Brighter Communities Worldwide believes communities should be the authors of their own development and futures. Our work aims to create an environment where communities can create the change they want to see. We use a partnership-based approach to deliver relevant programmes that meet the needs of communities and individuals.
Creating brighter communities means ensuring:
- Access to essential health services, a supply of clean, safe water and good sanitation
- Education to equip people with knowledge and confidence to achieve a productive and fulfilling life
- The skills and ability to generate an income that can sustain a family
Our vision, mission and values
A world where strong, healthy communities can thrive, building sustainable livelihoods, and brighter futures.
To work in partnerships with communities, to deliver programmes that enrich their lives and help create better futures for them and their families.
Our values underpin everything we do, every decision we make and also help communicate the way we work and how we do things.
- Integrity – we have great governance with a track record for success.
- Passion – we’re passionate about what we do, it’s what compels us to achieve our goals.
- Togetherness – we value our partnerships with local people, officials, NGOs and governments. By working together we’re able to improve the lives of everyone in the community.
Our strategic direction
We strive to create sustainable development, help end poverty, fight inequality and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Our current Strategic Plan has four main goals:
- Implement impactful programmes that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Strengthen organisational capacity
- Build effective strategic relationships
- Ensure strong governance
The Plan sets out the contributions to be made from Brighter Communities Worldwide in Kenya and in Ireland in achieving these goals. It has clear roles for volunteers and supporters in both countries on ways they can contribute to its success.
Where we work
We work in Kericho County, Kenya where the population is almost 1 million – approximately 95% of the people live in rural areas. Households here don’t have access to basic services including electricity, clean water, sanitation and healthcare and up to 60% are living below the poverty line – that means they earn less than $1 a day.
Girls and women undertake the bulk of unpaid work such as care-giving and household tasks like collecting water and wood. They don’t have access to essential services like reproductive health, education and maternal, neonatal and child health. Even basic essentials to manage their menstrual health are not available to them meaning they miss out on school or work every month. They are more likely to be subjected to physical, sexual or emotional violence ranging from female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) to unwilling prostitution, to violence in the home and the practice of early marriage is still common. COVID-19 has increased vulnerability to all of these issues as the community struggles to survive against rising prices and poor health. There are more mouths to feed as family members are forced home from the cities due to job losses, adding extra pressure.
Access to healthcare is a huge challenge – 48.8% of the population are more than 5km from a health centre and the terrain is difficult over many hills with limited roads and transport is often not available. COVID-19 vaccine supplies are slow arriving in Kenya as transmission of the virus continues. Other infectious diseases include HIV/AIDs (3.5% of the population are HIV positive); TB – the rate is 127 per 100,000 people; and malaria, which is widespread, with children under one years of age most vulnerable as only 13% sleep under a malaria net.
Health systems are stretched beyond their capacity and COVID-19 has pushed systems beyond even that as scarce resources were diverted from other parts of the system. There are a total of 136 health facilities in the county, one referral hospital and the county has 2,084 health professionals of different cadre.
Founded in 2002 as Friends of Londiani, Brighter Communities Worldwide works in East Africa in partnership with a locally-led organisation of the same name in Kenya. Since our inception, we have expanded and developed our programmes and now work across Kericho County in Kenya with a population of almost 1 million and are currently expanding into other East African regions.
The charity was the happy result of an unhappy incident. In August 2000, an Irish tourist, Maria Kidney, was mugged on the streets of Nairobi. She sought refuge in the Kenyan Girl Guides’ Headquarters. There she heard about the Kenyan Girl Guides’ work with various communities, and was inspired.
In August 2002 20 adult leaders from the Irish Girl Guides and the Guide Association, Province of Ulster, travelled to Londiani. The result of the visit was a community service project. It involved organising activities for children in Bethel Children‘s Home and running a Lifeskills Peer Education course for a group of local women in conjunction with members of the Kenyan Girl Guides.
From the success of this project, the charity Friends of Londiani was formed, later changing our name to Brighter Communities Worldwide to reflect our greater scope and ambitions.