Celebrating our Second Decade

It Must Work, Established in 2009

This foundationC:\Users\valentec\Desktop\AAA It Must Work\ItMustWorkPix\ItMustWorkSlides\cooks and judges.JPG was started by Rebecca Casper Harles, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Benin, West Africa from 2004-2006. She, along with Tom Emmons, her fellow Peace Corps Volunteer and a founding It Must Work board member, started fundraising for projects that had been going on in Benin during their service. 

During their Peace Corps postings, Becky and Tom met a very enterprising, caring and altruistic man named Mathieu Ahouandjissi, who believed that the way to help his country out of stifling poverty is through grass-roots development programs. He has basically devoted his life to his non-profit organization: Enagnon Dandan (translation from the local language of Fon: It Must Work. Through his organization, he has provided his community with health and nutrition classes, HIV/AIDS awareness programs and an annual holiday celebration for the children of the poorest nearby villages. He has built a health center in a village where, as recently as 2003, women had to give birth at home in their mud huts, and without access to basic medical resources or assistance. It Must Work gets its name, and much of its inspiration from the work that Mathieu did, does and will continue to do. We are inspired to do our part to help people like him provide life saving and life-bettering services to those in communities in West Africa that need our help the most. 

In 2007, their first year back, Becky and Tom raised $1,200 for an orphanage they worked with in Benin. In the following years, their efforts continued in an ad hoc way. Then, in 2009, Becky incorporated the organization, named it “It Must Work” after Mathieu’s Beninese organization. Incorporation required the assembly of a board directors and provided tax-exempt status.

In the future we hope to continue our rapid expansion, to teach people about the responsibilities we have to our brothers and sisters around the world and most importantly, to give much needed funds to those people in West Africa whose goal is to make things better for the children and families in their communities, particularly for those most in need.

We have decided to focus our giving on organizations that currently work with a Peace Corps Volunteer to facilitate the giving process. Having a Peace Corps Volunteer on the project will help with the translations of proposals into English for review, give the grantees an American perspective about the grant process, and help It Must Work to ensure that the project is transparent, managed properly, and meets the Peace Corps goal of sustainable development. 

Please join us in our mission to make the world a better, safer and healthier place for all.

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