To visualize a global need, simply turn on your kitchen tap and fill a glass with water. You can drink the contents without a second thought. But more than 884 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water.
For years, one community in Burkina Faso relied on a hand-dug well to provide access to safe drinking water. Because it wasn’t enclosed, the water became contaminated. To make matters worse, the well was near a school.
Thanks to Convoy of Hope’s team in Burkina Faso, four new enclosed wells were built near schools to allow the children regular access to clean drinking water. Farmers and families also have access to improved irrigation and experience better results with their crops and livestock.
Women and girls who used to risk their safety every day retrieving water can now gather water without fear — and they know the water is clean.
In 2019, Convoy of Hope began feeding 900 schoolchildren in Burkina Faso. With a quarter of the country’s children under the age of 5 suffering from stunting, the need was clear.* But addressing the cycle of poverty and creating long-term transformation requires good strategy with good stewardship. Good intentions aren’t enough.
In Burkina Faso — as in other countries where Convoy serves — Convoy had been customizing plans for specific communities. Community needs studied in the local cultural context allow in-country teams, partners, leaders, and churches to collaborate effectively.
Three years after the program began in Burkina Faso, Convoy is now serving nutritious food to more than 8,500 children at school, and Women’s Empowerment and Agriculture initiatives are changing the lives of women, farmers, and families.
School-based Children’s Feeding is often the first program introduced in a country because it allows Convoy to earn trust over time in the community. Depending on the degree of need and opportunity, Convoy then explores the potential for Women’s Empowerment and Agriculture programming, which help build resilience and capacity.
But strategies adjust to the need. In Colombia, for example, Convoy’s presence will begin with Agriculture, which will help sustain future Children’s Feeding programs.
“Regardless of how we begin in a country,” said Heath Adamson, senior vice president of Convoy’s Global Program, “the goal is for people to wake up each day with hope and a sense of ownership. We want them to see the problems and solutions as their own, knowing they can change the future.”
Convoy of Hope typically prepares for months before launching work in a new country. But sometimes a devastating disaster opens the door and requires immediate aid. In response to the war in Ukraine, for example, Convoy is positioning lifesaving supplies in neighboring countries for refugees. Simultaneously, Convoy is exploring potential long-term programming in Ukraine and other European countries.
“Our presence in a community evolves. Disaster response may be the beginning, but we also want to disrupt the cycle of poverty for future generations,” said Adamson.
Efforts to disrupt the cycle of poverty will soon begin in several new countries, including Zambia, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.
“Kids in the Sahel region are facing lifelong challenges,” said Tom McLane, Africa Regional Leader for Convoy of Hope. “They need to grow up in peaceful environments, having fun and not worrying about the next meal. There is incredible need, but there is also incredible potential for us to create lasting change.”
The opportunities for Convoy to bring help and hope continue expanding. Each year, thanks to the dedication of friends and partners, more people are being helped than ever before. Thank you for every investment you have made in the people Convoy of Hope serves.
This article first appeared in the Fall 2022 edition of Hope Quarterly.
*A child suffers from stunting when their growth and development are impaired because of poor nutrition and other factors.
As the war in #Ukraine enters its twelfth month, people around the world are still invested in the lives of Ukrainians. “Churches in the U.S. really wanted to do something [for Ukraine],” said Convoy’s Kelby Marlin. Read more: http://bit.ly/38UWbJs