NorCal Grants Program: Planning and Fundraising for 2016

NorCal Grants recently sold 200 international calendars, produced by RPCVs in Madison, Wisconsin.  This increased our funds available for grants by over $1,200.  This money will be added to funds donated directly to the program to form the “pot of money” we have to grant in 2016.  

Thank you to NorCal member Susan Neyer for once again managing calendar sales and distribution.  And thanks to all of you who purchased calendars!  

Donations to Grants are always welcome; more information is available on the website at under “Grants”.

We encourage all of you who know about a worthy community development project to think about the NorCal Grants Program as a way to support the community.  

The next proposals are due August 31, 2016.  

More information is available on the NorCal website under “Grants”.  

Feel free to contact Grants Chair Marilyn Hyde at with specific questions you might have.

The Grants Committee awarded funds to Six Projects in the fall of 2015. Two of the six projects are featured below.  We will highlight the other four over the next few months.



A Long-Standing Partnership: NorCal Grants and the Hesperian Foundation

NorCal member Lee Gallery (RPCV, Ethiopia ‘64-‘66) originally heard about NorCal’s Grants Program in 2004.  She connected with us because she wanted to expand help to NorCal’s grants recipients.  

As a volunteer for the Hesperian Foundation’s Gratis Book Fund, Lee sends Hesperian healthcare publications, such as Where There Is No Doctor, to the communities receiving NorCal Grants.  For 2015, that offer was extended to all six grants recipients.  

Thank you again, Lee Gallery and the Hesperian Foundation!




A Report from Grants Project in Yorito, Honduras

In 2015, NorCal Grants awarded $2,000 to Community Agents of Integral Health (ACSI) in Yorito, Honduras.  The project was recommended by NorCal member Janet Espinosa of Gilroy, CA.  

In the proposal, ACSI identified four locations in the neighboring mountain communities where they would build and demonstrate latrines, water storage basins, roofed houses, cement floors and family gardens.

Janet traveled to Honduras in December.  Here is what she reported:
I went to Honduras to be part of the graduation of “Community Agents of Integral Health,” and to present a symbolic check representing the grant recently made by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Northern California.  I also wanted to establish a construction schedule for the coming year, and give them a gentle push, since efficiency and time management are not strengths in most developing tropical countries.  What a pleasant surprise I received: they had already begun!
On Tuesday, Fanny and Jovel, two of the leaders of ACSI, were ready right at nine to head into the mountains in the back of a 4-wheel drive police pickup and show me what had already been done.  They definitely didn’t need me to get them motivated.  After receiving the grant and going to the Honduran Secretary of Health, they determined that the community most in need was Quebrada Vieja which was not on our list.  They began anyhow.
Quebrada Vieja needs to repair 10 latrines and construct 24 more.  We were welcomed by an enthusiastic community leader and individual home owners and given two types of plantains and bananas.  They showed us the six foot deep leach holes they had dug and were given instruction on placement of both the septic hole and toilet which will be installed in the coming weeks.  What a pleasant surprise it was to see such progress.  Why did I doubt the impact of this training and the enthusiasm of the volunteers?
Janet noted that the NorCal grant of $2,000 will now benefit 5 communities, including Quebrada Vieja, spending $400 each instead of 4 communities spending $500 each.



News from NorCal Grant in Kenya
In 2015, NorCal Grants provided $1,200 to the Davila Children’s Home Chicken Project in Bomet County, the lower Rift Valley, Kenya.  

The project was recommended by RPCV Adriana Alminiana, who served in Kenya 2013-2014 before her service was cut short due to country evacuation.  This project is meant to be income generating and nutrition-supplementing for the orphanage.  A portion of the eggs will be used to feed the children and caretakers at the orphanage, with the majority of the eggs being sold to local stores and restaurants for a profit.  

David Davila in Bomet County, Kenya, reported that the Grants funds had safely arrived via Western Union and plans have moved ahead for the poultry project at the orphanage.  
A chicken enclosure for 300 Red Layer chickens is being constructed, with the orphanage and local community funding all labor costs and providing additional supplies. Once the chickens have matured, they will begin producing over 5,700 eggs per month.