In August 2020, African Development Choices launched its first Crowdfunding Campaign. This campaign aims to raise the £50,000 required to undertake its pilot project with Nyansakia II Primary School, based in Kenya.
Launching this campaign has taken extensive research and collaboration. We would like to share the journey with you.
The Slogan: #SupportWaterRights
In 2010, the UN National General Assembly recognised access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right.
Conceptualising clean water as a human right has undeniably driven awareness of the water crisis to new heights. There has been huge progress in the field, with the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals declaring it vital to provide water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities within schools. Despite this progress, 25% of schools in Kenya do not have access to clean drinking water.
A lack of reliable WASH facilities within schools can have many negative implications. Without hand-washing provisions, students are more likely to be exposed to health problems including diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and conjunctivitis. Increased exposure to infectious diseases not only results in absence from school, but in severe cases can cause child mortality. The situation is even worse for young girls who have the added difficulty of dealing with menstruation without access to private, clean toilets.
Notwithstanding the health issues associated with a lack of WASH facilities, arguably the most concerning issue is the denial of a human right. Human rights exist to “protect human agency” and enable freedom from oppression. When a community is excluded from this protection, there are devastating social consequences. In being deprived of any basic human right, the community loses agency, dignity, and autonomy.
Providing Nyansakia II Primary School with a water borehole and safe toilet facilities will enable the 700 pupils at the school to claim their right to clean water and sanitation. This is why our campaign slogan is #SupportWaterRights.
“By donating to this project, supporters are not only donating to Nyansakia II Primary School, they are also advocating for water rights and joining a wider call to end water poverty around the world.”
It is an unfortunate reality that the western media often reduce the lives of African people to ‘living in poverty’. Communities are depicted as helpless, without the capacity to create change, and positive stories promoting Africa’s achievements are scarce. African Development Choices intend to challenge the harmful stereotypes portrayed by the international media by using film to give voice and agency back to African communities.
The community of Nyansakia II Primary School is the central focus of our campaign film. The video begins with an interview from schoolteacher Madam Jane Moraa Akuma, and an interview with Moses Tai (founder of African Development Choices) acts as the narration throughout, rooting the story in the Kenyan experience of water poverty. All footage of the school has been filmed with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of the students and fairly representing school life. These actions have been taken to provide Nyansakia II Primary School with a platform through which they can tell their own story.
“By getting a true, real world view of water poverty in this community, we hope that our film will inspire action from the public to stand with us in support of water rights.”
Nyansakia II Primary School is located within Kisii county in southwestern Kenya, an area predominantly occupied by the Kisii people. Our wish was to create campaign branding which respectfully visualised Kisii identity and celebrated this vibrant culture, without tokenising or appropriating it.
Please see our separate blogpost discussing the decolonisation of design and the research that went into developing our unique #SupportWaterRights branding.
African Development Choices is a start-up social enterprise without external funding.
“We have created this campaign without a budget for paid promotion, advertisements, external consultants, or a press release. Instead, the campaign has been built entirely by volunteers.”
Our remote volunteers span a variety of backgrounds, including graphic design, marketing, PR, communications, video and film, research, and social media. They have worked collaboratively to bring this campaign to life. It is due to their generosity that we have been able to raise awareness of the challenges that schools like Nyansakia II Primary School face.
We are proud that this crowdfunding campaign has been created through teamwork and joint action. African Development Choices will continue to curate this culture of collaboration and participation when working with the local community on the ground in Kenya.
Nyansakia II Primary School is just one of many communities requiring access to WASH facilities. When delivering this project, African Development Choices will empower the community to participate in better public resource management. The local community will then be in a position to deliver similar projects for other schools in the area, independently. This is how we will create long-term, sustainable change, increasing access to WASH facilities not just for Nyansakia II Primary School, but for the surrounding area.
Thank you to everyone who has joined the cause. We #SupportWaterRights. We hope that you do too.