Open discussion regarding the OVO Foundation

  • 22 March 2018
  • 5 replies
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Userlevel 5
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Hello everyone,

For those of you who support the OVO Foundation with a monthly donation, do you think that you should be able to choose which of the three causes your money goes to?

Whilst I will happily carry on giving I'm not too sure I'm happy with part of my money going to a country that carries a 14 year prison sentence for gay people.

I apologise if this is borderline politics, but I'd be fascinated to know what people think.

Thanks in advance.

Bumblebee. 🙂

5 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Bumblebee,

So I assume we're discussing Kenya, aren't we?

I have little idea what you already know of Central/East Africa, but I have been there on a number of occasions, doing work very similar to the Solar PV Project being undertaken by the OVO Foundation.

I once spent a wonderful 4 days with one of my (adult) sons, shadowing a Micro-finance NGO working in the Kibera Slum just outside Nairobi. It's the largest slum in Africa - 1 million people crammed into tin shacks on a hillside.

What we don't seem to realise in The West, is just how little assistance is needed to make a radical difference in areas of the Developing World. However, the help that is given must be properly researched, targetted and limited.

Allow me to share an example of poor research: I was once with a group of British citizens visiting the offices of the Minister d'Interior (Home Secretary) in Kigali. The group leader chose to promote himself by pledging that he would bring container-loads of old PC's to Rwanda. All the locals present at the meeting were suitably enthusiastic, hailing him "Diplomat!" and patting him on the back.

True to his word, the British man did indeed ship quantities of 2nd hand PC's. The British Law had recently changed to prohibit old electronics items being put into landfill sites because of the contamination of groundwater by the lead and tantalum leaching out. So commercial offices in the UK were only too pleased to give him their old PC's for what looked like a good cause.

The PC's were in turn given to schools and hospitals in both Rwanda and Uganda. Once there they quickly died because the cooling systems couldn't cope with either the daytime temperatures or fine red African dust!

Local PC shops couldn't help because they were now unable to supply new equipment. Their market was being destroyed by donations from Western-based charities, and so their technicians had left. Left with little choice, the schools dug pits at the back of their classrooms, threw in the duff PC's and waited for the next charitable container-load to arrive down the road.

But... these schools provide water for their pupils from boreholes in front of those very same classrooms. And that water would now inevitably become polluted with the same heavy metals which we legislated against in the UK!

Need I say more?!

Returning to your original point: the needs of the 30% of the world's population living in these rural areas of the Developing World are very straightforward and can be readily met by just the sort of ventures being undertaken by the OVO Foundation.

A solar-powered light brings about a radical transformation to a village that will never have mains electricity. It means that education and medical work can occur after sunset. It allows for training in literacy, childbirth and AIDS prevention for those who have to work during the day just to put food in their mouths.

What could be gained by withholding that opportunity because of a moral objection to a law which has been fashioned within our Western society?
Userlevel 5
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Hi @Transparent

Its not a moral objection, its a matter of peoples lives.

I hear you loud and clear, the work is very commendable.

But I deplore the following -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Kenya
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi @Bumblebee,
Firstly my apologies. Having re-read this morning what I wrote yesterday, the opening paragraphs are more abrasive than I had intended. I'm sorry.

I appreciate what you're saying about LGBT rights. But having travelled and worked widely in the Developing World, the Western concepts of Rights don't translate into their cultures.

On a visit to Rwanda in 2004 I was able to discuss the whole gamut of sexuality with a senior Bishop during a long journey we were on together to meet with a Government Official.

Quite apart from the "spiritual matters" which we would normally associate with a British Church Leader, he is also in the unenviable position of providing the framework in which his communities can be re-built in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide during which most of the leading males in society were either slaughtered or fled abroad.

And high on his list of problems was the spread of AIDS. For him, marital fidelity wasn't just a moral ideal but an absolute necessity if people in his region were to survive. Without the access to adult sex-education, medical diagnosis or anti-retroviral drugs which we have in The West, AIDS is spread very rapidly by having multiple partners. Unlike here in the UK, where it isn't a problem if those in gay partnerships have multiple partners during their life, in Rwanda it is a death sentence.

Every day that Bishop is left having to find support for yet another family of orphans because the parents have died due to a past relationship one of them had (usually undisclosed).

What the OVO Foundation is doing in Kenya is one small but essential step towards bringing medical help and AIDS education to those outlying communities. A single solar light in one village building can cause these changes to occur.

In the light of the problems they are facing, isn't that a step in the direction which we would actually want to encourage?
Userlevel 5
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Hello @Transparent

Please rest assured I took your first reply nicely as it was intended :)

I suppose the important thing there is to focus on the positive, and from your experience I hear there is so so much of that going on 🙂

Indeed it is a step to be encouraged and therefore my £25 a yeat will continue being donated.

I had no idea how well travelled you are! Sounds like you have real insight on the issue!

Thank you for both your replies Transparent.

I hope you are having a good day today 🙂
Userlevel 7
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Check out the new OVO Gives Back charities on this new topic here - and let us know what you think of them!

The OVO Foundation blog has more info!

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