History of IDM
International Development Missions, Inc. (IDM) is a grass-roots 501 (c) (3) organization created with the idea of helping people in need. IDM works to enhance the health and quality of the life of people in developing countries by partnering with local communities and organizations to develop sustainable projects. Our projects focus on the foundation of community well-being by providing access to health care and promoting good health and disease prevention, education and the development of clean water sources. We operate primarily in the rural community of Mua Hills, Kenya, but have also served other Kenyan communities.
The faith-based non-profit was founded in 2001 by a small group of northern Nevada individuals interested in providing sustainable community assistance with financial funding and professional expertise. IDM first operated as an outreach ministry of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Sparks, Nevada. After receiving support from the Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, IDM grew in experience and was then able to incorporate in Nevada and become a federally recognized non-profit in 2002. IDM has pursued its mission by funding and building a medical clinic, now operating self-sufficiently, planning and building multiple clean water projects, and promoting education through the construction of a community library. We believe in the concept of partnership and actively maintain long-term relationships with the people served by IDM projects. Numerous volunteers from northern Nevada have accompanied IDM board members on trips to help meet IDM’s mission. Other northern Nevada faith communities, such as Grace Community Church, Reno, also provide financial support for our projects. In addition, IDM partners with student groups from the University of Nevada, Reno to help conceptualize and complete projects in the Mua community and provide hands-on learning for UNR students majoring in fields such as hydrology, community health, engineering and environmental science.
Why Mua Hills, Kenya?
The Mua Hills area contains many small, subsistence-level farms on semi-fertile, rugged land. Prior to the construction of the medical clinic, the community lacked a medical care facility and residents had to travel long distances to receive care. Muthoka Mutua, a founding member of IDM and current chair of the organization, is a native son of the Machakos District, the wider region in which Mua Hills is located. He migrated to the United States and has lived and worked in the Reno area for over 40 years where he spent much of his career as the Director of Labs at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno. Knowing personally about the need for health care access in his childhood home, he long hoped to create a non-profit that could assist in providing a medical care facility. He was joined in that vision by the late Ron Peterson, a hydro-geophysicist with substantial experience in developing clean water resources throughout Africa. Their passion to “give back” provided the impetus for the development of IDM. Overs its years of operation, IDM has also benefited from the generous assistance of many volunteers with diverse skills.
The Mua Hills Medical Clinic opened in 2004 and serves as the primary health care facility for residents living in the Mua Hills. The Clinic provides access to health education and other services such as vaccinations through periodic traveling health clinics. The Clinic also provides laboratory diagnostic services and has been designated as an AIDS treatment facility by the Kenyan Ministry of Health.
Clean Water Projects: "Water is Life”
One hears this truism in many parts of the developing world. Lack of access to clean water is responsible for multiple health issues and limits a community’s potential for growth and prosperity. IDM has completed multiple low-cost projects to provide clean water access including rain-water catchment units and hand developed well construction.
IDM is helping to promote education directly to the Mua Hills community through the construction of the Mua Hills Learning Center located adjacent to the Clinic. The library is the first such resource for the community. We are currently in the process of completing plans to ship a wide array of learning material to Kenya to stock the library at the Learning Center. These resources, donated by northern Nevada residents, will service the larger community and multiple primary and secondary school students in the Mua Hills area. IDM also partners with student groups and instructors at the University of Nevada, Reno to provide hands-on learning projects for undergraduate and graduate students. IDM has sponsored several student projects in Kenya and works with interns majoring in public health.