What Do You Know About Clean Water?

What Do You Know About Clean Water?

What we do not know can hurt us badly…or help us immensely. We know things about life and how to live. We are also aware of things we do not know, but would like to know. Finally, we also do not know what it is we do not know; and therein lies the challenge for each of us. What do you know about clean water?

For those who live in rural areas as subsistence farmers in Africa, Latin America, or around the world, life is measured in terms of the seasons, adequate rainfall, and political stability. Life’s blessings lie in the numerous relationships that exist among family and community. For the world’s poorest of the poor, life is fairly straight forward; food, shelter, and some degree of health. That health is almost always measured in terms of clean and safe water. In the cities we find increasing numbers of people purchasing packaged water. Yet even here the standardization and consistency of clean water is woefully lacking.

There have been an increasing number of studies showing that up to eighty percent of illness and hospitalizations in the emerging economies are directly related to contaminated water. Millions of people still source their water from open wells, lakes, rivers, ponds, and unclean storage tanks. The question for us becomes how we can be a sustainable solution without creating more dependency in the supply and delivery of water filter systems.

One exciting development has been finding a filter better in quality and characteristics and at a lower price than what we have ever been able to provide before. It is called the Village water filter. You can learn more from their website: www.villagewaterfilters.org

A couple years ago I returned from a trip to Belize. Six months later one of the Rotarians I had met on that trip phoned me from Colorado. He asked, “Do you remember the question I asked you when we met and the answer you gave me?” I had no idea, thinking I must have really stuck my foot in my mouth. He said, “I really liked your answer and I want to help you achieve your vision!” He was a retired dentist and he went to work developing a hollow fiber membrane water filter that requires no electricity, no replacement parts, and no chemicals, at over 50% less than what we had been paying. Today, we can bring clean and safe water to more people at less cost than ever before. This happened not because we knew about how to do it or even tried to invent something new but because someone else had an idea, a passion, and a collaborative spirit. We thank God for that person and every person like him who gives us a donation to bring this product to the least, lost, and lonely, to those who are the champions making the last mile delivery, for those of you who speak for those who do not have a voice, and for you who read these emails and just lift a prayer, say a word of encouragement, and support Business Connect. We have an amazing team with us and surrounding us.

Until next time,

Lou Haveman and the Business Connect Team

Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting

Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting

Why are job creation and access to clean energy so important to us here at Business Connect?

 

Protable Solar Generator – 250whrA market transformation from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting to solar-LED systems is well underway across the developing world, but the extent of net job creation has not previously been defined. An article written by Evan Mills from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California/Berkeley, Job Creation and Energy Savings through a Transition to Modern Off-grid Lighting, finds that current worldwide employment associated with fuel-based lighting represents approximately 150,000 jobs.

New jobs will accompany the replacement technologies. A survey of major solar-LED lighting companies finds that 38 such jobs are created for each 10,000 people living off-grid for whom stand-alone solar-LED lights are suitable. Applying this metric, the number of new jobs already created from the current uptake of solar-LED lighting has matched that of fuel-based lighting and foreshadows the potential creation of 2 million new jobs to fully serve the 112 million households globally that currently lack electricity access, are unlikely to be connected to the major grid, micro-grids, or are able to afford more extensive solar systems.

A likely greater number of additional jobs and employment income will be indirectly created or preserved via indirect employment, re-spending of energy savings, conservation of foreign exchange, enhanced literacy, and improved working conditions. In contrast, central grid expansion is unlikely to provide any net increase in jobs. The case of solar-LED lighting demonstrates that policymakers have tools to increase the pace of in-country job creation in the context of sustainable development, while minimizing job displacement, and improving the quality of employment. These tools include stimuli for domestic manufacturing or assembly of products; supporting peripheral businesses and services, such as training, recycling, financing, and impact assessment; and removing market barriers that slow the uptake of emerging technologies.

This might be more information than you need to know but it solidifies the reasons why we are focusing on creating employment opportunities in the developing world through our robust distribution network. It is a win-win situation in our eyes, more jobs and more clean resources that will help children that have to now study by a toxic kerosene lantern. Access to solar lighting will allow women to save needless hours spent gathering firewood — and spend those hours on opportunities for themselves and their families.

So what can you do about this? We’re glad you asked! Join our team, sponsor a student or entrepreneur, help us fundraise or make a tax-deductible donation through our partnership with Partners Worldwide. We need you as a Champion today and tomorrow for a better, cleaner world.

#CreatingHope

Take Action. Inspire Change. #MandelaDay

Take Action. Inspire Change. #MandelaDay

Take Action. Inspire Change.

 

Water filter training in Maratane Refugee Camp3Today is the Nelson Mandela International Day, launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Mandela made for the next generation to create change and take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”.

It is more than a celebration of his life, it is a global movement to honor his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

The campaign call to action is simple: Take Action. Inspire Change. Make every day a Mandela Day and celebrate the potential that each individual has to transform the world. We are inspired by the example that Madiba has set for us: each of us taking responsibility for ourselves and acting on the responsibility we have to others.

To become part of the Mandela Day movement, all that is required is an action that helps change the lives of people for the better. To ensure that their actions have lasting benefits, they should with and within communities, always strive to leave behind not only physical changes but also a sense of empowerment, helping to build pride amongst those communities so that they can take charge of their destinies and change their circumstances. The cumulative actions of people, even if it is one small step at a time, can become a transformative momentum.

You can help us here at Business Connect celebrate Mandela Day by sponsoring an entrepreneur. For $300, we will help a budding entrepreneur by providing a basic inventory of clean resources that is needed to start a new business as well as the training required by our in-country representative. You can choose whether you would like to help a student, woman or a man trying to create a better life for his family. You can even choose the country you would like to help.

If you don’t think you can make a difference in the lives of others, contact us. We will share with you our experiences and tell you otherwise. Remember, it just takes one person to make a difference and start the ball rolling to effect change in the lives of others. Just like Nelson Mandela did.

“Muna ga duniya!” – We Are Seeing the World!

“Muna ga duniya!” – We Are Seeing the World!

To those who follow us on social media, those who are our champions, engaged partners, friends, relatives, and those who support our work from here in the US; we are so grateful for you. This is our monthly newsletter that we would like to share in our blog space to stay in touch.

July11photoAfrica Comes to America:

“Muna ga duniya!”  I heard these Hausa words more than once the past two weeks as we hosted Filibus and Tabitha, our steward and house help from 45 years ago in Nigeria.  After being away from Africa for 30 years we started to receive telephone calls.  After many conversations and trying to damper their expectations, I made a statement…if they could get a passport and a visa, I would help them come to the States.    They had no idea what they were asking and I knew it was impossible…and I was safe.

It had been a passion, a dream, a fantasy; something they worked for to come and visit America.  Their request had been denied several times by the U.S. embassy.  After years of effort, engaging others to help, and rejection after another…it finally happened: a two year multiple entry visa.  A miracle!

They come from a rural village called Baissa in Northern Nigeria near the Cameroon border.  To date they do not have running water nor electricity in their home.  Neither attended primary school.  Tabitha speaks four languages, Filibus three.  Neither of them speak English although Filibus understands some.  They are no longer young.  Filibus has some serious eyesight issues.

It reminds me of the story found in the New Testament about a lady who dreamed big dreams for her two sons.  She came to the Master and asked that they have positions in his kingdom.  Jesus’ response was incredulous and he responded with “You do not know what you are asking!” (Matt. 20:22).

To put it bluntly, having Filibus and Tabitha here has been an absolutely incredible experience.  They were like babies, innocent, dependent, helpless; yet they helped us gain insights into our own culture, values, and spiritual journey.  It also reminded us of how utterly useless, helpless, and dumb we were when we first arrived in Nigeria.  Reaching out to serve others, and in our case, the provision of clean and safe water to those most needy, cross culturally around the world sounds audacious, unrealistic, and not much based in reality…until I think about the last two weeks.  They kept saying “Muna ga duniya!” which means “We are seeing the world!”  In the near future I will share more about this experience and how it changed my life as well.

My prayer is that you will continue to partner with us as we see and embrace the needs of the world.  Check out our website at www.Businessconnectworld.com and see our 500 mile walk progress for this year.  Join us.  We need you!

With a grateful heart,

Lou Haveman and the team

Support Local Entrepreneurs in the Developing World on Your Next Mission Trip

Support Local Entrepreneurs in the Developing World on Your Next Mission Trip

Mission and Business Working Together to Create Hope

A mission group recently traveled from the States to Guatemala to help with construction projects on the ground. While they were there, they distributed Village Filters to families and also installed these water filtration systems in the five homes they built. Families now have clean water in their homes!

The mission group also distributed another 20 filters to more families in need. Realizing how clean water is a basic necessity very much in need in this community, the mission organization is already purchasing another 100 filters today to send with their next group that is traveling back there in a few weeks.

Of course, our local partner in Guatemala is a part of the process – growing his business while supporting these missions. Even though the sale happened here in the States, we still continue with our commitment to share the profits with the entrepreneur in Guatemala. And, if a product malfunctions or a family needs operational assistance, our Business Connect representative is there to help! This is a win-win for everyone. With clean water, families will have better health and save valuable time that was spent walking to the local village for water or collecting it from dirty streams. Money saved from the purchase of clean water can now go towards other clean resources or for educational tools for their children.

What is stopping you from getting involved? Bring along clean water filters or solar lights on your next mission trip or share our name with your favorite mission organization. Let’s bring an end to global poverty together! Visit us at www.BusinessConnectWorld.com.

 

New Village Filter in the HomeProviding the Village filter to a familyProviding the Village filter to a family2Training on Village Filter

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