We are a charity; after all that is how a 501(c)(3) Non-profit in the USA works. However, we want to be clear that while we are here to help – we are really about solidarity. SOLIDARITY NOT CHARITY. We are a group of Americans and Kenyans working together to improve the health of our friends, neighbors and countrymen. We want our partners and visitors (and lookie-loos who check us out) to know that neither us nor our beneficiaries are charity cases – we are your neighbors on this planet addressing specific needs in a specific way. And we’d love to link arms with you to get this work done. To this end, we have six interdependent philosophies that guide our work.
Our work is:
Providing education should be done with cultural sensitivity as a cornerstone. This means consulting locals every step of the way, and learning as much as possible about the culture we aim to serve.
“The tools we use to solve the problem must be adapted by East Africans and applied in an East African way.”
We believe that follow-through, follow-up and training are of paramount importance to our work. It’s vital that our directive includes training of our indigenous neighbors to do the work and eventually put us out of a job. So, that when we do leave, there are local people who are able to continue the work and in turn train the next generation.
“We must promote education and not promote dependence.”
Our work has to be stylized to match the needs of our audiences. There are many things we have to say and do in Africa that may be counterintuitive to our fellow Americans. It’s important that we remain true to our goal but not necessarily to our methods. In spite of the fact that humans are more similar that dissimilar, there are important cultural differences that cannot be over looked. (And some that could be, but shouldn’t.)
“We aim to relevant, not ‘right’.”
We specialize in education. Education, however, does not work alone. Resources to act on the education are also key. When we teach a community a tangible idea, like condom use, we have to make sure condoms are actually available to that community. When we teach about getting tested, we have to make sure our audiences know where to get tested. This means working with other organizations so that together we can fill in the gaps in order to create a truly sustainable, holistic solution. We cannot work alone.
“Pride is for lions, not for charities.”
We work with anyone who wants to help. This means working with local and national governments, community organizations, and churches. When dealing with the sensitive issue of HIV and AIDS, there will be disagreements because it deals with human sexuality. Religion and politics play into these disagreements. However, people such as prostitutes, pastors, and politicians have at least two things in common: none want their communities, clients, congregations, or constituents to spread or contract HIV and all of them seem to really like puppets.
“We work with people of influence to end marginalization of those who have none.”
The rest of the world has a lot to learn about Africa. We aim to share the real Africa throughout our project. The developing world is an exciting place that is full of potential. Because many of her nations are developing right into the age of technology and information, large and sudden leaps occur in Africa. Specifically, the people of Kenya are hopeful of their future, energetic, talented, progressive and very aware of the world around them. We aim to continually share this truth with our international donors and supporters.
“Myths that many Africans believe about the world around them are as prevalent as myths the rest of the world believe about Africa.”
People are hurting, hungry, and homeless everywhere. In light of this fact we believe that national and international financial giving should be considered second to local efforts; that charity should begin at home. Local organizations often do not benefit from the extra special attention that causes like ours receive. They constantly have to solicit donations from the same sources, month after month, year after year. Just to make ends meet. It’s hard work. We know.
Thank you for your interest in our project. We encourage you to first help meet the basic needs of your own community.
Give to us, second.