A different person

Edson is a Zambian child living in Mwandi, a small community on the outskirts of Livingstone, famous because of the Victoria Falls. A boy, restless, unruly, like almost everyone in childhood, who lives with his mother Mary, his father Victor and his brothers Mary, Victor and Ozas. The 6 of them share a small house in the heart of the community between dirt roads and large woodlands of the wild Zambian nature. His mother seamstress and his father, employed for the maintenance of a school, struggle to get his family along. Like any children in the neighborhood, Edson faces a complicated life in the community, where high unemployment leads to financial problems at home, and instability and lack of alternatives threatens the youth. Even so, with the innocence of age, Edson is happy, in the middle of nature, chasing birds, picking fruit from the trees or watching planes go by from the nearby airport. Edson has no trouble remembering how he met Elena, one of the founders of KUBUKA, becausein contradistinction to other Mzungus (white people) who normally do a punctual job and leave, she continued coming back day after day. He can remember how they painted together, how he wrote letters and how he learned to use a camera. In the classrooms of the Mwandi Community School, the friendship between Edson and Elena began to forge. He finishes primary and Edson enters to secondary. A great step because, having the opportunity to study at this level is no longer available to everyone in Zambia. The Government is only committed to cover primary education and this is why at this point the families savings, external support or sponsorships are beginning to be key. The child grows, becomes more aware of things and thinks, like his whole class, in his future, what will become of him. Now he is aware of the difficulties that the community faces, how difficult everyone says it is, and, thanks to their parents, the importance of education. Pressure builds as final high school exams approach, and if Edson wants the opportunity to make the decision for himself, he must do well. His goal is getting closer, to study computer science in the university, to learn everything he can about computers, to emancipate himself, to have a career and to improve his life and his family. And Edson, an awake boy who does not usually miss opportunities, passes his exams, and at the beginning of 2017 he leaves, with a backpack full of notebooks and dreams, to the capital city, Lusaka, to begin his classes and complete his studies to be, as himself states, «a different person.»

We have a plan

Today we would like to talk to you about the Project Department. It sounds technical and complicated, right? Do not be fooled, from here we do activities that we all naturally and unconsciously apply to our day-to-day life. We understand projects as our plan to carry out an idea, and… does not everyone plan their next day? “Now, I have to get up tomorrow to leave a packet at the Post Office before work, then go eat at my parents’ house. I will not take the car since it is impossible to park in that area. In the afternoon I have Pilates, so I have to pack my bag in the morning. Oh, and I need to remember money to buy my brother’s birthday gift…” Do you see? In the end we all organize beforehand to be able to fulfill a series of objectives. In the Project Department of Kubuka we do the same, but at a larger scale, with a series of major goals, more activities, with greater expenditure of resources and with many more people involved, but with the same intention; to achieve an end and to not get lost along the way. To get a little closer to the whole process we want to share the stages that all projects go through. In the beginning everything seems simple, but we would like to share some details so that we do not miss anything. The first stage consists of the “Identification”, to know the needs of the people, groups or communities. This is one of the most important phases, since we often do not detect the same deficiencies in each other, or we do not satisfy them in the same way. Therefore it is fundamental to know everyone’s opinion and work, especially the local people, because they always contribute with things that we forget (by ignorance, not being present, by assuming things in advance, because we forget…) and ultimately, they are the people it matters to. A clear and simple example might be when working with a school. Here you must take into account the views of those taking part: teachers, principals, assistants, caretakers, as well as all the parents and students themselves. They will always be in the best place to determine where they have greater difficulties and what are the problems that need solving. The second phase is “Planning”, where we clearly determine our goal to achieve and the activities, strategies, timing and resources that we need to follow in order to achieve it. In this case, we must be clear that it is impossible to respond to all problems, we must be aware that many times we work with heavily damaged populations and most of the time we need to understand one situation to be able to proceed to the next. Well, this includes determining, with the participation of everyone, what corresponds to the present time and how we are going to do it. Being able to decide involves being a responsible party. Once the goals and the procedures to achieving the goals are clear, we get to work. This is called “Execution” or “Implementation”. Undoubtedly, this is the most pleasant part of the whole process and in which it is more important to get the local people to participate. What would be the sense for a foreign/outside volunteer to teach math in a Kenyan or Zambian school? Our intervention is focused on ensuring that there are teachers in the area hired under good conditions, sharing pedagogical methodologies with these teachers or simply facilitating places of encounter for the parents, strengthening them as active people within the center. Finally we have the phase of “Monitoring and Evaluation”, where during and once the planned time of intervention is over, the project is reviewed to see aspects of the improvement. Have we managed to provide the parents with workshops? Has it been sufficient or too short? Do the people involved fulfill the share of responsibility? What difficulties have we encountered along the way and how have we solved them? As you can see and above all, you can imagine that there are many questions that needs to be answered, and most importantly…. We want to do it!!! Because it is essential for us to improve, to correct errors, be positive and always, always… continue growing. “To start a great project, it takes courage. To finish a great project, it takes perseverance” Soledad Vera

Learning to fly

From time to time, as the untiring African sunset fills the streets of the Mwandi community with a warm orange color, a metal bird flies across the sky.  It is interesting to see how, among the crowd, they glance up on the sky; incomprehensible glances that steadily follows the track of the flight being left behind. It is a state of unconsciousness where they dream and wake up again without even waiting for the plane to be lost in the immensity of the sky. They may think that sometimes it is better not to dream about things that cannot happen. They all finish like this, dreams end before they even begin. © Kubuka/2017/Luis Lanchares From Kubuka we collaborate with people who day after day struggle to boost the motivation in their community, to awaken the forgotten feeling of flying high, to look from above and be able to go as far as you want. All this with the one and only weapon we have: education. It is now Mwandi, a small community just outside Livingston (Zambia) that is starting to fly. This flight, our flight, took off six years ago with the aim of allowing the minors, their families and the community of Mwandi in general, who is in a situation of social disadvantage, a complete educational, personal, social and affective development. We are currently working with 105 minors dreamers, where we are facilitating, thanks to school scholarships, access to secondary education that the government imposes. In the evenings we reinforce this education with an extracurricular center where the students have classes in mathematics, English, science, physics, chemistry and biology, taught by four qualified teachers. © Kubuka/2017/Luis Lanchares In addition, these teachers encourage healthy initiatives so the children develop values that help them become mature, avoid risk situations and motivate them. We also work with 94 families where we conduct workshops focusing primarily on involving parents in the socio-educational process of their children and in their empowerment. In addition interventions are carried out within the families with the aim of providing guidance and support, while showing proximity and respect, in relation to the education of the children. Finally, 16 different schools that are located in the city of Livingston are collecting information from each child and reporting it to the teachers of the school and vice versa, creating coordination between the different teachers, finding problems and solving them similarly. We have a long flight to reach our destination, but we can proudly say that together we are flying very high. The sun will go down like every day It is time to believe that they are now the ones who must learn to fly. Nacho Atienza

A key pillar: the fundraising department

This week’s blog is less sentimental than on other occasions. Today we want to talk about the core of Kubuka, the fuel that drives this organization, namely how it is being financed. From the start, we in Kubuka understood the importance of diversification in obtaining funds. Not only because of a safety issue when drawing the projects forward, but also because it involved different groups in our social projects. Obviously, like almost all NGOs, we have a lot of trust in our sponsors and partners, but from Kubuka we have committed ourselves to explore other ways. That is why we have a department that has the full responsibility of managing alternative financing lines: the Fundraising Department. The fundraising department Firstly, in Kubuka we seek to involve companies of different sizes in our projects, make them a part of the project and create a link that translates into a financial contribution, in the form of collaboration. The companies can collaborate in a punctual form, with some financial contribution; for products, donating material that we can use in the projects, or they can collaborate in a prolonged way by supporting either a specific project or in general. The company “Viajabien” is a clear example of a relationship that we hope will continue for many years. Here is a clip to get to know them better. However, we do not only want to involve companies (productive units that develop activities for profit), but people who seek to contribute in different ways as well. The “challenges” are the best examples of these partnerships. Set a goal, involve a large number of people, make them participate and raise as much money as possible. A few weeks ago, Enhamed was the first blind person to cross the strait by swimming and all the proceeds went to Kubuka. The great Nico has been one of our latest challenges. Cycling the distance between Asturias and Tala (Kenya), where our orphanage is, Nico has managed to raise more than 10.000 euros.   This is how we work, but do you know what? We do not have the perfect formula to raise money. We are a young NGO, and we have much more to learn, and this is where you, as a reader of this blog, can help. What do you think a company expects in return for collaboration with an NGO? How do you think this company-NGO-relationship can be strengthened? What factors make you choose to collaborate with one NGO or another? If you have the answer to any of these questions, do not hesitate to write to us: Thank you for being here Sergio Sánchez Fundraising department

The women who move Africa

”The African women are the force that moves Africa”, it is said, but I think we never become aware of the scope of the statement. When we say this, we focus on the fact that they are the ones who maintain the house and the economy, care for the children and sick people in the family, they work outside the home, worry about education… However, there is so much more. During my experience I have been fortunate to know and learn that these women have different realities between them, that the women are not a whole and that they have their ways of fighting and changing what might affect them. That they never needed the European women or NGO´s to say if they were in a situation of inferiority, that they had to solve it and how. A few months ago I was lucky to meet one of the women who, along with many other people, is changing the reality of the women in Kenya. Agnes Pareyio is a woman of the Masai Tribe who decided 15 years ago to begin the fight against female genital mutilation in Narok County. She deciced to dissociate from the practice that is justified as a necessary tradition and as a rite of passage in her tribe, which turns girls into women and prepares them for marriage. In my opinion, this act was the true beginning in the fight against the practice more than 15 years ago. Although I went to Narok with the intention of getting to know this project, I did not know I was going to meet the founder. I imagined that, as in many organizations, another person happens to be the face of the project little connected with reality. Agnes, in addition to be strongly involved in the project, in the short time we met, gave us the impression of being a popular and respected woman in the community, despite the controversy of her work in a society that still believes in this practice. She has managed to turn them around and gain recognition from the community. As we were told in the Center in the Masai tribe, specifically in Narok County, the most common practice is the removal of the clitoris and the labia minora. Girls go through this to “become” women and get married. Once the mutilation has been performed, the family waits one week to hand the girl over to a man they have chosen to marry her. Agnes decided to create a rescue center called Tasaru Ntomonok for the girls who, like her, decided to abandon the genital mutilation. In this center they are welcomed, given education, and attempts are made to work with the families so they do not reject them and that the girls can return to their place of origin without being “cut off”. In addition, Agnes and her team also visit the villages to talk with the communities and explain the consequences of this practice and why it should not be performed. At this time the Law also supports Agnes and her team and since 2011 the mutilation has been an illegal practice in Kenya. On the other hand, there is a program that provides economic support to the women that performed the circumcisions. This practice is usually their only source of income, so to quit this profession they need to find another occupation that is facilitated by the Agnes organization. Agnes has repeatedly told us that the only way to eradicate this practice is to educate the communities to stop doing it and show the girls that they have the ability to freely decide their future. She told us it was not easy at first, but the situation has improved and will continue to improve. These examples make me reflect on some things: That the local initiatives are the engine of change, because there is nobody better than the beneficiaries themselves, in this case the women of Kenya, who know what they really need and how to get it. Agnes also makes an example of how the changes are being obtained; starting with personal changes and taking the initiative to reflect on the change they want to see in the society. Despite the great risk of the girls being rejected by their families and becoming women without any support, with what it means in the Kenyan society, it compensates more than if they are mutilated and suffering the consequences the rest of their lives. Not satisfied with that, she continues to fight to transfer this conviction to the whole society. With no doubt the education is basic and necessary for change, to learn to think and be able to decide freely about our lives. I have to thank Agnes and all the women who take small, but individual steps in their lives. Day by day, and little by little they make a real change and teach us great lessons.   Paula Arranz Canales

My kenian sister

Elisabeth, a dark-skinned girl living in Kibera (Kenya). Silvia, a light-skinned girl living in Madrid (Spain). The two girls are both nine years old and tan. They are both waiting impatiently for recess so they can go outside to play. Elisabeth plays with a ball made out of plastic, while Silvia plays with swings. They are both enjoying their time despite their different toys. After recess it is time to go to class, math class awaits. Silvia has a blackboard in her class and each student has got their own book, their own notebook, their own pencils and their own desk. Elisabeth on the other hand, shares a desk with four other classmates, and in her class they have two books and a few sheets of paper to share between forty students. In spite of this, they both work hard, do the exercises with enthusiasm and they spend an enjoyable and entertaining time learning math. At lunchtime, Silvia and her friends run to the school ́s cafeteria where they have a full menu day after day. Elisabeth simply does neither have a cafeteria nor food at the school, so at that time she goes home to do the laundry our take care of her younger siblings. And so Elisabeth and Silvia share their desire to play, have fun, learn and feed. However, within all this that unites them there is something that sets them apart: the conditions in which they each live their life, where one has difficulties to fulfill simple dreams while the other has it easier. This is why they are like sisters. Sisters of distance. Sisters connected through the red thread we talked about earlier. Elisabeth with her dark skin and Silvia with her light skin. Sisters. A sisterhood that allows dealing with these differences so that they both have the same facilities of being girls, they are children with the right to live a dignified childhood. Well, this type of sisterhood is what makes the children of a school in Spain recognize the reality of how other children live across the world. In this way the children strive to do activities of different types so that their siblings of distance are able to have books, notebooks, food etc. The purpose is that all these things can stop being luxuries for them and they can insert it in the children’s education. In this way they can improve the quality of education of their siblings so they have the same opportunities and conditions as in Spain. This is the base of the collaborations with schools that we do in Kubuka: one school being the sibling of another school. They know the conditions of life on the other side of the world, and grateful for this, they work for a common goal: that someone’s birthplace should not guide the path they have to follow in life. If you want more information about our school collaborations email Casilda Cernuda. Awareness Department

Relative distance

We live surrounded by stimuli, both positive and negative. Stimuli that may seem too much and can sometimes distance us from the reality. We receive approximately three thousand advertising impacts a day, more than a million a year, and on the way we start to lose empathy for others. This “distance” has led us to see Africa as a homogenous block, a dramatic and hopeless reality. We have forgotten that it is a continent, which withholds 52 countries, a huge diversity of ethnic groups and their more than one billion voices. Voices that tell stories of desire and improvement. Voices with their proper names that because of their human dimension suddenly reduce the thousands of kilometers that separate us from Zambia and Kenya.   © Kubuka/2017/Luis Lanchares There is an Eastern belief that a red thread holds people together no matter how far away they are. At one end of the thread are cities such as Nairobi and Livingston along with villages such as Tala and Kasiya, with desks waiting for the children that keep on dreaming and growing. The willingness to do and try a little more, talent that turns into music and the effort that becomes an opportunity.  Here we are trying to make you feel the same desire as us to be part of the other extreme. We want you to understand what unites us. We know that traveling without smelling, touching or embracing is difficult, so we want to approach this experience through testimonies, videos and meetings until you feel it as your own experience.  © Kubuka/2017/Luis Lanchares Every time someone reacts in a briefing, participates with questions, and asks what they can do to help, we are all winning. We believe that more voices means strength and progress. Because to see the indifference face to face, and eventually fight it, we will without a doubt win the battle. We would love to hear your opinion on this and if you have an idea on how to get the information out, regardless of what platform or format, write us and together we will carry this out. Send us an email to: Awareness Department