We have been eagerly working to prepare for Phase 1 of our library construction: the foundation! Your support during our GlobalGiving’s Little X Little Fall campaign resulted in $1,169 donations from 31 different donors, for which GlobalGiving matched another $585. That’s a total of $1,754 in total donations!!
Our volunteer team in Busia County, Kenya is working hard to prepare the library site for construction. We recently added a gate at the library site to ensure we can store construction materials securely and keep out grazing cattle. Currently, we are finalizing the floor plan so that we can obtain a building permit. We have received input from Kenyan community members, our COCE board members, interns, and our partners here within the US about spaces and layout and so appreciate these volunteers’ time.
We would like to thank our donors and staff for their donations and time that support our fundraising goals and planning needs. Through this generous and ongoing support, we continue to make progress toward our ultimate goal of providing access to resources that promote education, health, and well-being for the children, youth, and community members in Busia County, Kenya!
To get the ground ready for our future library and headquarter, in April, the Collective for Orphan Care and Education (COCE) hired local day laborers to fence off the property’s perimeter. This work – clearing out trees, roots, removing ant hills, and digging holes for posts – was done by hand and took 3 weeks to complete. The final part of this effort included planting vegetation that will grow into a natural border for the property. Mission accomplished! Or…was it? At COCE, we have learned that done doesn’t always mean completed and with any project, flexibility is key!
In Kenya the rainy seasons occur in April and May. However, this May had torrential rains beyond the typical rainy season. The rains and run-off threatened to carry away both the fence and the newly planted vegetation around it. In order to protect the work that had already been done our country director Mr. Jackson Ochwila recognized this issue and quickly acted to hire local day laborers to dig a large trench that funneled the water away from the fencing. To give you a better idea of how significant the rains were the trench is over 3 feet deep to accommodate the amount of rain!
Here at COCE we are very thankful for the donors and staff who make it possible for us to respond to emergencies like these. We are especially grateful that we have contacts that live in country who can assist us with project and community needs to further our goal of educational access for all children in Busia County, Kenya.
In March 2021, initial steps were taken to prepare the future site for COCE’s community library space. A fence was established around the perimeter of the property and vegetation was planted. While this may sound like a minor project, it was quite a large feat.
In rural parts of Kenya like Sijowa Village, it takes considerable time, energy, and coordination to pursue any type of construction project. For instance, multiple trips must be taken to price out materials and then figure out how to transport them. Moreover, large equipment and machinery is not available. That means the work – such as digging up tree roots, removing large ant hills, and leveling out the ground – is completed by local day laborers using hand tools. Finally, irrigation systems are uncommon, which means that the planting of vegetation must be timed according to the rainy season so that plants become established.
While the work and time commitment are great, so are the benefits to families and local businesses. Buying materials from local businesses and paying local day laborers puts money into the local economy. And, when the library project is finally completed, it will serve not only Sijowa Village but also several surrounding communities. It's a worthwhile investment and we are thankful to have solid community connections that supports the work we do in Busia County, Kenya.
We will share more updates as we move forward with the planning for this community library. As we continue to raise money to complete this project, we want to thank each of you for your support. This library will be a dream come true for so many students and community members and your contributions are making this dream possible. And, we send a special thank you to our monthly donors, whose continuous investment is propelling our efforts forward little by little. We are grateful for all you make possible!
In September 2020, we launched fundraising efforts for COCE's primary project in 2021 -- building a community library that provides books and study space to youth in rural Kenya who currently have neither.
We have been amazed at the outpouring of support. In 4 short months, you have helped us raise nearly $7,500, which puts us about 1/4 of the way to making this dream a reality. Additionally, we have secured a partner who will donate thousands of books to the library once it is completed and have begun speaking to headmasters at the local schools to learn more about youths' literacy and educational needs.
The photo you see here is a glimpse of the land where this library will be built. The first step COCE will take in 2021 is hiring local day laborers to build a perimeter fence around the future construction site. The next step will be finding a local contractor to provide a quote for the construction. We will continue to meet with community members (virtually), raise money, and hopefully begin laying the foundation for the library building by Fall 2021!
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