Bondo Peer Counselors Support Group - Water Catchment Initiative
GOING GREEN: BONDO PEER COUNSELORS SUPPORT GROUP SEEKS DONORS FOR GREEN HOUSE FARMING
Bondo Peer Counselors Support Group (BPCSG) is a community-based organization that admits members of the public who have gone for HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), and are willing to partner with other people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) toward positive and productive living. Located in Bondo, Nyanza Province, Kenya, BPCSG was founded in 2003 with an aim to build the capacity of people living with HIV/AIDs, as well as Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), by empowering them to live positively and productively. The Bondo area has been devastated by this disease, and still has the highest infection rate in the country (23%). The group has attracted a membership of over 60 adults, 300 OVCs and 30 community health workers. The group is currently seeing about 150 clients within the local hospital facility on a daily basis and at their respective homes every week. The number is rising with every group visit at clients’ own homes. The main strategy of the group is to form support groups at the community level. BPCSG envisions a family of care and support, a world of fully integrated PLWHAs and a community free from stigma, denial and discrimination.
A display of the group’s banner on a past World AIDS Day PHOTO/RAY POLO
The group’s mission is to strive to ensure that PLWHAs are in solidarity, living positively and to ensure that both the infected and the affected community members access basic human needs through sustainable approaches and programs. Part of the objectives of the group is to advocate for active community participation by PLWHAs and to initiate and support income generating and learning activities (IGLAs).
The group’s support message on a T-Shirt (L) Members preview their movie series (R). PHOTO/RAY POLO
The group enjoys a cordial relationship with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Anglican Church of Kenya, to mention only a few organization. Through support from various entities, the group has made numerous achievements that continue to improve the lives of those infected and those affected by HIV/AIDS, especially OVCs. HIV/AIDS orphans are one of the most vulnerable groups in Bondo town, and are represented in almost 50% of the schools population. Besides encouraging people to get tested and adhere to antiretroviral therapy, the group has gone further to source for education funds in order to keep OVCs in schools and colleges. This has helped ease the stress of many school going OVCs who have to contend with the ripple effects of adverse poverty, as well as poor and inadequate school infrastructures and limited technology, i.e. ICT.
BPCSG is also speeding its steps in conserving the environment through the planting of trees from its own tree nursery. In times of hunger, the group works round the clock to ensure all members, especially those weakened by the virus, access relief food. The fluctuations in food crop harvests prompted the group to approach the hunger issue from a different and a more sustainable angle - green house farming. The group has attained two large green houses through donor funding and group contributions. Currently, only one of the green houses is in use. This is courtesy of a group member who offered to supply the flowing water required by the green house plants. In their pilot projects, the group harvested a lot of sukuma wiki (kale) and tomatoes. The crop was impressive and 30 households were supported. The group wishes to expand to tomato production as this gives them more profit. The group also hopes to produce more vegetables in order to reduce dependency on food aid, especially during drought seasons.
Members admire vegetables in the 1st green house. PHOTO/RAY POLO
Bondo town, however, where the group has its green houses, has had a long history of poor water connections and an unreliable supply of such a precious, life-giving commodity. Road maintenance that is currently underway destroyed most water lines--further sttressing an already wanting water supply.
Now, with the new contacts made with ICO, the group hopes to acquire a new tank and water pumping system in order to store more water to feed the second green house. This increase inw ater storage will mean more food production and better nutrition for group members. Surplus crops will also mean more cash for the group, which will, in turn, be directed to other group initiatives, which include:
- Home-based care
- Group therapy sessions
- HIV/AIDS awareness
- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
- ART Adherence & Defaulter tracing
- Referrals to health facilities
- Social Support to PLWHAs
- Green House farming and livestock keeping
- Tailoring & dress making classes
- PLWHAs Public Exposure/public speaking & drama
The plan is to install two 10,000 L water tanks near the greenhouse. One tank will be supplied with water pumped from the Bondo water utility, and the other will be supplied with rain water harvested from the roof of an adjacent building. The water from both tanks will be gravity fed to the greenhouse. BPCSG respectfully requests donations in support of our need for more water. Our goal is to raise the $3,000 CAN (240,000 KES) required for this project. If you are interested in helping out, a Canadian tax-receipted donation can be made to this initiative here. One of the attractive features of ICO is that 100% of donations will go to our Initiative, no money is deducted for overhead or administration. The ICO bank account can be viewed by all live online. Any donations will be greatly appreciated by Bondo`s PLWHAs, thank you!
Please direct any questions to Benard Atito, member of the BPCSG, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Mark Dull, ICO’s Canadian-based “Initiatives Co-ordinator – Africa” at email@example.com.