Thank you so much for supporting Dennis Mutwiri, Nafisa Ayuko, and Michael Murigi, who have benefited greatly from the combination of university education and leadership training through community development activities. Nafisa has recently graduated so we have asked Jemimah, another PATHWAYS scholar, to report on her project. She has kindly agreed. The members of the community have continued to benefit through the projects the PATHWAYS scholars have initiated. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
Jemimah Peters report- Improvement of the local economy through developing a water source to aid food security
I am a second year PATHWAYS scholar majoring in Mathematics at the University of Nairobi. Nafisa has graduated, so I have the honor of now communicating to you about my project in her place. My project in my home community in Kitui Central is to help provide water to improve food security and the overall economy. Our women’s group is comprised of 15 women. They are excited about what PATHWAYS and Global Giving is assisting them to achieve. Last year, funds were allocated to purchase a water tank (see photo) to collect rain water for the crops the women are planting. The water tank is of particular importance since the area is very prone to drought. The members have been doing horticultural farming whereby they planted sukuma wikis and tomatoes (see photo). The income generated has been reinvested in the project and assisted in buying other requirements like fertilizers and pesticides.
Our community’s major source of water is a seasonal stream which is about a kilometer away. During dry seasons like now, the stream is dry, and people dig holes in the stream (because the level is shallow) and use containers to draw it (see a photo of a woman fetching water). Back at the seasonal stream, some groups and schools are digging boreholes. A nearby boarding high school has done this and piped water to the school which is adequate for their use. We are thinking of digging a borehole to help serve as a consistent source of water for our farming project.
I am looking forward to communicating with you about our progress. Thank you so much for your support of our efforts to help improve our local economy.
Dennis Mutwiri’s project – Solar panels, planting trees and fish farming.
Dear Global Giving Donors and Friends,
So far, all continues to go well with our project. We have new seedlings for planting in the next rainy season, but as I had mentioned earlier, the trees we are raising are not indigenous. We expect that the new trees will perform extremely well in the region and their demand will be high, as well. (see photo)
The solar project is also running well and we have members reaping from it. It has helped in saving household income by substituting perfectly for fuels. More importantly, it has become an income generating project for community and group members. They are all happy and contented with the benefits they are getting from the solar equipment. It is indeed achieving its key objectives in society. So far, we have had 18 families install the panels. The total number of direct beneficiaries, in this case, is well over 100 heads. We are glad it has been of such impact and benefit to us all.
The fish farming project has had great progress. We had an officer visiting from the Fisheries Department and after sampling, he recommended that we keep them a little longer for better development. This will make them ready for market. My group is intending to conduct a community education whereby we will be demonstrating the nutritional benefits of fish and how to cook them. This will be a form of marketing after which we will later proceed to sell fish to the community.
The merry-go-round project has continued to grow and is benefiting over 15 families with a total of 90 members. The project has also been of benefit to more community members who are in connection to the 90 direct beneficiaries. We hope to achieve higher numbers in the future and impact a larger area.
As always, I want to extend my deep appreciation on behalf of myself and all of my community members for your constant support,
Michael Murigi’s report -Growing cassava for food security and income.
As you already may know, I grew up in abject poverty. I skipped school to work in nearby coffee estates to sustain my schooling. As I grew up, I often declared to myself that my life would be dedicated to extreme poverty reduction. Formulating policies towards helping those suffering for only being born into poverty is my ultimate goal in life.
Our cassava project continues to thrive and improve. In fact, the Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Hon. Jamleck Kamau, happened to have heard me speak about cassava on Kameme FM radio. Through his P.A, he arranged for me to meet him. I later invited him to visit at a time convenient to both of us. He did this last Saturday. During his visit, he asked community members to form small groups based on their factors of wish eg. youth groups. He promised to rent for them plots to grow cassavas for income generation. Attached to this mail are some of the photos taken.
Many thanks to all of you for believing in our cassava project for food security. You are making a large difference in our community!
Our cassava project continues to thrive and improve. More and more communities are becoming interested in growing cassava because of its drought resistant qualities and good nutritional value. And, in my own community the cassava crop has become a stable of the local diet. The success of the project, and its potential for contributing significantly to food security issues has drawn the attention of a number of officials and agencies, and we are pleased to be in a position of leadership in this area.
We were honored to host a government official recently. The Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Hon. Jamleck Kamau, happened to have heard me speak about cassava on Kameme FM radio. Through his P.A, he arranged for me to meet him. I later invited him to visit at a time convenient to both of us. He did this last Saturday. During his visit, he asked community members to form small groups based on their various factors, eg. youth groups. He promised to rent for them plots to grow cassavas for income generation.
As you already may know, I grew up in abject poverty. I skipped school on some days to work in nearby coffee estates to obtain the fees needed to sustain my schooling. As I grew up, I often declared to myself that my life would be dedicated to extreme poverty reduction. Formulating policies towards helping those suffering for only being born into poverty is my ultimate goal in life. This project, and its success, has been an important step toward that goal.
Please see photos of the visit and of csme being interviewed by the media about cassava and the Minister’s visit.
The program has now admitted four girls who have completed two months now and exhibit a high degree of learning and change. Much of the activities were indoor and meant to propel individual growth, leaving the month of September to concentrate on outdoor/field activities to interact with other girls and women. Mentors have occasionally joined to offer individual and group mentorship and covered various topical issues like relationships, health and hygiene, careers, businesses and spirituality. Interestingly, the girls are also offering peer mentorship which is an unexpected outcome of the project.
The girls have undergone lessons that have built communication skills that are evidenced by their relationships compared to behavior exhibited when they joined the program. One of the learning methodologies has been through group discussions, preparing Power-point presentations and teaching others on topics assigned as well as taking turns to chair weekly meetings
The group is eager to get girls from their communities organized so that they too can learn. Mentorship was a new concept to them, but they have come to practically and out of experience understand it and can say it is everything that girls would need to have their lives totally transformed. They are longing to go back home, gather girls who have no hope of success in life and walk with them the success journey. I asked each of them how the program has been so far and responded as follows:
Cecily is glad that she has found a ‘home and parents’ and is no longer feeling an orphan. Her hope has been restored. The concept of community service has become very meaningful to her and she feel that she can mentor other orphaned girls to show them that they can still face life successfully. In her own words, “this program has stimulated me to appreciate people and know that I do not only need to help my siblings and those related to me. I now look at the world with different lens, that my happiness is not complete until all are happy, especially other girls. My task henceforth will be to preach this hope and inspire others to do something good to someone else."
Margaret has tremendously acquired computer skills. She now has an active email address, can access information from the internet, is conversant with all Microsoft applications and very proud that she can tutor others given a chance. Moreover she can now confidently stand and talk in front of a group, something she could not when she joined SAWA. In her own words “When I joined SAWA, my self-esteem was too low having been brought up to believe that as a Maasai girl, my place at family and community level is always second-class and that I do not measure to the standards of girls from other communities. My experience having lived for a month with girls from other communities is that we are all equal and capable; they respect me which make me feel good about myself. The lessons on Women’s Rights have particularly been eye-opening. I want to go back to girls in my village and show them that they too are first-class girls. Thank you SAWA for making me believe in myself”
For Caroline, courage and determination - prerequisites to succeed in life are virtues that have brought a lot of meaning in her life. I have learnt to be focused in life and shed off anything that disrupts this, major among them irresponsible sex. She is more touched that sponsors of the program include girls doing ‘odd jobs’ like baby-sitting and dog sitting. “just like other youths from my community, I classified certain jobs as demeaning. My perspective has changed and I can now do anything to earn a living as long as it is something ethical. I know of many girls in my village who are languishing in poverty, yet several jobs like for house-helps exist. It is my duty to educate and change their perspectives.”
For Wairimu who is preparing to join university in October this year, there has been wholesome learning experiences that has transformed her thinking and would positively shape her life henceforth as she summarizes it ‘as I prepare to join university later in the year, I am well equipped to choose my career wisely, be cautious about my reproductive health to avoid unplanned pregnancy and build a pool of friends that I will introduce the concept of peer mentorship to.’
In summary, the project is off to a great start. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.