BioSand Water Filter
The Benkadi Project is working to provide clean water to people in Guinea, West Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world. In Guinea, people often drink from polluted streams and contaminated wells, causing serious and recurring illness and even death from cholera, dysentery, typhoid and E. Coli bacteria. Something as simple as clean drinking water can literally save lives in Guinea. Our organization builds and delivers innovative biosand water filters to homes in Guinea to address this problem. We employ community members to construct the filters and teach residents how to use them. We have delivered more than 1500 filters to families in Guinea. That means more than 15,000 individuals now have access to clean water. People who used the filters reported a dramatic reduction in illness and improved health and well-being. Each filter provides clean water to 10 people for 10 years, at a cost of just $30 per person. With additional funding, we are ready to extend these life saving and environmentally-friendly biosand filters to families in Guinea. To ensure our project’s long term sustainability, we will also train other community leaders and organizations in Guinea to build and use the biosand filters, further expanding our impact.
We are grateful for the support of CAWST.org for making information on the BioSand Water Filter open source in the belief that everyone deserves clean water!
Emergency Food Support
As it is in the developed world, the COVID-19 crisis in Guinea is both a health and economic crisis. People struggle daily to feed their families in “normal” times in Guinea. The pandemic has only intensified the situation with food insecurity for most people in the country. Thus, we will prioritize providing food resources to families during the pandemic. By providing rice (200 to 300 lbs approximately $120 USD depending on the size of the family) we significantly reduce their burden and help families dealing with hunger. To date we have been able to provide over 13,000 lbs of rice. We are continuing to raise donations for this project.
Women's Market & Toilet House
Studies show that when you invest in women the entire community benefits. Women's Market projects are an extension of our efforts to improve food security and economics for families in Guinea. The women have wanted a market for more than 20 years. Currently they sit under mango trees near the road and sell items on either tarp like plastic or on their tables. The items they sell are typically what they grow in their gardens. Typically women shop daily for their food needs. For example if they are going to make peanut sauce they may purchase 3 tablespoons of peanut butter. They also sell items to have the money to purchase the items they are not growing themselves. The new market area is close enough to be accessible yet far enough to prevent the food from getting contaminated by dust.
Bore Dug Well
Due to a Grant we received we were able to have a bore dug well which is 80 meters deep. The water that comes out of this well is potable water. This well is the only clean source of water in the area. The well is operated using electricity to pump it out to the community. Currently we estimate more than 150 families (3,000 estimated individuals) now have access to this water. We try to open the well up for usage daily during the dry season and a few times a week during the wet season. We have to provide regular maintenance of the well and occasional repairs. Everyone is incredibly grateful to have access to this water and are constantly telling our staff about it. We are eternally grateful for the support which lead clean source of water!
Litter Removal / Village Beautification
The village has a group of mostly women and some men who clean up the litter. We have provided them with a motorcycle wagon, boots, gloves, masks, rakes, buckets, shovels and other tools to help them clean. We anticipated the need for assistance with the Women's Market. They are proud of the work they do to keep their village clean.
Village Youth Center
The young people needed a place to gather, play music and have parties. This also provides an important area for large meetings in the village as well.
Universal Nut Sheller
In Guinea, peanuts are an important nutrient for parents who struggle to provide one meal a day to their families. Peanuts provide 80 essential vitamins and minerals. They are also an important cash crop in Guinea where many families sell a portion of their harvest to purchase items they are unable to grow themselves. Sometimes they are forced to sell more than they would want to due to extreme poverty. Peanuts in West Africa have a tough outer shell because they are sun dried. The shells are removed before consumption or sale. The job of shelling typically goes to women and children, particularly elderly women. The task of manually shelling the peanuts is very labor intensive and can become painful when nuts are shelled hour after hour, day after day, causing abrasions to the fingers. These abrasions create a path for a carcinogenic toxin in the shells, aflatoxin, to enter the body. This toxin may cause birth defects. Motherland Rhythm Community's Benkadi Project builds and delivers an innovative system called the Universal Nut Sheller (UNS) which protects women and children from this toxin, dramatically decreases time spent in shelling and ensures that families can both sell and consume their crops. In 1 hour, a UNS can shell the same amount of peanuts that it takes 5 women working together to shell in a day. At the same time, exposure to the toxin on the shells is minimized. We employ community members to construct the UNS devices and teach residents in villages how to use and maintain them. Each UNS can typically handle the shelling needs of a village of 2,000. Quality materials and sturdy design give each device a lifespan of 25 years or more. People in Guinea are thrilled to receive a UNS because of the ease of use and reduction in manual labor and time needed for this critical agricultural work. Having a UNS allows them to increase their crops for consumption and sale and frees them to work on other projects for their families while reducing the health risks of shelling by hand. A UNS can be provided to a village for $500 USD, which includes the cost of securing and transporting the metal and concrete components, constructing and delivering the device and training on how to use and maintain the device. With additional support, the Benkadi Project is continues to provide more Universal Nut Shellers in Guinea in the years ahead.
We are grateful for the support of The Full Belly Project for inventing this system and sharing it with us!
Dug and Repaired Wells in Rural Villages
Over the years we have dug wells and repaired wells in Sangbaralla, Sanakoro, Fofo Marie and Doumaya. These are important sources of water for the communities.
Supplies for the Elderly Women's Garden
We support the Elderly Women's Garden in Sangbaralla with much needed supplies.
Special Family Support
At times a small gift can have a big impact on a person's quality of life. We have provided such gifts. We have purchased motorcycles which are a method of transportation and income. We have paid for medical treatments and cleared up medical debts. We provided financial support to a women who sold food on the streets which allowed her to expand her business. We purchased a megaphone for the Chief's Messanger.
We have provided educational support paying school fees and materials for students to attend school. Two of our students a boy and a girl were the only members of their families who went to school. Both of them have utimately completed university.
Emergency Medical Assistance & Provided Aid to Village Hospitals
We have paid for surgeries and medical treatments for various illnesses and treatments. We have constructed a platform for the ceiling of a village hospital to protect the patients from the hot metal roof. We have also providing financial assistance so the village hospital can purchase some much needed supplies or make improvements to their hospital.
Built School House Sangbaralla Village
Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita annual income of $500. Most people are earning less than $1 per day. People in Guinea lack access to basic nutrition, health care and educational resources. Life expectancy is 46 years and only 36% of the adult population can read and write. While about half of all men are literate, only about 1 in 5 women have any basic literacy skills. Literacy rates in the country’s rural areas are even lower due to an almost complete absence of educational opportunities for children.
The people of Sangbaralla have a deep commitment to providing a better future for children in their village. In the early 90's a small schoolhouse was built with donations from the United States. Up until this time, no child in the village had any opportunity to attend school, to gain the ability to read and write, learn French (the language of business and politics in Guinea) or to learn about the world outside of their small, isolated village.
The government of Guinea sent two young schoolteachers to live in Sangbaralla and teach at the school. Since then, 140 children in the village have been enrolled in the 1st through 6th grades each year. The teachers are very proud of the fact that forty percent of the children at the school are female.
While the small Sangbaralla School had been a great asset to the children and families of the village, it's school could not meet the needs of the hundreds of children who would like to attend. With just three small classrooms, the school was at full capacity and could not accommodate the 140 additional children whose families would like them to receive an education. The school had few educational materials, and not enough books, notebooks and pencils to support the children’s basic educational achievement.
In 2002, the Benkadi Projects was created to begin fundraising to build an additional school house. We are thrilled to let you know that the new school house was opened with a Grand Celebration in conjunction with the Tabaski Festival December 2005. We also built new benches and tables for the school rooms. In the upcoming years we built a canteen and a storage building. We have provided a platform for the original school house.