6th Report May 28, 2012
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. Importantly, their communities have benefited as much as they have. The projects have all progressed well as initial plans have been implemented and expanded. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
Nafisa Ayuka’s report - Improvement of girl child education through raising poultry and sanitary towels.
Sewing: The women’s group continues to be very pleased with the sewing machine and sewing skills they have learned through initiation of my project. They make children’s clothes and school uniforms. The profits are helping them pay the school fees for their children and purchase school supplies.
Sanitary towels: The reusable sanitary towel project has really helped the girls stay in school during their monthly periods. We were going to use this project as an income generating project, but when we found that girls have such little money, we ended up just giving the towels to the girls and also teaching them to make their own.
Goats: The group has acquired a few goats (see photo). The woman can sell the goat milk and along with the poultry, this is a good income generation project.
I will be graduating in June and hope to get a job teaching in a school near my village. I so enjoyed my time student teaching at St. Clares Maragoli Girls Secondary School. I loved working with the girls during my student teaching program.
I have learned a lot over the last four years being a PATHWAYS scholar. I am looking forward to continuing to help my community and country.
Dennis Mutwiri’s project – Solar panels, planting trees and fish farming.
I call my members frequently for updates and consultations to keep everything on track. So far, all is well and running to expectation.
Trees: 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.
Solar Project: 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.
Fish Farming: 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.
Merry Go Round or Microloan Project: 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.
Thank you for helping me help my community!
Michael Murigi’s report -Growing cassava for food security and income.
Cassava: To help the community better understand what possibilities there are will the production of cassava, I decided to go to the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters to seek for assistance on an exposure tour. After 5 visits, I was introduced to one, Dr. Martha Sila. She is the National head of the Root - Crops Division. I absolutely narrated to her the story of our project and our objectives. She was impressed. She agreed to sponsor us to visit the Nigerian's factory, as I had requested. I was pushing for 100 community members to participate in the tour but she limited the number to 60 because they wanted to see only one bus used. The 60 community members, picked from different families, visited the factory in Makueni County, about 350 Kilometres from our area, last month.
It was an absolute success. The community group was exposed to the factory and the possibilities for expanding our mill operation.
See photos showing the community members traveling by bus to the factory and members holding produced flour.
As I plan to dedicate my life to the service of poor people throughout the developing world, this has been a great learning experience for me.
Again, THANK YOU, for your help to help my community help themselves!
My community is extremely grateful for the purchase of the mill to grind cassava to make food staples. The income of our community has increased greatly. I am not through though. My goal is to keep working to help my community to be as prosperous as possible. It is in that vein that I relay the information below.
Dr. Joseph Kamau (a cassava expert from the Ministry of Agriculture) told the PATHWAYS scholars a story at the PATHWAYS annual meeting in 2008. It was a story of a Nigerian who came to Kenya and lacked cassava gari- Nigeria’s staple food. The Nigerian man decided to hire a small plot of land and started growing cassavas. Later, he purchased a bigger plot of land and grow more cassava. Thereafter, he started a small processing plant to add value to the cassavas that he was producing. Recently, he put up even another factory. He mainly exports cassava products to foreign markets. It is amazing that he is the only person doing that in the greater Eastern Africa region. In Dr. Kamau's words, " he is minting money."
I have always desired to expose our community to such an experience so that at least they know what the cassavas that they are growing can be processed into. When I was on a long university vacation in January, I decided to go to the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters to seek assistance. After 5 visits, I was introduced to one – Dr. Martha Sila. She is the National head of the Root – crops Division. I absolutely narrated to her the story of our project, the support of PATHWAYS, of you, the Global Giving community and our objectives. She was impressed. She agreed to sponsor us to visit the Nigerian’s factories, as I had requested. I was pushing for 100 community members to participate, but she limited the number to 60 because they wanted to see only one bus used.
The 60 participants were selected as a perfect representative of the community: women, men, youth, middle-aged and the aged. They visited last month. They went to the 2 factories. One is at Kasikeu, in the interior of Sultan Hamud and the other is at the lower end of the Makueni County. This is a 8 – hour one way journey from our area. All the expenses of the exposure tour were catered for.
The community members were very excited and motivated. They were more than elated for experiencing what they could only imagine before. Please see the photos of the trip.
Thank you for your continued support- you are changing lives for the better!
5th Report March 16, 2012
Sewing: The women are continuing with the project well with sewing of uniforms and clothes (see photo of women with finished hand made clothes). The sewing machines help immensely with the work so we can make more clothes and uniforms each day. The women make clothes and uniforms both for themselves and their children and also for sale to others. This is a big economic boost. The proceeds help the women help their children with school fees.
Sanitary towels: A set of reusable sanitary towels was given to local adolescent girls (see photo). The girls have little money to pay for sanitary towels so this service of giving them the towels for free is very much appreciated by them and their mothers. The girls have been practicing making the towels on their won and are pleased with their new-found skill.
Poultry: The poultry project is going on well. The number of chickens is continuing to increase (see photo of chickens). Profits from selling the chickens averages approximately $60 per month. The profits are shared among the community members. The money makes it easier on families to pay school fees for their children especially girls.
I am in my last semester of university and am looking forward to graduating and getting a teaching job.
Working with my community on this project has really developed leadership skills in me that I can use in the future.
Thank you sincerely for your contributions to help me help my community.
Fish: We bought materials to complete fencing of the pond and fencing will resume after members set a day to work on this (see photo of pond). I had reported earlier that the Ministry had supplied us with 300 fingerlings. The group had earlier made effort to put more fingerlings ahead of the Ministry's supply. In total, the pond holds approximately 700 fish with around 400 ready for sale. In terms of feeding, the Ministry provides food for the fish. In October last year, we received 100 Kg of fish feeds. This will go a long way since a grown fish consumes only 3g daily. We have appointed a chairperson who attends the fish daily and attends seminars regarding fish farming frequently.
As at now, at least two thirds of the pond's population is ready for market.
The Ministry had allocated four ponds in our location, however, it is only our pond that has survived and raised the fish. The rest failed. This has impacted us negatively in the sense that the Ministry meant to market our product in bulk. The targeted quantity is cannot be reached as at now hence the delay. My group officials are however negotiating with the responsible officers to get things done.
Tree nursery: We realized that the most demanded trees are the exotic ones. This realization came by when the forestry department that had agreed to purchase the indigenous breed failed us. We were only able to sell very few of the trees and distributed others to members who were willing to plant them. It is from this that we put up an exotic trees nursery in September so that the trees would be ready during the April/May long rains (see photo of tree nursery). In the previous season, three of our members planted 50 exotic trees from our nursery. The trees are now grown and will be of benefit soon.
Solar power:The project is fairly doing well. We are still carrying on green energy campaign in the region. The main challenge of late is the government's initiative to electrify rural areas under Rural Electrification Authority. This has greatly shifted the region's interests from solar to electric power. We are hoping that they will soon see some sense in what we stand for with time.
However, those who are continuing to purchase the solar kit are at the moment reaping a great deal of benefits. See the photo of a member who is using the power for lighting and powering a radio set. Commercially, he charges people's mobile phones in the neighborhood at the rate of sh. 10 per phone. He uses the money to repay the solar. He says that, of late he has cut costs on fuel and charging his own phone and those the rest of the family members.
We are looking forward to intensify this trend among the members and community in general.
Merry go round or loan group: This project has been of immense benefit to every member in the group. Three members can now borrow sh. 10000 while five can borrow up to sh. 8000. The interest rate is still 10%. Initially, we were loaning out everything to make our capital grow. But from the 15th of February, the members agreed that they will be banking sh. 4000 monthly to secure the project.
The group members agreed to save money in all the projects in order to start other projects like sheep rearing which is more viable and profitable.
Thank you for your support of these projects in my community. We are really making progress!
Mill: Great news! The necessary bank transactions were made for payment of the mill. The mill was purchased to better utilize the cassava crops the community has grown. Flour can be made from the cassava then turned into food products to sell. On Saturday, we received a notification from the firm that they had already received the total amount that they had asked for. Meanwhile, the owner of the premises that we are renting has been very co-operative. To ensure total security of the mill, yesterday, we spent the day reinforcing the roof. I am very pleased to inform you that the mill installation process was completed yesterday and the milling started immediately (see photo). The mill will be of great help to the community as it can mill not only cassavas but also grains including corn. Today, we are putting on a firm wooden ceiling. Tomorrow, we will be fencing. The next day, we will be reinforcing the door and the windows.
On behalf of our community, please accept our big THANK YOU to you for supporting us. We have really appreciated their gestures of kindness and generosity. We lack the best words to express our appreciation. You have assisted us a great deal in ensuring the development and sustainability of our project. We will not let you down.
Again, THANK YOU, indeed.