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Events News

Laughter is the Best Medicine Benefit Show

Having been a huge Mighty Boosh fan for over a decade, I was beyond excited when Noel Fielding agreed to perform for our charity Drop in the Bucket. Then when I was told that all of The Mighty Boosh would be performing, I almost dropped the phone in shock.
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Bobcat Goldthwait was hilarious and after his performance adlibbed what may be the funniest and most politically incorrect PSA ever made by a water charity.
Ian Edwards and Nick Youssef both delivered great sets that had the sold out Comedy Store crowd in hysterics. Justin Martindale did an amazing job as the evening’s host. He managed to keep everyone laughing while still making sure the audience knew exactly why they were there.
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The Mighty Boosh opened with the group coming onstage dressed as monks for the first song. Their performance proceeded to show everyone why they are one of the most beloved and creative comedy groups ever to come out of England. The laughs were non-stop and everybody in the room knew they were witnessing a night they would remember for years. We were so honored to have it be on behalf of Drop in the Bucket.
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The night exceeded all expectations and all of the performers really got into the spirit of the evening. The event raised over $12,000, enough to pay for Drop in the Bucket to drill two more wells for schools in Uganda.
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Water wells at schools make it possible for children to go to school and when properly maintained, wells can last for decades. To keep up on the progress of the wells that this show made possible, please check out Drop in the Bucket’s Facebook page . We will also be posting videos from some the performers that were shot backstage during the event.
We cannot thank everyone enough at High Voltage, the Comedy Store, all of the artists and everyone who came and showed their support. One night of fun will continue to change thousands of lives in Africa for years to come.
-John Travis
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News

International Day of the Girl 2013

Gulu High School is a mixed boarding school in northern Uganda, with a population of 1065 students: 464 girls and 601 boys.
In 2007 Drop in the Bucket first visited this school and found that near the main part of the school there were only toilets for the boys. The girls had to either walk to the dorms or wait until after class was done for the day.
Gulu High School Deputy Head Teacher Sarah Jokit Odong
Studies have shown overwhelmingly, that a lack of decent toilets is a major contributing factor in girls dropping out of school. After puberty, the female dropout rate increases dramatically, mainly because many girls do not have an effective way to manage menstruation. Missing up to one week of school every month, causing them to fall behind with their studies and ultimately leading them to drop out.
Earlier this week we visited the school and sat down with the school’s Deputy Head Teacher, Sarah Jokit Odong (pictured above). She told us that the toilets have contributed to the school’s 70% girl retention rate. “The girls are happy and feel like they are being listened to and taken care of.”After seeing the problem, Drop In The Bucket decided the girls needed their own set of toilets. The system we constructed at Gulu High School consists of a hand-washing station, ten pour-flush toilets, and our unique septic system, that actually treats sewage rather than just storing it.
Today is International Day of the Girl and hearing this news from one of our schools was a great way to commemorate the day. There is a sign you often see at schools in Uganda that states: “If you educate a girl, you educate a nation”. Installing toilets at Gulu High was just the first step of many as we continue to build wells and sanitation systems throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Let’s take today to be grateful for the girls that can now harness the life-changing power of education, and let’s also use today as inspiration to join together to fight for the rights of the many girls still out there whose voices are still not heard.
Sanitation and menstrual hygiene management keep girls in school. It’s time to break the silence.

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News

Abdallah Linos’ story

Abdallah LinosAbdallah Linos is 31 years old and works as a teacher at the Oguruny Primary School in the village of Oguruny in South Sudan. He has been teaching at the school since 2010. The school has only six classes, P1-P6, with 408 pupils.
When the civil war broke out, Abdallah left the village to live in the Kahuma Refugees Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2009 he came back to his village with his wife and family and started teaching.
Since the well was completed in May everything has changed for the school. For a large part of the year the students would get their water from the nearby hills, but during the dry season this water source from would dry up. He explained to us that once the waterholes dried up and there was no water for drinking, there was also no water to use in food preparation, so the children would be forced to be at school all day hungry. This made things very difficult and affected the children’s ability to learn.

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News Stacey's Blog

In Honor of Mother’s Day

22I recently watched a segment of the HBO show Vice about the Fat Farms of Mauritania. In it, a reporter traveled to the West African country to profile the ancient practice of brutally force-feeding young girls to fatten them up to make them more attractive for marriage.
In their culture, a fat woman is seen as a symbol of a man’s wealth. So the fatter the girl, the higher her perceived value. Girls are used to elevate the social status of fathers and husbands, to forge alliances between families. It’s about buying into the girl’s family. The girl herself is just bait.
I spend half the year in East Africa with Drop, constructing water wells at schools to help girls get an education. Without those wells, education is not even an option for many girls in this region. Instead, they are forced to serve the family by spending a major part of every day fetching water. Another way they are meant to serve the family is through their bride prices or dowries.
A dowry is when the groom’s family makes a payment to the bride’s family, usually in the form of cows or money. Protecting this exchange is of great importance to a girl’s family, so her childhood is very often cut short by an arranged child marriage. Many girls are married off as soon as they reach puberty. This avoids the risk that she could lose her virginity before marriage, or worse, that she might get pregnant. These families have been counting on these dowries since the girls were babies. They often need it to feed the family and provide for the brother’s dowries.
In Mauritania, the girls don’t want to eat all of that food. If a girl refuses to eat because her stomach hurts, the family beats her or cracks her feet with a stick, sometimes breaking her toes. If she can not hold down the food and vomits, she is often made to eat the vomit.
These girls are being dragged into a pattern of bad health that they will carry for the rest of their lives. In other parts of Africa, a girl is fed less than her brothers. It’s the same oppression, just opposite extremes.
Whether it is fattening a girl to marry her off or marrying a 13-year-old who then dies trying to deliver a baby that is too big for her small frame, the girl’s health is of little concern. Imagine being a young scared teen delivering a baby in the deep village with no medical assistance. According to the UN, in South Sudan, a 15-year-old girl has a higher risk of dying in childbirth than of finishing secondary school.
Regardless of how it’s packaged, it’s a systematic, long-standing acceptance of objectifying, oppressing and abusing young girls.
15From birth, a girl is viewed as a product to be owned by men. Since she will eventually be married into another family, there is generally little concern for educating a girl. It is expensive, and everybody knows she will be traded off at 15 years old in a family arrangement, in which she has no say. And her husband can do with her as he pleases, since he paid for her. Until that time, she is merely a female form to be manipulated and molded in order to meet a standard that will hopefully lead to a higher bride price. After that, her primary duties will be bearing as many children as possible and serving her husband.
In a study conducted by Mifumi, a non-government organization in Toroto, Uganda, 60 percent of the women surveyed believed that bride prices contributed to domestic violence. Women are treated as possessions, which leads to inequality. But the system is slowly changing. In many countries, including Uganda and South Sudan, the government has outlawed underage marriage. But long-held traditions are hard to break, and these laws are rarely enforced in the deep villages.
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I enjoy watching Vice, and I think it is a brave show. I just wish they had delved a little deeper into this topic. It’s not about men preferring heavy women – it’s a human rights issue that, fortunately, more and more people are starting to become aware of.
We can’t keep looking at situations like Fat Farms and think they are cultural quirks. There is a global humanitarian crisis of oppressing women and girls. Whether it’s girls being sold into sex slavery, publically flogged for being raped or fattened up to be traded like cattle, these are our wives, our sisters and our mothers. It’s our duty to help them.
It’s not our job to change other cultures. That change must come from within. But I meet girls everyday who desperately desire change. They just need their voices to be heard. And the key is education. An educated girl demands more for herself, and an educated mother demands more for her children. The work we are trying to do with Drop in the Bucket is not just about supplying children with clean water, though that is certainly the first very important step. It is about getting children educated so that they can stand up for themselves and end the cycle of this oppression.

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Kids helping kids News

Day Middle School Temecula & Skyetime

Students from the Day Middle School in Temecula, CA decided to help children in Africa gain access to clean water after learning about the water crisis from Skye McNeil, founder of the website Skyetime.com. She explained that children in Africa spend hours every day walking 6 to 7 miles to fetch water for their families and in turn, miss school. Skye also told the kids about how Drop in the Bucket builds wells and toilets at schools in Africa and the Day Middle School students jumped at the chance to get involved.
They got together with Skye and designed a silicon bracelet with the words “start a ripple, create a wave” and before long they had raised $250! The kids are so excited about their fundraising success that they want to continue and even possibly start raising money for other charitable causes too. Thank you students of Day Middle School and Skye McNeil!
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News

World Water Day 2013 newsletter

This message was originally posted as a Drop in the Bucket newsletter, to receive updates like this please sign up for our mailing list.
Hello Everyone,worldwaterday
As you may have heard, today, March 22nd is World Water Day!
When Drop in the Bucket formed back in 2006, 1.1 billion people were without access to clean water. Today, that number has gone down to 783 million. This positive change proves that together we are making amazing progress, but as we all know, we still have a long way to go.
One high school, St. Gabriel, located in Concord Township, Ohio, reached out to us recently after reading about Drop in the Bucket. The students of St.Gabriel’s decided to participate in WWD by planning an overnight fasting fundraiser in their gymnasium starting this weekend! The students are choosing to fast because they understand how difficult it is for children in Africa to get fed properly everyday and want to show their dedication and care by going without food themselves. St.Gabriel hopes to earn $6000 to build a well at the Obule Primary School in Uganda through this fundraiser and other initiatives they are planning.
After hearing about this, the students of the Obule Primary School in Soroti, Uganda were completely blown away that high schoolers here would go out of their way in this manner to support them. They asked how they could show their appreciation to the American students so we gave them paper and colored pencils and suggested they draw pictures. They gave us pictures of their lives and families that we will bring back and give the students of St Gabriel’s. The Obule pupils told us the idea of students in America going without food for them deeply touched them and they felt extremely honored and grateful.
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These students from Ohio chose a great way to remind us that we are all so similar. Each one of us that is alive on this planet today is in this together and everyday is a chance for you to share in this connection. If the task of helping 783 million people get clean water seems daunting, you can simply begin by helping one.
Thank you for your amazing support!
Donate, fundraise, spread the word! Ending the cycle of poverty starts with just one Drop. Are you ready to be part of the solution?

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Events News

World Water Day 2013

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Almost 1 billion people on the planet lack access to safe drinking water.
Dirty water and poor sanitation kill more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
Every 20 seconds a child dies from a lack of clean water or sanitation.
More people have access to a cell phone than a toilet.
Do we just accept this or is it time to do something?
It’s 2013 and the human race has reached amazing heights in technology. We can explore another planet’s surface and even assess its water conditions! But as advanced as we are, how is it possible that one in every eight people on our own planet lacks this most basic resource?
Do we just accept this or is it time to do something?
I used to read facts like these and think ‘I wish someone would do something about this,’ until I realized that I AM someone and the time to help is now.
March 22nd is World Water Day. It’s just one day, but that’s a great place to start.
So how can YOU help?
There are plenty of ways to participate in World Water Day. Why not plan a World Water Day party, or just invite some friends over for dinner? Maybe show them this video.
then encourage them to post it to Facebook and other social media sites.
Read them some of these water facts and then make a donation or even start a fundraiser
Let your friends know that you feel strongly about the clean water crisis and that access to clean water is a human right. You can be a voice in your community.
If that’s not possible how about sharing this video post it on Facebook or Twitter. Let your friends know that clean water is important to you and that you feel everybody deserves the right to drink clean water.
Drop in the Bucket has a few things coming up and we would love you to join us!
Events: 
March 15th: President and co-founder of Drop, John Travis, speaks in Fountain Valley at 8:30AM. 
This World Water Day event is hosted by Tetra-tech in Fountain Valley, Orange County. The event will include breakfast and a tour of their facilities. There is no cost and you will leave with a better understanding of what our world is currently facing in terms of the world wide water crisis.
March 21st: Cocktails For Causes World Water Day Event. 8:00PM. 
Where: Whiskey Blue Bar At W the Hotel Westwood – 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, California 90024
Event information: Cocktails For Causes invites you to their Annual World Water Day Event to support Drop In The Bucket, a non profit organization that builds wells and sanitation systems at schools in Africa. Guests will enjoy music by DJ Tiffany and violin virtuoso, DJ Manifesto. John Travis, President and Co-founder of Drop In The Bucket will also be addressing the audience. Admission is free but we encourage everyone to donate what they can to this fine organization (suggested donation $30/person).
Music by: DJ Tiffany and Violinist DJ Manifesto
Guest Speaker: John Travis, President and Co-founder of Drop In The Bucket
Buy your tickets and show your support for clean water for all by clicking this link
March 23rd: Radio Disney hosted Run/Walk in El Segundo.
The day after World Water Day, we’re putting on an event with Radio Disney in Los Angeles. It will be a walk/run in El Segundo that we are expecting a large crowd for. There will be a Drop in the Bucket presentation at the event with a speaker and we will have a table set up with merchandise, sign-up sheets, stickers, wristbands, and other goodies. Come by and say hi, we’d love to meet you!
If we can explore another planet, isn’t it time we made sure everybody on this planet has access to something as basic as clean water?

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News

Beads that transform lives

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Decades of war in northern Uganda left the region impoverished and its inhabitants in a severe state of shock. Compounded with high illiteracy rates and inability to access education, Ugandans are often unable to financially support themselves in a world where education equates opportunity. Although Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), are no longer active in the region, the shadow of their reign of terror still looms over northern Ugandans who must now pull themselves out of poverty.
Rather than focusing on simply dispensing aid, several organizations took a different, more direct approach and worked alongside the people living in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, establishing beading programs enabling the locals to finally have their own source of income. Beading programs teach local women how to construct jewelry from old magazines, which they, in turn, can sell for profit. These programs provide amazing opportunities for women who lack the literacy skills to work in other fields. These beads provide a source of financial independence, enabling them to feed their families and be able to afford their children’s school fees, thereby (hopefully) cutting the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. At Drop in the Bucket we believe education is one of the major ways to break the cycle of poverty, and we are happy that selling these beads may make that happen.
All of the beads are unique and hand made in northern Uganda. To purchase yours please go to our online store.

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News

Article from Uganda’s New Vision Newspaper- Water project lures girls back to school

Publication date: Tuesday, 4th January, 2011
By Chris Ocowun

WITH a polythene bag slung across the shoulders, her eyes pry around the school compound like a stranger. Before entering the classroom, she walks to the far end where the school toilets are located. Later, she emerges with a grin and dashes to class.

What is the motivation?

Winnie Akol, the 12-year-old girl, is back to school after getting the news that her former school has a modern flushing toilet synonymous with modern urban establishments.

She had dropped out of school the year before because she could not have any privacy, especially during her menstrual cycle. Akol represents a wave of excitement at Pece Pawel Primary School in Pece division, Gulu town. Since March last year when the school started using the flush toilets, many pupils, especially girls returned.
“About 10 girls who had dropped out because of poor sanitation and lack of washrooms re-joined P.4, P.5 and P.6 classes at the start of last term,” the deputy head teacher of the school, Grace Evelyn, Akeni reveals.

From using unhygienic pit latrines with floors flooded with filth, pupils and teachers now use flushing toilets, courtesy of Drop in the Bucket, a US-based NGO. Prior to the construction of the three-step water sanitation system, the school was using 16 old dilapidated pit latrines.

Flush toilets are a better option

Unlike schools that still use dirty pit latrines with unbearable hygiene conditions, Pece Pawel Primary School does not experience any stench from the flush toilets since pupils started using them eight months ago. Sanitation experts and engineers say these flush toilets can serve the school for about 20 years.

“This eco-sanitation system is good for schools in urban areas with limited land for expansion. There is no air pollution,” Pece division health inspector Betty Atim remarks.

How it is built

The director of Drop in the Bucket, Stacey Travis, explains the processes involved in building the eco-sanitation flush toilet system.
First, we installed a water well with a modified hand pump that sends some of the well water into a designated container to be used for general water needs, while the rest of the water goes into a separate reservoir tank of about 1,500 litres.

Next, we attached to this tank another pump, but this one is operated by a piece of playground equipment called a roundabout. Each time the children play on the roundabout, water is pumped from the reservoir tank to a hand-washing station and two sets of flushing toilets.

In the final step, we connected the toilets to a delayed septic system with seven different compartments through which the waste from the toilets flows.

Advantage of the system

Travis says a delayed septic system is designed to break down sewage into, 100% pathogen-free, and 85% pure water in 28 days. This prevents the problem of toxicity from accumulated sewage, and the risk of groundwater contamination during the rainy season.
“This pathogen-free water from the toilets can be used for irrigation by the communities around,” Travis notes.

She adds that the eco-sanitation system is simple and environmental friendly as opposed to pit latrines.

“Unlike the pit latrines which are smelly and dirty, these flush toilets are always clean. The pupils clean the toilets daily and each child brings two rolls of toilet paper every term,” Akeni says.
Pupils, parents excited

Walter Ochora, 11, a P.4 pupil, says using the flush toilets is more enjoyable than the pit-latrines. “The flush toilets do not have maggots and a bad smell like the pit latrines,” Ochora says.
He says Drop in the Bucket should expand the eco-sanitation system to other schools in the region to save the children from the risk of contracting diseases like cholera and dysentery.
Vincent Opio, a parent, acknowledges the usefulness of the eco-sanitation system of flush toilets because the toilets ensure good health of their children.

The health inspectors from Pece division now want the authority of Pece Pawel Primary School to demolish the dilapidated filled up pit latrines which have been abandoned.

Other beneficiaries

Other schools where Drop in the Bucket has built eco-sanitation flush toilets include Onywako Primary School in Barr sub-county in Lira district, Alela Modern Primary School in Alebtong district and St. Ponsiano Primary School in Mwanda, central Uganda.
Drop in the Bucket is also carrying out similar charity work in schools in Southern Sudan, according to Travis.

Cost of the project

According to Travis, drilling a borehole and building 10 stances of flush toilets in the school cost about sh30m. She says the project was cheaper because the community also contributed bricks and other building materials.

She adds that in places where there is no community contribution, it can cost between sh40 and sh45m to build such a system and borehole.

Challenges

According to Travis, one of the challenges Drop in the Bucket faces in establishing ecosan flush toilets is getting support from the community.

“We tried so hard to fight those negative attitudes by involving them in the project through provision of building materials like sand, bricks and stone aggregates for the sustainability of the project,” Travis says.

She says they also try to unite the communities around the selected schools by organising them in a water users’ committee for proper maintenance of the boreholes.

This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/9/35/742793