Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Water : life, bis

yeah, I love that picture, so I use it again - sustainability in imagery, peeps!

Friday 15th October was Blog Action Day 2010. Subject this year: the water crisis.
I participated on DH&DB with a small post summarizing the issue.

Friday 15th October was also the first day, or kick off more life, of the European Summit for Global Transformation. 

Since then, I've learned more facts about water and the water crisis and its impact, which we cannot even begin to imagine.
Did you know for instance that 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies, approximately one in eight people?
Did you know that only 62% of the world's population has access to improved sanitation (defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact - yeah you read that right)?
Did you know that every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease?
Did you know that millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources? That means hours of work lost for women, hours of education lost for children.

And my dear fellow women, what's following will hardly surprise you ;) : a study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not. This supports an earlier World Bank study that found that women's participation was strongly associated with water and sanitation project effectiveness.

Over 50 percent of all water projects fail and less than five percent of projects are visited, and far less than one percent have any longer-term monitoring.
(All these facts and even more on http://water.org)

Pretty sad huh?

But of course darlings, there is something you can do. There always is :)

There are a lot of initiatives and projects out there that you can support, and I know of one: the Nyabushozi project. The Nybushozi project was founded by Winfred Asiimwe and Christian De Neef last year, and aims at providing with water Winfred's region in Nyabushozii, Mbara Region, in Uganda.
This region has scarce water resources, not to say not at all except for the rain, collected in unclean ponds, shared between animals and people alike...

Source: http://www.nyabushozi.org/2010/07/nyabushozi-photos/

Of course, water is the first step, but from the facts mentioned above, one can easily understand that it is meant to tackle many issues: building a school for the children who will no longer have to walk endless miles to get clean water, engaging the whole community, focusing on women to maintain and make the project sustainable on the long term.

Winfred is currently based in the Netherlands and Christian lives in Brussels, they met at last year's European Summit, and have since worked together to help Winfred's former village in Uganda. However for this they need help. First steps have been taken, let's help them take the next ones. They need resources, funding, people spreading the word. Hey, guys at water.org, what do you think? ;-)

So let's Tweet and shout peeps!

- The Nyabushozi project;
- Water.org
- Follow Christian and Winfred on Twitter: @cdn, @Winfrd


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Opening our eyes - a project by Gail Mooney and Erin Kelly

Erin and Gail - Source 

Last week Friday the European Summit for Global Transformation opened with an excerpt of a documentary that was not finished. Pretty unusual, right? At first I thought that was a bold move, but there might be something in the documentary that was worth seeing if this excerpt was shown on the opening night of such a reunion.
Let me say that I was not disappointed, far from it. I was left wanting to see more! But what is this all about?

This documentary, entitled "Opening our eyes", is a project by photographer and filmmaker Gail Mooney and her daughter Erin Kelly. They travelled the world for 99 days, roaming 6 continents, shooting a film about change makers, people who are changing the world every day. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, like Maggie Doyne who has built and opened a home for 30 kids in Nepal (and opened a school - but don't worry, she will get her own post :-)), and 9 others who do a tremendous job of making a difference in their own community or the community they chose.
As I mentioned above, the documentary is not finished, and Gail is currently busy mounting and editing. I personally can't wait to see the full length documentary, and hopefully it will be distributed globally through as many channels as possible, so as many people as possible can see it and in turn be inspired to help or make a positive difference in their community or the community they choose. 
But for now, Gail and Erin need some support to complete the project, and all of us can contribute a little. I know what you're going to say: "Ok but how?". Easy! Go here and you will not only be able to view the ten-minute trailer, but also pledge a few dollars to help out. For the time being all you have to do back the project, and only if the goal of 7500 USD is reached will you have to actually give the amount you pledged. And you can get the DVD of the documentary, what's not to like about it?
If you want to find out more about the documentary and its subjects, you can check out the project's blog, and you can also read Gail's blog. You won't be disappointed either :)


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Food for thought - Foodbank / Banque Alimentaire

A local post for my Belgian readers: the famous Delhaize supermarkets are currently hosting their annual Foodbank (Banque Alimentaire) action. You are free to add to your grocery bill 1,50€, or 3€, or 6€, to finance meals for people in need, by means of vouchers handed out by volunteers at the entrance of the supermarket. When you're done, just give the voucher you choose to at "check-out", it will be scanned along your groceries and stuff. Nothing else to do.

It's very simple, and it's not a lot of money, but again if each and every person doing their grocery shopping contributes even as little as 1,50€, altogether it could add up to a pretty large amount. A little goes a long way right? ;-)

The volunteer I spoke to at my local Delhaize supermarket told me that this kind of action is much more effective that asking people to buy a packet of rice or canned food. They started implementing this voucher system last year and they got a tremendous return compared to the previous years, way to go!

The only thing is, last day of the action is tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow, Wednesday 20th of October 2010. So you might not like Delhaize supermarkets but hey, you can buy only a loaf of bread and still make a generous act ;-)

This is Belgium, but Foodbank are present in other European countries. And I guess there are all kinds of similar programmes in North America too. Wouldn't it be nice to have a local-action-going-global kind of thing today, like everyone giving a little bit to a hunger-relief charity? I'll leave it up to you :-)


Monday, 18 October 2010

A generous life

Being more generous, now we have all struggled with that one, haven't we? Well not anymore, peeps, living a generous life is actually quite simple.

The wonderful Mike Dickson, a speaker at the European Summit for Global Transformation (and such a sweet man, if you ask me), is giving us the tools to more kindness, compassion, and mindfulness, in one word to generosity, in his latest book Please Take One. And it's starting right here, right now.

Mike has devised 10 easy steps to follow:
1. What is the point of You? We only have one life, what will you make of it?
2. What is enough? What is really necessary in our lives?
3. Consume less, contribute more. I guess this one is pretty much self-explanatory.
4. Generosity, like charity, begins at home. Connect with your family and friends.
5. Be a Good Samaritan. Do we need a reason or a purpose to stop and help people we don't know?
6. Be secretly generous. Have fun with that one! How about random acts of kindness, just because?
7. Generosity in your community. Get involved in your community.
8. Be Superman / Superwoman. Consider your actions: for the price of a cappuccino you could provide water for a whole village in Africa. Yes, for life. No, I'm not saying to get rid of the cappuccino altogether ;-), but what if you gave the same amount you spent on it to a charity? Just sayin...
9. Make giving a habit. Why not set aside a part of your income for helping others? Like, say, 2.5% every month?
10. Be generous to the environment. Interconnectedness, peeps :-)

Now for a little challenge: yesterday when Mike spoke at the Summit, he challenged all of us to 30 Days of Generosity. A 30-Days-of-Generosity Challenge, what's not to like about it?
When you look at the above steps, finally, is that so hard? Yup, didn't think so.

I've created a page on this blog which I'll update with my small acts of generosity, and you, you can connect with Mike on his website, his Facebook, or his Twitter. You can also write about the challenge on your blog and get your readers involved. And of course, you are most welcome to pass on the message any way you like :-) Starting today!


Sunday, 17 October 2010


Wow, it's like entering a new house, right?
Except I'm not moving completely.

I am starting this new blog, completing deshautsetdesbananes, for a very simple reason: this weekend I attended the European Summit for Global Transformation in Amsterdam. I have to say, it is one of the most powerful experiences of my life. And trust me, this year I've had my fair share of powerful experiences!

From Friday evening until this afternoon, I sat, listened, talked, exchanged with wonderful and amazing people. What these people do everyday is very simple: they create miracles. And miracles happen because one day, they decided to do something. They started small, and ended up doing great things.

However they haven't finished the job peeps. How can it ever be finished? What they've accomplished so far leaves me speechless, and I have no doubt that what they will accomplish will be even greater. But they need help. Our help.

Truth be told, this morning I cried. I cried a lot. I think all the water in my body escaped through tears this morning. I cried because there was so much to be done, and I didn't know what to do. How can I help? I don't have anything, I can't contribute a lot financially, I I I I . Wow, what an optimistic point of view, right? And what does it have to do with me? This is greater than my miserable selfish self!

Now I've calmed down, got some rest on the train back to Brussels (rest helps a lot peeps), and there I am, writing my first post on my second blog, like I needed something that would take me more time.
But I'm not writing for me. I'm writing for all these people out there who need help, any kind of help.

I will do my best to explain who they are, what they do, and what they need. And if you can help, please do. It could be as simple as sharing the information.

The global party starts tomorrow. Meanwhile here is a hint: generosity. Yeah I know, heavy for a Sunday evening, but it doesn't have to be ;-)