Post-Trip Events > Opportunities to Contribute

RTW Grassroots Initiatives

Opportunities to Contribute to Grassroots Initiatives in Developing Countries

RTW Grassroots Initiatives hopes to provide funding and expert counsel in land use planning, media and community relations and facilitation and other support to grassroots efforts in communities in developing countries. For more information, contact us through this website.



Gale’s Point

·         bamboo & other local Belizean crafts

Contact: Brandon, Gale’s Point (can get address)

Background: Belize, like all its Central American neighbors, suffers from chronic lack of employment, drug and alcohol abuse and poverty due to conditions of widespread economic and political injustice. Young people, like Brandon, are trying to break out of this cycle by creating sustainable, indigenous enterprise.  For more information, see Therese's travelog about Belize.



Bukit Lawang, island of Sumatra:

·         jewelry and other sculptures made out of coconut shell, rainforest wood and bone (the wood is mahogany and teak and not from live trees)

Contact: Fadil, Dsn. Sabah-Pasarodi, P.O.Box 20774, Bohorok-Langkat, North Sumatra, INDONESIA

Background: This community was devastated by a flash flood in November 2003, just 13 months before the tsunami. Over 500 people were killed and nearly all the homes, hotels and other business establishments were destroyed. The government began to build a housing development for the displaced families but when the tsunami hit, work was suspended and never resumed. The community is still living in temporary shelters and suffering from the loss of livelihood. Fadil operated a cyber café in Bukit Luwang prior to the flash flood. Now, he barely scrapes an existence through the sale of his crafts. For more information, see Therese's travelog about Indonesia.



Enoosaen, small Maasai village

1. Enoosaen Water Project

·         Train two people in technical skills needed for water projects, eg. pipe fitting, mixing of cement, sand and concrete, and water resource planning. Joshua Naleke, one of the very industrious members of the water resource team, specifically asked us to help him acquire this training, either at a local technical institute or in the United States. Approximate cost/person = Ksh60,000, or US$824

·         Funds for building more cattle troughs at homes. Troughs prevent soil erosion caused by cattle traveling long distances in search of water. Approximate cost/trough = Ksh 20,000 or US $ 275

·         Funds for building collection tanks near spring sources and on the water lines to boost water supply to homes that are far away from the pipeline. Approximate cost/tank = Ksh 400,000 or US $ 5,714

·         Funds for preserving and conserving water catchment areas i.e. fencing and planting water friendly trees near spring sources. Approximate cost/source = Ksh 80,000 or US $ 1,143

·         Funds for protecting and building more rivers around Enoosaen village. Approximate cost = Ksh 300,000 or US$4,286

Background: We were invited to Enoosaen by our dear friend Ole Ronkei. We lived with Ole Ronkei and his family at Westmoreland Family Housing when Steve and he were attending the University of Oregon. Ole Ronkei introduced his friend Jim Bryson, also from Eugene, to Enoosaen. Impressed by the industry and foresight of the people of Enoosaen, Jim funded phase one of the water project, and an underwater source of water was uncovered and tapped. Nearly 60 percent of the people of the village now have access to clean drinking water, and the health and quality of life benefits realized are nothing short of astounding. While we were in Enoosaen, we worked alongside the industrious members of the water committee and community volunteers and helped clear vegetation and level the earth around a second, much larger source, comprised of five natural springs. International Rotary, through the Eugene Metro Rotary Club, helped fund the initial part of phase two but more funds are needed to build pipe, taps, troughs, and tanks to distribute access to the water, as well as protect the source and riparian corridor. For more information, see an extensive background on the project at

2. Enoosaen, general community

·         One of our young friends from Enoosaen, Jonathan Ole Sieur, was scheduled to begin his university studies in biological sciences at Western Alabama University in the United States in fall 2007. We later discovered that he was not able to obtain a visa because he was unable to produce a deed to land in Kenya and therefore establish intent that he has sufficient ties to Kenya and will return. After regrouping, he was admitted to Gretsa University in Thika, Kenya, and began his studies in Hospitality Management because biology is not offered at this institution. He still hopes to study in the United States, perhaps to obtain a masters or Ph.D., but needs support to continue his studies. His mother, a beautiful, industrious woman, has several other children to support.    

  Expenses for one academic year at Gretsa University (1$US=Kshs.70):
  Tuition fees.............................Kshs.300,000 ($4,000 USD)
  Books....................................Kshs.40,000 ($500 USD)
  Accom/food............................Kshs.80,000 ($1,000 USD)
  Other expenses......................Kshs.30,000 ($400 USD)
  Total......................................Kshs.450,000 ($6,000 USD)

Visit Jonathan's webpage to offer assistance:

·         Thanks to the support of the community of friends who have followed our travels and post-trip adventures, another young friend from Enoosaen, Benson Ntiwas, is here in Eugene, Oregon, pursuing his undergraduate studies. Benson completed his first term at Lane Community College this spring 2007 and will matriculate to the University of Oregon in fall 2007. He has received a full tuition waiver as well as other scholarships and is living with friends of ours in the neighborhood. We feel mightily blessed to have been a part of bringing Benson to the United States.

·         Books for the establishment of Enoosaen Public Library

·         Permanent building for library, plus 3 shelves, table & chairs = Kshs 200,000= US $ 2,857

·         School books for Enoosaen primary school and Keen’s Catholic Academy. The national language in Kenya is English. School instruction is conducted in English.


3. Enoosaen Catholic Church

·         Create sister church community

·         $150/month to support main catechist and family.

·         Arrange professional exchange for main catechist and wife to Eugene

·         Funds for permanent building for Bertha’s Academy. This pre-school was established by Steve’s mother in honor of his grandmother, Bertha Wellong. Since the school started this spring, the enrollment continues to grow, and a larger, permanent building is needed.

o        Cost to build school =  Kshs 500,000, or US $ 7,143

o        Hiring of two permanent teachers= @Kshs 10,000/teacher/month =Kshs20,000 for two teacher/month = US$ 275 for two teachers/month.

·         Permanent church building = Approximate cost = Sh 1.5M = US$ 21,429

·         Priest house (self contained) according to plan: Approx cost Ksh 2.5 M : US $ = 35,714.


Luang Nam Tha, northern Laos

  • Help sponsor two worthy young men, Tho and Ta, study English at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon. They are guides in the Nam Ta natural area in northern Laos and teach English to very poor youth of the hill tribes of northern Laos at the LuangNamtha Vocational Training Centre. They will need funds for airfare and a visa as well as room & board in Eugene, Oregon, while they are studying.


Cape Pakarang Boatyard, Tsunami Volunteer Center, Khao Lak

·         Sponsor a traditional longtail Thai fishing boat for a fisherman who lost a boat in the tsunami, $3,250

·         Help fishermen in remote villages repair, refurbish and maintain their fishing boats. All donations gratefully accepted.

Contact: Scott Carter, project manager, at or visit

Background: For one week, we worked at the Cape Pakarang Boatyard, a project of the Tsunami Volunteer Center, under the capable leadership of project manager Scott Carter, who arrived in the area shortly after the tsunami hit and decided to remain as a volunteer and build a state-of-the-art boat yard, assemble a team and help build boats for fishermen who had lost their boats in the tsunami. We, along with a crew of other committed volunteers and skilled Thai boat builders, sanded and painted boats, wrote articles about the project coordinators, assisted the boat builders, created cutting boards with the project’s logo for the 1-year memorial of the tsunami, and Peter and Paul even operated the cat, as well as the power saw and sander! We even had the privilege of delivering a newly completed boat to the recipient community. For more background about the project, see articles about the project and project leaders at and the project’s website at



1. Victory Community Care Services, Kabale

·         Victory Community Gardens Project Proposal,  UGs3,020,000/year (US $1,633/year)

·         Victory Women in Development Heifer Project,  UGs14,000,000 (US $7,600)

·         Victory Child project, UGs41,350,000/year (US $22,300)

·         Victory Education Centre, UGs286,953,275.56 (US $155,000)                 

·         Victory Primary School, UGs82,400,000 (US $45,000)

Contact: Pastor Edward Kanyesigye, Executive Director, Victory Community Care Services, P.O. Box 483, Kabale Tel: 075824316, email:, web:

Background: We worked on the community gardens project of this organization, consisting of a collaboration of area churches. A week-long seminar series was held, while Marcia Hafner, member of Newman Center and our African team, worked with the group of women volunteers, cultivating the plot of land. Steve, Our team led seminars covering land use planning, community decision making, media and community relations, and volunteer management, as well as effective gardening techniques. This community was hungry for more information about community organizing and resource mobilization, and, given the funding, Pastor Edward and his team are ready to implement a brilliant, comprehensive vision for this forward-thinking community.


2. Harriet Kashaba cares for several extra children, four boys and two girls, in addition to her own four lovely children. We met Harriet, her husband, Henry, and her children at the Baptist church where Edward Kanyesigye (above) is the pastor. Henry owns a cement business, and, though they struggle and live in extremely poor conditions themselves, they have more means than the average family in Kabale and they are always giving in the community. While we were in Kabale, they were always ready to help, driving us to the community gardens site or the building where the seminar was held. They also invited us to their home for dinner where we enjoyed a feast of beans, rice, vegetables, and roasted corn. As is the case throughout Africa, the AIDS epidemic has devastated families, leaving children orphaned or in destitute circumstances. Harriet and family are currently caring for six of these children. The costs associated with educating these children are as follows.

·         Rugumayo Fred, 19 yrs., Ush 322,500

·         Agaaba Gilbert, 18 yrs., Ush 247,000

·         Betambire Nelson, 16 yrs., Ush 218,000

·         Namara Mary, 14 yrs, Ush 215,500

·         Byamukama Brian, 10 yrs., Ush 59,400

·         Nahuurira Mildred, 9 yrs., Ush 59,400

GRAND TOTAL =   Ush 1,121,800 *

 *This is the total amount per term, and there are three terms in an academic year.

Contact: Harriet Kashaba,


In all communities

·         Building cob houses

o        Bales of straw

o        Bales of sand

o        Shovels, $50-100

Contact: Marcia Hafner,, 683-7385

Background: Our friends in Enoosaen, Kenya, expressed interest in cob houses, a low-cost, low-impact housing alternative. When Marcia returned to Eugene at the end of March, she sent the community a book about how to construct cob houses and received training herself this summer. She hopes to return to Enoosaen and potentially other communities in Africa in the spring with a cobbing expert to build cob buildings. In Enoosaen alone, there is plenty of need; the community would like to build a community library, new church structure, school house, and priest’s house.