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!
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.
Our three PATHWAYS scholars are doing well in university and continuing to work on their community projects. Nafisa is a senior at the University of Nairobi and just finished her student teaching at St. Clares Maragoli Girls Secondary School. She is looking forward to graduating next year and starting her teaching career. Dennis and Michael are both juniors at the University of Nairobi, majoring in Economics and have both returned home to their communities for the holiday break. Below is a brief update on their community projects. Your support is helping them become leaders through working to improve their communities.
The sewing project is doing well. The group members informed me that they have completed the second bundle of sanitary towels and they are going to give them out soon as gifts to the girls. This will be part of a celebration together.
Families are now enjoying the goat and poultry projects because they can now sell part of what they have helping them earn income for necessities and even Christmas presents.
I was completed an internship with through with internship with Solidarity for the Advancement of Women group which was a very enlightening experience. Now I am half way through the first semester of my fourth year. Time has moved so fast and I hope to graduate next year and get a job immediately and continue to support my community project.
I appreciate your support to me and my project!
The introduction of the solar or green energy has been going very well. Training of the group members on the installation and operation of solar appliances has been ongoing and the community is continuing to be sensitized on the merits of using solar energy. The solar kit has been used for lighting, powering radios and charging mobile phones. Community members have earned 60000 KSH from sale of solar panels and batteries(Gross).
The 25M by 15M pond dugout pond has been a benefit to our members. Proceeds from selling the fish have helped families pay their children’s school fees.
Our micro-credit program is going well too. Members are finding they can start income generating projects, they said it has really helped them become more stable financially.
You have made a large difference to the members of our community!
As you may have heard there is famine in East Africa including our area of Kenya. Our cassava project has been able to bring residents together to fight the this food scarcity in a way that has never been experienced before. Women organize themselves in groups to work in each other's cassava plots.
This is to make sure that everyone is taking cassava cultivation seriously. This has brought cohesion and hope that the community can also solve the other challenges facing it, communally.
Cassava has revolutionized preparation of foods during ceremonies in our community. Due to the high cost of wheat flour, women have been grinding their dried cassava using the traditional mortar and pestle. This flour is used to prepare chapattis and porridge during ceremonies.
On another note, our PATHWAYS vice president, Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, sent a team of water experts to our village to find out of a borehole can be dug to successfully produce water. Everybody was very happy especially women and children who have to trek long distances in search of water. The community was very hopeful that they get a nearer and reliable source of water. The area Chief has also written an official letter authorizing the use of the public
ground for a community water project. We are very thankful and hopeful that the twin problem in the area - food and water shortage -is solved soon.
Thank you for supporting our community. We are extremely grateful to you!
Global Giving Report #3
Thank you so much for supporting Dennis Mutwiri, Nafisa Ayuko, and Michael Murigi, all bright but needy students who are PATHWAYS Scholars at the University of Nairobi. Each has continued to succeed academically awhile simulataneously leading a community project. Please see below from them what is going on with their projects, It is exciting to see young people like them develop into leaders to help their country.
My project is doing quite well. Thirty girls have benefited from the sanitary towels in Nabwani primary school. A packet of 8 sanitary towels were given to each girl to support her for the next 2 years. It was very difficult for the girls to purchase the sanitary towels, so we decide to give them for free to needy students because keeping them to sell does not help when a girl is missing school somewhere because of lack of the sanitary towels. The girls are very happy and we intend to teach them the simple skills in making the sanitary towels so that they can make their own.
The sewing machines are continuing to help the women in acquiring the skills in sewing, although it is taking them a while to learn. They all appreciate the fact that their daughters can go to school without any difficulty because they have the sanitary towels. Their sons also benefit because they can sew uniforms, bags, and other clothing for them cheaply. The women are really owning the project.
The goat/sheep rearing is also thriving. Families are able to get milk. Other community members are happy that when the number of the animals increases, they will own a cow, goat, or sheep.
Women in our group are happy about all of skills they have acquired including making the compost from manure in their farms. Our group is continuing to grow and we are comparing and looking at which food crop to adopt so that we can be able to solve any cases of hunger in the community.
You have really changed lives in my community! Thank you!-Nafisa
My community group members have made a great effort and completed the fencing of the fish pond. The pond now looks great and is secure, thanks to all of you!
We have embarked on loaning out solar panels to group members who are willing and cannot afford them in cash. We are also planning to buy more solar batteries and let members access them on credit. They will be paying a commitment fee of Ksh. 1000 and thereafter Ksh. 715 monthly for 8 months for a 20watts solar panel. A member is required to bank the money in the group's bank account and present a banking slip to the treasurer; this will counter misappropriation and defaults. The first loan-out will be on 15th September this year. We hope all will go well per the plan.
We have started some fresh tree nurseries following the drying up of the previous one during the prolonged drought. The current one is doing well and we hope it will be fruitful. The micro-credit project is thriving with members benefiting more and more from the flexible and convenient access to funds. I went to see the projects in person and when I asked them of their regard of the micro-credit, they all said it was a big boost to them individually, and their families too. Most of them are farmers. Once they get the loans, they invest the money in agriculture. However, one of our members opted to start shop in the village to add to the income he was getting from farming. He borrowed Ksh. 8 000 and started off. He is so far doing good. Another member borrowed sh 5000 to purchase a solar battery from the group's green energy project and now she uses solar energy for lighting and powering her phone, radio, etc. She says that her family is now more comfortable with unlimited power and how economic the solar power is.
Many thanks for your kind donations!-Dennis
I wish to inform you that our project has continued to attract the attention of the media. The Royal Media Services, the biggest media house in Kenya, prepared a documentary about the project last month. This was meant for broadcast on its 9 vernacular radio stations that target the rural populations of the various tribes. They aired the achievements of the project in enhancing food security in our community. Women provided testimonies on how cassava has revolutinized their lives.
As the project leader, I was invited to Inooro FM for their breakfast show on 23rd, September 2011,to discuss the influence of cassava on the rural economy based on experiences from my community group. It was quite an honor.
My goal, with your help, is to transition the entire country from growing primarily maize (not drought resistant) to growing primarily cassava (drought resistant) to make sure we do not have to experience famine in this country again.
Thank you for helping with this project!- Michael
Global Giving Report #2
Thank you so much for supporting Dennis Mutwiri, Nafisa Ayuko, and Michael Murigi, all bright but needy students who are PATHWAYS Scholars at the University of Nairobi. Each has continued to succeed academically and also has continued to work very hard on their PATHWAYS community projects. The projects have all progressed well as initial plans have been implemented and new ideas put forth. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
The fencing of the fish pond was delayed a little bit because of the heavy rain in Nanyuki. However, my members have made a great effort and completed it, apart from a 10 meter stretch that we hope to complete in the next half (see photo). The pond now looks great and secure, thanks to Global Giving and PATHWAYS! My members have greatly appreciated the donation and the efforts of all of the contributors.
We have started some fresh tree nurseries following the drying up of the previous one during the pro-longed drought. The current one is doing well and we hope it will be fruitful. The micro-credit project is thriving with members benefiting more and more from the flexible and convenient access to funds. I went to see the projects in person last weekend on 13th August, and when I asked them of their regard of the micro-credit, they all said it was a big boost to them individually, and their families too. They appreciate all the other projects equally. Most of them are farmers. Once they get the loans, they invest the money in agriculture. However, one of our members opted to start shop in the village to add to the income he was getting from farming. He borrowed Ksh. 8 000 and started off. He is so far doing good. Another member borrowed Ksh 5000 to purchase a solar battery from the group's green energy project and now she uses solar energy for lighting and powering her phone, radio and television sets. She says that her family is now more comfortable with unlimited power and how economical it is.
In addition to the sanitary towels, my group is interested in using the new sewing machines just purchased with PATHWAYS and Global Giving contributions (see photo) not only to make sanitary towels but also to sew clothes for babies and use it as a business. Relying on sanitary towels for sewing may not be profitable enough because sometimes we will have to give sanitary towels for free if the girls cannot afford to buy just to enable them go to school which is our main goal.
We will be buying the other machine next week since the idea that they want also to learn sewing is good when they come together. This will also enable them to sew uniforms cheaply for their boys and girls as they go to school so that at the end of the day they can read comfortably in good uniforms with the girls having the sanitary towels.
There is another issue that is serious in Kenya, this is the issue of HUNGER. That is why I am thinking of also advising my group members to plant cassava (like Michael- below) and potatoes since they keep on planting maize which is currently not doing well because the soils have been drained all the nutrients of maize crop and other crops could do better.
One of our community members, Mrs. Peris Njuguna, is the breadwinner of her family of 6 (see photo). Her husband like many others in the area, engages in illicit liquour (chang'aa) drinking and is rarely sober. He cannot cater for his family and the whole burden has to be borne by the wife. She has been working as a casual labourer in a coffee estate near the area.
Mrs.Peris Njuguna was one of the first members to join our group. She took note of Dr. Kamau's (expert in agriculture and cassava) insistence about the overwhelming demand of cassavas from the Asian community in Nairobi, who have even had to import. After her crop matured, she harvested and took it to Nairobi where it was bought within no time. She thought of how she would engage in active cassava business, buying cassava roots from farmers whose cassava matures. Now, she and 2 other women, buy cassava roots at Ksh. 1,000.00 per bag and sell to the Asians in Nairobi at Ksh. 3,000.00.
Using the profits of the business, she was able to enroll her daughter for high school education in February. She says, "My next step is to buy dairy cows that will feed on cassavas from my farm."
Thank you for your continued support. You are changing lives for the better!
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