Re-Focus On Original Mission and Process

SMI Sustainability Process

Starting in Early 2016, the SMI Board desired to re-focus Sustainable Missions, Inc. (www.SustainableMissions.org) to get back to its founding basics. Focus on: identifying, fostering, promoting, and participating in projects and activities in which the recipients could within short order — sustain themselves. In addition, SMI is continuing its African work, and is now reviewing, researching, and testing US cities according to the process below:

  • Identifying sustainable projects for training, employment, and entrepreneurial businesses can be created and sustained;
  • Setting organizational and sustainability Goals (clearly focusing on “What’s Important”);
  • Presenting the important Metrics (intentionally identifying “What & How to Measure”);
  • Conducting (with Board Approval) & Implementing the Project (“Do-ing the Project”);
  • Evaluating and Viewing the Tangible Results (“What Did We Do & How Did We Perform”); and
  • Analyzing the Results and Revising the Next-Step Goals (“How Do We Improve”).

 

Bart Hungerford

January 2017

 

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Refocusing on Core Missions — Pillars of Sustainable Communities

Re-Tooling Sustainable Public Housing and Public and Corporate Community Development

Process: Goals, Measure, Results, Successes and Revise — Repeat

The Pillars of Sustainable Communities:

  • Economic, Commerce, & Employment (Business)
  • Spiritual
  • Education
  • Health, Welfare, & Shelter
  • Governance and Safety

Significant areas of Focus:

  • Sustainable Public Housing — Create public housing incentives to learn job skills in the planning, development, and construction of publically-funded housing.
    • New Ideas – Best and Brightest — University programs in architecture, urban design, locations, and mixed-use buildings which encourage ownership, pride in community, character, entrepreneurs, community interaction, revitalization and rejuvenation, starting businesses, owning retail, security, services, and restaurants within city housing communities.
    • Integrate New Businesses — Incentivize/Encourage entrepreneurs to start new businesses for Property Management, grounds maintenance, landscaping, and building maintenance by hiring and training local community members.
    • Urban Employment — Existing and future sub-contractors mandate that contractors hire local unemployed community members on a 1-for-1 basis — support with training and mentoring for all services provided by public funding.
    • Customer Service Model and Mentality – Design around and serve the customer (i.e., the tenant). Integrate with all stakeholders
  • Sustainable Corporate Community Development — Create Goals for Corporate Community Development, Measure the Important Metrics, View & Evaluate Tangible Results, Analyze Successes and Revise Plan – Repeat.
    • Process:
      • Goals — Identify and Define the Goals – “What’s Important”
      • Metrics — Design the Metrics to provide the right incentives – “What & How to Measure”
      • Implement – Conduct Projects – “Do”
      • Results — View and Evaluate Tangible Results – “How Did We Do”
      • Analysis — Analyze Successes (and challenges) and Revise – “Feedback and Adapt”
    • Hire Local — Hiring local unemployed community members
    • Best & Brightest Ideas — Encouraging interaction with Local Colleges and Universities
    • Business Mentality – Think like a Business; Companies sponsor (“seed capital”, no give-aways, just hiring and focused attention) and mentor entrepreneurs to start new businesses — higher corporate revenues, improved corporate profits from locally mentored employees/entrepreneurs and the started businesses buying from local companies.
    • Employable Results — Companies will have a better pool of talented employees to be hired into their companies. Employees will be likely to stay longer (Employee satisfaction and Employee Longevity)
    • Location — Businesses to locate within the inner cities for employment pools, for job creation, for ease of distribution, ease of access.

Bart Hungerford

December 2016

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Highlights from August 2014 Uganda Trip

Soap-Making

IMG_20140825_154223925Upon arrival, we discovered that Andrew and the two orphan boys from the A&O vocational school (Innocent and Kamuntu) had already handmade 6,400 bars of our 8,000 soap bar order for Soapbox Soaps!   In addition to providing work to these orphans, we were able to distribute 2,500 bars to the Ibanda Baby Home and Ibanda Hospital, 500 bars to the Sanyu Baby home in Kampala, as well as 500 bars to a baby home in Jinja.  We are identifying other orphanages, villages and schools in need for the remaining soaps.  The administrator at the hospital said the soap will bring dignity to many of the women coming out of surgery, who don’t have the means to purchase their own soap to cleanse their incisions and wounds.  What a joyful and humbling work this was!

Well-Drilling Enterprise

IMG_20140821_100530815When we arrived at the airport in Entebbe, we left for a road trip to Eldoret, Kenya to take delivery of our very own well drilling rig to bring clean water to Western Uganda.  This 1,500 kilometer round trip venture over difficult roads with our overloaded 20 year-old truck may have been a bit too ambitious. But after 6 days, 5 hours detained at the border, 3 alternators, 4 new tires, new brakes, and a new clutch, we finally arrived safely back to Kiburara with our new drilling rig.  In our remaining time there, our Kenya trainers taught our four orphan students how to find water underground with copper wires and to successfully drill two bore holes (one on our SMI land for orphan care and one at a church location at Kabingo).  The third well will be drilled at the remote location of Kyaiswarra when the dry season arrives in January.  We are very excited about the business and ministry opportunities that come with owning our own drill rig.  Once we get established, our desire is that other NGO’s will hire our SMI crew to install their wells in Western Uganda, and we will also raise funds to install our own wells.  Since the majority of churches and their communities in the network of Pastor Moses still have no access to safe drinking water, this will be SMI’s first priority.

Lake George Filtration Project

IMG_20140418_103654572SMI is in the process of raising the funds needed to bring a water treatment facility to a remote village on Lake George in Western Uganda.  This fall we will conduct an online auction for this purpose.  The goal is to open the facility in January 2015 through a combination grant and loan from SMI to the community.  Last month the community formed a water committee and elected the committee members.  The committee promised to reach all the households in the community and ask them if they are willing to join the water club.  To date, the community has now registered 116 households and each household head already paid the membership agreed to by the members.  With the monies collected, the community opened an account at our Sustainable SACCO (Savings and Loan).   using the funds that were collected.  The current plan is to have a “Water Club” where households will pay 50 cents per week to have access to clean water from the store during open hours (7am-7pm each day).   We anticipate that 130 households will participate in the club, bring safe drinking water to over 500 people for the first time.

SMI Health Clinic

11.03.09 - Blog - Nurses as Surgeons in Sub-Saharan Africa - PhotoAccording to a 2011 UNICEF report, only 42% of births in Uganda are attended by skilled health personnel.  This figure is likely much lower in the remote areas where SMI is based.  As a result, maternal death rates are high.  In addition, a 2006 WHO study reported that Africa accounts for 24% of global diseases but only 3% of the global health workforce.  In Kiburara, there is no health clinic.  The closest full-service hospital is over two hours away in Mbarara.  To help address this need, SMI desires to open a clinic in the future on its 26-acre parcel of land.  SMI envisions hosting medical teams in the future that can provide critical training to clinic staff and care to patients in the surrounding communities.  Please pray for us as we pursue this important endeavor.

Nwatwine House Project

IMG_20140821_094823842In our last update, we mentioned that SMI provided funding for the students at the A&O school to build a new house for our neighbor Nwatwine as part of a construction class and gospel outreach.  When we arrived last week, we discovered that Nwatwine had professed Christ weeks before and he greeted us warmly at the church on Sunday.  He also came and helped us every day to drill our SMI well, and would carry his bench to the drill location for us to sit on.  What a joy it was to worship with him last Sunday.

On a final note, last week we were very excited to receive our IRS approval letter certifying SMI’s status as an approved 501(c)3 organization.  If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to further our ministry efforts, we would be glad to receive it!  Just follow the instructions under the “Giving” tab.  Thank you for your prayers and support for SMI.

Highlights from April 2014 Uganda Trip

Update from John Emelio

04/23/14-

IMG_20140413_163805087We just returned from our latest trip to Western Uganda and it was quite a productive time.  Our main focus was to see if we could successfully make soap on a large scale on behalf of an American soap company (SoapBox Soaps) that donates soap in needy parts of the world.  There were many challenges along the way, but in the end we made our first batch of 200 bars of all natural soap!  Our goal is to demonstrate to SoapBox that we can produce 8,000 bars as a first order to donate on their behalf to orphanages and villages during our upcoming trip to Uganda in August.  We are well on our way!

During the latter part of our trip, we also met with leaders from the village of Kabingo to discuss bringing clean water to their village in a sustainable way through the installation of a bore-hole well and the establishment of a water club.  In this model, each participating family pays an affordable price (16 cents a week) to access the clean water.  These funds would be collected for loan repayment and well maintenance, and a significant portion would then be deposited into savings accounts on behalf of club members.  We also met with village leaders at Lake George to discuss a year-round clean water solution for their village through the installation of a water filtration facility near the lake.  It was a very fruitful trip!

Highlights from January 2014 Uganda Trip

Update from John Emelio

02/04/14-

We just returned from our fourth trip to Western Uganda in a little over a year and once again it proved to be very fruitful for SMI’s efforts in the region.  Below is a summary of what the Lord enabled us to accomplish in our three weeks there.

The 26-acre SMI parcel has now been completely fenced, and culverts are being placed for access to the main road.  The Road Authority is currently holding the titles to all lands along the road so please pray that our title is released so we can complete the process of putting the land in our name.  This will allow us to start construction on our projects and buildings, including our future orphan home and staff/guest house.

We have already helped to establish the Sustainable SACCO LTD (a Savings and Credit Cooperative) in Kiburara, which operates like a Savings and Loan with members who have shares.   SACCO’s are often the only providers of financial services and loans in rural areas.  They can improve the lives of rural farmers and businesses based on the loans they can offer.   Members can build equity and pass their shares on to their children.  The establishment of a SACCO is a foundational ingredient to improving the standard of living in the area.  The SACCO will soon be offering mobile money options as well.  Monies received from our recent paper bead jewelry sales (made by local artists in surrounding village churches) allowed many more villagers to open accounts in the SACCO, and the sales almost doubled the amount of funds available for loan at the SACCO.

We made good progress on the trip preparing for the establishment of a soap making enterprise in Kiburara.  Much time was spent gathering market data on competing soaps and researching and visiting suppliers for key ingredients.  To save money, we realized we could initially start producing the soap from our existing leased space that SMI has obtained in the town of Kiburara.  The picture above shows our space.  This was a former bar that we took over last summer.  Bringing industry and jobs like soap-making to the area will help build sustainability while funding charitable and mission efforts for the church.  In addition, we hope to buy essential ingredients from local growers to help them provide for their families.  We will be traveling back April 8-21 to set up the soap operation, buy ingredients, materials and tools and hopefully start making soap.

We are considering starting our own well drilling company by purchasing a portable hand-powered drilling rig that can be assembled in an hour and would fit in the back of our SMI pickup truck.  This would create a local, sustainable well-drilling business that creates local jobs in our zone of ministry.  It would also provide a source of revenue for SMI’s charitable efforts, allow us to bring clean water to remote areas unreachable by a well-drilling truck, and install wells at a fraction of the traditional cost.  We could also organize the men in the villages receiving the wells to operate the drill, further lowering installation cost and increasing local ownership and buy-in.

Last August, members of our team met with the Deputy Director of the prison in Kiburara to see if they would have interest in building an airstrip on part of their 6,000 acre grounds.  The airstrip could be used for emergency medical transport and to ease access to the area (a 1 ½ hour flight vs. a 9 hour drive!), as well as for commerce and tourism.  They were very receptive to the idea. On this trip, we met with a former member of parliament for the Ibanda district who was very interested in the project.  We then met with staff from the Minister of Internal Affairs as well with the Undersecretary for Prisons to move the project forward.

It is sobering to realize that water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death.  In fact, 80% of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water. Thanks to our training efforts last year, local staff are now able to fix the wells that we repaired on our earlier trips.  One well that has failed twice in recent months has been repaired both times by the local village who raised funds and had it repaired.  This is good progress!  In addition, we will install a Rainwater Containment Systems (RCS) at the Lake George church as soon as the church completes construction of their walls and roof (they are getting close).  We are in the process of completing a detailed survey that we hope will lead to the installation of a gravity-powered water treatment system to purify the polluted lake water at Lake George and provide safe drinking water year-round for the first time to this location.  Currently, there is no clean water source and the majority of children in the village suffer constant dysentery.  Through a gravity filtration system, clean water could potentially be sold by the village at an affordable price, increasing sustainability, economic development, and local ownership of the clean water source.

By this time next year, we hope to have constructed an orphan home on our SMI land.  The first home would house 8 orphans age 2-12.  We must first obtain a clean title for our land and then obtain the licensing from the Ugandan Government.  Once approval is granted, we would identify and house the most desperate cases first.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support!

John