Happy Villages | Our Story
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Our Story

It is so much easier to create change when you focus your attention.  That’s why we operate at village level.  We really get to know the communities that we work with, and they really get to know us.

Our strategies are flexible within the following ten point framework;

 1. We operate in one small geographical area at a time – usually a village;
 2. We use a genuinely consultative process to find out what the community wants;
 3. We operate across a number of different disciplines at the same time to address the interdependence of problems;
 4. Our staff and volunteers are well qualified;
 5. We measure our success against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals;
 6. We continuously report back to the community, our supporters and partners on our activities, finances and how we are performing against the Sustainable Development Goals;
 7. We focus on building good quality partnerships with other organizations;
 8. We work in locations that have been neglected by most other charities;
 9. We never expect people that do not have enough to eat to volunteer their time;
 10. We are persistent.

We have integrity.

Honesty, transparency and accountability are at the heart of everything that we do.

 

We are inspired.

The inspiration to help.  The need to keep trying.  The desire to have fun.   It makes us happy.

 

We respect.

We value human rights.  We respect all people regardless of race, gender, religion, age and sexual preference.

We have respect for the Earth and all living things.

 

We are neither political nor religious.

While we completely respect the right of all people to their political and religious beliefs, we do not endorse or promote any particular religious or political view.

Consultation is not just a word to the Happy Villages crew.  It is a commitment to the communities that we work in to completely respect their right to self determination.  We take the time to meet with as many of the community members as possible, including women and people of all ages and abilities.  We engage them in genuine and continuous dialogue to ensure our programs properly serve them.  We do not enter a community with a set of off-the-shelf project blueprints to impose upon the people that live there.

 

Happy Villages acts like a magnet for assistance for the community by helping them to prepare for interactions with outsiders.  One important aspect is to help them obtain a degree of consensus about what will most benefit them.  Our role is to find an appropriate partner organisation to fulfill each need and to nurture the relationships between the partners, Happy Villages and the community.  If no suitable partner exists, we do the job ourselves.

Our staff (mostly volunteers at this stage), work across a range of sectors, as follows:

–      Sustainable agriculture;

      Environment;

      Water and sanitation;

      Health;

      Education;

      Energy, communications and transport;

      Gender.

 

While we believe strongly in volunteering, we realize that it has limits.  If people are being forced by their circumstances to search for food for hours every day, of course we won’t expect them to volunteer.  We do not use the amount of resources donated by the community to measure their commitment.  That would further disadvantage extremely poor communities with nothing to give.

We believe that communities with nothing to give are most in need of our help.  That’s why we use a genuine process of consultation, conducted by qualified, local (Kenyan), community development workers to obtain and assess commitment.

Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
~Nelson Mandela

Meet the crew

We are a group of passionate individuals that care about people and communities living in extreme poverty. Our vision is of a world without extreme poverty. We tackle health, education, environment, poverty, gender, communications and all the barriers to sustainable development.

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George Ajowi

George Ajowi graduated with a Degree in International Business & Management from Western Sydney University. He currently works as the C.E.O of Friends of Rang’I and also the Chairperson of Happy Villages Organisation. Read more >>

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Michael Hawthorne

Michael holds degrees in Biomedical & Applied Science and International Business. He is a community development specialist and co-founder of Evergreen Plains Farm, Strategic Empowerment Program, Friends of Rang’I & Happy Villages. Read more>>

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Dorothy Adenga

Dorothy is the Director at Wayward Primary School and holds diplomas in Community Development and Primary Teaching with additional qualifications in Counselling and psychological support for Orphaned and Vulnerable youths. Read more >>

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Dennis Otieno

Dennis has qualifications in community services work, community development, agriculture and counselling and studying for a Bachelor of Social Research & Policy in addition to his voluntary work as a co-founding board member of Happy Villages. Read more >>

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Georgie Langhans-Shombe

Georgie Langhans-Shombe graduated with a degree in Community Welfare and International Development from University of Western Sydney, Australia. She has been a board member with Happy Villages for over 8 years. Read more >>

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Washington Othatcha

Washington brings a wealth of knowledge in Financial Auditing and Administration to the board at Happy Villages and helps guide the organisation to be accountable and transparent with a Bachelor of Business. Read more >>

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Eva-Maria Doleysch

With her interest in conscious living and sustainability Eva has mainly been working with Happy Villages in both the agriculture and education department. She initiated a permaculture concept for the organization and completed her Permaculture Design Certificate. Read more >>

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Reagan Shombe

Reagan Shombe is a counsellor, permaculture farmer & community development expert who has worked in community development and the public health field for over 10 years, and is an executive board member of Happy Villages in Kenya. Read more >>