According to charity founder Daphne Nederhorst, Sawa World’s objective is extremely simple. “Sawa aims for a world where 1 billion people who currently live in extreme poverty can lift themselves out with local solutions, local ideas, no charity, and no foreign aid.”
The first stage of the process is to identify local leaders living in the world’s poorest countries who have made a significant difference in their local area with very few resources. Sawa then partners with established institutions in these countries to train unemployed young people as “Sawa Youth Reporters”. They produce short video reports to document the community work of Sawa Leaders in the local media. This inspires other people to replicate the same solutions in their own communities. In Uganda alone, the charity has successfully reached an estimated 4.8 million people in 12 months.
Importantly, the local solutions Sawa advocates are non-governmental, non-political, non-religious and improve access to basic needs and health care, or support equal gender opportunities. For example, local leader Robert Kalyesubula set up a rural health clinic in 2003 to treat critically ill individuals and those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Since then, he has helped over 6,000 patients and set up a community nurse training program.
In 2006, leader John Mutamba founded Agric Stock Uganda which works to eradicate rural poverty through enhancing the utilization of sustainable resources, improving food and household incomes and community volunteer structures. 15,000 recipients have been practically trained in these areas and as a result their households can feed themselves and have started saving.
Nederhorst is optimistic about replicating the current program, currently affiliated with St Lawrence University in Uganda at another local institution. “In the next year, we want to train at least 10 more Sawa Youth leaders, to document at least 60 local solutions and to share that with millions of other people. With that, we’ll raise our first million dollars to move our activity to our next country the year after.”
Image credit: Nikki McLeod
Daphne is an inspiring and enviably, serenely calm lady. In the face of to most what would be an overwhelmingly immense task she approaches it with humility and admiration for those who dedicate themselves to enriching others lives however that may be - health, confidence, inspiration, education.
This is a very brave lady who has had the courage of her convictions, but most importantly the courage to scale down her programme to deliver lasting benefits in the most needed areas. She hopes to return to countries beyond Africa in the near future.
I feel privileged to have met Daphne, and through introducing her to Wild Culture's founder Whitney Smith to you. It shows a way forward through mutual help, support and a sense of community. My hope is Whitney will accompany Daphne in February to see the work of SAWA in person. A Road Trip round Uganda also beckons for this ever adventurous founder!