Our local news has been riddled of late with all of the “czars” President Obama has appointed. We’ve always heard about the Drug Czar and the Education Czar, but did you know we have a Guantanamo Closure Czar, and a New TARP Czar. I didn’t know we had an “Old” TARP Czar, let alone a new one… The last number I heard was 30-something czars that are supposed to be the experts on a particular topic and advise our president.
Anyway… We don’t call them czars, but we do call them Subject Matter Experts (SME’s). We currently have two SME’s in Kenya for two very important areas – Water and Education. Ultimately we’ll have an SME for health care, micro-enterprise, spiritual development, and possibly food security.
The SME plays a really important role. We realized early on that there was no way The 410 Bridge could be an expert in every area of community development. We would need help from indigenous Kenyans to help us address the priorities that were identified by the communities.
Mary Mugo is our Education czar… sorry, Education SME. Mary works for the Ministry of Education and is passionate about improving the quality of education in Kenyan schools. She is a consultant and advises us on all issues related to education and helps us navigate the waters with the local education officials to avoid (or at least limit) any missteps.
Water Missions International is our SME for all things related to access and distribution of water. I ran into Water Missions after a meeting with our friends over at North Point Community Church. They happened to have a fairly large water filtration system on a trailer hooked up to their truck. They had just finished a meeting with NPCC’s mission’s department (globalX) when I arrived. I was interested to hear what they had to say and it progressed from there. Over the past several months they’ve done a fantastic job of helping us identify self-sustaining solutions to many water issues in several 410 Bridge communities.
So when you think about all that The 410 Bridge does in every community, know that there are some real experts helping us along the way.