Thursday, May 28, 2015

JWOC welcomes Faina to the team

Dear Friends of Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC),

Today, JWOC announces a change to its Siem Reap, Cambodia leadership team.  I am delighted to welcome Faina Gersh as JWOC's new Managing Director (MD) and sad to bid farewell to Alex Plummer who is JWOC's outgoing MD.

Alex has completed her contract with JWOC and is moving onto the next chapter of her career.  She has been JWOC's MD for the past 2 years and prior to assuming the role of MD, she was JWOC's Education and Volunteer Manager.  Under Alex's leadership, JWOC's programs continued to thrive and serve its beneficiaries and supporters.  Notably, Alex has deepened scholarship student alumni connections with JWOC through mentoring, career days and establishing a new alumni advisory board.  She has supported the use of technology in education by helping refresh JWOC's computer lab and bringing software into the classroom to more effectively teach English and Science.  Alex helped her staff implement a science club for youth and make improvements to all of JWOC's educational offerings particularly to classes for children under age 8.  We will miss Alex and wish her all the best as she continues along her professional journey. 

Let me introduce Faina to you.  She is passionate about service, travel and culture, which is what brought her to JWOC. She is originally from the Ukraine, having immigrated as a child to the US, Faina comes to JWOC from the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Her professional experience is in the medical and legal fields and she has a variety of non-profit experience ranging from development, fundraising, child advocacy, hunger/meals delivery and animal welfare. After traveling through South East Asia she fell in love with Cambodia and decided to settle long term and bring her business, entrepreneurship and non-profit experience to JWOC. We welcome Faina to the JWOC family. 

We are fortunate to benefit from such talented and passionate MD leadership at JWOC.  As friends of JWOC, we appreciate your on-going support and connection to our organization.  Please feel free to reach out to me, Faina and/or Alex to share your suggestions and thoughts about JWOC.


Jane Price

JWOC Executive Director 

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Revisiting previous clean water villages

Seng, our Clean Water Program Manager, discusses the recent revisit to previous clean water village and how this helps to refine JWOC's programs for the future

Making time available to return to our previous Clean Water villages is an important aspect of the Clean Water Program. It enables us to recognize what has changed in those villages and what the project can do more to support the needs of the villagers. It helps us evaluate the program so we can be more effective as we continue to deliver access to clean water and hygiene education to villages in need.

The aim of the revisit was to assess the villages current access to clean water, their hygiene practices, access to clean drinking water and their sanitation needs.

We chose seven villages, DuonKeov, Brasat Char, Doun On, Antangkon, Ta Kam, Pong Ro, and KorkBeng, to revisit because it had been more than two years since we had initially started working with them. They are all around 30kilometres from JWOC and the size of the villages vary from 150 – 350 families. All the villages that we revisited were primarily farming villages which grow one rice crop per year with many of the villagers leaving to work illegally in Thailand.

Kouk Beng, which is the latest village on the revisit list, had really positive results. All JWOC wells are being used, they’re working properly and have enough water all year round.

We reported a number of well breakages, but the breakages are small and the wells are still operational. One positive aspect of the revisit was that villagers were fixing their own wells. In Kouk Beng we found that all the villagers had made repairs to the wells and all were all operational.

Many of the villagers continue to still use filters from JWOC, we found that a few families had bought new filters. A small amount of villagers were drinking water directly from the source without using a filter, their reason for this was that they weren’t aware of where to get a filter from. We provided villagers with contact details for purchasing new filters. Upon evaluation we have decided to add extra training components regarding water filter usage. We are investigating why some villagers still choose to drink directly from the water source but in the meantime, we have updated the trainings to make them more interactive. Furthermore, we have improved the visuals that are used in the flip charts so the scholarship students convey the important information regarding water filters in a more engaging fashion. We have also included an understanding checklist into the trainings. 

In terms of hygiene knowledge acquisition we have seen most practicing well, 69% mention at least 3important activities to wash their hands before eating, before preparing food and after using the toilet especially they use the soap most of time when they are washing their hands. Most of villagers are brushing their teeth every day, 95% stated that brushing the teeth every day is important.

What we have found in the villages is really important information that helps us refine the program for the future. We are always looking for ways to improve the program and analyzing and assessing our previous work is the best way to move forward. We will continue to help communities help themselves as it is the way that can bring about sustainable change.

As the Clean Water Program Manager I would like to thank everyone who has made our program possible, our communities cannot improve without your support, thank you!

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