After the first trip in 2009, and after seeing the desperate need for clean water, a few of the members of Our Saviour's Lutheran of Stanwood, Washington, held a fundraising dinner where $10,000 was raised - enough for 4 wells. Since then we have "negotiated" a lower cost per well and have been able to provide funding for an additional 44 wells and two community cisterns. These wells mean that several hundred women and children no longer have to walk 1-2 miles a day to get unsanitary water - up and down the hilly terrain of the area. And the water coming from these wells has been tested by the county and is safe for drinking compared the water they used to obtain from the river. These time saving and disease preventing wells have made a huge difference in the health of the children and allowed the family members to spend more time in their gardens raising vegetables and studying for school. In addition, we have been able to place gutters and cisterns on approximately 30 members' homes so rain water can be collected for use in their gardens, wash clothes, or to water the animals
Chickens & Goats
Much like Heifer International, the Boscovet Project has been able to place small flocks of chickens or a female goat with many of the Boscovet families. As each flock or female goat produces offspring, another Boscovet family is a recipient of a dozen chickens or a doe. This is a gift that keeps on giving year after year. Our goal is to be able for each family to have a small chicken project of their own so they can raise the level of nutrition - especially protein - for their children. The goats we have been able to purchase are also designed to elevate the nutritional status of each family. If a family receives a goat, they must "gift" the first female offspring to another family in the project.. The milk and eggs can also be sold in the marketplace.
In 2012, we launched a microfinance program whereby members could apply for a low interest loan. These small loans of $25 or $50 can be used for seed or fertilizer purchases or to help launch a small business idea. This is the only access these small farmers have to financial resources due to their inherently risky economic status. But they have proven to be good borrowers so far. One of the reasons is the peer pressure from being part of a group like the Boscovet Project. They hold each other accountable. The other important characteristic is that they are all Christians. When you visit their homes or talk with them as we walk along, it is quickly apparent that their faith is strong.
Another aspect of the microfinance program is a savings program where the farmers are encouraged to save a small amount every week. The microfinance and savings program is one of the fastest growing aspects of the Boscovet Project.
It is well known that early childhood education is a key to success. Quality nutrition is another important contributor to development of young brains. Our goal is to offer a quality education to children whose families cannot afford to attend the "free" public schools which often are lacking quality teachers to instruct them. The school also provides two meals per day for each student. We currently have around 360 students taught by 12 teachers and aides. The Boscovet Hope Academy was founded in 2013 after it was recognized that many of the Boscovet families were unable to afford to send their children school due to the expense of school fees and other costs. We built a 6 room school house on land purchased through donations and fundraising activities. Since that initial start we have expanded the building to 10 classrooms with a library and full kitchen. After purchasing an adjoining parcel of land we were able to create a playground and begin construction of a two story building with 4 classrooms for the Pre-K and kindergarten classes. As word spread around the nearby villages about the quality of education our students were receiving, there was request from families living farther away for their children to attend the school. So we purchased a 14 passenger van and currently run 3 routes each morning and afternoon picking up and dropping off students from these new families. Currently, sixty children are receiving a quality education provided by scholarships through the Boscovet Project. Thanks to supporters in the USA we are able to fully fund their education plus provide each child with a school uniform, shoes, and learning materials. If you would like to sponsor one of these children please check out the "Sponsor a Child" tab to learn how you can be a part of this outreach. It only costs $20 per month to sponsor one child.
Each trip we typically will hold vaccination clinics in 3 or 4 neighboring villages in conjunction with the local District Veterinary Office. We also vaccinate and deworm the Boscovet members animals when we visit their homes. Our patients include cows, goats, dogs, and cats. The dogs and cats receive rabies vaccinations since rabies is an endemic disease in Kenya with many deaths each year as a result of being bitten by a rabid animal. Another aspect of the animal health program are the seminars we host providing education on a variety of topics ranging from small business development to animal health to human health. In the past we had discussions about milk quality and mastitis, reproductive problems, nutrition, biosecurity, chicken health, small business and marketing, animal husbandry, and more.
As access to electricity is scarce in many of these remote villages, the Boscovet Project initiated a low cost solar lighting program in 2019. By purchasing in bulk, the Boscovet Project provides members a way to inexpensively illuminate their homes in the evening. Something relatively simple like this now allows the children to continue their studies after the light fades each day around 7 pm. Previously candles and kerosene lamps were used. But even then many families could not afford to buy the kerosene or were forced to ration the candles for economic reasons.
The picture shows the singular candle used to illuminate an entire home after dark.