Karibu (Welcome)!

Project Humanity is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to identifying and engaging in women’s empowerment projects in rural African villages aimed to bring transformational change to all those involved. Operating under the philosophy that actions speak louder than words, the organization identifies specific short-term health care, literacy, and micro financing projects that are staffed by skilled professional volunteers. All projects are designed with the goal of creating sustainable, lasting solutions that will continue to thrive after PH volunteers leave. Our focus is on improving lives by enabling access to microloans, assisting in providing prenatal care, conducting HIV/AIDS prevention education, and advancing literacy by providing books to local schools. In areas where life’s obstacles can seem overwhelming, PH works to alleviate stress, give hope, and provide meaningful change to community members.

Project Humanity is not an aid organization. Although specific trips may include donations of baby supplies or books, Project Humanity’s primary purpose is to create lasting solutions through small continuous projects that require time, patience, and perseverance in order to achieve success.

History

The work and mission of Project Humanity was first established in 1997 under an organization formerly known as DoMissions with a focus of offering primarily Southern Baptists mission trips to Africa and Eastern Europe. DoMissions’ first overseas outreach project was in Kenya. Over the years, founder and CEO, Darren Tipton, led teams to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Poland, Indonesia, and, Malaysia.

In 2010, DoMissions formally became Project Humanity and it began the process of defining a more secular mission statement and new volunteer trip objectives. In 2013 Project Humanity adopted its current mission statement of women’s empowerment focused on measurable models of impact. Today the organization seeks to be inclusive of any individual with the desire to serve and to bring meaningful benefit to the lives of individuals and communities in need. Project Humanity is staffed with members and volunteers who have extensive professional experience and knowledge in international volunteerism, primary care medicine, education, finance, and business administration.

Governance

Project Humanity is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Key West, Florida. The organization strictly complies with all IRS directives for financial accountability and is committed to maintaining one hundred percent financial and administrative transparency. Donations received by Project Humanity are used for administrative and operational costs, as well as a supplement to aid in the expenses of our professional volunteers including, travel expenses, in-country costs, and international health, life, and evacuation insurance.

Project Humanity is governed by a Board of Directors that is responsible for establishing policies and procedures, along with approving and overseeing each of the organization’s projects. Board members are dedicated leaders who are deeply concerned and committed to the mission of Project Humanity with a main goal of improving sustainable living conditions for the people and villages Project Humanity serves. The organization also maintains an Advisory Council that guides outreach efforts and makes recommendations regarding effectiveness and sustainability of projects in order to achieve measurable change.

Project Humanity holds an annual meeting and convention for staff, directors, and advisory council members. The 2015 annual gathering was held in Key West, Florida. The next meeting will be held in February 2017, in Key West, Florida

Contact:

Project Humanity- U.S. Business Operations:

Project Humanity
P.O. Box 5814
Key West, FL  33040
Phone: 305-615-6100

Email: info@projecthumanity.com

Mission

Project Humanity’s mission is to work with local leaders in Africa to identify and develop sustainable projects that emphasize women’s empowerment with a focus on health care, literacy, and micro-financing through international volunteerism.

Strategy

Project Humanity’s definition of “women’s empowerment” is intentionally interdisciplinary. We believe that women will be most successful when they and their children are healthy, educated, and have access to the financial resources necessary to care for their families. When these conditions are met they can more effectively contribute to strengthening their community.   Thus, the pillars of our mission statement are women’s and children’s health through pre and post-natal care, literacy, and microfinance.   The delivery of prenatal care packs through our Purple Slip Campaign has a singular focus on creating an incentive for expectant women to seek prenatal care and to be informed of their own health status as a means to help them give birth to healthy babies. In the area of Kenya where we work 97% of girls don’t complete high school because they either can’t afford books and uniforms, because they have become pregnant, or they are required to work to support a family.   Lack of education perpetuates poverty, which leads to other forms of despair. Our goal is to ensure that anybody who has a desire to learn has access to books.   But education can only be put to use if someone also has access to a job and the resources necessary to create opportunity, which is why access to banking or other financial products is necessary.

Goals

Project Humanity was awarded a Chase Community Giving grant of $25,000 in 2013.  The grant was a major boost in the development of our three major women’s empowerment programs:

1) Research and initiate a microfinance program to assist in the fostering of economic and community development on Rusinga Island, Kenya.

Status: In 2014, Project Humanity contracted with WEBA International (World Educate Business Association) to survey small business needs and to produce a custom training program for microfinancing on Rusinga Island.  The outcome of the research was training on and then the establishment of Rotating Credit and Savings Associations (ROSCAs) on Rusinga.  The ROSCAs are comprised of a group of individuals who agree to meet for a defined amount of time in order to save and lend together. ROSCAs are a form of combined peer-to-peer banking and peer-to-peer lending that satisfies individual’s consumption and production needs in order to create sustainable business. ROSCA’s are an important part of microfinance. In November 2014, Project Humanity funded the first ROSCA; as of November 2015, 21 small businesses on Rusinga are benefiting from this program.   Progress is being monitored quarterly through site visits and it is our intention to provide additional training and funding in 2017.

2) In cooperation with the Kenyan Ministry of Education and other partners, make advancements in literacy and education, especially for girls.

Status: In 2014, Project Humanity hosted a “One for Rusinga” conference with community leaders, women, teachers, and students to prioritize women’s empowerment needs, which also included identifying education goals. During the conference PH donated several hundred textbooks to the Kaswanga Girl’s School that aligned with Kenya’s core curriculum requirements. In 2016, we have been working to make an even bigger impact through a partnership with Rongo University College in Kenya and the African Library Project for the delivery of books and the opening of libraries in the Homabay and Migori counties.  Through this partnership, 33 school and community libraries are scheduled to be opened in 2017, with an additional 60 in 2018.

3) Promote prenatal care and children’s health through the Purple Slip Campaign.  The campaign provides an incentive for expectant mothers to seek prenatal care by giving away newborn kits at local clinics.  The kits contain newborn outfits, blankets, and feminine products for new mothers.

Status: Since its start in 2013, the Purple Slip Campaign has seen enormous success: to date nearly 300 women and their children have benefited.  In 2015 and in partnership with the Mbita/Mfangano Rotary Club and D.C. Rotary Club we received a grant to expand the program so it benefits another 100 women in the area through 2016.  Building on the initial success of the program, the initiative has also been expanded to include an evidence-based educational program called Helping Babies Breath (HBB) to many of the clinics in Mbita and Mfangano. HBB teaches neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. HBB is an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Saving Newborn Lives, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and a number of other global health organizations.

Values

We believe that all individuals are entitled to healthy living conditions including, shelter, nutrient rich foods, and clean water. We believe that every individual has the right to work and should be afforded the ability to become self-sufficient. We believe that each individual is entitled to education, basic health-care, and the freedoms of religion and self-determination.

At Project Humanity, we value our relationships with community leaders and are committed to working in a spirit of respect and cooperation for all people while ensuring and maintaining the highest standards of business ethics, basic human rights, and environmental protection. Furthermore, we seek to maintain exceptional relationships with colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, and other individuals or corporations who seek to be responsible and engaging world citizens.

We are a non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to operating in accordance with best practices.

Where We Volunteer

Location: Rusinga Island, Kenya

Rusinga Island is located in East Africa, in the country of Kenya. Kenya is bordered by the Indian Ocean, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania. The capital is Nairobi.

All of Project Humanity’s work is conducted on Rusinga Island in southwest Kenya on the northeastern shore of Lake Victoria.  The entire island is part of the Suba District of Nyanza Province and Homa Bay County. In 2006, the estimated population living on Rusinga Island was between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants.

Language:

The local language on Rusinga Island is Luo, a dialect of the Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania. However, ancestors of the current inhabitants of the island were Suba people. The Suba people came to the island by boat several hundred years ago from what is now Uganda and many place names on the island still betray Suba origins.

Agriculture:

Most residents of Rusinga make their living from subsistence farming (maize and millet) and fishing. The native tilapia of Lake Victoria is still being caught, although it and other native fish species have been decimated by the Nile perch that were introduced into the lake in the 1950’s.

The area’s rainy season usually begins in March and runs through June. Farmers are completely dependent on the rain for the success of their crops, as the island does not have any water catchment system in place. Extensive deforestation and minimal top soil also contribute to fertilizer and pesticide laced rain-run off which is a major contributor of pollution in Lake Victoria (it is highly advised not to swim in or drink the lake water).

Daily Life, Transportation, and Communication:

Most of the roads on the island are comprised of packed dirt and are in poor shape, making effective trade and tourism difficult.  Electricity is not widespread on the Island. Larger public buildings have electricity but majority of homes do not. There is also very little running water. Most people rely on children (assigned as a part of a daily chore regimen) or on a team of people utilizing mules to retrieve and deliver water. Lake water is used for cooking and cleaning. Communication on Rusinga Island is delivered via cell towers. Mobile devices are common and are usually charged using independently operated charging stations that apply a nominal fee for each use.

Health:

Over the years, Kenya has seen a gradual decline in adult HIV prevalence. However, Rusinga Island, as part of Homa Bay County, has the highest rate of new infections in Kenya. In Homa Bay County, new HIV infection rates are at a staggering 25.7%. Additionally, due to its remote location and poor road system, Rusinga Island has been especially hard hit by increasing HIV incidence in Homa Bay County.

Volunteers – the SOUL of our Mission

Over the years, Project Humanity has learned that the best volunteers are those who share a commitment to our mission.  Project Humanity values diversity in its volunteer program.  Study after study has demonstrated that organizations that embrace diversity and listen and are adaptive to the needs of their employees are the most successful.  Project Humanity volunteers come from all walks of life to include students, nurses and medical professionals, flight attendants, business people, moms and dads, people of faith, first responders, and those who just want to give to assist others.  Project Humanity’s mission could not be completed if were not for our volunteer teams.  To enable success, we ask our volunteers to abide by the following philosophies. Do you have what it takes to become an international volunteer?

First: Above all, be Flexible and Patient

Be Impeccable with your Word:  As an international volunteer you not only represent Project Humanity, but you also represent your country and the values we hold dear.   Speak and act with integrity in everything that you do.  Avoid speaking in a manner that speaks against you or to gossip or put others down.   Use the power of your voice and words in the pursuit of good.

Don’t take things personally:  International volunteerism is stressful and it inherently brings about a confluence of different peoples, cultures, and ideas.   Always do what is right and don’t get hung-up on or “in the moment” statements of others.

Do unto others as you would want done unto you:  Among your teammates and the citizens of our host villages, the Golden Rule always applies!

Always do your best: As you learn and grow (and even from day-to-day), your best is always going to change.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.  Always visualize the best possible version of yourself and always strive to reach that personal best.

Love yourself: Use kind words when you speak to/of yourself.  Look in the mirror and be kind and loving to the person looking back at you.  Be confident in yourself and the work you are doing and the reasons why you are doing it.

Be the change you wish to see in the world:  Gandhi said it best when he made this profound statement: “If something makes you scream “someone should do something” then that person is probably YOU.  Don’t expect someone else to lead your vision.  Lead by example.  Make decisions with your actions not your words.

Develop self-awareness:  Listen to others without the need to reply. Show compassion by being aware of the feelings of others and refrain from bragging or over-sharing.  Don’t make assumptions.  Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, or drama.

Hug more:  The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and  a sense of safety.  Hugs can heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.  It lifts one’s serotonin levels and creates happiness. It strengthens the immune system and boosts self-esteem. Lastly, hugs teach us how to give AND receive. We need 4 a day, so why not set the daily goal at 8 hugs and see what happens.

Pray or meditate daily: Prayer and meditation have been proven to reduce stress, improve health, change negative thinking, increase happiness, and provide better concentration. Just 5 minutes of “quiet time” every day will change your life!

Be happy, and enjoy the adventure that international volunteerism brings! Life is difficult for everyone. The minute that we accept life’s difficulty, we can transcend it and create our own happiness. Things happen, life is a challenge, and it’s up to us to change how we feel about what is happening to us. Do we resist the pain bemoaning our fate or do we embrace the pain and expand in the moment? Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Happiness IS a choice.

Information We Collect and Share
Project Humanity collects personal information of volunteers who submit their information through online forms as part of a request for information, volunteer application, or to make donations to projects or the organization. Except as outlined below, none of this information is shared, rented, sold, or made available to any third party unless required by law.

Project Humanity maintains an internal e-mail list for the purposes of communicating with past and present volunteers. E-mail is used for administrative purposes and to keep interested parties informed of the progress we are making on various projects. Our e-mail list is never shared with any third party and any mass e-mail communication is in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act. Individuals may opt out of any e-mail communication by sending an unsubscribe request to info@projecthumanity.com.

Project Humanity maintains accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – interested individuals may opt in or out of these groups at any time.

Project Humanity may use mail addresses provided as part of a transaction process to send thank you communications, and acknowledgement of donation letter for tax deductions purposes.

Personal information submitted and collected as part of the volunteer application is shared with our insurance representatives to activate travel medical insurance. Information is also shared with the U.S. Dept. of Statement to inform the U.S. embassy of when volunteers are in country. In the event of an emergency, certain personal information may also be shared with medical staff or first responders for the purposes of providing medical assistance.

Project Humanity volunteers have the option to engage in fundraising and to enable the display of their name, photo, contact information, trip dates, fees, and funding goals on searchable pages of the Project Humanity website.

Digital Content Release
As part of the Volunteer Agreement, volunteers agree to allow Project Humanity to use their name, photo, likeness, videos, and information about their volunteer experience with Project Humanity for the purposes of advertising, editorial, internal publication, or other publicity without payment of compensation.

Data Protection
All personal and financial information submitted through the web site (such as credit card information) uses a security protocol known as “Secure Sockets Layer” or “SSL.” This is a certification and encryption technology designed to make credit card use safe on the Internet. Project Humanity employs a payment processor that is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. We do not maintain any credit card information on staff computers nor do we accept any donation over the phone, via e-mail, or fax. Project Humanity does not maintain any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) on staff computers or in the headquarters office.

Web Tracking
Project Humanity employs Google Analytics to track web site usage. Data acquired through Google Analytics is used track the number of site visits and to monitor the performance of any online advertising Project Humanity may engage in. Google Analytics does not supply, nor does Project Humanity seek to identify individual users on its web site.

Questions concerning our Privacy Policy may directed to info@projecthumanity.com