In the middle of July, CWS staff gathered in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for three days of updates and team building. Since most of us work remotely, it was a rare chance to interact face to face with our colleagues not only around the U.S., but around the world. We were joined by regional program directors from the Middle East & Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin American & the Caribbean. After the meeting, I had the honor of hosting Marin Coria, Regional Director for Latin American & the Caribbean here in Los Angeles for just a few days.
What I took away from this week of learning was a greater appreciation for CWS’s commitment to sustainability, and just how valuable CROP Hunger Walk funds to our work around the world. Take the example of our cistern and water harvesting projects. Building a cistern is the easier part. It takes about 6 days or so, and costs maybe $4,000, depending on the country. Many donors are happy to donate for a specific, tangible project like that. But that’s only part of the story. Our teams also invest the time needed to build relationships and educate the community so they have their own investment in the project, then stay after the construction to make sure the communities have the skills to maintain the cisterns.
That’s what sets CWS apart. We don’t build a cistern and water harvesting system, like this one in Haiti, until we’ve spent the time getting to know a community and, through honest dialogue and learning, we mutually agree that the community is invested in such a project. And once it’s built, we stay the extra time there to be sure they can maintain it for the long term.
That’s why CROP Hunger Walk funds are so important. As un-designated funds, they give us the flexibility to stay with a community long enough to ensure the long-term viability of a water project beyond the construction of a new cistern system.
And that’s why your commitment to CROP Hunger Walk matters so much. Your dedication makes it possible for CWS to stay committed to sustainable development, ensuring long-term success for our neighbors all around the world.
Thank you for what you do.
Jason Welle is a Community and Congregation Engagement Specialist with CWS, based in Los Angeles, California.