Friday, March 24, 2006

WHEREVER THE NEED : Efficiency Is Their Creed

Sometimes it becomes difficult to stay enthused about working on projects because of difficulties brought about by a lack of management skills of crucial members of a project team. And to be honest, I was starting to lose steam on one of my projects because I was unable to get a team member to understand how crucial it is for potential donors to see the transparency of any financial operations involved in a project.

But just when I was about to throw in the towel a new volunteer showed up to help with the project and my spirits did a 180 degrees turn around. This person brought to the project a very concise understanding of the nature of the problems to be addressed in accomplishing the goals of the project as well as a very efficient approach for doing this. Right away, he rolled up his sleeves and began to work on sorting out the mess that had been created by well meaning but less experienced volunteers.

I am not going to mention the project that was in difficulty, but I will say that the person who came to its rescue works with a very impressive organization called: WHEREVER THE NEED

Wherever the Need is a registered UK charity that offers a new look at giving and supporting. Their priority is to implement projects that directly benefit individuals over the long-term in the most efficient way possible.

Because of the efficient manner in which they go about their work, they enable sponsors of the charity to respond specifically to the needs of local people - rather than indirectly through Governmental or large Non-Governmental Organisations. This way a connection can be established (if desired) between the donor and the recipient.

The priority of implementing projects that directly benefit individuals over the long-term in the most efficient way possible is in their words 'direct action'.

For example, by focusing on a holistic approach in the use and provision of water Wherever The Need provides clean drinking water to human beings and where possible extends the supply to livestock, crops and trees. It says at its web site that: "In tandem with the provision of water is the building of houses and community centres in areas stricken by disaster. All projects are approached in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible to further the Trustee's aim to safeguard the planet."

Wherever The Need began in 1997 and became a registered charity the following year. They started out by delivering aid to Chernikov - 35 kilometers from Chernobyl, Ukraine. The initial project in 1997 to Chernikov, Ukraine was to deliver goods in order to alleviate the suffering of children affected by radiation derived illnesses.

The next year they started trips to the Balkans, and between 1998 and 2000 Wherever The Need visited Croatia, Serbia and Kosova on fourteen different occasions. And this does not include some other trips they flew as well. All of these trips took aid directly to refugees impacted by the Balkans wars. Wherever The Need also helped on projects in India and Chile during this time.

In 2000, not long after that they began delivering aid to the Balkans they turned our attention to Africa, which was stricken with the HIV/AIDS problem.

When Wherever The Need began working in Africa they put in place two major projects in Zambia. One was an irrigation project in the East of the country and the other a farm/school project in Lusaka. In addition to this they carried out several smaller projects in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Before long, Wherever The Need began to identify that the underlying problem facing many of the people they were helping was a shortage of clean water and toilet facilities. These inadequacies inevitably led to the onset of intestinal problems. They reassessed our objectives and decided to focus our energy on providing water for life and began to direct its projects on providing long-term water supplies, safe sanitation and irrigation systems over many parts of the world.

This program of bringing water to communities that need it evolved into implementing ways of using water to benefit the environment as a whole, "i.e. adopting a holistic approach whereby water can benefit people, livestock, crops and local habitat."

In parallel with their water projects, they are currently working in Sri Lanka - specifically within areas affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami. Wherever The Need's first fact-finding team went out there in early January of 2004 in order to identify and set in motion, long-term reconstruction projects, taking with them the funding for one thousand 'Back to School Packs'. These packs provided children with basic school equipment thus enabling them to return to their classrooms.

Wherever The Need has Projects in Gambia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Their water projects in Africa are in Gambia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and they are looking into whether to carry out a water project in South Africa. Also, they currently have a sanitation project in Zambia.

I have mentioned many times the importance of water to the development of water resources to the overall development of Africa, both in the rural and urban context. And so often it seems as if there is so much difficulty in organizing properly to address the problem. Well, Wherever The Need addresses the problem and addresses it well. I am not going to recite here how they do what they do so well, but I strongly encourage you to visit their web site and take a look at an organization that has rolled up its sleeves and is addressing the problem with Efficiency as their Creed.

Wherever The Need

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