“Having a heart for the poor isn’t hard, but having a mind for the poor – that’s the challenge.”
While we scope out projects years in advance, plan and monitor sources for years and even meet with community members and local leaders 72 months before a project is even mentioned, two critical functions must happen before any team member does any actual work in a region: our team must meet with a large sample of the community to ensure the community’s number one expressed needs is still clean water and we must have an MOU signed by the local district to outline exactly what services we will provide, who is doing what, and who contributes what towards the project.
The MOU process is never straightforward – in part because it involves a lot of stakeholders, in part because it involves money. Our team, however, is extremely patient and skilled at managing stakeholders, staying focused on the end goal and walking each party through the process to arrive at the desired result.
The significance of an MOU is huge – for many reasons. This week, we want to share and celebrate with you just one of those reasons:
Our Ugandan team created and recently completed the signing of an MOU with a local government for our next project – Sweeter Water – where the local government has pledged to contribute 78% of the materials cost plus the labour cost for half. A deal worth more than $100,000. We have never seen or heard of any NGO receiving such a contribution and believe it’s testament to our long standing relationships, trust, track record and the time we’ve been in the area. This required a lot of back and forth, persistence, creativity and hard work and we are so proud of their accomplishment. Now, when you give to Acts for Water, your gift is being amplified three times by the local Ugandan government.
This is in addition to the over 400 volunteers who will contribute the hundreds of hours of volunteer labour, and who will give up their land freely for pipes to be dug through, in order for water to access their village. In rural, subsistence existence, where people earn far less than $1 a day, this contribution cannot be overlooked – it’s literally their currency.
Uganda is loaded with potential, and I hope you can see your gift as a pen to help the people we serve “write their own future” to quote a peer Matt Hagan, and not as an act of pity. It’s a lever for even greater impact – because together is how we overcome. To quote Al Gore (wink): “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” We [over] Come Together is more than a campaign slogan, it’s our mantra.
MOU’s and pledges, like the Ugandan contributors have made, matter so much not just because they ease our financial contribution and enable us to do even more, but because of the level of buy-in and sustainability of the entire model.
We’ve been bursting at the seams to share this news with you, because it truly is an exciting way to showcase the potential of what can happen when we rethink the old ways of doing good, and add head to the heart of serving the poor all around.
We have a revenue goal this quarter of $550,000. It’s our largest ever by a long shot, and that’s in part because with Sweeter Water, we’re serving the number of people we served in the past 3 years, in 1. Right now all gifts are doubled, and we need your gift today to ensure the government’s pledge is fulfilled.
Please give generously here: acts.ca/donate.