The Voss Foundation is a public charity 501(c) (3) based in the New York City. Its major goal is providing clean drinking water to African communities. The Voss Foundation was formed by the directors of Voss Water in 2008, as a non-profit foundation. Voss Chief Executive Officer Knut Brundtland together with his wife Cecile Brundtland formed the organization after taking a trip to Africa where and as a result, faced the magnitude of water crisis. After returning to their home country Norway, they went to Voss headquarters in New York and launched the process of the foundation. The Headquarters of the Voss Foundation is currently in New York and it is headed by the Executive Director Kara Gerson. Since its inception in the year 2008, the foundation has managed to build eighteen water access points in 4 Sub-Saharan African countries. The Voss Foundations mission is to provide access to pure cleaning drinking water among the Sub-Saharan communities.
The Voss Foundation is currently working in Samburu District of Northern part of Kenya, the Gode zone of Ethiopia, the Katanga Province of the DRC as well as Mali’s’ Dogon country. The primarily projects involve the combination of well-digging or- pumping, piping and rehabilitation. The secondary water related aspects are supported on local requests and therefore ranges from bringing clean water to agricultural zones for irrigation, to schools and infirmaries based on resources, money or time by proximity of clean water. Following the provision of support from some dedicated donors and through the use of concerted campaigns, the Voss Foundation is able to raise funds for designated water projects. The Voss Foundation differentiates itself from other charity organizations by taking a slow deliberate approach that consists of the inhabitants of the local communities when planning and during the decision making process. The Voss Foundation is able to ensure long-term success of appropriate project which is highly accustomed to the needs of locals. At the same time, the procedure provides employment opportunities to local workers and it at the same time encourages the democratic systems governance for its projects after the completion of its installations. ‘Women HelpingWomen’ is fundraising campaign of the Voss Foundation which is global.
The programs bring women together from around the world is an intimate grass root slogan which promotes the cooperation since it joins together in helping to change the lives of children and women in Africa by providing them with access to clean water. Each donor is supplied with work plans and budgets for the stipulated projects which they fund and they are also given opportunities to visit other water projects. The program commenced in Europe and it has now grown to American groups. The campaign has brought nearly three hundred women in six nations together raising more than a hundred thousand US Dollars which has been used to fund seven taps in two African countries. Voss Foundation has donated twenty five thousand US dollars to the Silver Spring-MD for international development program in Ethiopia. The Foundation joins the CHF in diversifying the livelihoods and increases access to safe water for approximately 100,000 Ethiopians by building 3 wells in rural communities. The Voss Foundation helps communities to meet their needs through partnership with other trusted organizations.
In northern Kenya, the Foundation works with Milgis trust. Milgis trust is an organization which locally committed to environmental stewardship and conservation in ensuring that the people of Samburu have access to clean and pure drinking water. The entire process commences with the covering and rehabilitation of the available water wells located far away from the villages and was at the same time suspected to have been regularly contaminated previously. The Voss
Foundation then installs piping and solar pumps to easily pump water from the wells to the village center this goes hand in hand with the additional spigots which serve the infirmary and schools. As a result, instead of spending energy and time going back and forth for unclean water, the whole community has been facilitating access to pure water at centralized locations. Infirmary patients and children in the village have benefitted tremendously since they have water on-site, and they can create a cleaner, through the healthiest environment available for them. From Ndonyo Nasipa, the Voss Foundation partner Milgis Trust has provided some of the greatest photos of constructions and implementations of wells stipulated to serve water systems in Samburu district and its neighboring regions. Some of the already completed projects in Kenya are:
The Latakwen which was completed in the year two thousand and eight,
The Swari which was completed in the year two thousand and ten and lastly,
The Ndonyo Nasipa which is currently in progress and scheduled to be complete later this year. The following map shows the Voss Foundation network in Kenya (thevossfoundation.org, 2011)
The presence of the Voss foundation in Kenya’s Samburuland.
The Voss Foundation Projects in Ethiopia.
In Gode and Kelafo Zones In rural Ethiopia, CHF International joins the Voss Foundation in increasing access to pure water and diversifying livelihoods for more than one hundred thousand beneficiaries. Together, they are able to provide and satisfy the immediate water needs for the locals and mitigate the future impacts caused by drought and improve their hygiene practices by creating more localized and reliable water sources. The CHF and Voss Foundation are focusing their programs to identifying and pilot innovativeness, pragmatic solutions that will be able to provide not only short-term but also long-term water sources of improved that is of good quality especially for vulnerable populations. In this region, the major constraint to water and food security is the inadequacy of water quality and quantity. So as to support the regular increased water access for local communities, The Voss Foundation in conjunction with the CHF International have constructed three shallow wells in Waylasidig, Hadhawe and Niri therefore utilizing the designs which have been authenticated CHF’s long time experience in water security and safety. These ideologies behind the construction of these shallow wells are based on designs which are merged with hydrological engineering which encompasses the best engineering practices together with the local preferences.
The design has got a meter high masonry apron which is useful in protecting the water from the outside contamination and at the same time protecting the entire scheme from possible flooding. Both wells include duo livestock troughs for watering and they are positioned on opposite corners respectively. Both wells are fitted with washer pumps and rope. The water schemes were built using the hand held tools with materials which are locally procured. Most of the materials are easily accessible to local communities and they can be easily constructed by the beneficiaries themselves contrary to conventional thoughts and believe that the local pastoralists are reluctant when it comes to the participation of their own development. The remaining materials like cement for iron bars and concrete are purchased from local vendors in the community at competitive prices. thevossfoundation.org reiterates that to ensure the smooth running of the project, the utilization of communication cards was put in place as visual aids in sharing hygiene and sanitation information with the community. Those cards have been produced by the Population Service International and certified for use by the relevant Federal Ministry of Regional Health Bureaus. The activities have seen their implementations in a very participatory and organized manner whereby the recipient user communities have key roles in deciding in the process. A local resources contribution as well as labor from the locals has enhanced the ownership sense over their community assets. All of their project sites have fallen under authorities of local clan leaders and in that case, they are only accessible by members of that clan which offers security and safety of the water sites. The built hand dug wells have appeared to save both energy and time by decreasing the work burden for children and women who initially used to travel long distance in search of water for domestic consumption. The Voss Foundation helped construct the wells within the community reach making it easier for beneficiaries to access pure water with significant less distance and time. Among the complete projects by the Voss Foundation in Ethiopia are:
The Hadawe (Gode Zone)
Waylaisdig (Gode Zone) and
Niri (Kelafo Zone)
The Voss Foundation Projects in Democratic Republic of Congo
According to thevossfoundation.org, the Voss Foundation in the Democratic Republic of Congo has constructed a well at the first all-girls school’s Georges Malaika Foundation. The well provides access to pure drinking water to both the school and the neighboring villages. The Georges Malaika Foundation is devoted to the development of African communities since it provides opportunities to young girls who are aged between five and eighteen years of age. Its major objective together with the Voss Foundation is to mobilize the necessary resources to overcome obstacles that are insurmountable and which a young girl can possibly face when obtaining education in the DRC. The Voss foundation together with the GMF provides assistance which prepares a way for opportunities and at the same time empowers young girls for them to make informed decisions in their lives. With the help from the Voss Foundation, The GMF tries to permanently alter illiteracy cycles and the poverty lines within the democratic republic of Congo. Since the Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the lowest rates of pupils who complete the primary school education, The Voss Foundation together with the GMF are dedicated to solve the crisis whereby Voss Foundation has ensured the constant availability of pure water to the girls as the GMF ensures the continuity of success in education system is ongoing. The well on-site which was constructed by the Voss Foundation serves as the single source of water for both the school and the neighboring villagers. The truth of the matter remains that without pure drinking water, it could be very difficult for the school to operate normally. Throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa, young girls are forced to quit school and spend their days helping their parents to fetch water.
Together, GMF and the Voss Foundation are providing the local community with both education and clean water. The following is a Location of the Voss foundation in partnership with Georges Malaika Foundation in the DRC. The presence of the Voss Foundation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Voss Foundation Projects in Mali
One of the most ancient civilizations in Africa is the Dogon. This unique culture is facing threats from the global environmental changes. The Dogon people have lived in vast canyons in the state of Mali for centuries at the aid of gorgeous but somehow fickle environment. As a UNESCO World Heritage location, the Dogon had irregular access of sufficient water since it has been adversely affected by the recent global warming and environmental changes. In Pel and Kanikombole’s Dogon villages, water sources were seriously lacking repairs. Old wells were very unsecure and therefore subject to contaminations and as a result, it posed very serious safety hazards. In collaboration with the Peace Corps, the USAID, AED, the republic of Mali and the Voss Foundation, rehabilitations of such wells have been made a reality. Wells have been deepened for more fresh and abundant water in protection of the villages’ water sources. The Voss Foundation has been aided by the Sahel Eco, Caritas and in Kanikombole in Pel. The repairs of extant wells have been witnessed and they have been secured with safe removable covers runoff channels and retaining and secure walls. The pulleys systems have been have been renovated and new pumps installed. Beyond giving big health benefits for the local villagers, pure water has been utilized to prepare and serve food for visiting tourists and at the same time it has been utilized to boost the Dogon’s economies. The Voss foundation has also provided assistance and training to the entire community but with special focus on Association of Women in Pel.
Among the projects which have been successfully seen through by the Voss Foundation in Mali include:
The following is a map of the Voss Foundation network in the government of Mali’s Dogon Region.
The presence of the Voss Foundation in the Government of Mali.
According to virginunite.com, Project clean water which is a non-profit foundation and which was started by Jewel in 1997, has partnered with the Voss Foundation to support the campaign of give a drop. Up to now, the Clean Water project in conjunction with the Voss Foundation have given aide to more than thirty communities whereby they have been able to overcome domestic water problems in thirteen different countries in different continents. (virginunite.com, 2011)
Water is a source of life and it should be handled with a good care. It is of paramount importance for everyone to take care of the little amount of water available. Non Governmental organizations like the Voss Foundation should be empowered and given the necessary support so that they can reach the helpless that are in serious need of water. Countries should be responsible enough to avoid unnecessary water pollutions through industrial chemicals since water maintains the many lives of humans as well as the marine ones.
thevossfoundation.org, (2011): The Voss Foundation/project/Kenya. Retrieved March 7, 2011
thevossfoundation.org, (2011): The Voss Foundation/project/Ethiopia. Retrieved March 7,
2011 from http://www.thevossfoundation.org/project/ethiopia/
thevossfoundation.org, (2011): The Voss Foundation/project/Democratic Republic of Congo.
Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.thevossfoundation.org/project/democratic-republic-of-the-congo/
thevossfoundation.org, (2011): The Voss Foundation/project/Mali. Retrieved March 7, 2011
virginunite.com, (2011): Project Clean Water Partners with the Voss Foundation.