So much has been going on since the last letter that MCFpanairobi send to you. Below I have briefly outlined some of the major achievements and challenges we continue to face in our work here in Mathare.
Our kids were back for holidays in April and we had several holiday activities that the kids involved themselves with:
· 15 kids attended a workshop on adolescence sexuality with other children projects within Mathare in ABC Children Center. It was one week training.
· 30 kids had an opportunity to be part of the graduation of Ashoka Youth Mentorship program. Ashoka is an NGO that supports the field of social entrepreneurship. Ashoka seeks to identify and support leading social entrepreneurs through a Social Venture Capital approach with the goal of elevating the citizen sector to a competitive level equal to the business sector. In Kenya they have started a mentorship program where they take in Kids for mentorship on innovative ideas that would reduce poverty within their environment.
· There was the usual Children’s Parliament where several issues of concern to the children were discussed, both from school and at home
Teenage Mother’s Program
During the last newsletter, there was a mention of the teenage mothers program where the social workers had recruited six girls for the program to train in either tailoring or hair dressing. MCFp experienced lots of problems from the girls recruited. They continuously started asking to be paid to be trained and as an organization we have in place a policy that does not allow us to pay anything to the beneficiaries of training. This mentality of getting paid to attend workshops/seminars/training has been perpetuated by big NGOs and has led to beneficiaries of different projects asking to be paid to attend or get trained. Five out of the six teenage mothers dropped and we had to go back to recruitment again and currently we have six girls being trained in the two areas. The one girl that remained from the initial group is almost through with her studies in two months. The teenage mothers have also been able to have time with their children in the center, feed the children and have their medical care taken. We hope that this program will continue and include the informal child care organizations within Mathare as envisioned in the Early Childhood and Development Program Proposal where the local community would benefit by their children attending day care centers with trained personnel.
Sanitary Pads Project
Within the 14 years that MCFpanairobi has existed, we have not only gotten involved in the children’s education but looked at other factors that might derail their acquiring of education. One of them is the lack of sanitary pads for girls which have continuously been provided to the girls in the project at a very high cost. During this period it has also come to MCFp attention that a lot of girls within the 70 schools that we work with miss school due to lack of sanitary pads, hygiene, and embarrassment every month and hence disempowering them! This has led to the project intervening but MCFp cannot afford to do so every month due to lack of funds. This awareness on issues that girls go through during their menstrual periods and skipping of school has informed the reusable sanitary pads project. The project envisaged will not only provide the reusable sanitary pads but also produce them with the women in our project and the community we serve. The project will be a livelihood project that will not only employ women and ensure they meet their basic needs through the income they get but also provide a very basic commodity at a cheap price that is durable that will ensure girls continue with their education uninterrupted. This project is in conjunction with the Days For Girls who will provide the first batch of sanitary pads before we embark on production.
On the 27th of May, 2013, we got good news that Soroptimistclub Eferding will be meeting the costs of the project to a tune of 5,000 euros. We totally appreciate Marianne Sautner. And hope the project will meet its goals and objectives as we set them.
At the end of April and beginning of May, two of the members of Staff were invited for ten days to visit Salzburg, Austria where Salzburg Marathon has become partners with MCFpanairobi. During the time there, the two staff members participated in the Marathon among other activities. At the end of the Marathon, the Mayor of the city of Salzburg presented MCFp a cheque of 5,000 euros. This is monies that had been raised through various activities before and on the day of the Marathon. The two Staff members also had several meetings with potential donors in upper Austria, namely Gabriele Hofer of Bildungshaus Schloss Puchbers who will stage a concert with Catarina Lybeck and raise funds towards the teenage mother’s project. They also met up with the CEO of Kremsmueller Industries who might come on board with helping out draw a marketing strategy of products made by women in livelihood program within European market.
Through two different donors, we have been able to set up a computer lab. We bought four PCs, two laptops and a printer at the end of the month of May. As a project, MCFp has been paying for children to learn basic computer skills after high school at a very high cost. To cut down on these costs, the project embarked on raising funds to allow kids who have finished high school to train in basic computers within the MCFp premises. The training is planned to start off in mid of June, 2013 with the first batch of students being those who finished their high school education last year, 2012. The computer lab is opened for the community around for a subsidized fee. The trainer or lecturer is a former beneficiary of the project who has a Diploma in IT from a local tertiary college.
MCFp continues to network with different organizations to be able to achieve its goals. Currently MCFp is involved in different activities with several networks; Gender Based Violence Network where it continues to address issues regarding violence within the slum areas, Day of the African Child (DAC) where the organizations are looking at issues affecting children in general and planning for the celebrations for the African Day of the Child on the 16th of June, and MCFp is also currently involved in a project for Nain i Who, a project that is working on bringing neighborhoods together and show casing what they have to offer to each other. Within Nain i Who project, MCFp is also involved in planning and implementing the Nairobi Walking Tours for the City and the eventual launch of the walk by the city Govern during the month of June. MCFp had their tour guides trained in conjunction with the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Tourism Board among other stakeholders.
Currently, the staff of MCFp is working on a strategic plan to help in running the organization for the next three years. A draft will be send to all the stakeholders to get some feedback and eventually once this is approved by the board, MCFp will embark on ensuring that what has been drawn up is achieved within the stipulated time.
Current News in Kenya
Economically; Kenya continues to be hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. Low infrastructure investment threatens Kenya's long-term position as the largest East African economy and in general life has become very expensive and even more expensive for those living below the poverty line. Unemployment remains very high. The country continues to experience chronic budget deficits, inflationary pressures, and sharp currency depreciation - as a result of high food and fuel import prices. The discovery of oil in March 2012 provides an opportunity for Kenya to balance its growing trade deficit if the deposits are found to be commercially viable and Kenya is able to develop a port and pipeline to export its oil.
Politically; In promulgating the Constitution, Kenyans made a bold statement on how they wanted their country to be governed. They wanted a system of governance that would entrench transparency and accountability and ensure a realization of basic human rights that addresses existing inequalities in distribution of wealth and resources. We cannot concretely state that this is happening but some changes are being seen in how things are being run. There is a lot of pressure from the civil societies and Kenyans in general for transparency and accountability on government. We recently held our elections peacefully against all odds and although there different perspectives on how the election was conducted, the Supreme Court ruled that it was free and fair. This has also been restated by the different observation teams with the European Union leading. Both the President elect and his deputy have on-going cases in the ICC, in The Hague. How this turns up, we await but for now life continues while the two, president and his deputy engage the African Union to request the Un and the ICC to refer the cases back to Nairobi.
Lastly we hope you continue to be friends of MCFpanairobi and support our work here in Mathare.
Please if you do have questions or need more clarification feel free to ask and we will definitely get back to you with responses. You can also visit us on our Facebook/webpage page in German or English: http://www.facebook.com/panairobi (www.panairobi.net)or http://www.facebook.com/MathareChildrenFund
Thank you and greetings from the team.
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