Newsletter #3 –
What GRA did in 2009

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Cleaning the WellOne of the most inspiring realizations I’ve had over the past seven years working with poor communities in rural East Africa is that a life of abundance – good health, community, nutritious food, safe water, a secure, clean environment and opportunities to realize one’s full potential – is within the reach of even the poorest of the poor.

That may seem overly optimistic, or overly simplified, but the fact is, it’s very expensive to be poor. For a lot less than many are paying now for the necessities of life, poor families can enjoy the natural abundance our planet has to offer – given opportunity, training, and wise investment on the part of governments and local and international organizations dedicated to making our world a better place for all.

For example, GRA has been drilling wells in rural villages for a total cost of less than $10,000 each. One of these wells will provide a lifetime of clean, safe water for about 500 people – that’s $20 per person. Without a source of clean water, villagers pay up to $10 per month for the wood or charcoal needed to boil contaminated water – often carried from 5 to 10 kilometers away. Imagine what a savings of $10 per month, or many hours saved each day fetching and disinfecting contaminated water can mean for the economy and opportunity of a poor family earning less than $50 a month!

Here’s another example. A simple, manual press that makes uniform, long lasting compressed earth blocks from local soil and 5% cement uses less than 20% of the energy required to produce the crumbly, irregular “village fired” bricks used in almost all rural East African dwellings. Or consider ferrocement roof arches that can be produced for about half the cost of a toxic corrugated steel roof, last much longer, reduce the deafening clatter of thunderstorms and make a top-notch rain water harvesting system.

Growing food is another area of life where less can be more. Expensive chemical fertilizers, pesticides and “improved” seeds that rural farmers are encouraged to use by Western governments and giant agri-business conglomerates devastate the sPermacultureoil, foul the environment and produce food of low nutritional value.

The natural, organic permaculture techniques that GRA promotes in Tanzania – including reliance on local resources (often free for the asking), implementation of energy saving landscape designs and the collection of local organic seeds – can significantly increase both the quality and yield of the food produced, significantly reduce the costs incurred and help restore the environment.

Solar cooking, microfinance and alternative healthcare are other activities that GRA promotes to improve the quality of life, enhance sustainability and strengthen local self-reliance in poor communities in the Lake Victoria region of Tanzania – all at a lesser cost than most current practices.

Please take a look at the section below titled “What We Did in 2009.” If you’d like to help GRA continue to bring hope to impoverished communities seeking a happier, healthier and more secure future in the coming year, please make a generous year-end donation by clicking the Donate Now button below.

Although it’s easy to get discouraged by the chaos and injustice that sometimes seem to surround us, I truly believe that a better world for all is possible, provided we each participate in its creation and don’t lose sight of the goal.Kids in Wheelbarrow

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season,

Lyn Hebenstreit

President, Global Resource Alliance

Ps. Once again, GRA received a generous matching grant for the first $50,000 in donations received before January 31, 2010 so your donation will go twice as far.

Pss. GRA-Tanzania was created last year to import drilling equipment and hire qualified Tanzanian personnel to operate it, but GRA-USA remains all-volunteer so that 200% of your donation goes directly into our programs there.

What We Did in 2009… so farWoman with their baskets

Water Resource Development

  • Drilled 26 successful boreholes (and installed top quality Dutch-made hand pumps) in villages lacking access to clean, safe water.  All of the boreholes are drilled deep into bedrock where high quality water can be found running through fractures and fissures protected from surface contamination by many meters of impermeable rock.  Each well serves about 500 people.
  • Trained village water user councils how to care for and maintain each well and provided continued training for Tanzanian crew members in the art and science of locating and drilling hard-rock, primary water wells.

Support for Orphans

  • Funded rent, food, teacher’s salaries and health care expenses for 250 orphans attending Ukombozi Nursery School in Musoma, Tanzania.  This is GRA’s 4th year of continuous support.
  • Continued to support all 75 orphans in Kinesi Village through a project run locally by Uvimaki Rural Development Assoc.  In December, we begin a year-long project to get the families involved in the design and implementation of a permaculture garden that will provide food for all 75 families, making the project more locally self-sustaining.
  • Completed the 7th year of support for the Tumaini kwa Watoto program that provides 40 orphans living with foster families in the Musoma area food, healthcare, school supplies, clothes and weekly activities at the GRA-Tz office compound.
  • Hosted the 6th annual Serengeti Safari in October for eight kids from the Tumaini kwa Watoto program and eight from the Kinesi Village orphans project.  We were joined by two volunteers from the US, and one from Ireland.   This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids to experience Tanzania’s amazing natural heritage first hand.  It’s also a great opportunity for ourselves and local GRA staff to have a great adventure and a lot of fun.


  • Continued to train local microfinance managers in computerized accounting and reporting procedures to maximize organizational efficiency.
  • Made two low interest loans of $10,000 each to local microfinance organizations to help meet the rising demand of rural entrepreneurs for small business loans as they continue to work their way out of poverty.
  • Continued to promote and subsidize the distribution of homeopathic neem tincture for the prevention of malaria – Lake Victoria region’s #1 health problem.  A total of 21 villages have now been trained to produce this invaluable remedy, and thousands have benefited.
  • Introduced about 20 groups to the use of the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) to treat malaria and other diseases with incredible results.  Following the MMS protocol hundreds of children and adults have been treated and recovered 100% from malaria in just one or two days.
  • Initiated a scientific research study on the effectiveness of neem for the prevention of malaria. This trial study will be conducted and implemented during the next two years in collaboration with the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania and a local doctor in the Musoma area.


  • Funded the continued development of two permaculture demonstration plots, one in Kinesi Village and the other at the GRA-Tz offices in Musoma.  This work is carried out by enthusiastic local GRA staff and several international volunteers.
  • Started a project to develop a 10 acre permaculture garden to feed 75 families caring for orphans in Kinesi village. The families will receive training in permaculture and have access to a piece of land to grow their own vegetables.

Solar Cooking

  • Trained more than 300 people in Solar Cooking to prevent indoor fires and deforestation in the course of ten workshops.
  • Provide two rounds of training for 30 certified solar cooking teachers, many of whom are now engaged in providing solar cooking classes to their communities.
  • Sold, at cost, over 200 solar cookers and have materials for 800 more solar cook kits to be distributed in the near future. These kits can be used to cook food as well as pasteurize water.


  • Awarded just under $7,000 in university scholarships and laptop computers, including the Bernard & Ethel Achterhof and Robert & Gertrude Muir Scholarship for the outstanding student of the year from the Buhare Community Development Training Institute in Musoma.
  • Provided over 30 secondary school, vocational school and community college scholarships to students formerly in the Tumaini kwa Watoto program so that each can continue  their education to the extent their aspiration and talents carry them and to help them achieve a meaningful and productive life.
  • Continued to fund courses in permaculture, tutoring, solar cooking, carpentry and tailoring at the Peoples Educating Group – a small grassroots organization that provides practical, free training to local residents in the Nyasho district of Musoma.
Donate for Life Saving Wells

Clean, safe water is the number one request of the communities GRA serves in Tanzania. Loosing one’s infant or child to diarrheal disease because of contaminated water is a common tradgedy faced daily by families in these rural villages. For those that can afford it, buying wood or charcoal to boil water eats up 1/3 of their meager incomes of a dollar a day. For less than the cost of year’s supply of wood or charcoal, you can bring alifetime of clean, safe water to an entire family.A donation of $100 provides a family of 5 with a lifetime of clean, safe water.


Sponsor a Child!

AIDS kills nearly 6,000 people each day in Africa (most of them in sub-Saharan countries) and leaves in its wake a growing number of AIDS orphans – 11 million at last count. Providing proper care to all these children is beyond the means of any one of us, but we can certainly make a difference in the life of at least some of them.  GRA is currently providing support to over 400 orphans through our partners in Tanzania.  Please help us bring hope and comfort to these deserving kids with a generous donation.

We need 9 more sponsors! A $25/month sponsorship provides 1 child with...

  • Maize, rice and beans for the entire foster family
  • Clothing, school uniforms, mattresses, mosquito nets, soap and school supplies
  • Weekly activities like drama, singing, sports and art
  • Healthcare for children and guardians
  • Training in permaculture for participating families

About Us

Global Resource Alliance (GRA-USA) is an all-volunteer US 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance to communities in the Lake Victoria Region of Tanzania.  By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social, economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.

100% of donations to GRA are tax deductible and will be used directly for programs and projects in the Mara Region of Tanzania.

For more info, contact Monica at or by replying to this newsletter.