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Purpose: To Share the love of Jesus and advance God's Kingdom by Serving Our Neighbor with water and community development projects.
- Recognize that all progress depends upon God and that we must continuously seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and be Obedient to God's will in all things.
- Exercise biblical ethics and stewardship over all resources, finances, and facilities.
- Assure that all of our interactions demonstrate the love and hope of Jesus in a culturally sensitive way.
- Initiate, select and develop partnerships, projects with the knowledge that all people are creative in the image of God and are loved by him regardless of their worldview or beliefs when working towards the fulfillment of our mission.
- Develop local ownership, leadership and equity in projects that are essential to maintaining a successful, sustainable organization.
Serving Our Neighbor International (SON) is a U.S. registered 501C3 organization. It was officially established in January 2003 to support the ministry and community development work of Todd and Ann Ziems and their family in Tanzania. It is funded by Brighton Christian Church, their home church, other churches, private donors, and other organizations. It is supported by a Board of Directors that regularly reviews progress, provides guidance, and assists in fund raising. SON is currently the primary funding and management partner of Serving Our Neighbor -Tanzania, which is a Tanzanian Charitable Trust officially registered with the Tanzanian government in August of 2011.
Todd and Ann have been trained in bio-sand water filtration and health and sanitation by the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) in Alberta, Canada and by Humphrey Blackburn of Blackburn & Associates in California. Their long-term vision for Tanzania is to use water development methods and clean water solutions, including bio-sand filters, rainwater harvesting, water storage and distribution systems, and well drilling as a means of meeting Tanzanians physical need for clean water and good health so that the Living Water of Jesus Christ can be shared.
Since arriving in Tanzania, they have been involved in both well drilling and bio-sand filtration. Their current focus is bio-sand water filtration, training and W.A.S.H education with children and adults. Bio-sand filtration is recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective means of providing clean water in developing countries.
In 2006, SON developed a bio-sand filter workshop in Kunduchi, near Dar es Salaam. In February of 2012, the primary filter workshop was relocated to Morogoro Town, roughly 200 kilometers inland, to allow easier access to the rural communities where the need for clean water is greatest. In 2015 SON purchased property in Mkundi located near Morogoro town. This property is currently under development in order to make the organization more locally sustainable. Long term technicians have expanded the work by establishing satellite workshops in Bukoba, which is in northern Tanzania and in Dodoma Town in central Tanzania.
The mission employs full time Tanzanian national workers as well as several trained part-time and volunteer assistants. The Ziems have developed working relationships with a network of local suppliers. Fifteen molds for concrete bio-sand filters have been constructed. Training materials on clean water, bio-sand filtration, health, hygiene, and sanitation have been created and continue to be developed. Training courses and educational seminars on those subjects are regularly conducted.