8th Report November 30, 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. As we reported in August, graduated and is now teaching at a girls school, so we have asked Jemimah, another PATHWAYS scholar, to report on her project. The members of the communities have continued to benefit through the projects the PATHWAYS scholars have initiated. Below is an update on the specific progress they have made to improve the lives of their community members and their community environments.
Jemimah Peters report- Improvement of the local economy through developing a water source to aid food security
I would like to take this chance to give an update on my project. At the moment the poultry project implementation is going on well. After a long discussion, our women’s group decided that the poultry house would be constructed at the church compound as that is the central point and also to avoid any misunderstandings that could possibly emerge if it was constructed at a member's home. As the first phase of the poultry house construction, the members dug the foundation, and brought together the required materials like sand, construction stones and bricks. The construction has already started (see photos) and they hope to complete it in the next three weeks. From the healthy discussion they had with my fellow PATHWAYS scholars who visited my project, they have decided that they are at first going keep the local breed of chicken, unlike we had earlier planned for layers, which will be very expensive to maintain. They are very optimistic about the project and they just can't wait to see the outcome. For the farming, they had decided to transplant their seedlings once it rains as they are expecting rains. But as Alphonse, my fellow PATHWAYS scholar, shared, it is still very dry and dusty and the rivers are also dry. But they are hoping that soon it is going to rain. The members appreciate the help that the water tanks purchased earlier have been to them. Besides watering their crops it has helped the church members and especially on Sundays because the water is used for drinking and cooking among other uses. This has helped the mothers because before,it was still their responsibility every Sunday to bring water to church with jerrycans. Therefore, with water available in the tanks, it has reduced their burden and that of other community members of carrying water every Sunday. Again as a self help group which is registered, they have benefited from seminars which are normally organized by the ministry of agriculture and specifically for registered groups to learn more about ways of farming in dry areas. Even though there has been no improvement in their income as per now,they are determined to move on as they look forward to more growth and expansion of the project. With the motivation and inspiration they got from my fellow PATHWAYS scholars, Dennis,Alphonse and Brian, I know there is going to be a great improvement.
I am looking forward to communicating with you about our progress. Thank you so much for your support of our efforts to help improve our local economy.
Dennis Mutwiri’s project – Solar panels, planting trees and fish farming.
Dear Global Giving Donors and Friends,
It is my hope that you are doing well. Am also good. I traveled home and I met and spent time with my group's members. We held a meeting to review the year 2012 and discuss the way forward. We had an opportunity to analyze and discuss each of the four projects. In this report, I will shed light on each of them.
i. Fish Farming Project
I begin with appreciating your aid in fencing the pond. We bought materials to complete this work and fencing will resume after members set a day to work on this. 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.
ii. Tree nursery Project
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.
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.
iii. Solar Power Project
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 photos). The member is using the power for lighting and powering a radio set (also pictured). Commercially, she charges people's mobile phones in the neighborhood at the rate of sh. 10 per phone. She uses the money to repay the solar. She says that, of late she has cut costs on fuel and charging her 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.
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 this month, 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.
As always, I want to extend my deep appreciation on behalf of myself and all of my community members for your constant support,
Michael Murigi’s report -Growing cassava for food security and income.
I am happy to report that our community participated in the World Food Day Celebrations by holding a public forum on cassava on 16th, October 2012 at Kigumo Divisional headquarters. During the event, hundreds were taught on the benefits of the highly nutritious and drought resistant Cassava as a food, fodder and cash crop. The community members also utilized the opportunity to sell various cassava products including doughnuts, porridge,chips, crisps (see photos of people buying and enjoying cassava products).
A few months ago I was invited to the AGRA dinner. AGRA is a group that promotes food security in Africa. It was one of the best moments in my life. Being amidst technocrats from all over Africa. From outside AGRA, Prof. Agnes Wang'ombe, the Principal, College of Agriculture, University of Nairobi and I were the only Kenyans in attendance. I was by far the youngest guest, all the others being Professors and Doctorate holders. I made a brief presentation of how we are enhancing food security through cassava . We celebrated Dr. Namanga Ngongi , from Cameroon, for his efforts towards a green revolution in Africa as the First President of AGRA. It was a wonderful experience!
Many thanks to all of you for believing in our cassava project for food security. You are making a large difference in our community!
Dear Global Giving Friends,
The girls we are mentoring are benefiting immensely from the instruction and guidance we are giving them.
The computer classes are very active and important we because those proficient with computer skills are in advantaged positions to compete for job placements as well as start new businesses. We thus have girls coming for training on weekends to learn computer skills. The training is changing and shaping the girls perceptions as well as making them responsible computer and internet users and giving them an advantage over their peers.
“I am excited to complete the program so that I get a certificate. I know the certificate will help me get a job when I complete my studies.” Jackline Wanjiku, Form 2
"Computer training helps to boast my self esteem. I have learned a lot about our county, country and the whole world through the internet. I have also learnt politics through the internet, and know president Obama is competing with Romney for presidency.”Mary Wakonyo, class 6
“Computer training is shaping my career choice. I would like to be a Computer technician and teacher because I enjoy using a computer.
The girls are also doing simple activities to earn money and develop an enterprising culture. Such activities includes washing cars and cleaning peoples compounds.
‘Through this program, I washed a car for the first time. I was paid Ksh. 50. I bought a pencil at Ksh.10, an eraser for Ksh.5, and pen ink at Ksh.25. I saved Ksh.10. I am happy that for the first time in my life I received a pay for my labour. Jackline Wanjiku, Form 2
“I spend one hour every Saturday collecting fallen dry leaves from my neighbour’s home. I make up to Ksh. 30 per week. I want to save and buy story books so that I can improve my English. I know this is good because I want to be a journalist in future.” Jane Makasi, class 7
“Although I thought that some jobs can only be done by a man. Washing a car sounded a man’s job and funny to me when my mentor Caroline suggested that I can do it to make money. I now appreciate that I tried.”Cecilia Wanjiku, form 2
In addition, when the girls leave this training program, they go out and gather a group of younger girls and pass on their new found skills and experiences to them, thus perpetuating the cycle of mentoring.
Thank you for helping girls realize their potential.
Maragua Division, Kenya
My community continues to benefit from the purchase of the mill to grind cassava to make food staples. The enthusiasm for the project in my community continues to grow. I am happy to report on the latest news.
Our community participated in the World Food Day Celebrations by holding a public forum on cassava on 16th, October 2012 at Kigumo Divisional headquarters. During the event, hundreds were taught on the benefits of the highly nutritious and drought resistant Cassava as a food, fodder and cash crop. The community members also utilized the opportunity to sell various cassava products including doughnuts, porridge, chips, and crisps. In the photos, are people buying and enjoying cassava dishes.
I am glad to inform you that our milling operation is modeled on the concept of a social business put forth by Muhammad Yunus. We charge only Ksh. 10 per 5 Kgs instead of Ksh. 30 that the rest of the millers ask. This is to encourage consumption of cassava, as the villagers can now mill their dried cassava chips much more cheaply. This obviously encourages cassava cultivation. The little income accruing almost entirely goes into the running of the business through payment of its recurrent costs.
However, I am of the opinion that social enterprises experience some key challenges. They have to compete in the commercial market dominated by conventional businesses. This is in addition to facing the same operational challenges and risks as all other businesses. To overcome this challenge, the social enterprise should be of a relatively large size so that it can break even and manage to settle its recurrent expenditure. In Economics, this is referred to as "Economies of Scale." Social enterprises also lag behind in embracing technology. This is due to their low level of profits as opposed to what conventional businesses make. The competitors would easily manage to run more efficiently as they can utilize their comparatively large profit streams towards technological advancement and cost reduction. This kind of competition may lead to failure of social enterprises, if they are not large and mature enough. If I get an opportunity to study for a Masters in Development Economics, I will focus on the role of social enterprises and Non- Governmental Organisations in poverty alleviation and economic development. I believe very little effort has been channeled towards realizing their potential as engines of economic development.
Thank you for your belief in our social business. You are changing lives for the better.