Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!

by Global Roots
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!
Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!

Global Roots creates school lunch programs for childen who live at the edge of the world.

Nothing works better in the nonprofit world than metrics. Donors want to see what their donations are paying for!

But here is the rub: how can any sensible charity launch any given project when failure is probable and success is only a question mark?

This was the scenario when Global Roots launched its first Children's Garden in Mtito Andei eight years ago.

Thanks to a few awesome donors (including Global Giving) we could take the time to find the right local partners and launch the right project.

Now, seven years later we finally have solid quantifiable results to show.

Key stats: absenteeism declined by 22% and average test score rose 30%

Go to to learn more about our study and see the numbers.

Or contace me!

Rick -- 503 866 9525

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The senator's visit
The senator's visit

Dear Global Giving Donors,

Hello from Nairobi. My name is Anthony and I am Global Roots country manager and transparency officer for Kenya and all of Africa.

I am pleased to lead all Global Roots efforts over here, especially our successful food security program in Mtito Andei, one of our struggling country’s poorest areas.

The Matulani Children’s Garden is now feeding 250 children for .16 US cents a day per child! The reason the price is so low is because we started the project in 2010 and all of the initial capital costs, including 5K USD for a greenhouse kit, irrigation system, building supplies for a hen house and rabbit hatch, were paid a long time ago. Our food program at Matulani will be self-sustaining in two more years!

Proven Success

In 2016 two students from Matulani Primary, the community-supported school at the Kenyan transit town of Mtito Andei; were accepted for admission into top performing high schools, the first time in the poverty stricken school’s history. In addition three of the at risk Maasai high school students qualified for admission to college, marking their entry into the small select club of girls from their community to gain a post secondary education. These new milestones come on the back of the remarkable success story of Global Roots charity work in Kenya. The Green House centered school feeding program at Matulani Primary has seen a rapid improvement in overall academic performance, elevating the school’s position from the bottom 3 to the top 5 of the 22 schools in the district.

As the Global Roots Kenya Coordinator, I have personally witnessed the effect of Global Roots’ actions in a most direct manner and the success of Global Roots fund raising efforts is absolutely essential to keep these impactful programs running.

Our Executive Director Rick's genuine passion to assist these young and vulnerable Kenyans is obvious to anyone who has personally interacted with him. Indeed many of the beneficiaries consider him as a father figure, having directly experienced his genuine concern and engagement with their challenges. It is extremely touching to observe the mutual affection expressed between Rick and the beneficiaries of his efforts.

Future Global Roots commitments will include ensuring that eligible students are able to continue with a college education and extending the Green House project to other needy schools, all of which will in turn require considerable additional funding.

Matulani honored by County Senator (see photo)

Last month Matulani was honoured by a visit from the County Senator Honourable Mutula Kilonzo Junior. He has heard of the impressive academic progress at the school and came to see for himself. He handed out some prizes to the students and also donated some sports equipment. The Senator is the second most senior politician in the region so the visit will be considered as quite an endorsement for the work being done at the school.

We need to purchase new young hens by October

The current condition of our 100 hens at Matulani is not good. Their advanced age has reduced their productivity.

The Management Committee has proposed selling the old chickens so as to earn the money to buy new chicks to restock the hen house. I suggested that they set a few chicken aside so that the school children can have a chicken meat treat and then sell the balance of the chicken to raise the necessary funds. I also instructed them to put the proposal into writing so that we are kept informed of developments. It would also dispel any rumors from the rest of the school community about the sale of the chicken. 

The proposal will have a break down on how much cash the old chickens will bring in and how many chicks they could expect to buy.

Fortunately, our rabbit hutch as prosperous as we expected it would be! See the children eating rabbit meat below. I know that some Americans don't like the idea of eating meat. Matulani children all love meat because it makes them feel full and helps them to study and have stronger bodies. The eggs they get from our hen house and the rabbit meat is their only source of protein.

In our next update I will share the story of a young girls who came to Matulani malnourished and illiterate. Mary's story is heart breaking. Today little Mary is reading, performing well on tests and her body is already strong!

Thanks again to Global Giving for helping us!

children waiting for kale from our school garden
children waiting for kale from our school garden
rabbit feast
rabbit feast

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Receipt for keeping Grace caring for our produce!
Receipt for keeping Grace caring for our produce!

Dear Global Roots supporters! 

Well, the great news is that our Kenyan school children are still doing well and thriving! As our earlier report indicated, our scores, attendance and matriculation rates are up across the board. We love seeing healthier and happier faces. 

Attached you find a letter from one of the many young children who benefit from this program. When we planted our greenhouse many years ago, we had no idea that a vibrant school lunch program -- sourced with vegetables from our garden and eggs from our hen house -- would turn one of the poorest performing schools in one of Kenya's poorest regions into the region's top performing public school. Well, duh! Food makes children think better and it inspires their parents to send them to school. Absenteeism was reduced from 90% to 7% after we launched our school lunch program at Matulani Elementary!

Let's take a second to focus on one student. Her name is Juliana and this is what she wrote this HERSELF. See her attached photo and letter.

Juliana N. 

My name is Juliana N. I am eleven years old and I go to Matulani Primary School.  I am in class 6. At our school I like 6 subjects; English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Christian Religious Education. Among these, my favorites are English and Science.

In school we have co-curricular activities like clubs and games. In the case of games I participate in Netball in which I am one of the team members. In athletics I do the walking race and the 3,000 meters. Last games are proceeded up to the Sub-County level.

I come from a single parent family. My mother works as a casual laborer sometimes. Sometimes she does not get it (casual work.) We depend on her for our upkeep in and out of school. I have two sisters. Cecilia in class 7 and Mary Shantal in class 3.

I really enjoy the feeding program in the school. This has always kept me strong and healthy. It has helped improve in school attendance and performance. Last year I was position 1 with 414 marks (out of a maximum 500 marks.) I look forward to achieve a higher mark.

I thank god for the great support Global Roots is offering to us. May the good lord bless you abundantly.

Editor's note: Juliana is why we do what we do and we hope you will continue to support her and the other 256 children at Matulani who are doing everything they can to make the most of the resources in front of them.

Drought hits Kenya

Unfortunately, Kenya is experiencing a very bad year for rainfall. Drought conditions exist across the country and some areas are already experiencing drought related famine. 

This situation has begun to affect our schools in Mtito Andei. The report from our local Kenya director indicates that water sources in Mtito Andei are drying up. This means that it is increasingly difficult to get water for our greenhouse projects. 

These greenhouses are essential! Now that we have our kids attending and excelling at school and experiencing better health in general, we want to keep it that way. So it is vital that we keep our greenhouses functioning.

Planting begins this month on the new season's crops. Our local director has advised that planting will go ahead as scheduled and construction on a new planned greenhouse will still commence as well. However, he has decided to divert the funds for the planned rabbit hutch and hen house to pay additional fees for scarce water. 

Your continued support will help us keep our crops watered and our kids fed through this drought! The children appreciate it so much. 

Global Roots appreciates the work of lead gardener, Grace, in helping keep our programs running! She has been retained over the summer holidays to care for our crops and small livestock. Thanks Grace! 

Juliana letter
Juliana letter
Juliana photo
Juliana photo


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Matulani students
Matulani students

Our Chidren's Gardens are working!  We have just received updated and comparative metrics for our original Children's Garden sites in Mtito Andei, Kenya and the results are exciting!  


Kenyan primary schools are governed by the Kenyan Ministry of Education, which issues the Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).  This certificate is awarded to students who have completed eight years of primary education and passed the national KCPE exam.  This exam tests students on their knowledge of all main areas of primary education, including English, Math, Kiswahili, Science, Social Studies and Religious Studies.  The exam is administered during the month of November.  It takes a week to complete and students will sit from 8-4 each day of the exam.  


The exam is scored out of 500 points, but high scores are rare.  In 2016, the most recent exam, the highest score in Kenya was a 436.  Only just over 5000 students scored above 400.  That number is out of more than 900,000 students sitting for the exam.  


According to recent score results, our Matulani kids averaged an impressive score of 272!  The average for boys was 269 and for girls it was 275.  This score puts Matulani students in the position of 4th ranked out of all of the zone's schools.  But what is especially important about this rank is that the three schools which scored better are ALL boarding schools.  Matulani students don't have the advantage of the added contact time in boarding schools.  This means that Matulani is the top ranked public day school in the entire zone!  


What's more, this new data shows that Matulani's scores have been climbing since the launch of our Global Roots Children's Garden.  The student average score in 2012 was 241.  The following year that score was 243.  In 2014 they jumped up to 254 and in 2016 they hit 262.  And we plan to keep that score rising!  


Thank you so much to our donors who continue to support us!  Know that your donations are making a measurable difference in the lives of rural Kenyan children!  

Eating meals from the children's garden!
Eating meals from the children's garden!
Working with the rabbit hutch
Working with the rabbit hutch

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Our Founder and James!
Our Founder and James!

Our Kenyan School Lunch program continues to be among our most successful programs — and 2016 brought plenty of developments!  

Now in its sixth year, our program has placed greenhouses, vegetable gardens and hen houses in schools around the Matulani school district and seen great results from it. The headmaster of the school district has informed us that regular school attendance is now at an impressive ninety percent!!  To put this into perspective, in the Seattle Public School District, the current goal is to achieve 80% regular attendance during the first 20 days of school.  
Beyond attendance, our Matulani headmaster has informed us that exams scores are up district wide and matriculation rates have increased as well. This is great news for our Matulani children!  

In addition to increased metrics, we have made other developments to improve our program success in 2016.  For example, we have found an excellent way to combat corruption. We have learned, through careful observation and oversight, that when we replace a single oversight entity with a group of invested individuals, we can eliminate corruption and inappropriate spending. To this end, we have discovered that tapping into the collective oversight of the school PTA has led to the transparency we at Global Roots require. These enthusiastic parents work together to make sure that our projects stay corruption free so that their children can continue to benefit.

We have confronted very few schools anywhere in the world that do not have an active PTA. Thanks to the fact that new parents join any given PTA every year (older members matriculate out with their graduating children) it is nearly impossible for corruptive forces to take root. We are careful to remain in close contact with PTA presidents and we always welcome new members with a letter and a phone call from our Nairobi-based manager.
We are now raising funds to erect a second greenhouse at Matulani and expand our rabbit farm and hen house. If we do these things, food production will exceed consumption and the program will move towards self sustainability in 2022.
Meet James. Both of his parents are dying of AIDS and he relies 100% on the support he gets from the amazing teachers and school master (our partners) at Matulani Elementary School. Global Roots provides monthly funding ($700) for Matulani’s school lunch program that includes greenhouse vegetables, an outside kale garden (a small miracle because our giant greenhouse effectively scares away wild elephants!), a 100-strong hen house and two-year old rabbit farm.
The hot lunch served at Matulani is the only nutritious meal James gets every day. Fortunately, a generous Global Giving donor is now providing $10 every weekend for James, his brother and his parents to eat on the weekend.


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Organization Information

Global Roots

Location: Lake Forest Park, WA - USA
Project Leader:
Rick Montgomery
Seattle, WA United States

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