The Nyanya Project

Today in Kenya, more than half of the approximate 2.5 million Kenyan orphans are orphaned as a result of the AIDS crisis. Estimates suggest that more than 1 million of these children are currently being cared for by their grandmothers, older women who have scarce income sources, minimal education, and are frequently widowed or live without their husbands' support. Frequently, nyanya must relinquish their small businesses (selling produce or goods) to take care of their families. Cycles of poverty intensify the vulnerability of female populations: Girl children are the first to be pulled from schools to help grandmothers care for the expanded dependents, some of whom are HIV positive. Ri...

The Nyanya Project
310 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
United States
3366713030
http://www.nyanyaproject.org

Board of Directors

Elizabeth J Gatewood, Beverly Johnston, Frederick Sumaye, Mil Niepold, Kate B Shone, Jennifer James, Mary Martin Niepold, Gretchen Effgen, Lance Pierce, Edwin G Wilson, Eugene Nyagahene

Project Leaders

Mary Martin Niepold

Mission

Today in Kenya, more than half of the approximate 2.5 million Kenyan orphans are orphaned as a result of the AIDS crisis. Estimates suggest that more than 1 million of these children are currently being cared for by their grandmothers, older women who have scarce income sources, minimal education, and are frequently widowed or live without their husbands' support. Frequently, nyanya must relinquish their small businesses (selling produce or goods) to take care of their families. Cycles of poverty intensify the vulnerability of female populations: Girl children are the first to be pulled from schools to help grandmothers care for the expanded dependents, some of whom are HIV positive. Risk, poverty, disease, and gender discrimination increase due to the AIDS pandemic. Thus, our projects have always targeted vulnerable populations and we work "by invitation only". Research reveals no government assistance for AIDS grandmothers caring for AIDS orphaned grandchildren in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. We exist to address that gap. TNP's focus is not hand-outs. Rather, we create regionally-tailored programs based on microfinance principles so that grandmothers in our programs learn skills to generate stable, ongoing income to sustain their grandchildren and keep them safe, healthy, and loved. Guiding principles unify all TNP programs: empowering nyanyas to manage their finances; exemplify ethical leadership; and sustain families in need. In each TNP cooperative, we collaborate with existing non-profit agencies that are familiar with the AIDS impact in various African communities, as well as successful crafts businesses. For instance, TNP aligns with an existing agency in Kenya to execute the Nairobi Skills Project. Amani Ya Juu (Swahili for "higher peace") is a crafts center based in Nairobi where women create extraordinary fabric crafts and clothing and learn how to be community leaders "promoting peace in Africa." In June, 2007, Amani Ya Juu accepted four TNP-identified grandmothers into an 18-month training program that teaches the women how to run and expand their existing businesses to earn much-needed money. The Nyanya Skills Project sponsors their training and oversees monthly meetings between these four grandmothers and other women in Kibera, formed as a support group to promote peace, moral leadership, health education, and skills training. Additionally, we promote relationships with state and community leaders to ensure that we reach the women most in need. A former prime minister of Tanzania and the former chief economist of Kenya both serve on the TNP Board of Directors. Locally educated women coordinate the various cooperatives and report to The Nyanya Project. Grandmothers in three TNP cooperatives in Kenya meet either weekly or bi-weekly. Local administrators, employed part-time by TNP, provide regular reports on the status and needs of the cooperatives. TNP is registered CBO in Kenya. Registration as an NGO in Rwanda and Kenya is expected by 2013. The Nyanya Project is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit agency devoted exclusively to providing care and skills training to African grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. The "Nyanya" ("grandmothers" in Swahili) apply the knowledge and skills they receive through our programs to enable them to operate sustainable entrepreneurial endeavors. They achieve financial stability and better care for their families. To date a total of 200 grandmothers caring for a total of approximately 2,000 orphans and family members have been trained and assisted. Their example and direct encouragement extends to thousands of other grandmothers, mothers and children in their communities. Another 60 female head of households whose smallest children are enrolled in our new Pre School Centers are able to work longer hours. In all, we estimate that some 5,000 people have benefited from our programs. The following seven TNP programs are currently operating in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda and were the result of invitations and ideas that the nyanya generated themselves

Programs

a) The Kibera Pre School Center (Kenya) The vision for a pre school center in the Kibera slums of Nairobi originated with the first four grandmothers enrolled in the Nyanya Skills Training Program, which was established in May, 2007. The Skills Training Program supports grandmothers in the largest slum in Kenya, where more than one million people live in one-room concrete structures with tin roofs, no plumbing, no sidewalks, no fresh water, and no electricity. Six months into their training with Amani Ya Juu, the grandmothers told TNP that for the first time in their lives, they could pay their rent every month, afford to send their grandchildren to a medical clinic and provide some school supplies. As other grandmothers in the community noticed their success, the four came up with an idea-they wanted to open a "day care" center, help run it initially, and then hire other grandmothers to help run it. In only six months, their own small businesses were thriving and the four grandmothers in Kibera had become entrepreneurs! The first center was opened in September, 2009. Grandmothers are paid to work part time in the Centers, and their youngest AIDS-orphaned grandchildren attend free. After one year's operation, in September, 2010, we opened a larger pre school center that employs a new group of four TNP-trained grandmothers. A percentage of the part-time salaries of the grandmothers who work in the Centers (each grandmother works one week per month) is set aside for center needs, including staffing of grandmothers in future centers. Opening pre school centers in Kibera helps provide a stable income for grandmothers. Centers also provide much needed care for younger women who must secure good care for their smallest children in order to work, and it generates interest in TNP cooperatives. In addition, young students from our Centers are now teaching their grandmothers English and reading. The inter-generational impact of these Nyanya-assisted centers is profound and far-reaching. Each center cares for approximately 40 children, ages 2-5. Accredited teachers instruct the children with Montessori method. This project received critical support from Prime Minister Raila Odinga who personally helped locate the original building for this important project. With funding, other centers in Nairobi and western Kenya will be replicated. A total enrollment of 80 students is expected by January, 2013. Kenya's Ministry of Gender, Families and Social Services reviewed our preschool in Kibera in summer, 2011, after TNP's Founder met with the Ministry's Permanent Secretary. The Ministry's Regional Director said, "What you have here is unique. There is nothing like it anywhere in Africa. What you have done is take us back to the very origins of African culture when grandmothers were the strong ones in the community, did the hard work, provided the love and guidance. I think there should be one in every district." A major unexpected benefit: Children at the preschool teach the grandmothers, who are mostly illiterate, how to read and how to speak English! In July, 2011, a Sewing Center was built on the grounds behind the Preschool. Ten new treadle sewing machines were bought, and grandmothers are now being trained to sew school uniforms that will be sold to provide funding to the Preschool and make it sustainable by the end of 2012. b) Bead Making Training: Gahaya Links and Generation Rwanda (Rwanda) Through the NGO, Generation Rwanda, we have just begun a program in which genocide orphans, who are university students sponsored by GR, have identified grandmothers of AIDS orphaned grandchildren in Rwanda. A first group of 15 grandmothers was trained in bead making by Gahaya Links in Spring, 2010. Gahaya is the award winning crafts center that makes O bracelets for Oprah Winfrey and created the successful Rwandan Peace Basket program for Federated Department stores. Grandmothers are now earning income from bead production. Each has families of 10 or more orphans and children, and most are genocide widows. Registration as a NGO is Rwanda is due to be completed by the end of 2012. c) ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS * Business Skills Training programs, Kibera, Kenya, and Mwanza City, Tanzania. Ongoing. Second group of grandmothers have completed trained in Nairobi with Amani Ya Juu and are working in Pre School Center in Kibera. A new, one-year training program was completed in Mwanza, Tanzania (with the Tanzania Home Economics Association, introduced to TNP by CARE International) in spring, 2011. * Agricultural Projects, Rwanda. Ongoing. A sheep project like that in Kenya was launched in Spring, 2012. Each of 15 TNP grandmothers received three goats each to generate additional income. In Fall, 2012, two pepper growing and one sunflower agricultural projects will be launched to reach an additional 90 grandmothers. A beekeeping project to produce honey will be launched by early 2013 to provide income to approximately 30 new grandmothers. A mushroom growing project is being developed for additional grandmothers in 2013. All agricultural projects are targeted in the Jabana Hills outside the capital of Kigali, and Rwanda's leading entrepreneur, Eugene Nyagahene, a TNP Board member, is providing guidance and marketing of farm products. * Sheep Project, Ndathi, Kenya. Ongoing. Each of 15 grandmothers now has herd of 9 sheep and goats, several chickens, and two cows (shared among them) provided by TNP. First lambs from the herds have been born. * Shelter, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Completed. New house now has total of four rooms and an adult relative has moved in to help care for three elderly grandmothers. Prime Minister Sumaye facilitated completion of house in fall, 2008. * Crafts Skills Training, Dar Es Salaam. Completed. 92 grandmothers completed training with GOIG in beads, batik and candle making in Summer, 2008. They are now selling on their own in Dar. Recent death of our partner, Mary Mzeru, has delayed future programs with GOIG, the training center she founded. Microfinance account of $300 that was to be set up by GOIG was not opened, and Niepold issued replacement funds to open this account in Dar in August, 2009. *Water Project, Kisesini, Kenya. Awaiting funding. TNP has funded two hydrological surveys, water sites have been identified, and an additional $45,000 is needed to drill a borehole for water. This area has never had water, and women, including grandmothers and young girls, must walk 11 miles each way for water. Approximately 100 grandmothers of AIDS-orphaned grandchildren live here, make sisal bags and will manage the well.

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