To alleviate starvation by securing a sustainable water source; helping to promote sustainable

agriculture and nutrition, as well as promoting empowerment through income-generating activities

rooted in selling surplus products of indigenous artisans and community groups.



SSAAP is a 501(c)3 is a not for profit organization, ID #: 27-2033029.

All donations are tax-exempt through SSAAP.

SSAAP is registered under GuideStar.

Project Vision
  • To alleviate hunger and to improve nutrition by developing a water source to enable planting of community gardens and to use the excess produce grown to feed families
  • To encourage local income-generation at the grassroots level through vegetable-growing, bee-keeping, traditional African medicine and arts & crafts
  • To work with local artisans to preserve traditional arts in Zambia and in Sierra Leone:
  1. Traditional Tonga wooden art, jewelry and basket-weaving found near the lower Zambezi River in Zambia, Sub-Saharan Africa
  2. Sierra Leone, West African artisans specializing in batik and painting
  • To increase interest in empowering both women and men, individuals and groups and to uplift the living standards of the people
  • To procure and source sustainable water, agriculture and nutrition in rural village communities
Challenge Your Mind…and Heart

How would you feel if every day you drank water with silt and dead insects floating on its surface?


How would you feel if that same water was the water you would use for your bath – or to bathe your newborn infant?


How would you feel if you could never take a shower, or had to share your toothbrush with six other people?


How would you feel if every night you went to bed hungry, and every time you ate you were still hungry afterwards – the meal only taking the edge off of your starvation? 


How would you feel if you could give something meaningful to someone else: a cup of clean water to drink, a basin of clean water to bathe in, a meal to fill someone’s stomach, a toothbrush he didn’t have to share?




Genuine philanthropy is the gift of serving those who might never be able to give anything back to you. Helping someone you do not know without considering yourself is the ultimate gift to yourself; you can’t get that feeling from anything else but through giving.


Why not give a double gift: a gift of sharing with someone else, then a gift to yourself? Why not feed someone else and in doing so, replenish your own soul?




Sharing with the underprivileged is not a choice; rather, it is our social responsibility. It is a violation of human rights that some are born in poverty and cannot afford the education to elect political leaders who have their best interest at heart. The situation is unlikely to ever get better until those who are disadvantaged are given the education, resources and tools to lead a better life than the generations before them.


Simwatachela Sustainable Agricultural and Arts Program [SSAAP] is a 501(c)3 organization recognizing the beauty, dignity and culture of the people of Sierra Leone, West Africa as well as the people of Zambia, Sub-Saharan Africa. Through promoting clean drinking water in rural areas, serving rural schools with water filters as well as providing scholarships to attend school for disadvantaged children, and teaching sanitation and hygiene through hand-washing, SSAAP aims to empower people through not only education and resources to uplift their lives, but also by teaching them that they are worth this and more to the rest of the world. 


They have not been forgotten.




Why partner with, support, or donate to SSAAP? What does SSAAP offer that other grassroots international nonprofit organizations do not?


SSAAP spends one to two years at a time in the field, living with and working together with the very beneficiaries SSAAP serves. Executive Director Heather C. Cumming and her Sierra Leonean daughter speak ciTonga (local language in Zambia) fluently, and her daughter speaks Krio (national language of Sierra Leone). Ms. Cumming has been living in the field for the last decade (since 2004) and considers the people SSAAP serves her family. 


SSAAP’s status as a straightforward, simple and organic nonprofit organization is highly beneficial in that it doesn’t seek to outgrow itself or reach beyond its means. Serving in two countries – both of which Ms. Cumming has family within – has been of great value to participants of the project as they know Ms. Cumming and the key players of the project personally. Over time, the necessary relationship of trust has been built between SSAAP and its beneficiaries for this reason.


Donations, support, and resources donated to SSAAP are also transparent due to the project’s size. 


Does SSAAP seek to enlarge itself? Only in its support and in the amount of people whose lives it touches – both in Africa and around the globe.

Member of Bronze Level Guidestar Exchange

SSAAP & Amazon Smile


Next time you shop on Amazon, support SSAAP by starting your search with Amazon Smile.  A portion of the proceeds of Smile-eligible purchases will be donated to our organization - Begin Here.

From MSU Alumnus Magazine: "Deep Water"

[Excerpt from Mississippi State University Alumnus Magazine:]

With their eager faces turned towards us, they point, smile and chatter happily to one another. We can’t hear what they’re saying; the sound of the drilling is too loud. But even without the noise, we wouldn’t understand them. They speak Tonga, one of more than 70 languages spoken in Zambia and the native tongue of members of the Simwatachela Chiefdom.

Despite the language barrier it’s clear they are excited by what’s happening. The crowd that started with four little boys peeking through the tall, dry grass has grown to more than 50 people—men, teenagers, children, mothers with babies on their backs—standing in groups just beyond the safety line. They’ve come from miles around hoping to see the moment that will change their lives.

On the other side of the line stand six Mississippi State students in hardhats, safety glasses and earplugs. Their faces, grimy from a week of living in a village with no power or running water, show as much excitement as those in the crowd. After two years of planning, these students can finally see their Engineers Without Borders project in action.

The students were welcomed to this Simwatachela village with a thank-you meal of more food than a typical local family consumes in a day. Sitting in low wooden chairs under a tree, they were served bowls of nshima, a type of finely ground, white corn grits; rape, a leafy vegetable cooked with tomatoes; and slow-roasted goat.

Many in the group are disturbed that they saw the goat walking around prior to it being served, but Heather Cumming, our chiefdom host, explains that the dish is a delicacy and a luxury the villagers don’t often get to enjoy. Livestock is the livelihood of people in Simwatachela and sharing one of the herd with our group is their way of showing appreciation.


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