One Million Thumbprints – #1MTClimb4Peace Update

I received an amazing email this week… an update on the programs that our #1MTclimb4peace team fundraised for. It was such good, good news in the midst of a world that seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.


Some of my teammates and I have been processing together through a writing group. Six months after the big event, and we are still scratching our heads and looking at each other wide-eyed saying, “What just happened? What was that? Did we really do that? Why?” You would think we would have pat, well rehearsed answers to give by now, but we don’t. And we are working through that together. Detailed updates with numbers, facts and stories, however, greatly aids us in this process.

So many of you have “walked with us” on this journey and I wanted to give a detailed breakdown of what money we raised and what programs that money was able to support and grow in partnership with World Relief.

THANK YOU for your support via financial donations, social media support and even climbs, hikes and walks of solidarity. We climbed for REAL women with REAL (horrific) pain and REAL(ly) big systemic issues of gender violence and injustice. And these grassroots programs are really providing hope, healing and change in their communities for women (and their children and families). 

May God bless and multiply the money and the impact that our little team strived so hard to achieve for our sisters in the DR Congo, South Sudan and Jordan (with syrian/iraqi refugees).

Please see the below breakdown of our inaugural One Million Thumbprints #1MTClimb4Peace up Mt. Kilimanjaro in March of 2016.



One Million Thumbprints

 – Sustainable, long term solutions for women in war torn areas


$56,500 given to increase program capacity
827 total women and community members empowered

Program: Ibba Sustainable Agricultural Recovery and Development Project

Location: Western Equatoria Province, Ibba County, Ibba CEZ, South Sudan

Number of Total Program Beneficiaries: 200 Farmers receiving seeds, cassava cuttings, honey collection buckets, tools; 570 SFL members;

Amount Requested: $23,000 (10% of total program budget)

Project Description: Women farmers who have suffered as a result of conflict will receive improved seeds and as a result receive increased and surplus yields. Moreover, women farmers will gain the purchasing power for other farming implements, such as tools or storage facilities, through income from the sale of surplus products or through accessing a savings group loan. Farmers making purchases and sales themselves and not relying on distributions or interventions from NGOs or the government benefits the whole local economy.

This creates a positive cycle of sustainability, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. As food productions and incomes increase, savings have the potential to increase, and this presents opportunities for community members to access micro-loans to invest in business and produce more increases in food production and income.

Project Update:

  1. During this quarter, 89 training sessions were carried out in which 590 farmers (277 women and 313 men) were trained in various farming and agronomical practices. The training topics range from land preparation, planting, conservation agriculture, post-harvest and storage (using grain vacuum storage bags, construction of maize storage crib and drying).
  2. In the Savings For Life program, 12 new groups with 239 members were formed and trained, bringing the total saving groups cumulative members to 1,499 (548 men and 951 women). Seven groups have graduated and have started their second savings cycle.
  3. 576 farmers (271 women and 305 men) were trained in, land preparation methods, planting, and weed and soil management by application of conservation agriculture principles which included soil cover by using green manure cover crops and mulch and reduction of slash and burn practices. Several practical demonstrations were conducted on the effect of rain water on bare soil and moisture losses during each training session. 6 lead farmers have been identified and trained on conservation agriculture and have set up training sites at their field to train other fellow farmers.


Program: Ibba Sustainable Agricultural Recovery and Development Project

Location: Bentiu, IDP Camp, South Sudan

Number of Total Program Beneficiaries: 5,000 consultations per month; under 5 monthly curative consultations 2,500 per month; 25% of births in sector 2 attended by skilled birth attendant within the first year within the maternity ward.

Amount Requested: $33,500 (10% of total program budget)

Project Description: South Sudan is looking to build a primary health care center in the Bentiu IDP camp that has a strong focus on mother and child health, complete with a small maternity ward. This facility is necessary as the rains are coming and we have been treating patient, using tents that have exceeded their lifespan. This facility will allow for the ability of women to receive health consultations and treatments and give birth attended by skilled birth attendants.

Project Update: 

  1. Impact of Health Facility to the Beneficiaries.There has been a great impact of health services being offered to the beneficiary population as the community members have been able to be reached with quality affordable and available health services. This has been realized during meetings with Community High Committee usually held on weekly basis with service providers whereby World Relief has been lauded on several occasions for quality service provision. The reduction in consultation cases as depicted in the table above is linked to timely intervention by World Relief during the Malaria Upsurge whereby World Relief set up a malaria treatment point within block 16 of sector 2 for timely intervention of malaria cases coupled with community messaging on malaria prevention strategies by World Relief Home Health Promoters. Key to this construction was a maternity wing that is open 24/7 for maternity and delivery services which has seen an increased number of deliveries with 52 skilled deliveries conducted in the month of July, 2016.
  2. Home Health Promoters. Home Health Promoters are an essential pillar in provision of emergency health programs. They also contribute to gender equity as they are responsive to the needs of women and children. During this reporting period, WR with support from OFDA recruited and trained Home Health Promoters to aid in community awareness, health message distribution, home visits, follow up of women with complications in pregnancy, and community referrals targeting 3,083 households within sector 2 of Bentiu POC. This has been a success as mobilizing the HHPS has caused a tremendous increase in uptake of RH services from June.


L-wing, Health facility construction. Image: World Relief

L-wing, Health facility construction. Image: World Relief


$56,500 granted to increase program capacity

140 women directly served, 1400+ influenced

DRC Program: SGBV (sexual and gender based violence)/Fistula Surgeries

Location: Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Number of Beneficiaries: 40 women will receive fistula surgeries and 100 identified women survivors of rape will be supported and trained as members of the survivor club to fight against SGBV and HIV/AIDS.
Amount Requested: $56,500

Project Description: World Relief DR Congo has decided to open its pilot CEZ (church empowerment zone) in Rutshuru Territory. Kako CEZ is located near Virunga National Park. Much of the conflict that happened in DR Congo, North Kivu Province since 1996 were rooted in that area. Due to the location of Kako, near the National Park, people have been always victims of lootings, killings and rape by armed groups that used the remoteness of the National Park to hide.

In the same Virunga National Park, inhabitants couldn’t find firewood without going to the forest lands. Also their farm fields neighbored the National Park. Therefore, when women go in the National Park to collect firewood, they are sexually abused by the many armed groups that are hiding there, and this has been a problem that continues to this day. When people go to their farms, some of them are shot, especially the men who fight to protect their wives in order to not let them be sexually abused. Many cases of rape have been reported in Rubare/Kako and neighboring villages, in Rutshuru territory. The SGBV/HIV program is now based in Kako. After an assessment within the Church and Community, it was discovered that hundreds of cases of fistulas were hidden in the community of the CEZ Kako. Women who survived sexual abuses couldn’t declare themselves publicly because they risked being divorced by their husbands and cut off from their families. Cultural beliefs claim that being sexually abused equates with being cursed. There is a high stigmatization towards survivors of rape in the community. Our SGBV/HIV program has the mandate to work with the local church to eradicate these cultural beliefs and therefore, there is need of new education for men. Clubs have been put in place to educate people in the church and community to be supportive to survivors. The results of the first training to fight against stigma were so positive that some broken families were united.

With the 1MT funding, there will be two interventions: the reparation of existing cases of fistulas and also the prevention of violence, discrimination and stigmatization done to sexually abused women that will be done through trainings. (1) A surgery will be done to 40 women with fistulas and (2) 100 identified women survivors of rape, survivor club member to fight against SGBV/HIV will be trained in order to empower them, in Rubare and Kalengera CNCs. Income-generating activities will be provided to these 100 women beneficiaries to allow them to move towards meeting their daily needs. World Relief DR Congo is so grateful with the support by 1MT for this very sensitive program that brings back hope to hopeless women and families in the church and communities.

Project Update: 

  1. Through work of the Field Officer working with the members of the clubs to fight against SGBV and HIV, a total of 7 sensitization events were held in Rubare and Kalengera in this quarter. Among them 4 in churches and 3 in schools. These events attracted a total of 848 attendees, of which included 729 youth and 119 men and women
  2. We have also identified and assisted survivors of SGBV who were in need of medical intervention. A total of 5 cases of vesico vaginal fistula required surgical intervention at GESOM hospital. These survivors were also able to receive support for starting income generating activities. We anticipate additional fistula surgeries to take place within the next quarter.
  3. An event in Rugari CNC included the participation of 27 churches and resulted in 81 religious leaders being trained for spreading SGBV awareness and sensitization. In turn these newly trained leaders implemented sensitization club comprised of 50 members that would act to fight against SGBV and HIV in this area. The members of this club received training focused in SGBV/HIV prevention and communication for the change of behavior.

Below is a “transformational story.” Our team sat with 33 of these women and heard their stories. My teammate, Kim, wrote about this time HERE. Our hearts are simultaneously broken and full of hope for these sisters of ours.

My name is Deborah Ngorore, I am 26 years old and I have one child born out of rape. I am from Ntamugenga village in Rutshuru territory and I grow cassava and maize to support myself and my child. In February 2015, when I was in the farming place in the process of cultivating, two armed men met me and told me that if I try to shout they will kill me. They both abused me. 

When I got home, I told everything to my husband thinking he would help me, but instead he kicked me out of the house. A few months later, I realized I was pregnant. It really ached to keep a fetus without knowing who the father was. 

During the delivery process I had complications of childbirth. They ended up transferring me to a qualified hospital but it was too late. I unfortunately developed a VVF. During that time, I stayed there as I didn’t have any means to go for medical treatment.

I would later learn through volunteers who were sensitizing the local community that I was in that there was an NGO helping people like me. I did not hesitate to come and see them. May God bless you as you think of the most vulnerable women, as from now on I have recovered my smile. 




$10,000 granted to increase program capacity

60+ women directly helped

Syrian Refugee Program: Caregiver Psychosocial Support Groups

Location: Multiple Locations, Jordan
Number of Beneficiaries: World Relief plans to launch 6 new support groups run by Syrian refugee ladies in an effort to promote healing, empowerment and strengthening relationships among the women.
Amount Requested: $10,000

Program Description: Women and girls in the displaced communities are facing a myriad of challenges after experiencing violence, displacement and conflict. They face many stressors and challenges in their daily lives in displacement. World Relief trains women from the community to facilitate groups themselves in an effort to promote healing, empowerment and strengthening relationships among the women. Support groups for mothers and caregivers operates as a parallel program to our Child Friendly Spaces, allowing mothers to connect, talk and receive counseling while their children participate in the child protection program.

Women are happy to have a place to come and share with one another. They are able to share their experiences and worries, learn with their children, and the friendships formed in the groups extend beyond the group. Participants have shared that they are grateful to learn that other women are experiencing similar challenges.

One of the Syrian mothers that helps to facilitate the Kids Clubs said, “If you’re going to impact the child, you have to first start with the mother. She is the one who provides support to the family and she is important. We need to focus on women. They need to know how to help their children.”

Program Update: We will be getting a detailed report at the end of October.



If you want to learn more about our team and climb, here are a variety of reports, articles, blog posts etc.

Climbing Kilimanjaro #1: We Actually Did It!

Climbing Kilimanjaro #2: Why We Did It

Behind the image | DRC Edition


This is their story. This is their song.


Beautiful Kilimanjaro – Take a photo walk with me.





Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *