A group of 14 "Friends of Yimbo" recently returned from a trip to the area where they helped villagers with our ongoing projects. This was the 5th time friends from the US have visited and, as usual, all thought the trip was successful and personally rewarding.
Since my last report, the women's microenterprise venture to raise chickens has fully taken off. 27 of the 28 original participants have fully functioning structures with an average of 15 chickens each. They're selling chicks and eggs and managing it all quite well after taking bookkeeping training before getting started.
The water borehole and pumping station are providing clean, safe water right now, and the piped water project to which I referred in the last report is also moving forward. Our local committee in Yimbo sent a written proposal to their Member of Parliament for funding. In response, the Government's Constituency Development Fund allocated $20,000 to pipe water from the nearest village already in the network as part of the PENWA (Pi En Ngima Water Association) Project. The plan is to run the main pipe to the future site of the planned village health clinic (you may recall me mentioning this in an earlier report). From there, individual households can pay to run a line to their dwellings. The whole project will cost about $35,000 to bring the pipe to the clinic site, so we need to raise about $15,000 more.
The travelers brought with them over 88 books for the school library built by Friends of Yimbo. They also brought over 500 tee-shirts along with sanitary kits and health kits. Basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, and even a BINGO game also found their way to Yimbo. Among other things, the volunteers helped repair classroom desks, conducted some teacher training and helped set up at tent for movie nights with the movies provided by Friends. A village forum was also held for the local folk to voice their preferences for future Friends of Yimbo projects. There are some interesting ones that I'm sure I'll tell you about before too long.
So until next time, thank you again for your support for the people of Yimbo. Your help is always appreciated.
Happy 2014, Friends of Yimbo.
After a rather quiet 2013 Holiday Season, we're gearing up for another productive year working with the people of Yimbo. We're focusing on two fronts. As I mentioned in my fall 2013 report, we're helping the Muguna (Yimbo area) Women's Group develop successful businesses raising chickens to help satisfy a large and growing local demand for chickens and eggs. Since the fall report, our consultant on the ground has met with the group at least 10 times. At least eight group members have come up with the majority of the required start-up costs, including building the chicken coops. Now we're working with the consultant on ways to encourage others to save enough to catch up to the lead group. The next step is for the Friends of Yimbo to cover the cost of shared resources such as veterinarian services and the purchase of incubators. Your help of as little as $20 would go a long way toward covering the veterinary costs, and $50 will cover about a quarter of the price of one incubator that can be shared by at least two women.
FOY is also still working on bringing safe, clean water to more families in the Yimbo area. In addition to the borehole project already completed, we plan to help our local water committee in the community participate in a pipeline extension project undertaken by the Kenyan government and the larger donor community. The government will work with local leaders that are "ready to help" extend the pipeline to their communities. FOY decided to help leverage what the folks in Yimbo can contribute. Right now, we're simply facilitating communication between the different communities that would benefit from the pipeline. When the groups agree on a plan, we plan to lend financial support to make the extension a reality. If this is successful, we believe we can move on to support building the health clinic I mentioned in an earlier report because water infrastructure will be in place.
Some of you may have noticed that we no longer plan to drill a second bore hole. We don't want to appear unfocused as we alter our plans. We are trying, successfully we believe, to be nimble enough to take advantage of the changing circumstances and opportunities that arise on the ground. We hope you'll continue to follow our progress and, if you like what we're doing, to help us as you can.
All the best.
Greetings from the Friends of Yimbo.
Things continue to go well with our effort to help the folks of Yimbo. As reported in my Summer 2013 update, the water project has been a success. Clean, safe water is available in the area for the very first time.
We're now working quite a bit with the Muguna (Yimbo area) Womens' Group to help them develop successful business opportunities. More specifically, the consultants mentioned in the summer 2013 update have used their expertise to help the women develop a business and marketing plan for raising chickens. Similar plans, developed with the help of the same consultants, to sell chickens and eggs that help satisfy a large and growing local demand have been successful in nearby communities. Our support will allow Muguna women to enter this lucrative market. I should be able to provide an update on their progress in my next report.
Our organization consults with the local community whenever we can. When the "Friends" are actually in Yimbo, we meet with locals in a "Village Forum," where conversations take place about what the community needs most. The conversation at last forum in summer 2012 coalesced around the need for a health clinic, which took priority over drilling the planned second water borehole. So we decided to make the construction and stocking of a clinic our next major project.
Finally, we held two successful fundraisers in California since my last update. The first was over the Labor Day weekend in Sacramento while the second, in Orange County, was just two weeks ago. Check out the pics at the link below.
If you're interested in meeting one of the founders of our organization and learning more about its history, check out the attached video.
The first half of 2013 hasn't been as exciting as 2012. Why? In a word, bureaucracy. Certainly not much fun, but of course necessary. More specifically, we've been occupied with some of the bureaucratic details of managing the new well. It took a while, but we finally got approval to have the community use the water with all the proper government approvals. Earlier in the spring, our local water committee secured a "completion and compliance" permit from the Ministry of Water, which was necessary to secure the second permit from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). I'm happy to report that this second permit was granted and signed on June 19. Our local committee will keep the rest of us apprised on any developments that arise, but for now, I'm happy to report that clean safe water is being used by the entire community. Thank you all for your help in making this happen. It's certainly one of the most exciting developments in Yimbo in recent memory.
On a different front, FOY has begun working with the Muguna Women's Group and the Uyoma Village Youth Group (both from the Yimbo area) to study the feasibility of funding small business startups. We retained two local consultants who produced needs assessment reports on the proposed business ideas. The Women's Group is proposing a bee keeping business, and the consultants report that a viable market does exist. FOY will provide startup funding if the group members undergo the best business practices training recommended by the consultant's report. The youth group's primary proposal is to begin an information and communications technology business and/or a tree planting/nursery business. As of now, the youth group needs to convince FOY that it can identify viable markets for its services and execute successful business plans before we provide startup capital. We will encourage them to do so. Even if we ultimately don't fund them, the skills they learn while developing their plans should provide them with excellent experience. Who knows? Maybe all these businesses will be successful! I'll of course update you on these groups' progress in my next report.
Finally, an FOY Northern California fundraiser is planned for August 3 in Sacramento. I expect that the proposed health clinic I mentioned in the January report will be a topic of much discussion. These events have been quite successful in the past because they allow us to connect with our "friends" in the area. We expect the August event to be no different. I'll tell you about it in my next reoprt.
Until then, I wish you all the best on behalf of the people of Yimbo and their "friends" like you who help so much.
As reported in my last update, safe water is now flowing from the new well in Yimbo. Since then, our local village water committee has secured the well and is successfully managing access to help assure the water is used according to the plan developed before drilling commenced. So all is "going well," so to speak!
Also from the last update, we still plan to drill a second well in the neighboring village of Angwenyo after completing another hydrological survey there. So we're not done with water projects yet, and we could still use your help. We estimate that surveying, drilling, and securing the second site will cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000.
While getting the water flowing was our most satisfying achievement in the past year, we did accomplished other things. Adding textbooks, maps, and magazine subscriptions to the Muguna Primary School library FOY built in 2009 has helped student achievement in measurable ways. The drama and debate teams, for example, received accloades for their performances in regional competitions. We also completed wiring the school and supported US educators to give three professional development workshops to the local teachers.
On another front, FOY helped support volunteers who distributed 450 health related kits and conducted health care workshops during summer 2012. Related to this, FOY provided tuition support for a local high school student to enroll in one of the top 10 schools in Kenya. His goal is to graduate from medical school and return home to practice.
As you may have guessed, this health care effort is high on the priority list of the Yimbo community. So the next big project we plan to tackle is to build a community health clinic. We plan to begin researching the feasibility of this project this year, so my next report should have some more details. We've built a school library and drilled a well in the past three years. With your help, we believe we can build and stock a health clinic in the not-too-distant future as well.
So with all that in mind, the Friend of Yimbo and the Yimbo community thank you all for your interest and support in the work we're doing. We hope you continue to follow our progress and help us along when you can. On behalf of all of us, I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2013.
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