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Thanksgiving ~ November 2013 Newsletter

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Saving Lives through Healthy Homes

By George Musabandesu

george4Through our work in the community, we at Seeds of Hope have learned that establishing healthy homes can transform and save lives. Our Healthy Home Certification Program was birthed out of our desire to see true transformation and deal with health issues related to water, sanitation, and hygiene in a home setting. The Healthy Home Certification Program enables SoHIP to partner directly with households to develop workable plans that best fit the needs and interests of entire families.

Addressing health issues at a household level will, in time, expand to a community level. The program is currently targeted at our Community Health Promoters (CHPs) because of the vital role they play in health-related community interventions. CHPs were considered first because they are the beacons of hope in their communities. They are the familiar faces carrying and promoting the good news of health.

CHPgroup - CopyThe program’s focus is to develop an action plan that describes what qualifies a healthy home: one that prevents diseases and promotes health. Participants in the program encourage one another to raise the health standards of their homes. SoHIP staff trainers facilitate this by providing guidance in identifying potential health hazards in homes, and by formulating initial steps to eliminate the dangers related to water, sanitation, and hygiene. The Healthy Home program runs for a period of six months, at the end of which SoHIP trainers conduct household visits, and homes that meet the criteria receive Healthy Home Certificates.

The Healthy Home Certification Program has been very successful—we now have 164 people with certified healthy homes! Establishing a healthy home has incredible benefits for entire families, including decreased hospital visits, a heightened sense of peace and security because of the absence of disease in the home, and ample time to engage in activities that foster social and economic welfare, such as starting a small business. We look forward establishing even more healthy homes in the coming year!


A Season of Reaping

By Kirk Schauer, Founder and International Director

The Thanksgiving season is my favorite time of year, because I feel that focusing on thankfulness is incredibly powerful and is a great catalyst for transformation.

kirkwithCHPMy last trip to Zambia in September was a time of reaping! Each day, I was so full of thankfulness and felt so blessed to see the fruit of many projects that we have worked hard sowing for years. It had been eight months since my last trip, and I was so encouraged to see the staff and the level of ownership they’ve taken in so many different projects. It was amazing to see the Resource Center transformed, and to hear many great testimonies from our work in the communities.

The most amazing experience for me was when I visited a group that Seeds of Hope has been working with in the Mapalo community for over a decade. Everyone in this group of Community Health Promoters was awarded their Healthy Home Certificate. Throughout the years, we’ve struggled to get people to adopt multiple interventions that would truly break the cycle of disease. So, we came up with the idea of rewarding and acknowledging their achievements by helping them to certify their home with all of SoHIP’s interventions. It was a wonderful time of celebration! I was able to address the group, and told them that what they had helped create is now impacting individuals, communities, and nations throughout Africa. We danced, sang, and celebrated their achievements!

While visiting the George compound, I met a woman who had received her Healthy Home Certificate, who was kind enough to show us around. She was so proud of her home, her certificate, and her new knowledge, that she has began encouraging all of her neighbors to establish healthy homes as well! A beacon of hope, this woman is now taking part in transforming not just her home, but also her entire community!

I wish that everyone who has supported Seeds of Hope could see the fruit that I was able to see on my last trip. It’s amazing what sowing a few seeds of hope can do in an entire community. To be witness to the transformation of lives, see hope restored, and hear words of thankfulness, is truly an honor, and something that will forever be in my heart.


We are thankful for your support

Through our partnership with you, SoHIP has:

~ provided safe water to more than 678,250 Zambians;

~ repaired more than 630 broken water well hand pumps;

~ drilled or overseen the drilling of over 280 boreholes;

~ built and installed more than 7,760 BioSand Filters (household water purification devices);

~ helped rural communities to build 297 latrines in schools and villages;

~ trained more than 44,710 people in participatory hygiene and sanitation classes in 250 villages;

~ trained more than 290 Community Health Promotors (CHP) who have trained more than 19,650 community members;

~ and equipped more than 160 people with increased vocational or agricultural skills.


Kirk at CHP training

Letter from founder and International Director

October 22, 2013

Dear Friends,

Certified healthy home recipient proudly demonstrating her tippy-tap.

Certified healthy home recipient proudly demonstrating her      tippy-tap.

I just returned from an amazing month in Zambia. It was encouraging and inspiring to see community members proudly showing me their healthy home, equipped with all of Seeds of Hope International Partnerships’ (SoHIP) interventions. Walking through the George compound, I was overjoyed to see BioSand Filters, mosquito nets, drying racks, latrines, and rubbish pits in so many homes. Families shared their stories of hope and health with me – stories of cholera being completely wiped out in their community and children being able to attend school now because they no longer suffer from chronic diarrhea. Transmission of disease is being stopped. It’s remarkable what we have managed to accomplish with limited resources, but in order to continue building healthy homes throughout Africa, we need more support.

We appreciate amazing friends such as you, who enable us to save lives and restore hope to African families and communities, but we are in the midst of a funding crisis and need your help. So, I’m inviting you to become a SoHIP Monthly Champion.

International Water Association Award

International Water Association Award

Seeds of Hope is growing and gaining international recognition. Last week, along with Center for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), we were awarded the prestigious Project Innovation Award from the International Water Association for our Water Expertise Training Centre. Our holistic solutions are yielding incredible results. To date, we have provided clean water to over 600,000 Zambians.

This growth is a blessing, but with growth, oftentimes comes growing pains. While our impact has been great, there is still much work to be done. There are 300 million people in Africa living in extreme poverty. But with your support, you can help make a difference!

Our goal is to raise $15,000 per month to strengthen and sustain our work. A monthly investment in Seeds of Hope can have a massive impact. Would you consider joining us as a monthly supporter in our efforts to reverse the downward spiral of poverty? Your help will enable us to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene training, food security, and vocational skills to families. As a monthly supporter, your donation will go where it’s needed the most, bringing lasting transformation and hope to families and communities throughout Africa.

Your donation will save lives! To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit http://sohip.org/donate. You can also mail a check (payable to Seeds of Hope International Partnerships) to: PO Box 4405, San Luis Obispo, CA 93493.

Thank you for partnering with us. Together, we can bring hope and holistic solutions to Africa!

Kirk congratulating the Certified CHPs

Kirk congratulating the Certified CHPs

In Service,


Kirk Schauer

Founder & International Director




We Walked for Hope, Now It Is Your Turn

W4H team1 large


On August 3rd, we walked for Mary, Tauzen, and Safari. We walked for a nation. We walked for HOPE. Thank you to Mountainbrook Community Church for hosting our inaugural Walk for Hope in August! It was a success, with over 75 registered participants, many local volunteers, and media coverage from our local television station, KSBY! We were thrilled to see many different teams formed, from small church groups as well as local businesses. Participants walked either 1 or 5 miles, and were able to experience pumping their own water! Along the way, they also interacted with stations displaying the successful holistic solutions that SoHIP has implemented to reverse the cycle of poverty and create healthy homes in Africa. This interactive experience educated and inspired volunteers and participants alike. It was encouraging to see so many people excited about the difference that SoHIP is making in Africa!

Don’t Miss the Next One!


We are excited about our upcoming Walk for Hope on October 12, 2013 at Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo! This beautiful park creates a perfect venue as the trail begins alo00 ngside the lake, where participants will collect water to carry the rest of the route. The trail will end with a display of Action Steps—ways in which community members can get involved and help SoHIP reverse poverty. We are also excited to be offering entertainment from the Bucket Busters drum circle, and team prizes!

We welcome the whole San Luis Obispo community. We hope you can join—it’s not too late to sign up! Register to walk or volunteer at the event at www.sohip.org/walkforhope. Don’t live in the San Luis Area? Contact us at info@sohip.org for other ways to get involved or to host a Walk for Hope in your community.

Award Trophy from IWA

SoHIP Receives International Recognition for WET Centre

Award Trophy from IWA

SoHIP, in partnership with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), will be accepting the Project Innovation Award from the International Water Association at a reception in Nairobi, Kenya in October. On behalf of all our expert trainers, Sam Phiri, our SoHIP—Zambia Director, will accept the award, which recognizes SoHIP and CAWST’s work in developing effective, innovative, and sustainable water projects.

Together, SoHIP and CAWST developed an innovative approach to building the capacity of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) implementers through the Water Expertise and Training Centre (WET Centre), a division of SoHIP. The WET Centre is designed to empower organizations and individuals with the knowledge and skills to implement sustainable WASH initiatives in Zambian communities.

At SoHIP’s WET Centre, technical training and educational resources are provided for use by staff trainers, our Community Health Promoters (CHPs), and other organizations, with the goal of equipping individuals like our CHPs to be advocates in their communities. We believe in empowering volunteers in local communities to become experts, who then encourage their neighbors to adopt healthy habits, and make healthy homes.

The WET Centre has been so successful that we have been sending our expert trainers throughout Africa to support other organizations working in the WASH sector. Over the last two years, using the innovative WET Centre approach, SoHIP and CAWST have helped 370,000 people gain access to safe drinking water.

Zambia team pic

CHP training

Defining Moments

Kristin Horstman, SoHIP Administrative Assistant reflects on her fall trip to Zambia

Kristin & Agatha

Kristin & Agatha

One second. One conversation. One experience. One encounter. These are moments that challenge you—and change you. We all experience these moments in our lives— the moments of questioning, of discovery, of transformation. I often experience these moments while traveling. Each one of my international trips has what I call a “d

efining moment”—a moment that forever changes me. I know that I come back a little different every time, but most of the change happens incrementally. But there’s always one moment that impacts me in a way that’s difficult to express. It’s a moment that moves me to my core—that makes my heart burst … or shatter.

In Senegal, it was a woman that I didn’t even know giving me a ring because I told her I used to have one just like it. My heart burst. Kindness became real to me in that moment. In Sierra Leone, it was seeing a little girl weeping because she dropped all the food she was supposed to sell that day. She now had nothing—no money, no food. I knew she was going to bed hungry that night. I’ve never seen a child so devastated. My heart shattered with her. Poverty became real to me in that moment. In Kenya, it was the moment I knew the Lord was releasing me into my destiny—releasing me to work in Africa. I’d found my heart where I had left it last. My heart burst as joy became real to me in that moment.

My month in Zambia was filled with many memorable moments. I was joined by an awesome team, the Biersdorff family, who did a little bit of everything — including building BioSand Filters, fixing sewing machines, and capturing our trip on film.

April, Alayna, Craig, Mary, and Kristin  celebrate the completion of the BSFs.

April, Alayna, Craig, Mary, and Kristin
celebrate the completion of the BSFs.

I was so touched by the amazing SoHIP staff I met, and their passion to see communities transformed. Some of my favorite moments were the ones spent in the field with our Zambian staff. I had the awesome opportunity to observe our talented, expert trainers facilitate lessons on sanitation and hygiene, HIV/AIDS, and Community Health Promotion.

Although there were so many impactive moments that touched my heart, my defining moment occurred after one of the HIV/AIDS trainings. One of my responsibilities while I was in Zambia was to capture stories and testimonies from our staff and the people we serve. It was a really great way to hear about all the amazing things that Seeds of Hope is doing in Zambia.

After the HIV/AIDS training, we had a line of people eager to tell us their stories. Justina’s story blew me away. Tears in her eyes, she shared her heart with me. This mother of four has been living with HIV for 8 years. Her husband is also infected. She’s a farmer, and is having trouble providing for her family. My heart shattered as she spoke. At one point, after she found out her status, she wanted to end her life—she thought she had nothing to live for.

Her story, not unlike many here in Zambia, really impacted me. Justina is the first person I’ve ever met with HIV. And to be honest, it really affected me. I know that millions of people are infected with HIV in Africa, and its consequences are devastating. Families are being destroyed, nations are struggling, and poverty is overwhelming. Yes, I know all of this. But in that moment meeting Justina, hope became real.

Hope looks like something—looks like someone. And now, hope has a story.

Joyce leading a HIV_AIDS training

Joyce leading a HIV_AIDS training

After Justina shared her heart, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. What do you say to someone who just opened up to you about being infected with a deadly disease? So I did the only thing I could do—I prayed with her.

We are Seeds of Hope. But it’s not just our name—it’s our DNA. Hope looks like something. It’s a prayer. It’s a latrine. It’s a BioSand Filter.

I wish I could say there is a happy ending to Justina’s story. But there’s not—not yet, anyway. My heart was shattered in that moment. But I will continue to rejoice in the Lord and release hope everywhere I go, because I may not be able to change people’s stories, but I can always leave them with a little more hope.


SoHIP Christmas Card

Merry Christmas!

May your holidays be filled with joy, peace, and hope!

Holiday: Alternative Giving


A gift can be a small thing, but its effect can be huge. Suppose a gift could change lives, transform communities, and even impact generations.

The holiday season is the biggest time of the year for giving, for spreading joy, and for uniting people, but amidst the eggnog, and all those new ties and shoes, there’s room for something more—something in the true spirit of the season. For this very reason, this Christmas, Seeds of Hope is inviting you to be part of the solution to an epidemic in Africa that takes more lives each day than all violence combined, including war. If you’re reading this, odds are good that you have plenty to be joyful about in your life—and that joy is a wonderful thing to spread around.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Choose one or more gifts from the list below.

Step 2: Click the Donate button on the right or go to the SoHIP Giving page 

Step 3: Indicate the friend(s) and/or family member(s) with whom you’d like to

               share the gift. We’ll send them a card on your behalf to inform them of

               the meaningful endowment you’ve given on theirs.

Step 4: We’ll send you a tax receipt for your gift.

The end of the year is a time for giving. Take this opportunity to give life.

If you have trouble deciding which of the above gifts would be best, or you don’t feel that any of them are quite perfect, you can leave it to SHIP to decide. Funding here may go to the purchase of construction supplies, overall operating expenses, or to the upkeep of drill rigs, or any of SHIP’s other programs.

“Before Seeds of Hope, I couldn’t pay my children’s school fees, and I could only give my family one meal a day—but now that I’ve been trained, I can pay my bills, and we always have at least two, usually three meals a day!”

All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. SHIP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Federal Tax ID # 26-3460983. 






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