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Our Sixth Community Project

(L,R) Théophile Sobngwi, executive director of RIDEV, with Program Director Paul Zangue.

It has been almost two years since members of the development committee of Baleveng first approached Breaking Ground with their plans for a water pump and reservoir. Community members currently wade into a small, muddy pool to fetch water, and the rate of water-related illnesses is alarmingly high. In 2011 alone there were 650 documented cases of water-related diseases in the area. Building a better water source is the first step to a healthier community, but we will also start an education program to teach community members how to safely treat their water.

Thanks to One Day's Wages and all our generous donors, we will begin work in the community of Baleveng almost immediately: We hope to break ground in February, as this will allow us to accomplish the majority of construction before the rainy season begins. We are able to move forward rapidly because before even presenting the project to our board for approval, let alone beginning the process of applying to One Day's Wages for financial support, we had already carefully assessed the community's commitment and readiness.

Though our work has branched out into capacity-building projects, it was working with communities like Baleveng -- communities that have already established their needs and taken steps to address them -- that was the original impetus behind Breaking Ground. Things like enthusiasm and engagement are not easily measured, but, working with our partner RIDEV, we have established criteria by which we assess a project. They include:

Does the proposed project provide an effective and sustainable solution to a well-documented need?

Community Organization
What groups already exist in the community? What are their purposes, and what have they accomplished?

Project Inclusion
Will the proposed project meet the needs of all community members? Who has been present at the meetings when the proposed project was discussed and planned? Who spoke and voted at these meetings? Have the opinions of all groups (including youth, women, and the elderly) been taken into account by the community leaders?

What has been done so far to ameliorate the problem? Despite lack of financial resources, what has the community done on its own? Has the community started saving money for the project, and/or are there plans for contributions (monetary or otherwise) from all members of the community? 

Over the course of 2011, Program Director Paul Zangue worked closely with Théophile Sobngwi, executive director of RIDEV and Breaking Ground board member, to answer all these questions in regards to Baleveng. They confirmed the project's grassroots foundation and profound importance within the community. Since then, while we have worked in the U.S. to raise funds with One Day's Wages, every member of Baleveng has contributed $6 to $12.

With all this preparatory work in place, it is now finally time to break ground on our sixth community project.

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