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Catch up on the latest It Must Work news.

"Mathieu’s" School - An Update...

2020 saw the installation of a roof and other improvements to this pay-as-we-go project. Our 2020 fundraising supported the school by providing money for classroom furniture, cabinets for materials and records, and additional construction costs. Latest pictures below:



2019 pictures from Gannandji, Benin, where IMW's "seed money" has sped the construction of a first-in-the-region indoor school. The location allows more students to attend and helps curtail the too real threats of kidnapping and child trafficking for children traveling long distances in remote locales to get an elementary education.


2019 10th Anniversary Holiday Fundraisers:

December 14 at Throop Studio in Chicago

1500 N. Throop St in Chicago at 6:30 p.m. Food, drink, ample free parking and exciting auction items. $35 per person or $65 per couple suggested donation.

December 21 in Sebastobol, California

Wine, cheese and even a petting zoo at the home of Erin Danial.

6th Annual Highland House Fundraiser - April 2019

Poverty, ecological change and unrest in West Africa have made it difficult to improve life prospects for the young. Schools provide hope. This year, It Must Work continued to support the construction of a first-ever "in-door" school in rural Benin.(See "Mathieu's School below.)

Annual Holiday Celebration - December 2018

Even before our incorporation in 2009, a couple of our founding board members provided financial support for an annual celebration for children and families in and around the villages of their Peace Corps postings. This event has grown as our organization has grown. While not strictly a "economic development" event, the celebration serves to lift spirits and promote goodwill for each year. This year, It Must Work will support the event with a $2,000 contribution for food and gifts.

"Mathieu’s" School

Rural Benin does not have universal elementary education, and many students who are enrolled have to travel long distances or board away from home to attend. One of our ongoing projects has been to provide tuition and boarding expenses for elementary education for 6 foster children who would not otherwise be able to attend school. Enagnon Dandan founder, Mathieu Ahouandjissi, has begun a project to build a school near his orphanage in the small town of Gannandji. A teacher has been identified, and a small structure is being built. It Must Work provided seed money in 2018, and will provide ongoing assistance in 2019 through the spring fund raiser at Highland House in Mequon, Wisconsin. The school replaces the outdoor arrangements pictured at left.

Nyamah’s project:

We have been working to support small business development in Benin and Liberia, West Africa. We have identified a contact in Liberia who has been working with a number of local women who have great ideas and aptitude for small business, but lack even the small amount of capital required to start up.  In 2018, we provided start up funds for a small number of projects, and plan to continue these efforts in the coming year.

Lights, not bites!

posted Sep 17, 2016, 9:23 AM by Tom Emmons

Water for Orphans

posted Nov 2, 2014, 6:06 PM by Tom Emmons   [ updated Nov 30, 2014, 7:07 PM ]

Our good friend Mathieu has recently built and opened an orphanage for local children who have lost one or both parents. The children live in the orphanage, they go to school and they participate in income generating activities such as farming, raising animals for food and to sell and training for skilled labor. 

They currently use a cistern system to collect rainwater for all their water needs including drinking water. The children and animals are getting sick from contaminated water in the cistern and so our current project is to raise money for a new well. Well water in this region is much cleaner, safer and more reliable. An electrician from Electricians Without Borders has agreed to oversee the project and help with the construction. Having access to clean water will cut down on the occurrence of dysentery and other parasitic infections among the children and animals. 

We at It Must Work are concerned about the health issues associated with the cistern and so are very excited to be helping to put in a new well to keep the children happy and healthy.

Sankofa Farm - Liberia

posted Nov 2, 2014, 6:01 PM by Tom Emmons

It Must Work is currently in an on-going partnership with Sankofa Farm, a newly created, ideally self-sustaining organic farm in rural Liberia. Recently founded by a close friend and former Benin Peace Corps volunteer, the farms mission is: To support economic development, through local agricultural sector development, by capitalizing on the strength of local and international partnerships, and ultimately expanding to link this vision with the global network. Sankofa aims to diminish Liberia’s dependence on foreign-produced food products and educate and promote local farmers.

It Must work has provided the farm with startup capital and hopes to continue to support Sankofa’s mission through future projects.

2014 Holiday Fundraiser

posted Oct 24, 2014, 8:25 AM by Tom Emmons   [ updated Oct 24, 2014, 8:27 AM ]

It is getting to be that time of year.  Come join the fun and support West African children and families!  

Project Update - Moringa – Parakou, Benin

posted Oct 1, 2012, 6:35 PM by Tom Emmons

Nutrition Formations for the Association Béninoise du Moringa – Parakou, Benin

The funds from ABM’s “It Must Work” grant were used to pay for what was essentially a nationwide tour of Benin promoting good nutrition and the use of the highly nutritious leaves of the Moringa tree.  Key points to note are as follows:

  • The project was completed in a shorter-than-projected time frame (six months vs. nine months) and the desired number of educative talks exceeded (forty-three completed vs. thirty-six projected).
  • More than 2200 people in thirty-six different communities across Benin attended the training sessions (see “Summary of Talks” Excel spreadsheet). 
  • The project’s expenses stayed within budget.
  • This project should prove to be quite sustainable as a host-country national animatrice (trainer) from ABM has been fully trained to continue nutrition and Moringa promotion work without further assistance from Peace Corps.

Online Giving

posted Oct 1, 2012, 6:26 PM by Tom Emmons   [ updated Oct 1, 2012, 6:27 PM ]

We are please to announce we solved our technical issues and It Must Work can once again accept donations via PayPal.  As always, donations are fully tax deductible.  Thanks for your continued support!

new silent auction items for Holiday Open House

posted Nov 14, 2011, 6:33 PM by Tom Emmons

$50 Charming Charlies 
$25 Lou Malniti's gift card

More to come!

Holiday Open House @ Chez Emmons

posted Nov 1, 2011, 5:51 PM by Tom Emmons   [ updated Nov 1, 2011, 5:56 PM ]

2-6PM Saturday December 10th
Chez Emmons
3759 N Kenmore Ave., Unit E
Chicago, IL 60613

This year we are raising money for income generating activities at a newly created orphanage in Bohicon, Benin.

These include a hen house for egg production and a small mill for processing cassava into flour, which will provide a stable income for the orphanage as well as much needed protein and carbohydrates for the children. This is the first step in getting the orphanage towards a long standing goal of self sustainability.

In addition to supporting a great cause, the Holiday Open House and Fundraiser will be a lot of fun! Join us for great food, drinks and company. We will also have activities for the kids and a silent auction for the adults.

Silent Auction Items:
- William “The Fridge” Perry autographed football
- Wine Basket
- Isabelle’s Favorite Things
- And more to come!

Suggested Donation: $35 (tax deductible)

If you can't join us, but would still like to donate to this great cause, you can send a check to:
It Must Work
3759 N Kenmore Ave., Unit E
Chicago, IL 60613

Thanks everyone and we hope to see you all there!

Milwaukee Area Fundraiser

posted Aug 15, 2011, 8:08 AM by Tom Emmons

It Must Work Secretary Paul Casper and George Ann Casper are inviting all interested in supporting our causes to their house for a summer fundraiser. 

Saturday, August 27 · 4:00pm - 7:00pm
1325 North Van Buren Street, Apt 603
Milwaukee, WI 53202

This year, we will be raising money to help restore the building of a library for girls that was damaged in last year's terrible floods.  So come for the food and great company, stay for an exciting view of the city from our balcony and don't forget to bring your checkbooks!

If you can't make the party, but still would like to donate to this great cause, you can send a check to:
It Must Work
c/o Paul Casper
1325 North Van Buren Street, Apt 603
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Or, if you would prefer to donate online via PayPal, go to our website: to donate. Please remember that It Must Work will be charged 3-4% of you donation.

Thanks everyone, and hope to see you all there!

congratulations to President Yayi Boni

posted Mar 25, 2011, 11:29 AM by Tom Emmons

We are calling on all parties to accept the results certified by CENA, the Beninese Constitutional Court, and the international monitoring organizations.  We renounce any violence either by political parties or the authorities.  It is a testament to the will of the Beninese people to be at the forefront of African nations with respect to democratic elections.

We'd also like to call out that an astonishing 84.82% participation rate by eligible voters.

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