In my early months at site, everything was so new that I had to share it immediately, and I now realize that I was remiss in fully explaining the organization I am working with. So here is a little bit of background about this incredible volunteer-based organization:
MCCC or Community Care Coalition started in 1996. At the time, WorldVision was trying to form community support groups throughout Butha Buthe. MCCC was made to support five villages. Due to Peace Corps safety considerations, I will abreviate them to Ha Ma, Ha Ra, Ha Ta, Mal, and Mpa. MCCC continues to work closely with WorldVision today; especially when it comes to meeting the needs of OVCs.
Of the five villages in MCCC, my community of Ha Ra is the largest and more centrally located. When given a grant from WorldVision to build a community building, Ha Ra made the most sense. The Community Building has one large gathering room and three smaller work rooms. It is located next to one of the village's water pumps and to the road in and out of the village.
Today, MCCC has 26 members from the five villages; 24 are women and two are men. All members are volunteers. Despite being started by WorldVision, the organization has no funding source. Their mission is to help the sick, poor, and orphaned in the five villages. Because MCCC is all volunteer, it has only a loose organizational structure in the form of a leadership committee of five woman. Despite being five women, it does not represent all five villages as two live in Ha Ra. There were originally more people in the leadership committee, however, some have died and not been replaced.
Current projects include making and selling Aloe Vaseline, growing and selling produce, and serving as a conduit between donors and orphans. In the past, MCCC worked with the people in the villages to ensure all homes with sick, poor, or orphaned people had keyhole gardens. These are still heavily used.
Challenges the organization currently faces:
- A lack of business and marketing skills to budget and maintain the Aloe Vaseline project.
- A lack of money—helping to provide for people's basic needs costs money and right now there is no source of income.
- Working with youth and children to help them succeed despite their challenges.
- Even for the members, village life is difficult and resources are scarce, so regular volunteer work and effort from everyone is asking a lot.
- WorldVision will be leaving this area in September 2015. The majority of resources provided for local OVCs and for MCCC currently come from WorldVision (e.g. Maize seeds and fertilizer). WorldVision has been the greatest provider of resources for MCCC thus far. In theory, the Lesotho government will be taking over the fulfillment of these needs, but the transition is already creating anxiety.
The organization has big goals for the future. Their primary goal is to create a sustainable income generating activity so they are able to fulfill their mission far into the future. In this way, they are eager to begin a piggery and an egg-laying chicken project. They would also like to have the OVCs create items to sell by sewing, knitting, and crocheting. Lastly, they would like to find more sponsors so they are able to do more in the community.
WorldVision has expressed their great pride in MCCC for successfully getting a PCV of their own. It takes a lot of work before a PCV is placed with an organization and most organizations this small are unable to fulfill all the requirements. Knowing how much effort the members of MCCC and the five communities have put forth in gaining me as a PCV really motivates me to be a great volunteer and resource for them. It also fills me with a sense of responsibility to ensure that I give back more than they have invested in getting a PCV.