investment into the health and economic stability of Southern Sudan. GO's educational support is enabling refugees to learn and gain skills that will be crucial for maintaining work once they have returned to Sudan, promoting financial stability for the country as they move towards self-sufficiency. As returnees gain economic stability, the health care center will further aid all populations, especially children and women, who will benefit from improved maternity care, prevention of infant mortality and the prevention of curable diseases.
The health clinic has been built and been operational in Duk County since May 2007. The Duk Lost Boys' Clinic has been highly successful in providing primary medical care to the people of Duk County, Southern Sudan. With the partnership of The John Dau Foundation, GO plans to expand this mission to include hiring highly skilled medical workers, many of whom are Sudanese themselves, to provide these services. All funds raised by Groundwork Opportunities will be used to re-integrate up to 100 more refugees and go directly to Clinic staffing and training, as well as the expansion of this clinic and the completion of additional clinics in other communities within 5 years.
Donated money goes a long way in supporting many international efforts. As an example, here is what it will take to provide various levels of support for health care in Southern Sudan:
$45- Medication to treat 100 children with pneumonia
$85- The cost of five individuals' medical visits to
$700- One month's worth of gasoline and diesel to
provide electricity and water for the clinic
$2,200- One month's worth of clinic medicines
What community need does this proposal address? What population is served by the organization?
In January of 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the former Government of Sudan and the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement, SPLM, officially ending Africa's longest running civil war. During the 21-year conflict, fighting, famine, and disease killed more than 2 million people, forced an estimated 600,000 people to seek refuge in neighboring countries, and displaced 4 million people within Sudan-the largest internally displaced person (IDP) population in the world. The U.N. estimated that hundreds of thousands of displaced persons have returned to Southern Sudan since 2005 and 2006, taxing scarce resources and weak infrastructure.
These years of unrest and continued tensions in South Sudan are threatening to further destabilize a region already struggling with widespread poverty, chronic unemployment and inadequate access to basic services, including health care, education, and clean water. The need to continue to educate and reintegrate returnees is critical for the stability of South Sudan, as well as the improvement of social infrastructure and basic services. In response to these needs, GO and our strategic partners, are extending our work to assist the needs of returnees in the South Sudan region, while supporting reintegration in their destination communities. We plan to enable the communities where we are working to establish a conflict-free, self-sufficient and stable environment.
In order to become stable and develop adequate agribusiness, an individual needs to have their basic needs met and this includes adequate healthcare. The health center being built in Southern Sudan supports this need and the repatriation program, that includes education for returning refugees, builds upon this foundation of health by providing necessary skills that afford individuals an opportunity to make and save money. From here, individuals will begin to have the opportunity to take advantage of micro-credit, further enabling them to move out of poverty and into a financial fitness model that fits with the Sudanese culture.
As a result of this program, we expect to see an increased awareness among US based individuals on how small amounts of money, such as money spent on coffee or lunch in a local restaurant, can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others in this world. Since the beginning of our program, we have seen our volunteer base rise by 60%, and, as word spreads about our unique model, as well as the breadth and type of efforts we support, we continue to gain supporters. This additional engagement enables us to create even more change in the world.
What results do you expect to achieve through this program? How will you know the program has been a success?
GO's efforts are: Fair - in that we look for those places of greatest need and do not play favorites; Empathetic - in that we see the need elsewhere in the world and understand that we in the United States have a great opportunity to help other parts of the world; Responsive - in that we give 100% of our donations to the efforts we support, there are no administrative fees involved. This means that the maximum amount of support can be given to those who need it most; Striving - in that we continually looks for ways to improve our fundraising capabilities in order to support more programs; Teamwork - in that we pull together a dedicated network of US based volunteers and global support organizations who all work together to make positive changes in the world; and Trustworthy - in that we take seriously the commitments we make and ensure that we deliver what we said we would. Past efforts have yielded amazing results and this gives us confidence that this effort will have similar success.
The following are some keys goals of GO's education and health care programs:
- The education and re-integration of 1,000 refugees, half of whom are women, children, and minors, to their destination communities in Southern Sudan.
- Expand the capabilities of The Duk Lost Boys Clinic. The clinic currently provides basic medical services for 20,000 patients. These services include general practice medicine to diagnose and treat common illnesses such as malaria, and other even more serious medical disorders. A large portion of the visits to the clinic are for malaria, which is treated easily in a simple visit. One measure of our success will be providing a trained local clinician who can handle the simpler cases, such as malaria detection and medicine dispensing. This will free up the trained medical staff for the more intricate cases, which can include diseases to limbs, gunshot wounds, miscarriage and AIDS prevention.
-Expansion of the health clinic to other areas in Southern Sudan and the increased access to health clinics for the communities the clinics serve (including increased transportation services to and from the clinics, house calls, more trained staff and additional clinics)
-Overall, GO expects to see that the health and increased financial stability of returnees will bring much needed economic promise to Southern Sudan and significantly increase the quality of life throughout the region.
With this increased quality of life and with the support of funds from organizations, we will begin to see additional services provided to families, including improved education, access to clean water, etc.
Monitoring and evaluation of our education and health services for the Sudanese population is critical to the success of GO's program and to the success of the Southern Sudanese population as a whole. Through progress reports received from partners on the ground, GO plans to monitor the health and stability of returnees. GO will consistently monitor whether or not returnees have been successful in maintaining jobs and a livelihood in Sudan, what education courses have proven to be the most useful and successful for refugees, and the overall level of safety of those who have returned. With our partner, The John Dau Foundation, GO will evaluate the health care systems and services in place at the Duk Lost Boys Clinic and keep up to date on the most pressing health care concerns, the effectiveness of treatments, the prevention of diseases, and the efficiency of the services and treatments. GO plans to increase the stability of the clinic by training and staffing more Sudanese health care professionals and subsequently expanding the project to additional clinics.
GO plans to travel yearly to Southern Sudan, providing regular volunteers to not only support those refugees whose return we have sponsored but also to continue to increase the healthcare services provided to the community and promote on ongoing cycle of monitoring and evaluation of these services. These self-funded trips are an opportunity for Schwab employees who volunteer with GO to participate hands-on in an international setting.
GO's past efforts have already seen success. In late March 2009, GO built it's first freshwater well for less than $1,800! Now over 150 villagers in Kraing Rohong have access to a clean and sustainable source of drinking water. The entire community got involved in the efforts required to build this well and GO is now helping them start a sustainable vegetable garden in order to continue developing their community. All organizations that GO works with on the ground and in the community are selected for their ability to understand the situation and to deliver good results. Accordingly, the current Sudanese effort is in partnership with three organizations that have already shown great success in making sustainable change that is embraced by the community.
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