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Poverty Alleviation Projects

June 30, 2008

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your June 2008 report for The $10 Club.

From our work last year to build a Shea butter boutique and support a women’s cooperative in Mali you will be well familiar with the depths of poverty in this West African nation. Mali ranks third from the bottom of countries listed on the UN Human Development Index with a life expectancy of 48 years and 64% of the 13 million residents living below the poverty line.

Fewer than half of Malians have access to medical services or adequate sanitation facilities and a third or more of rural water points are out of order at any one time. Only 8 percent of children under five sleep under insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria, which remains endemic in the country.

Evan Taylor, a Peace Corps worker in Mali, is currently residing in the village of Faragouran, which has 2,700 residents, but also provides access to services for more than 14,000 people from 11 smaller villages nearby. The Faragouran health clinic, for instance, serves 600 people per month, more than half of whom are experiencing complications from malaria.

Water and sanitation issues present real health problems for the community. Broken water pumps to raise potable water leaves women traveling longer distances on foot to retrieve useable water for their families or drawing up dirty well water for human consumption. Large wells are uncovered and children fall into them. There are inadequate facilities to dispose of wastewater, leading to dirty standing water throughout the community.

Together with village leaders, Evan has identified a number of vital, life-saving water, sanitation, and health care needs requiring our support. This month, 371 of us joined together to provide $3,710 worth of funding to six related projects in the Faragouran village in Mali, assisting thousands of people in need. Our support will enable: training of villagers in water pump maintenance; construction of 60 soak pits for better sanitation and cleaner water; repair of a solar powered pump; construction of two clothes washing areas with waste water pits; covering of large open wells to protect children; and conversion of the clinic refrigeration system to allow proper storage of vital vaccines. Thank you.

Evan, together with family members in the village, will undertake the following workplan in the coming months to implement this important project:
  1. Water pump maintenance. Access to clean water decreases many health care problems, improves child health, and reduces the workload of women gathering water. 30 villagers will be trained in water pump repair and maintenance in a week-long training course in Faragouran. This will eliminate the need to hire costly repairmen from far away. After the training course is completed, the team will start by repairing the old, frequently broken pump in the middle of town next to the clinic. They will then proceed to work on pumps throughout Faragouran and surrounding villages. We will provide pipes for pump repair, tool kits, pens and notebooks, and accommodations for the pump trainer and trainees.

  2. Soak pits are one of the easiest and cheapest methods of providing proper wastewater disposal. 60 new soak pits will be constructed—a meter deep and rock-filled—throughout the village, particularly next to town pumps and on the paths between houses. Each house owner will help dig their own pits, find and transport fill rocks, and cement the pipes to the outside of their toilet and bathing areas. We will provide 2 square meters of plastic, piping, cement to anchor the pipes, sand and gravel for the pits, and shovels.

  3. Repair public water spigots. Improving the public water spigots of the solar powered pump enhances water quality and sanitation capabilities. Evan and his village volunteer team will replace three of the six spigots, repair the other three, resurface the broken concrete, and install barbed wire to protect the solar panels from theft or damage. We will provide barbed wire, cement to resurface pumps, 6 new faucet heads, iron pipe joints, and cost of labor for an expert plumber and a mason to assist.

  4. Clothes washing areas. We will fund the construction of two 5 meter by 2.5 meter concrete clothes washing areas next to the faucet system in the center of town to improve clothes washing. We will provide piping for water runoff, plastic covers for the soak pits, cement for the washing station, and labor.

  5. Protection of children from open wells. There are four large open wells in town, which are not lit at night due to the absence of electricity. As a result, children and animals may fall into these wells. These wells will now be covered with iron latticework. We will provide 12 meters of iron bars and cost of labor for a metal worker.

  6. Refrigeration conversion for medicine storage. The refrigerator for storage of polio, measles, tetanus and other vaccines frequently breaks down. Evan tells me that conversion of the present faulty petrol burning refrigerator to a more reliable gas running refrigeration model would save the community monthly running costs and ensure the safe and proper delivery of free vaccines to thousands of children in the area. We will provide the cost of work to convert the refrigerator system, new gas tank, and gas regulator.

I have personally witnessed the otherwise incomprehensible reality of poor water access and sanitation in developing countries. Rivers or other water access points contain the carcasses of dead animals, while simultaneously are used for bathing, clothes washing, and drinking.

How much unnecessary suffering could be avoided by ensuring access to clean water and proper disposal of dirty water? It is a simple scenario that is absolutely unattainable to so many millions of people in need. But thanks to you, the solution is now in hand for thousands of desperate people in Mali. Have a drink of water and think about the lasting value of your $10 investment this month!

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,


PS. PLEASE send in your July contributions as soon as you can so we can successfully undertake our next life-saving project.

Also, so many of you have asked how you can help—the best way is to spread the word! Tell everyone you know to check out the website and send in ten bucks!

Lastly, you may be interested in another effort to help those in need, which is being undertaken by one of our members who started an organization inspired by The $10 Club. Please see his message below.

Few things are worse in life than unchallenged minds and empty book shelves. Flowing Streams Ministries is collecting technical textbooks (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, math, engineering disciplines -civil/electrical/mechanical/chemical, medicine, heath, and sanitation) for shipment to Africa through a cooperative arrangement with Books for Africa - they ship sea containers of books to several different African nations for libraries and schools from the primary through college levels. This is a great opportunity to clean out your shelves of books you have little need for and receive a tax deduction for your effort. Please consider shipping your excess to us (Flowing Streams Ministries, PO Box 3134, Shawnee, KS 66203) via media mail (very low rates). We will send you a tax receipt for the books based on the shipping postage and $5 per hardback and $2.50 for softbacks. Books must be "gently used" and less than 15 years old and must be in either English or French - no other languages accepted. Any questions, please email us at: info@flowingstreamsministries.org Thanks!

The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org