Monday, May 23, 2011

Tɛnki, Tɛnki!

The Old Guys are home safe and sound!
We’ve had about a week to reflect on the amazing experience that was
the CAUSE Canada Tour de Sierra Leone.
Here are a few of our thoughts as we process the experience.
1. First, we are tremendously grateful to you (and about 150 others like you) who recognized the need and responded to the opportunity to make a difference to many thousands of women and their families in Sierra Leone. We are truly humbled by the response and support you have provided. At time of writing we were within a few thousand dollars of our stretch $50,000 goal…and have every expectation this target will be exceeded. Thank you so much! 

2. The birthing hut program will make a difference. We saw these huts in operation and met some of the Maternal Child Heath Care Attendants. The huts are well constructed and equipped. The attendants are dedicated and trained. On average 25 at-risk women use the services of each of these facilities on a monthly basis. At over 250 women per hut per year, times the 12-15 that will be built because of this initiative, over 3000 women will have dramatically higher chances of surviving and thriving through childbirth…each year. 

What’s more, CAUSE Canada has applied for matching grants for the funding provided through the Old Guys in Action initiative. We anticipate that your donation will be matched on a 3:1 basis. This means your donation will make three times what is already a very significant impact!

3. The issues that led to Sierra Leone having the highest maternal mortality rate in the world (1 in 8, versus 1 in 11,000 in Canada), are complex. They are the product of history, culture, war, poverty and other factors. Birthing huts on their own will make a big difference, but we applaud holistic approach we witnessed that CAUSE Canada is taking involving education, women’s literacy and empowerment, nutrition and health training, agriculture, clean water and micro-enterprise. CAUSE’s long-term commitment with its national staff and community leadership and involvement are having a sustainable impact. 

At a more macro level, we were encouraged to see an increased level of economic activity, investment in infrastructure, and focus on local and national governance that bodes well for the future of the country. At the airport as we were leaving the country, Paul Carrick, CAUSE Canada Founder ran into a former CAUSE national staff worker. He had worked for CAUSE at a refugee camp after the war and honed his leadership abilities to the point that he was subsequently hired by the UN in Sierra Leone. Fast forward…this gentleman has since earned a PhD from England and holds a leadership position with the UN with responsibilities in other countries in Africa. A good news story where investment in good people at the local level by CAUSE Canada is having a significant international impact.

The purpose of Old Guys in Action is to provide opportunities to Learn, Engage, Network and Support best-in-class organizations working to address complex development issues. CAUSE Canada is such an organization. We feel privileged to have partnered with them on the Tour de Sierra Leone, and we encourage you to continue supporting CAUSE Canada on an ongoing basis.

On behalf of “Old Guys” Jon, Bernie and Ross, 
CAUSE Canada staff in Canada and in Sierra Leone 
and the many thousands of beneficiaries of your generosity…
as they say in Krio…
Tɛnki, Tɛnki!

1 comment:

  1. oh this makes me miss my time in africa.
    it was much to short and a year has passed already.
    i do not have a recipe for groundnut stew. :)
    i am not sure i would make it....but i am kind of chicken about that kind of stuff.
    your organization looks really cool!
    way to go!
    i cannot imagine riding bicycles in sierra leone?! that is a real chore.
    i wish you the best of luck in your fundraising. the old guys ROCK!