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Sep 23, 2019

Wildcats in Nyeri

Leadership Workshop at the Polytechnic
Leadership Workshop at the Polytechnic

Students from K-State’s Staley School of Leadership Studies again spent two months at the Centre this past summer. They undertook a variety of projects to support Centre programs. The K-State team facilitated a six-week leadership development course for students at the new Rathithi Polytechnic. Course topics included communication, self-awareness, conflict/resolution and a project that required students to identify and create an action plan to make progress on a local community need.

Each student also took the lead on different projects. Kat continued Penn State's food insecurity surveys by analyzing the data collected on food security and dietary diversity in households in three communities where the Centre is engaged.  As expected, the surveys show that one of the main reasons children go to the streets in these areas is because they lack food in their homes. The CYEC intends to use this study to develop community interventions and to communicate needs to the local government.

Tori, with the help of Marisa and Gladwell, focused on creating a marketing and communications plan for the CYEC/ZFI in order to ultimately generate more awareness and resources for the Centre. This new communications plan includes branding guidelines, social media campaigns, a promotional brochure, website updates, student testimonies and more! 

The Centre has cultivated strong relationships with local civic, educational and religious groups over the years. Many of these groups, as well as individuals, have provided in-kind support for the Centre's programs. To facilitate this, Alex is creating a website that shows what the Centre's current needs are to enable donors to prioritize giving. This site will also accept mpesa, a widely used mobile money system in Kenya. 

Brad developed, distributed and analyzed a CYEC student survey in order to better understand their experience at the Centre. The survey focused on the students' educational and professional aspirations, their perceptions of the Centre and ideas for how the Centre could improve. Results of this survey were shared with CYEC staff.

The students had an amazing experience at the Centre and thanks the staff, volunteers and young people for making them welcome and helping them learn!

KSU Team 2019
KSU Team 2019
Jun 25, 2019

Penn Staters at the CYEC

Once again, students from Penn State spent the better part of May at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre working on projects identified by staff at the CYEC. Penn State and the CYEC have been collaborating for more than 10 years to provide PSU students with the opportunity to gain practical experience working and learning about community development while supporting the initiatives of the Centre. This year the students worked on two projects – one to develop a prototype landfill and another to facilitate an assessment of food security in neighborhoods where the Centre works.

Nyeri, like most communities in Kenya, lacks a safe way to handle its waste. Two youth volunteers at the Centre, Bonny and Kiki, have been working to develop and commercialize ‘waste to value’ initiatives including making charcoal briquettes from waste and recycling other materials. When the local municipality decided to build a new landfill, Bonny and Kiki wanted to ensure it would be safe, taking into consideration air and water quality in both the design and management of the site. The Penn State students researched the design of landfills in resource-poor environments and worked with them to design and build a prototype landfill at the current dumpsite. Their work caught the attention of national media – you can see them on the news at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=hgozZ4TQRSw

Food insecurity is another challenge in the area, and it potentially contributes to children and youth ending up on the streets. However, there is no real understanding of the incidence of or risk factors for food insecurity. The Centre asked the students to develop a survey instrument and methodology to help them identify how prevalent (and deep) food insecurity is and to identify who is at greatest risk of lacking adequate food. The students developed an instrument that includes the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) as well as general information on household demographics and dietary diversity. The FIES is used globally and identifies mild, moderate or severe levels of food insecurity. Our students worked with staff at the Centre to ensure the survey was culturally appropriate and to train the enumerators. They completed the survey and are entering the data for analysis now.

The students were able to learn and share with the staff and youth at the Centre. We thank them for making us welcome and letting us work alongside them!

Enumerator training
Enumerator training
Coding and entering data
Coding and entering data
At the landfill
At the landfill
Apr 2, 2019

Expanding our youth opportunities

Starting the construction
Starting the construction

Youth capacity building has been at the heart of the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre from the beginning. This year we are excited to expand our vocational skills program to a new community about 20  minutes away from the Centre. The new site was a polytechnic before, so it has some good facilities  that just needed a bit of refurbishment. However we're expanding the curriculum so we've had to also do some construction.

We'll provide opportunities for disadvantaged local youth as well as those from the larger Nyeri area to obtain skills in agricultural entrepreneurship, computer technology, wood working, welding and tailoring. We're especially proud that some of our former youth will be teaching assistants in this new program! 

Your support helps build our educational programs and ensures that these youth have the skills needed for a promising future! Thanks for all you do!

Laying the foundation
Laying the foundation
Coming together
Coming together
Ready for students!
Ready for students!
 
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