Friday, 23 September 2011

If you're making a grant or social investment what should you consider before making it?

I was asked this question on Monday and it made me think; what does make for an effective grant or social investment? At the time I came up with seven criteria:
  • The evidence behind the idea/project
  • Quality of the people
  • Their vision
  • Social impact/outcomes
  • Value for money
  • Sustainability
  • Co-design/community involvement
Have I missed anything out that you would include?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Back from Kenya

I'm back from Kenya and we had a successful trip with excellent meetings with - amongst others -  UNICEF, the Danish Refugee Council - who have an excellent work supporting village communities with wells -  as well as the Kenyan Ministry of Water and the Water Board with responsibility for the drought affected area. Allan and I also had the privilege of spending some time with some village elders (pictured) to talk about the water crisis.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The road from Nairobi to Garissa told stories of drought, lack of education & human trafficking

The 6 hour journey from Nairobi from Garissa told many stories of the poverty that is facing Kenya today.

Within an hour of leaving Nairobi we encountered ladies walking between villages with 20 litre jerry cans to provide water for their families. According to my colleague, Allan's research many are walking up to 40km each way to carry 20 litres of water. 20 litres is the total amount of water an average person in drought affected areas is using for two weeks; as someone I met yesterday commented, if people are living on this, "their hygiene goes down the toilet, literally". An offshoot of the girls going to pick up the water is that it means they often don't go to school. The drought is not only killing many, it is depriving many others of receiving a good education.

At numerous times during the journey, there were checkpoints with portable speed bumps with spikes on them across the road that are on rope operated by police; I asked our driver Paul why and the answer he gave "because of human trafficking". Human trafficking out of Somalia is widespread. To give you an idea of the problem, below I have told the story of Amina who was trafficked from Somalia to Ethiopia:

Amina is a 13 years old girl from Mogadishu. Her father makes little earnings selling vegetables and other small items on the street. Following her mother’s death, she joined her elder sister in Garowe, (Puntland) with other siblings in search of a safer environment and better education opportunities. One day as she walked to the shops, a Somali woman approached her, and enticed her into going with her. Amina does not recall what has happened next. When she woke up, she found herself contained in a room full of other children. The other children informed her that the woman had drugged her and transported her to Ethiopia for the purpose of organ removal. The following day, Amina was made to undergo several medical check-ups where she was diagnosed with hepatitis A. She was given medical treatment, which did not work. Amina was told by the Somali woman that she was ‘useless’. As a result she was transferred from Ethiopia to Burao via Hargeisa in Somaliland, where she was found by one of IOM’s Counter Trafficking Network members who referred her case to IOM. She was given immediate assistance and protection, and would be finally reunited with her family in Garowe.
As is probably obvious, the road challenged me once again about the desperate poverty that many in the world are in. It did on the other hand also gave me some fun, I saw a Somalian ostrich (pictured).

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Just arrived in Kenya

I've just arrived in Nairobi to do some work with Maji-Tech Engineering, a Tanzanian drilling company, who are working with the UN to create partnerships that drill, pump and manage wells on the Kenyan-Somalian Border. Tragically, the UN have warned that as many as 750,000 people could die as a result of the drought within the next four months.

It can be forgotten however that the situation for Kenyans living near Somalia is often as perilous as for the refugees coming over the border.

I've joined a colleague who flew out earlier in the week and is building partnerships with other organisations that can pump water for the wells and manage the wells in the medium term. I'll be out in Kenya for a week, six days in Nairobi and an overnight stay in Garissa. I'm looking forward to helping build some inter-agency relationships that can help tackle the desperate situation on the ground.

On the way from the airport to the hotel I saw a giraffe but sadly it was raining and not like the photo above - I've clearly brought the British weather with me!