#FX Builds: Kenya
Established in 2014, #FXBuilds is how WebFX gives back to those in need. Each goal our team meets (like launching a client site or receiving an excellent perfect customer happiness survey) is matched to a dollar amount donated towards a charitable organization. In 2016, over 80% of the WebFX Team voted to partner with The Water Project, and we reached our goal of donating $24,000 to their cause earlier this year. They construct community solutions for safe water in areas that would otherwise go without, and this project is estimated to impact 12,000 people over the course of 5 years!
In September, 2 FX team members were chosen to serve as ambassadors for WebFX and travel to Kenya to see the impact our donation has made firsthand. Xander and Julia visited 3 communities whose daily lives have been dramatically changed by the improvements The Water Project made using the #FXBuilds funds. St. Michael’s Secondary School, Jeptulu Primary School, and communities affected by the Kavehere Spring have all benefitted from their simple but effective solutions. As the executive director of Wewasafo, an African NGO that works closely with The Water Project, put it: “Water is life. Water breaks barriers.”
It rains for roughly two hours every day in this region of Kenya, so the issue does not lie in a shortage of water, but rather the condition of the water. Consuming this water without purification can lead to illness, which costs Kenyans precious income and time away from school or work. In the case of the Kavahere Spring, The Water Project constructed a safe and reliable means of collecting and protecting the spring water to keep it clear of contaminates and readily available for the two communities it serves.
At St. Michael’s Secondary School, The Water Project installed a 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank along with 6 new latrines for the students and teachers to utilize, in conjunction with the Western Water and Sanitation Forum. Since these additions, St. Michael’s has seen a 45% increase in enrollment and a jump in mean GPA from 3.41 to 5.10 in the student body. Children want to attend schools that offer clean, safe access to water, and the positive effect on their education is already evident.
In Jeptulu Primary School, the results were even more astonishing. Since the addition of their 30,000-liter water catchment tank, school enrollment has risen 90%. FX team member Xander reflected on the difference between the reality he was experiencing and the preconceived notions many Americans hold of Africa: “Before I went to China in college, I thought of the Chinese as a sad and angry oppressed people because I thought they were poor and politically oppressed, but they were so happy about everything. In Kenya, I was struck by the similar disconnect between the image of Africa many Americans have, and the reality of these normal kids happily living their lives.”
“How many times have I thrown out a bottle of water, just because it was sitting around for a while?” FX team member Julia reflected. After returning, they shared multiple presentations with the rest of the team about the impact they saw during their trip. Learning how each individual’s contributions can help make a profound difference in the lives of so many adds yet another layer of purpose and drive to the work the WebFX team completes each day. As Xander explained while recapping his experience, “People everywhere want a better life for themselves and their children, and we’re honored to have had the opportunity to help make that reality for people who really deserve it.”