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Beyond Technology
Robert V. Lange
Greetings!

Our work evolves right in the community, rather than as an idea applied from the outside. Because of this, our involvements have grown to include multiple sectors—the areas most needed.

It is especially important to us that our projects are focused on the people, rather than on specific technological developments.

For example, water sanitation is crucially important and our participation is now integral to the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project. It takes our connection with the people to operate it well and keep it going.

However, when we seek funding, it is the technology that seems to be of greatest interest to our funders. Therefore, we find ourselves presenting this aspect of the work as a technological, rather than a human breakthrough for health.

But we can express our work with widows differently, as it is completely focused on the women themselves. Read below about how this focus fuels the program's remarkable success.

Thank you for making it all possible.
With great appreciation,

Twende!

October 2019
What sustained enthusiasm can do
Widow's Project team completing a training session. Mesha is wearing a blue hat
The focus on the women themselves is particularly satisfying because the growing and sustainable changes are not the result of a specific technology. Rather, the changes come from the women’s sustained enthusiasm for improving their lives.

We are now working with 275 widows in eleven groups in ten villages. Our collaborators, The Global Fund for Widows , concur that the amazing success of the Widow's Project rests with the organizing expertise provided by staff, in conjunction with the free and creative spirit of Maasai women.
The widows enjoy working together as part of the Project team
Mesha's plan
The plan for organizing, developed by Cypress Hill Manager Mesha Singolyo and her colleagues,starts with engaging village authorities to solidify their participation and support. These men wish they could do more for all the people of their village. They appreciate that we are coming with critical funds, allowing us to organize at least 25 widows in each village. And this has a big impact, as widows often represent the villagers most in need.

The widow's group elects leaders to run planning meetings, manage funds, and implement projects and enjoy working together with resources that mean they an really accomplish something significant.

The next step includes training people to establish and operate a cooperative bank. Each woman contributes monthly. This allows loans to be available to them when they want to start a business. Most importantly, we supply a boost to their bank balances. This helps the widows start a collective business with enough investment to have a resounding and motivating success.

The widows learn how to keep their books and how to utilize veterinary assistance. In one of the villages the women appointed an advisory group of men, Maasai herders, to ensure their access to the best livestock knowledge available.
A wonderful stage of development
Goats receiving supplemental feeding
The first three groups have already sold their first herds of 75 fattened goats. They’ve made a nice profit and have decided to start another cycle of raising and marketing livestock.

The second two groups are currently starting their own goat businesses. And six new groups are in the final stages of bank and organizational training. They elected their officers, and will soon start their livestock businesses.

Mesha fulfilled all the organizational responsibilities herself for the first five groups. When we saw the results, we became enthusiastic about the potential and saw the need to expand. Last year, we readily joined forces with The Global Fund for Widows, which funded the expansion.  Of course the group organizing and advising the widows had to be enlarged and we assigned four of our most experienced staff members to assist Mesha.
Dedicated to the widow's project
We’ve designated one of our cars, a four-wheel-drive Suzuki, just to serve this effort, so that transportation availability will never be an impediment to this work.

Mesha is training Kone, Augustino, Ngakenya, and Kisika who have been strong in all their staff roles, and they are becoming very good at implementing the Widow's Program. The enhanced organizing skills and power they are gaining will serve them well into the future, as they participate in the development of their society.

Thank you to Mesha, The Global Fund for Widows, and to all the funders and participants.
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Thank you to Philip Lange, G Adventures, and the ICSEE (T) staff for photography
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