Nov 25, 2014

More Maasai girls protected and Mary's success

two of the Maasai girls we help protect
two of the Maasai girls we help protect

Maasai 72 Protecting 72 girls from female genital mutilation, forced marriage and illegal removal from elementary school

Our warning net is working! Recently, we learned that seven of the girls that we protect from female genital mutilation were suddenly and unexpectedly sent home from their boarding school.

It turns out that a new schoolmaster had taken over and he had decided that any child in his new school who had debt should be sent home.

This wasn't a problem for the girls who come from good families. They could simply go home and wait for their parents to raise the funds needed for them to go back  to school.

The problem for our seven girls (7 of the Maasai 72) is that they have no home to return to. If they were to go to their birth home, they would be immediately mutilated and sold into slavery.

Fortunately, we were prepared. We we now have eyes in years at all of the boarding schools where our girls attend. When the new schoolmaster kicked our girls out (against our agreement with a previous schoolmaster), we received word immediately. We sent up our transparency manager to intercept the girls, pay boarding school fees and our girls were allowed to remain in school

This all happened because of the excellent excellent communication between our executive director in the USA (Rick) and our Transparency Manager in Kenya (Anthony).

Anthony emailed Rick when he received word of the expulsions and Rick wired GR funds immediately. Anthony had the funds in four days and he was able to negotiate the return of the girls to school before any of them were sent home and mutilated.

New Dormitory Construction on our new dormitory for the girls is so behind that we had to look for a short-term option.Just last week (November 15th) we negotiated with another dormitory to take the girls in when they return to Carole’s from boarding school next month. As you may or may not know, Carole’s home was appropriately condemned by Kenya’s Health Authority. We use the word “appropriately” because we agree that her little house is not large enough to take in 72 Maasai runaways when they are home for two months a year from boarding school.

Attached are pictures of the dormitory facility we will use next month. It is located 100 meters from the entrance to Carole's compound and has a secure gate and fence. The priest who manages it confirmed that the rental fee is US$ 250 and will include the services of a matron who lives on the premises. The matron also cooks for the girls and as she also operates a shop from the building she is present all the time to monitor the girls.

The grounds are spacious and the girls would have plenty of room to relax and study.

Conclusion: thanks to our generous donors at Global Giving, all 72 girls in our protection program are currently in school and all payments for boarding school fees are current.

The future: four of our girls graduate from high school this year so we have started to look for individual donors who will sponsor each of the girls.

A permanent rescue center: we have started to seek a corporate sponsor or family foundation that will finance the acquisition of our own rescue center for the girls. Stay tuned!

Mary Keruta achieves highest marks We are so proud of Mary for becoming the leader of her school! Mary is the second girl to run to the police for protection from Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage back in 2009 and the second to arrive at Carole’s home. That Mary was able to soar so high academically is proof that our program is working!!!

Without our help Mary would have been sold into slavery long ago. Now she will know what it feels like to be an educated and self actualized woman. Way to go Mary!!!

Oversight Mission and Clothing and supply delivery. Attached are a few photos of our clothing delivery (thank you St. Thomas School in Medina WA) and Global Giving donors.

Thank you all for your help!

clothing distribution
clothing distribution
new dormitory is ready
new dormitory is ready
new dormitory from the outside
new dormitory from the outside
Mary Keruta wins top school honors
Mary Keruta wins top school honors
Nov 25, 2014

New Children's Garden and ongoing transparency

new garden at Iviani
new garden at Iviani

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.

Thank you!

tomato distribution
tomato distribution
kale harvesting
kale harvesting
Matulani School Grade Metrics
Matulani School Grade Metrics
Matulani garden transparency requirements
Matulani garden transparency requirements
Global Roots tech team on site
Global Roots tech team on site
Jun 6, 2014

Our Children's Garden is raising test scores!

Ritchie's rescued children
Ritchie's rescued children

Matulani

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.

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We thank all generous donors for your support!

The Global Roots Team, Kenya

 


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