We are proud to report that our flagship food program in Kenya at Matulani Elementary School is doing excellent. Our spring gardena nd chicken egg farms continues to help our local team provide a healthy lunch for over 250 children at Matulani Elementary School. Our chicken egg program is being expanded this month by 100 chicks!
We have attached photos of Matulani produce, the chicks that were purchased for our hen house and a letter of thank you from the schoolmaster of Matulani.
The monthly allowance has enabled us to feed the school with the following quantities in a term
Note: corruption is rampant in Mtito Andei (an impoverished truck stop town between Nairobi and Mombasa) so transparency and oversight is constant challenge. Fortunately, we found that a high degree of transparency with a school food program is possible anywhere in the world with a galvanized PTA. No matter how poor the school, we have learned that there is always a PTA and they want one thing: the best of everything for their son and daughter.
The following reports were written by Kenyan staff of Global Roots. They are published with little editing.
Matulani- The results here has made parents, teachers and students happy. They have the best marks ever, The best student got 399 marks which was better of compared to the best student in 2013 who got 325 marks. Their mean score is 254.06, this is far above average compared to 2013, they had 242.58. This is an increment of 11%. The first 2 students are likely to join National school and the rest are eligible of joining provincial schools. The parents and teachers believe this is a direct impact that has been brought by the hot lunch that has created more contact hours between learners and teachers. Minimal absenteeism has been another tool that has taken us to this step. Students got good marks in sciences due to provision of demonstration field in some chapters,eg pests identification, weed controls and safe using of chemicals.
Iviani- though our project is still new there but the provision of water has played a part in improvement in the National exams. The best student emerged with 372 marks, in 2013 they had 351 marks. This is due to minimal absenteeism. The provision of piped water has played a big part in Minimizing waterborne diseases.
They've a meanscore of 252 compared to 248 of the previous year.
Matangini- They had a slight improvement in the exams. The distribution of vegetables on the school has boosted the no. Of students in the school. Their best student had 408 marks. Their mean score is 248 compared to 218 of 2013.
All the hard teachers have hopes of gape toting a higher enrollment due to the interest of hot lunches in these schools.
Appreciation from the community has been noted, I personally thank the Global Roots fraternity for their continuos support and coordination.
Water receipt oversight. Email from AK — GR oversight officer, Kenya
The Matulani headmaster has emailed you a new receipt or payment made for the May water bill.
Earlier last week he explained to me that for the April expenses report the school had emailed us an INVOICE for the water consumption. The colour and numbering sequence for the invoices is different from that of the payment receipts that the water company issues.
We agreed that he would forward the water invoice for May so that it could back up the water receipt that has appeared questionable. In the end he sent a new receipt that was issued by the water company. As the water consumption reflected is not unusually high given that there are now 100 chicks to watered at the school, I will give the school the benefit of doubt and assume that the earlier receipt was the result of a lazy clerk at the water company.
However we have agreed that subsequent accounting documents must be consistent. Receipts for actual payments made and not invoices.
The school now is well and truly aware that documentation forwarded will be scrutinised closely and they have to ensure it's authenticity.
I have briefed the headmaster on the funding offer for the chicken project and he has promised to have a proposal ready by this Friday. I have advised him that this is a one time offer and that the proposal should be able to be sustained by the regular monthly allowance the school receives.
Tracking of spending in Mtito
Due to the monthly practice of reporting on expenses, the two school project management committees at Matulani and Matagini have come to learn what is expected of them in preparing their expense summaries.
Every month on my informing them that their operational funds have been deposited into their respective bank accounts, the signatories to the account travel to Mtito Andei town in order to withdraw the money. During this trip they can also have the expense receipts and the expense summary report scanned at a cyber café and then forwarded to both of us by email.
A backup option is to have photocopies of the relevant documents placed in an envelope, addressed to me and sent on the parcel service provided by the bus companies. The cost of an envelope to Nairobi is just slightly over US$ 1.00. I can in turn scan the documents in Nairobi and email them to you.
On those occasions when a GR representative is on an inspection visit from Nairobi, these expenses documents can be physically handed to them.
Now that Iviani is now receiving a stipend, the head teacher will be instructed too on the system.
Ritchie and Matulani have both stated that they consult a qualified agriculturalist to advise them on the necessary inputs for the gardens and I will get his telephone contact so as to counter check on the purchases made, to avoid excesses or the diversion of these supplies.
We are thrilled by our project at Matulani but concerned that the construction of a new railway by a Chinese corporation will disrupt our oldest garden at Matangini and newest irrigation project at Iviani.
A Global Roots oversight team will visit Matulani next month with the funds necessary to expand the chicken egg program and begin developing a dormitory that will help the school take in stragglers. In this part of Kenya, a straggler is a child whose parents die and he or she is forced to hit the road looking for help.
The team will also meet with the local construction manager of the Chinese corporation to negotiate relocation funds for our two threatened food projects.
Our Children’s Gardens in Mtito Andei are now providing hot lunches to more than 500 children at two schools. A third garden was planted last week by volunteers next to Iviani Elementary School after a tech team from Global Roots brought piped in water for irrigation.
Keeping children in school in this part of Kenya is critical because Mtito Andei is a place where unattended boys are forcibly recruited into gangs and girls are forced into a lifetime of sexual slavery.
According to our local manager “the presence of the Global Roots projects in these schools has been a big blessing to the students and to the community at large. Currently, the classroom performance has improved due to more learning hours and absenteeism is minimal. Students are now taking hot lunch and this leads to better concentration in the classroom. Furthermore, agricultural skills are being acquired by the students thanks to the Global Roots greenhouse and expansion gardens that are accessible to the pupils during their free time. Poultry keeping has become a keen interest to the pupils and many of them are now practicing this at their homes. The vibrance of our gardens have attracted stray children. Parents are willing to take these children in because they can get food for them from the school garden. The enrollment at our schools with gardens is therefore increasing.
New Garden at Iviani Elementary
The “Iviani" garden was planted today. Despite the many challenges — especially with tire punctures (from long defensive spikes from the Acacia tree), the parents showed courage and now they are proud to have a one hectare farm. The produce will go to the school’s lunch program this spring.
The parents at Iviani call 2014 “a year of blessing”. This is the year that Global Roots technicians piped water into school for the first time and GR also financed the construction of standard toilets. One Iviani father thanked our local Kenyan manager for what he called an “eye opener.” The entire Iviani community has been galvanized by infusions of Global Roots funding and interest.” We want to thank Iviani parents for their hard work!
Our advanced garden at Matangini Elementary is ready for its second harvest in the greenhouse. Sukuma wiki will be planted this round. The school committee is fully functional and all Global Roots transparency requirements are being met.
Our most productive local garden and school lunch program is localted at Matulani Elementary and it excels due to the vigilence of the Matulani PTA and the hard work of the school master.
Sukuma wiki is being planted outside our massive greenhouse in an external garden. The large greenhouse structure next to the eternal garden continues to keep elephants at bay. No elephant has gone closer than 50 meters to our greenhouse -- so our external crops are protected.
The Matulani garden is so well maintained and it has been a learning field to the schools around.
Our annual metrics report will be published next month. We have been collecting the data we need to show that children who enjoy a daily meal at schools in any impoverished area will out excel those who don’t.
None of this would be possible without the donations we have received from donors at Global Giving.
We have attached examples of our oversight and transparency work.
Our Children’s Garden in Mtito Andei is not only convincing parents to send their children back to school, it is saving lives!
The story of Muuo
Finding himself in a life or death struggle at home, twelve year old Muuo took it on himself to run away to the small town of Emali where he hoped he find some small jobs. He decided to hide himself in a Mombasa-bound container. Unbeknownst to Muuo, the lorry driver decided to rest for a few hours in Mtito Andei, one of the poorest towns in Kenya.Fortunately for Muoo, it is the site of our Children’s Garden at Matulani Elementary School.Muoo alighted from the lorry in middle of the night and he was noticed by a night watchmen who questioned him. Muuo explained that he was desperate, hungry and he had nowhere to go.The kind night watchman took Muoo immediately to a very poor, local rescue center for children. He couldn’t be taken to school without a local sponsor and there was no food at the center. Once again, Muoo took it on himself to walk to Matulani Elementary School after he heard a rumor from other hungry runaways the school had a successful lunch program. Upon arrival at the school, he told his story and he received a school uniform. Muoo is now eating a daily lunch and Global Roots is paying his school fees!Ritchie Mutua of Global Roots met Muuo the first time at Matulani and he tried to interview him but Muuo wept too much. On a second occasion, with the confidence afforded by a full belly and new clothes, Muuo told us his story.Muuo is from Kati Komu — a village far from Mtito. He was raised by his grandparents after his dying mother abandoned him seven years ago. His grandparents, however, have fallen on hard times and they, too, are unable to care for him. Muuo’s human survival instincts kicked in when he knew deep down he would starve to death if he stayed at home.Now all he wants is to find a way to care for his grand parents!Muuo is a beautiful boy and he is the reason we do what we do. That our garden saved his life is a testament to grassroots aid work!
Please visit our website to watch a video interview with Muuo
2014 spring update
Because Mtito Andei is one of the most corrupt environments on the planet we must move forward from year to year with a great deal of due diligence, oversight and transparency. Celebrating our successes too much could divert our attention from the constant forces of corruption in one of Kenya’s most forsaken areas.
We are pleased, however, to finally have solid evidence that our school lunch program at Matulani Elementary School has raised test scores. Please see attached spread sheet.
The following is an oversight report from our lead transparency officer in Kenya.
“The attached document is my take on the Matulani school grades metrics as per the data provided by the headmaster.
The analysis is based only on the Primary School section and compares the academic performance of the first school term of this year with that of the last term in 2013.
The headmaster tells me that the total number of students enrolled at any given time tends to fluctuate from school term to term, in particular to the classes below Standard 7 due to the transient nature of the employment of some of the students’ parents. The proximity of the school to the Mombasa highway means that a good number of school parents derive their income from business or occupations related to the road and so they do tend to pack up and leave to follow other opportunities or jobs in towns situated along the road.
The enrollment of students in the nursery section has however increased by 38% from the end of last year. There are now 33 nursery students, up from 24.
An orphaned boy (Muoo) has also been enrolled as the school and is being housed by well wishers. He originally comes from a location approximately 100 kms from the school. When local residents became aware of his status, Matulani was made the school of choice for his placement due to its feeding program.
Cases of truancy have also reduced.The headmaster states that 90% of the students attend school on a regular basis. The 10% no-shows usually include the more sickly, H.I.V infected students.
The headmaster has also issued bylaws and opened up a register through which parents are encouraged to regularly visit the school, tour the gardens and to record their comments and suggestions. He is trying to get the school community to take more ownership of the project.
The student body usually spends their mid-morning break of 30 minutes a day working in the chicken shed changing the drinking water and looking for newly laid eggs.
In the afternoon, students will also assist in the gardens with harvesting vegetables and weeding where necessary. The headmaster intends to use them to help him clear more land for additional planting over the coming weeks.
The chickens are laying an average of 3 eggs a day, but now that the plastering work at the original chicken house has been completed, the chicken will be moved there from their current temporary home and he expects the chicken's productivity to improve. The room they are kept in at the moment is close to the classrooms and he thinks the noise and commotion from the students has been stressing some of the chicken.
I also spoke to the Chairman about the organizing committee. He echoed the headmaster's sentiments that all is going smoothly with the project. He repeated the headmaster's concern about the high water bill and their intention to install a water drip system. The Chairman divulged to me that World Vision has donated a water tank to the school and they intend to use it to store water for the drip system. I had already discussed with the headmaster that he would have to source funding for this initiative from the monthly allowance the school receives and I am glad to hear that they are making progress to achieving this objective.
The headmaster and the chairman are eager to open up an bank account and appoint signatories for more transparent handling of the monthly allowance. I would however suggest that we wait until your visit in July. It will give you the opportunity to meet these other members of the committee personally so that you can make your own assessment of their characters. Your presence will also provide the necessary 'gravitas' over formalization of their management roles.
Report from Richie Mutua. Global Roots Lead Outreach Officer, Mtito Andei.
The two children below joined Matulani primary school after the lunch program was introduced. They explained to me why they chose to come to Matulani without even the company of their guardian. Their mother got married to an old man at Matulani village and he never bothered to take them to school. In the evenings they would mix with other kids from Matulani at local playgrounds. It's by this mingling that Kyania and Maswili learned about the food at Matulani. Amazingly, they came to learn morning without books, guardian and uniform. Please have a keen look at their clothing. This is not school uniform but they school has taken them the way they are. We continue to appreciate Global Roots for helping Kenyan kids return BACK to school.
We thank all generous donors for your support!
The Global Roots Team, Kenya
The results our out! Our gardens and chicken eggs are helping rural children do better in the classroom. Because the children are now served lunch at school they are better able to study and therefore they are performing better on their exams. More and more local parents are hearing about our gardens and they are returning their children to school!
Before our Matulani Children's Garden: in the 2012 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam the school had 24 candidates who achieved a mean score of 241 marks, with the highest student’s score being 351 marks.
After our garden: in the 2013 exam the school had 28 students with a Mean score of 242 marks and the highest student’s score being 381 marks. This particular student has won a place at a national school, of which there are only 78 such awards in the country. The poor town of Mtito has never seen such achievement!
We are now raising funds for the running costs of our two children's gardens in Mtito Andei and we are hoping to raise funds for new gardens that will benefit young girls in the Maasai Mara region.
New development: after fits and starts our HIV/Aids outreach program is showing great results. Our local outreach officer is conducting one session a week right in the heart of Mtito Andei. It is our goal to bring the science of HIV/Aids to the local people -- including young women who were forced into a life a prostitution when they were as young as 13. These girls never had the opportunity to attend high school because they come from severaly poor families and, when left unattended in their early teens by young mothers who had to turn tricks to pay for their children, the girls got pregnant themselves, usually by young, local boys. The cycle then repeats itself when these young girls turn tricks to pay for the lives of their own children.
It is our goal to bring the science of HIV/Aids to the local people of Mtito Andei. Due to a lack of education young girls believe truck drivers who tell them that they don't need to wear condoms beause they are not of the "caste" of men who are prone to contract HIV/Aids. We teach the girls that no man is immune from contracting HIV or infecting others.
We have interviewed those who are at risk and those who are not yet sexually active and we have devised two different approaches to HIV/Aids outreach. Both approaches are hard-hitting. No adult leaves our outreach session without a complete understanding about how the HIV virus is spread or how it can be prevented. Children leave our outreach sessions more aware of the negative, manipulative forces around them. We teach hope to the children and try to convince them to stay in school and come to us if they ever need books or other school costs to be covered.
Where are the fathers?
We have learned that the fathers of the girls in Mtito Andei east are not present because the land on the east side of the Nairobi/Mombasa highway is no longer airable due to climate change. The fathers, unable to farm and also unable to engage in hunting, are drinking themselves to death on cheap, home made liquor.
There are only a few other nonprofits active in Mtito Andei because it is very difficult to show results in a place like this. We, however, won't walk away. Our local partners are working very hard and, with intense oversight and transparency, they are getting things done.
Besides our gardens, hen houses and outreach work, we will also continue to pass out entire outfits to children (the poorest children go to school in rags) and distribute solar lighting to the poorest households so that school children can do their homework for the first time.
Thanks to steady donations from Global Giving and a few foundations, we will continue our work in 2014 and hope for improve test scores and improved lives for the children on the east side of the Nairobi/Mombasa highway in arid Tsavo East.
We have just finished our most productive period ever in Mtito Andei, Kenya.
Over the last two months we have erected a new greenhouse that will provide fresh vegetables to over 256 more children at Matulani elementary school. We are currently growing tomatoes inside the greenhouse and kale outside. Our giant greenhouse (a 5K professional structure) is large enough to keep the elephants away. It is so large that the elephants stay away from our kale and our water supply.
One of the challenges of our new Matulani garden is the additinal cost of water. The school is connected to the city of Mtito's plumbing network so it will cost us an aditional $125 per month to irrigate the garden in the dry season. Unfortunately, the dry season in Mtito lasts for about eight months.
Our master gardener from our existing successful garden at Matangini (20 minutes away by mortorbike) is overseeing our new garden. This, however, is too much work for one gardener. We are looking to add a second master gardener and this will be an additional expense of $120 per month. Thanks to generous past donations from longtime donors Patrick Firouzian and the Trover Family Foundation of Oregon -- as well as ongoing individual donations from Global Giving (including $100 per month from Carolyn Stoebuck), this garden is funded through the end of the year!
We are also happy to report that 100 healthy chicks were purchased from an excellent producer and deliverd to our new hen house Matulani. We spent $1,265 on a three month program that will end up producing 200 eggs a day for several years. The high expense is due to the costs of layers mash and the professional care fo the chicks. Chicks are very fragile and easily stressed.
After three months, 50 of our 100 chicks will be transfered to our brand new hen house at Matagnini school. The current chickens we keep at Matangini are too old to lay healthy eggs. Instead, these chickens are being fed well in anticipation of their slaughter. The meat will of course we delivered to the area's poorest families.
Our greenhouse at Matangini has been successfullly replanted and is doing wonderful.
The vegetables from our gardens and eggs from our hen houses fuel school lunch programs for 600 children who would other wise not be able to concentrate at school due to hunger! Our school lunches also convince local parents to return their children to school!
In a new program, over 30 of the poorest local children who previously dressed only in rags we given new clothes by Global Roots represenative Richtie Mutua. 15 children even got to pick out their own clothes. This is important because these children no longer have to feel inferior when they go to school.
Recently we launched an HIV/Aids campaign in Mtito Andei which will help enhance local knowledge about this disease. We have attached a photo of a recent outreach session below.
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