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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!
Jan 4, 2019

The Twelve Days of Christmas

In honor of your support of the Children & Youth Empowerment Centre in Kenya, we’ve composed a special version of The 12 Days of Christmas.  We think even those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas will enjoy! 

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 In the spring of 2017, the CYEC opened a drop-in center in downtown Nyeri. Since then, more than 30 children have been removed from the streets and placed in schools or homes. These young people now have safe places to live and the opportunity to complete their education.

 “On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 Over the past two summers, Kansas State students in the Staley School of Leadership Studies program guided the prefects through workshops to enable them to be effective leaders. Prefects mentor younger children and play a key leadership role in the functioning of the Centre.

 “On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three acres of vegetables, two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 Penn State ag students worked with youth in 2016 and 2018 to improve soil health in the shamba (garden) through mulching, composting and crop rotation.  Youth help grow veggies for the Centre year-round, earning income for themselves and providing healthy food for the children.

 “On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 The CYEC is a resource for local low-income families, providing fun days focused on literacy for young children. By supporting local education, they can help more children succeed, beyond those in the Centre, and help ensure fewer children end up on the streets.

 “On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five preschoolers playing & learning, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 The CYEC opened its nursery school program to the local community in 2012. Now these children enter primary school ready to learn.

 “On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six students a-studying, five preschoolers playing & learning, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 Public education in Kenya is free through 8th grade, but secondary schools charge tuition.  Local and international ZFI sponsors provide scholarships for CYEC youth as they further their education. Our kids regularly rank at the top of their class!

 “On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven children breakfasting, six students a-studying, five preschoolers playing & learning, four outreach programs, three acres of veggies, two prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 ZFI donors ensure CYEC children have a healthy breakfast before school 3 days a week.  We also provide medical and educational supplies and clothing.

 “On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 In the summer of 2017, Penn State students worked on improving the diet of the cows, planted napier grass, and developed a strategy to ensure forage availability even in years of drought. Last summer they worked with the youth to make silage from this napier grass. The Centre’s two dairy cows provide milk for the children with surplus to sell to neighbors, supporting both nutrition and income!

 “On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 Several years ago, a PSU faculty member helped youth start a hay-baling business. They’ve received grants to provide training to youth in Uganda and other parts of Kenya to expand the program – helping many young people across the region!

 “On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 Friends of the CYEC in Kenya have formed the Zawadi Society, a group of local volunteers who mentor and tutor children at the Centre. It’s so important for the kids to have a special someone who cares about them!

 “On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

 After school activities include sports, reading, arts, music, and an environmental club to help CYEC children and youth develop their self-awareness and have fun!

 “On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 youth succeeding, 11 children playing, 10 volunteers mentoring, 9 youth a-baling, 8 youth a-milking, 7 children breakfasting, 6 students a-studying, 5 preschoolers playing & learning, 4 outreach programs, 3 acres of veggies, 2 prefects leading and a second chance for a child living on the streets.”

The CYEC strives to develop the potential of these children & youth so they can lead happy, productive lives. Your support helps us meet this goal!

 
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