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 Children  Kenya Project #6241

Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya

by Zawadi Fund International
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya
Educate and Empower Street Children in Kenya

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
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!

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!

The education team in action
The education team in action

Last May, another group of Penn State students from the College of Agricultural Sciences spent three weeks in Nyeri, working with youth at the Centre. Students spent the spring semester learning about Kenyan history and agriculture as well as topics in community and youth development. They also discussed the ethics of service learning as they prepared to partner with their peers in Kenya. This year projects were focused on silage production, a crop rotation production plan, and workshops on active learning for the staff. 

When the 2017 team was there, Kenya was in the midst of a two-year drought and forage was hard to find. Once found, it was of poor quality and expensive. The students that year helped them plant more napier grass so they could produce silage to store for the next dry season. A number of the youth worked with our students to make three batches while we were there -- a genuine joint effort – and they’ve made several batches since we left.

The Centre seeks to grow much of its own food, both to lower costs and to ensure a fresh supply of vegetables throughout the year. Maintaining soil fertility and dealing with pests are always a challenge. One of the teams this year worked with the youth to develop a plan for crop rotation and basic integrated pest management (IPM).

The Children and Youth Empowerment Centre selected its name with clear intention -- they are focused on empowering the young people to solve their problems and those of the community. One way they do this is through educational and co-curricular programs that supplement formal education and enhance problem-solving skills. Our education team has worked with their staff and volunteers to build their capacity in active learning methodologies.

Of course it wasn’t all work. Several students brought art supplies to share with the children, and we made a day trip to the equator. Again, our students enjoyed sharing with the young people there, and they gained a greater appreciation of the challenges and joys of international development work.

Making silage
Making silage
Art time
Art time
Equatorial
Equatorial

Links:

         Learning and Leadership were at the forefront of the Kansas State University International Service Team’s journey to Kenya this summer. They were involved in activities at the Children and Youth Empowerment Centre (CYEC) to build leadership capacity and strengthen life skills for the children living there. They assisted in the planning and facilitation of biweekly life skills lessons over topics such as goal setting, healthy relationships, drug abuse, and career planning for two groups of children at the centre separated based on age. They also led sessions on leadership development for older children who were taking on positions of leadership at the Centre and in their schools. These lessons revolved around strengthening communication and dialogue through the identification of personal values and strengths so the children would be able to work more effectively with their peers and among staff at the Centre.  Another area K-State students worked to develop was the Credit System for the CYEC’s “Zawadi Shop” in which children and youth could use credits to purchase clothing, school supplies, and other necessary items.  The credits will be rewarded by staff and prefects when a child is seen doing outstanding work at the CYEC.  Students were able to establish a spreadsheet to help organize the awarding and spending of credits to keep the shop running efficiently.  Each of these projects provided students the opportunity to learn more about the CYEC and interact with many of the children and youth whom their work would benefit.

While K-State students took on these projects, they also spent significant time learning about the culture of Kenya through interactions with the children, staff, and community surrounding the CYEC.  International Service requires individuals to be aware of their impact on the host culture and reflect on the many ways in which their host may influence their experience.  Spending time with the children of the Centre before and after school and on weekends allowed K-State students to gain a greater understanding of the lifestyle and daily routines at the CYEC.  Free time included many football games—especially as the Fifa World Cup was taking place, art projects showcasing the talents of children of all ages, and other adventures at the Centre and in the Thunguma neighborhood.  Students discovered that some of the most meaningful interactions with the children came in the moments shared during these fun activities because they could interact and build memories through shared experience.  As the summer progressed students gained a stronger understanding of the culture and their host community as well as context for the adaptive challenges the CYEC faces.  Upon their return to the United States, students reflected on their experiences and how they may continue to work as advocates for the Centre and each child who benefits from the resources it provides.

Having fun with the kids
Having fun with the kids
 

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Organization Information

Zawadi Fund International

Location: Paoli, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Janelle Larson
Director of Zawadi Fund International
Nyeri, Kenya
$89,536 raised of $98,000 goal
 
1,206 donations
$8,464 to go
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