Nuru’s operation tempo and growth over the last few months has been crazy, and with the launch of our new website, I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on Nuru’s International and Domestic Programs.
There are now 670 farm families (about 3,500 people) enrolled as Nuru members. We have begun plans for small scaling to the two neighboring sub-locations. This scale-up will begin with the long rain season training and mobilization which will begin in November. This first phase of scaling will enroll 200 more farm families and will act as a pilot for the next level of scaling (local scaling) which will take us to the two nearby divisions.
Farmers have finished planting, weeding and topdressing for the second Nuru crop. They will harvest beginning late December and into January. We are currently constructing a granary so that we can purchase all the farmers’ maize, store it, and sell it at a huge mark up to markets in Tanzania and Nairobi. The profits captured are then dumped back into the project to pay for expenses of Nuru programs in the community as we move toward financial sustainability.
Water & Sanitation
The Well Buy-in program has been initiated to generate revenues that will be used to maintain the new deep wells and pay the salary of an attendant to guard and protect the well. Plans are in motion to build the first community latrine in Nyametaburo village. This will greatly improve sanitation levels of one of the most highly trafficked villages in the area.
A mobile clinic and Disease Intelligence Network is being piloted with Nuru Community Health Workers which will greatly increase rapid disease response and intervention in the outlying areas of the community. The maternity ward has been outfitted with birthing kits and maternity couches that will greatly decrease infant mortality and mother deaths during childbirth.
Parents in the community have been mobilized and trained to become active participants in their children’s education. We just finished the first round of Early Childhood Education training for teachers in the community and completed in-service training for all primary school teachers in the area. Plans for the teacher co-op are getting finalized as various parts of the cooperative model are currently being tested and refined.
Community Economic Development
Nuru’s unique Micro-finance/village banking model (the Jamii Development Fund – JDF) has been established and banking mechanisms are being tested and refined as farmers have begun opening savings accounts with the JDF. Savings clubs just finished their second 12 week cycle of savings and another 21 loans were issued in the clubs. Through savings clubs, farmers are learning about the importance of financial planning, saving, and assessing their ability to pay loans.
The first prototype of Nuru’s online database metric system has been completed and is currently being tested in preparation for Nuru’s first third party evaluation. The evaluation will be conducted by Bain Consulting and Choice Humanitarian in November/December this year. We presented Nuru’s metric system for the first time to delegates at the Opportunity Collaboration conference this month, and we received some great critique points and feedback from leaders in the social sector that will help us refine the system even more.
As you know, Nuru’s partnership strategy is crucial to effecting our “general contractor of NGOs” concept on the ground. Some exciting new partnerships that we have been working on are Harvard Law (working on developing a partnership contract that we can implement when working with and defining the relationship with other organizations), Frontline SMS Medic (using mobile phone technology to enable community health workers to bring more rapid disease intervention in the community), and Teach a Man to Fish (learning to develop self-sustaining secondary schools).
The Grassroots Movement Team represented us at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA, and introduced us to hundreds of new contacts and organizations involved at the conference. Billy and his team also secured a spot for us at the Jubilee Conference in 2010 – along with an opportunity to share Nuru’s story with thousands of college students.
Volunteer Partner Program
Kim Do, Janine Dzuba, and Chris Clarke have been hard at work hammering our strategy for the Volunteer Partner Program which is set to pilot its first team sometime this Spring. The VPP will provide a unique opportunity for individuals to partner with Nuru communities on a project where they can add lasting value with their specific skill set and be able to put themselves in the shoes of our brave brothers and sisters around the world struggling under the chains of extreme poverty.
As you can see, there’s a lot of really exciting stuff going on right now as we grow to impact more lives in this fight. I am so humbled by the opportunity to serve with the poor, to serve with my team, and to serve with all of you who make all this impact possible. Thanks so much.
Stay in the fight,