After an absence of almost a year, we are pleased to report that the rains have finally returned to our project area, bringing much-needed relief to our schools and the wider community. However, these remain challenging and uncertain times.
Despite the arrival of the rains, food prices continue to soar in the face of on-going shortages and high demand, with implications for our school lunch programme. For staples that are grown domestically, such as beans and maize, we are paying between 45% and 55% more than just a year ago. In an effort to manage costs and ensure we can continue to live within our means, we have had to take the difficult decision to reduce the size of each meal. Although this will have an impact on the children, it does at least mean that we can continue to provide all 2,700+ pupils in our partner schools with a daily, term-time meal. These are permanent changes and we have not been able to rule out making further reductions on a temporary basis, but we hope that it will help us to navigate our way through this incredibly challenging period. If you would like to support our feeding programme and help us maintain this vital lifeline for the remainder of the year and beyond then you can donate via our project page on GlobalGiving at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/feed-school-children-in-kenya/
In better news, with water tanks full and other supplies replenished, and water no longer being rationed to the extent it was a couple of months ago, our building programme is ramping up after a relatively quiet few months. We are close to completing the second phase of our six-year £250,000 redevelopment at Kismenyi Primary School, with the final element - a staff house - in its final stages and almost ready for occupation. Elsewhere, we have begun a long overdue project to build an eco-kitchen at Makwasinyi Primary of the sort that we have already built at all but one other of our partner schools. This will significantly improve delivery of the lunch programme at the school. Meanwhile, we have recently completed the upgrade and extension of the pre-school at Kiteghe Primary, including a new block of toilets, and we are now in the process of creating a new playground area. We have immediate plans to start the construction of four classrooms at various schools in order to accommodate increasing enrolments.
Although construction work at Ngambenyi, our latest partner school, was finished some months ago now, we continue with some work to fit out and furnish the school. We have recently repaired and reinstated a solar system to provide lighting and power in a number of classrooms, whilst the school has taken advantage of the recent rains to accelerate a tree planting and beautification programme, which is being led by a very dedicated teacher determined to further uplift the appearance of the school and the surrounding environment.
"All is well with us at Ngambenyi. The school community is enjoying the facilities and services you put in place. God bless African Promise."
Joram Mwanguo, teacher at Ngambenyi Primary
In February, we began funding two teaching posts at the one partner school where we had yet to provide this type of support, taking to 16 the total number of teaching positions that we now finance across all our seven partner schools. This is equivalent to two school’s worth of extra teachers, where government-employed teachers rarely number more than 7 or 8, whatever the size of the school.
All-in-all it has been a positive quarter but as always, especially as a small charity, we exist on a knife-edge so we are hugely grateful to our GlobalGiving donors and community, especially those that are supporting our work on an on-going basis.
We will end this report with a message from the Local Education Officer in our project area, who posted the following comment to our Facebook page recently:
"We thank AP and its partners for helping to build schools, to provide water & meals, and to make families better!"
Emily Kituri, project area Education Officer
Extended and upgraded nursery at Kiteghe
New toilets for Kiteghe nursery pupils
New accommodation for teachers at Kisimenyi
Kitchen under construction at Makwasinyi