Organization’s overall annual budget: $73,378

Requested dollar amount for this grant: $24,000

Suggested dollar amount for this grant: $24,000

Description of how the funds will be used: Give a Child Life (GCL) estimates 3000 children in urgent need of indoor lighting and food will benefit from its “1000 Lights and Gardens for Kids” project. GCL will install 1000 Mabati Bulbs (solar lights made from reused soda bottles), and 1000 DoorStep Gardens (container gardens made from recycled grain bags) for the poorest families living in the urban slums of Thika, Nairobi, and Kenya. Additional installation sites will include preschools, child care centers, and food banks.

Description of Project/Program: Families live in 10’ X 10’ one-room dwellings constructed of mud and scrap. These slum homes are generally without windows. While about a third of homes have electricity, many families cannot afford to use it. To earn a daily wage, mothers lock their children inside for safety from intruders…in complete darkness. Only upon her return can fuel and matches be used safely to create a flame for cooking or as a light source. Innovative Mabati Bulbs are made of reused two-liter soda bottles filled with water and a bit of bleach. A small diameter hole is cut in the home’s sheet iron roof. This improvised solar light is then glued in position. The bottled water refracts the sun’s rays into the windowless room, functioning like a 55-watt bulb. This zero carbon emitting solar light lasts two to five years – without costly electricity or fuel. Costs include tin snips and waterproof silicon glue. Mabati Bulbs provide a safe, sustainable light source so children may read, study, play, interact, and improve their quality of life. DoorStep Gardens are built with recycled grain bags, soil, seed, manure, and rocks. Miniature gardens yield 24-inch plants, providing 32 fresh vegetable varieties to supplement grain diets. DoorStep gardens introduce a cost-effective, and much-needed source of high value nutrition to improve children’s health in the slums.

Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards: High Impact, Direct Benefit, Education, Sustainability, Community Building, Innovative, Measurable

GCL takes materials found in every slum, i.e., used soda bottles, water, plus a little bleach for Mabati Bulbs. The organization uses plentiful grain bags, soil, and manure, plus seed, to create DoorStep Gardens. Both create low-cost, solutions immediately, and directly benefiting the lives of needy children. GCL success measures indicate that after receiving Mabati Bulbs, children’s reading proficiency improves, homes are cleaner, infections are reduced, accidents decrease, and quality of life improves. A Mabati Bulb will provide two to five years of service without maintenance prior to replacement. After receiving DoorStep Gardens, 88% of families have access to, and eat more vegetables. Hunger declines, health improves, school attendance increases, and income increases through surplus produce sales. Initially, GCL hires workers from other slums to teach communities how to construct bulbs and gardens. Through regular staff visits and home-based training, GCL teaches mothers about nutrition, how to plant and harvest food, and re-plant sustainable crops. As villagers learn necessary skills, workers step away. As gardens flourish, program participants begin selling surplus produce. Both aspects of this program offer steps toward sustainability and self-sufficiency. The “Give a Child Life” compound is a presence in the community offering Mabati Bulbs, demonstration gardens, and weekly trainings open to all. GCL works with government groups, churches, and schools to facilitate community-wide lasting change. All of GCL’s leaders are volunteers, and board members contribute to GCL financially. GCL has multiple funding sources, and continues to explore new sources. Executive Director, Deborah Johnson, a PH.D. in the design and evaluation of social service programs for children, takes no compensation. Village elders, the only paid staff, are well-educated and committed.

Organization’s Mission Statement: Give a Child Life (GCL) helps save the lives and nurtures the growth of the world’s most vulnerable, poorest children by providing urgently needed food, medicines, child care and other necessities.