The Impact That You Can Make
At The Arc Light, we design intervention programs that tackle societal issues across ten pre-identified impact areas. Our social mission goal is to impact the lives of One million people in three year’s time! This roughly translates to 33,500 lives impacted per year in each of these areas, across 3 years. Some of those intervention programs include:
If you pipe water from a community well and install the system in a house, you’ll provide clean water for 5 people for life, at a cost of only $50! This act also increases productivity in terms of time saved that would otherwise have been used traveling to fetch water, standing in a queue for hours and ferrying the water back home. There’s also the health aspect— piped water ensures minimal interactions or contamination, reducing chances of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery; this translates to health savings in possible future healthcare costs. If a lot of people are traveling long durations in search of clean drinking water, bringing a well closer to them makes more sense. Sinking and sealing a well, and adding a solar system to pump the water, will guarantee clean drinking water for 300 families, impacting their entire families and the community too.
Training on better land management and providing a seed package to help promote agricultural growth in a community, thus securing a family’s food for an entire year and providing seed for next year’s crop, requires $100. Enlisting 100 community members to join in, learn and plant varied or complimentary crops, then providing mechanical farm implements, Bamboo frame greenhouses and entrepreneurship training, would assist members to identify business opportunities and a market for their surplus produce, lifting 1,000+ people out of extreme poverty and keeping them healthy. Surplus food can also be stored in community granaries and distributed to those in need through a food bank system.
Without transportation, people spend many hours every day carrying water and transporting other heavy resources by foot, or moving food produce from their farms to the market. A motorcycle allows women and men to easily get their vegetables to the market, and is especially crucial for the community in the event of a medical emergency, it is also an integral part of Kenya’s transport service, allowing it to provide an income for families. $200 secures a loan for a member of a community and allows them to own a motorcycle. The full cost of a motorcycle is $900; The Arc Light would provide the balance ($700) in the form of a community-guaranteed interest free loan. By repaying just $2 a day, an individual gets to have outright ownership of the motorcycle in less than a year.
Mental health is invincible but its effects are devastating. The World Health Organization reported that in Kenya 1.9 million people suffer from depression; a larger percentage being women and children. The WHO more recently stated that a staggering 1 out of 4 persons who seek healthcare in Kenya have a mental health condition. More stark is the knowledge that as a country, we only have approximately 100 psychiatrists for a population of 45 million— that’s 1 psychiatrist to 450,000 people. Despite all of that, those who have embraced the challenges associated with mental health not only get well but become beacons of hope for others by showing that the condition can be managed. Some interventions like the WHO approved PM+ are excellent, but are prohibitively designed for adults. Cases of mental health challenges affecting children and young people have shot up. The most common cases result from post trauma and are cross-linked to emotional abuse, sexual assault, neglect, physical abuse among others. Other cases may manifest as anxiety or stem from personality disorders or struggles with addiction (substance use, alcohol, internet and social media, gambling e.t.c.) Today, the prevalence of these issues in society has sadly resulted in suicidal ideation and the premature loss of life. A school setting provides an ideal ground to identify, address and manage mental health conditions among the youth. It all starts with a support system built around a compassionate approach that places nonjudgmental heartfelt conversation at the core. This can be achieved through an age-appropriate training program that dispenses with internalized bias and stigma; acknowledges struggles; is conversational; uses honest communication; advocates healthy choices; and confronts the scary stuff. School-wide or community efforts should also be put in place to educate the youth about stressors and to raise awareness about the symptoms and signs of mental health conditions and the importance of seeking help. $500 would provide initial training to 20 school staff or vetted volunteers, enabling them to take on the role of community social workers, thereby positively impacting hundreds of children and many more families. Digitizing such a service would reach more people, creating awareness, bringing about healing in families and preventing the loss of life. Ongoing learning ensures a community social worker stays current and allows them to obtain certification from accredited institutions through online programs in as few as 4 weeks.
$1000 is all it would take to provide five families with clean renewable solar energy for their lighting, and cooking through a solar system that powers induction hot plate stoves and also guarantee clean drinking water through the use of a solar water filtration and treatment system.
There’s this cool thing called an extrusion machine. You power it on, it heats up, and you pour shredded recycled plastic down a funnel, and the melted gooey plastic is forced out of the other end, and into a mold of your choosing, allowing you to make all sorts of cool stuff. The build plans are open source and $5,000 would finance its local build. Recycled plastic would tackle the waste problem, creating a circular economy. Products with massive potential in this area include elementary or kindergarten school desks, pavement tiles, park benches, household furniture, planters, and other items. This machine does more than tackle the plastic issue, while operating in a community, it would create jobs, enhance creativity and unlock over $500,000 in potential future earnings. The machine can also make bricks, providing low cost housing solutions.
We don’t claim to have the best methods, from the get go our approaches are uncommon and non-traditional, but we are always curious and we value collaboration. This is a learning journey, but a very interesting journey.
When you invest in positive change, you circulate resources, knowledge and opportunities around a community, you create multiplier effects that touch many more people. And we have you to thank for that. The realization of your action and commitment makes impact personal, and not just to you, but to all the individuals that you reached and impacted— this is friendship, this is family, this is community. This is The Arc Light way.
We publish our Impact Report at least twice in a year; included in each report is: our impact data; the successes, challenges and general state and progress of our programs and ambitious goals; details on new partnerships; and from the field— stories that will sometimes baffle, at times shock and mostly inspire and inform.
If you’d like to partner with us or to get involved in any way, or if you'd like to learn more about the causes that we are passionate about, please reach out to us here. (enlighten)