I want to thank you for support our cassava for food security project. It is going much better than anyone could have predicted. One example is Mrs.Ekila Wanjiku, a woman in my village, who keeps 3 cows for milk production. Earnings from the sale of the milk forms a crucial part of her family's income. Until March this year, she was feeding her cows on cornmercial-made feeds. She was buying these at Ksh.2,000.00 or $23 per week. The daily milk output by then was about 10 litres.
As part of our cassava project for food security, Ekila's family was given cassava cuttings to plant in May 2010. By December 2010, their crop was mature. They used the crop for their food supply. In addition, they decided to try feed the cassava to their cows. They ground the roots into flour and fed it to their cows and their cows liked it! Amazingly, the daily milk output from the cows has increased by 50% to 15 litres per day. The family has an additional income of Ksh 125.00 or $1.50 daily from the milk and Ksh 3,750.00 or $44 monthly. It is important to note that Ekila is feeding the cows on completely organic feeds from her own plot, saving Ksh. 2,000.00 or $23 per week she was spending earlier.
Ekila happily states, " I am now sure of maintaining my children in school." According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., cassava roots have the highest concentration of starch among all food crops. The leaves are abundantly rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Brazil, the world's biggest milk producer, relies on cassava for livestock feeds. We would like to see this replicated in villages all over Kenya!
Many thanks again! You are changing lives for the better!
Until next time,
Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000105 EndHTML:0000012156 StartFragment:0000002332 EndFragment:0000012120
Progress Report: July 21, 2011 - Update from Project Director Isaac Ngere (PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress scholar and 4th year medical school student at the University of Nairobi)
Project Location: Kenya, Nyanza Province, Homaby District, Rangeway Division, Gem West Location, Kanyanjwa Sublocation, Wagire Village
Please accept my sincere thanks for your support of our community project (Educating 80 girls and Orphans in Kenya) (see photo). In the past three months we have focused on improving the lives of children in our community, especially in providing educational opportunities for orphans and girls. To achieve this objective, the community has come together to work cooperatively to ensure the success of this Global Giving/PATHWAYS project. We owe so much to you for your support and generosity.
I want you to be assured that this project has made a huge impact on the lives of my community members. Your contribution has changed lives, and will continue to have a positive impact on many in the future. The initial project objectives have been fully achieved, as is reported below, and the community is energized to continue and expand the project as I describe in the final section.
Progress to date:
The original project objectives included installation of a solar panel, construction of a school with three classrooms, and establishment of a library on site. The first 2 objectives have been accomplished, with the library scheduled for completion in December 2011. The project has had a very positive impact on the community leading to additional efforts to generate income, in part to sustain the educational activities.
The solar panel generates 100 watts for 12 hours each day, sufficient to power 12 energy saving bulbs for 4 hours and for charging up to 30 cell phone batteries daily (see photo). This allows for additional study time for students and library users and for essential use of cell phones. It should be noted that although this community lacks direct connection to a power grid (but see below under plans), cell phone use here, as elsewhere in Kenya, is both widespread and critical to many everyday functions (e.g. banking) otherwise made difficult because of distal locations. This is the first project in the region that has provided access to solar power. Community feedback on the usefulness of the project in solving has been very positive. One student says "It is so much easier to do my school work with the lights.” (see photo)
The second goal, construction of three classrooms, has been accomplished with the acquisition and installation of a modular building housing the three class rooms and is fully in use on a regular basis (see photo). A director has been appointed (see photo) who, along with three teachers provides daily instruction to students from pre-school through the eighth grade, and over 100 students are enrolled. The parents are enthusiastic regarding the addition of the school and the opportunity it provides to the students. Many of the children must walk a considerable distance to reach the school, nonetheless enrollment has grown and attendance is consistent showing that the school is highly valued by the community. Daily student-teacher contact time has increased from 6 hours to 7.5 hours. Feedback from the children, parents and guardians of the orphans has been very positive. Eunice, one of the teachers talks about one of her students who is an orphan,"... She feels like she has a home in this school, she receives breakfast and a supportive structure....". (see photo)
The third objective was to establish and improve a Library with dedicated space, shelving and an array of suitable books. This has been accomplished with space prepared and over 100 books acquired (see photo). There are presently some 50 registered library users and access has been improved via the solar panels providing additional hours of light for study. The pupils at the Nyakongo Educational Centre also use our library facilities. We are waiting for more book shelves to be constructed for our books. After that, we can finalize the library building.
The success of the project to date has been positively viewed by the community and motivated them to begin other activities to improve the economic status of the community to, among other goals, help parents to pay for school fees and uniforms so they may fully benefit form the educational opportunity now available to their children. As I mentioned earlier, we are initiating more activities:
-Crop production e.g. farming in drought resistant crop varieties like cassava (see photo).
-Animal husbandry e.g. goat and rabbit rearing.
-Organic farming practices to reduce pollution.
-Forestry (tree planting to reduce erosion).
-Fish farming, taking advantage of a government initiative to dig small ponds and stock with fingerlings. (see photo)
Future Plans: New initiatives adopted by the community and added to the original scope of the Global giving/PATHWAYS Project:
-Connecting the village to the power grid now feasible because the government has brought power lines to a few hundred yards from the village. This would also provide power for pumps to allow for irrigations and thus improve crop yields.
-Sponsor one of the school teachers to obtain a teaching certificate that would make her eligible for government salary assistance to the school.
Thank you so much, you are changing lives for the better!
Project Location: Kenya, Rift Valley Province, Nakuru District, Gilgil Division, Elementaita Village
Dear Global Giving Donors,
Thank you so much for your contribution to our project! Whether you contributed $10 or $100, your gift has already made a huge impact on our community. I want to give you an update on the three specific projects you are so kindly supporting
Rabbit Keeping Project
The rabbit project is coming along well. Since the group is so huge (40 women) we decided to split the group into five sub-groups so that everyone can participate. Each group has five rabbits and we plan to expand the hutches in every group so that they can accommodate more rabbits.
We are in the process of identifying a better market for the rabbits since in Kenya there is high demand for the rabbits so getting a good market will motivate the women to continue working harder in the project.
Peris, ” Working on a smaller group makes me feel more productive and accountable than working so many in one project.”
After equipping the women with skills of rearing the rabbits we are hoping that they can use the same skills to rear their own rabbits and be a source of income.
After a very long wait we finally got the allotment letter for the land we bought from the Catholic church. This was a major progress because now we can start construction of the school.
We are very excited because when the new school is constructed, we will be able to move from the church where we are currently operating. The church provided a good start to our school but now with construction of a new school, we will be able to expand to meet the demand of the community. We are starting construction of the new school buildings in July.
“Our joy will be to see our children going to a school, which will be conducive for learning than the church hall”, one parent commented.
Another major step we have made in the school is extending the classes up to grade 2 and we are hoping to get a room for grade 3 next year. This means creating employment opportunities for more teachers.
Lastly, the children were sponsored to visit Lake Nakuru National Park by well wishers. Being the first ever educational trip it was wonderful.
Girls Sanitary Project
We are recruiting the second group of girls who will be taught how to make reusable sanitary towels. Many girls miss school every month when they have menses because they cannot afford to buy the disposable pads. This has affected the academic performance of girl child. If we equip them with the skills of making the reusable pads, they will no longer miss classes. Another advantage is that they can make more pads and sell to their peers hence it will be a source of income.
Other activities of the group will be to discuss the other challenges they face as girls and the way to overcome them. These challenges include, early marriage, lack of awareness as far as HIV and AIDs is concerned. We plan to organize talks with them.
The parents are also concerned that we should also involve them in that project. We therefore plan to have forums that will invite their parents to attend the talks. Involving them in the group will have several advantages such as, they will support their daughters and they will understand the challenges the girls go through hence guide them even more.
From working on the past group of girls we learnt that parents also face challenges of buying disposable pads hence the reusable pads will be of great help to them too.
For all three of our projects, we are grateful for your support- you are changing lives!