Project #6691

Keeping Kenyan Kids in School!

by Global Roots
A Global Roots oversight inspection crew
A Global Roots oversight inspection crew

The results our out! Our gardens and chicken eggs are helping rural children do better in the classroom. Because the children are now served lunch at school they are better able to study and therefore they are performing better on their exams. More and more local parents are hearing about our gardens and they are returning their children to school!

Before our Matulani Children's Garden: in the 2012 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam the school had 24 candidates who achieved a mean score of 241 marks, with the highest student’s score being 351 marks.

After our garden: in the 2013 exam the school had 28 students with a Mean score of 242 marks and the highest student’s score being 381 marks. This particular student has won a place at a national school, of which there are only 78 such awards in the country. The poor town of Mtito has never seen such achievement!

We are now raising funds for the running costs of our two children's gardens in Mtito Andei and we are hoping to raise funds for new gardens that will benefit young girls in the Maasai Mara region.

New development: after fits and starts our HIV/Aids outreach program is showing great results. Our local outreach officer is conducting one session a week right in the heart of Mtito Andei. It is our goal to bring the science of HIV/Aids to the local people -- including young women who were forced into a life a prostitution when they were as young as 13. These girls never had the opportunity to attend high school because they come from severaly poor families and, when left unattended in their early teens by young mothers who had to turn tricks to pay for their children, the girls got pregnant themselves, usually by young, local boys. The cycle then repeats itself when these young girls turn tricks to pay for the lives of their own children.

It is our goal to bring the science of HIV/Aids to the local people of Mtito Andei. Due to a lack of education young girls believe truck drivers who tell them that they don't need to wear condoms beause they are not of the "caste" of men who are prone to contract HIV/Aids. We teach the girls that no man is immune from contracting HIV or infecting others.

We have interviewed those who are at risk and those who are not yet sexually active and we have devised two different approaches to HIV/Aids outreach. Both approaches are hard-hitting. No adult leaves our outreach session without a complete understanding about how the HIV virus is spread or how it can be prevented. Children leave our outreach sessions more aware of the negative, manipulative forces around them. We teach hope to the children and try to convince them to stay in school and come to us if they ever need books or other school costs to be covered.

Where are the fathers?

We have learned that the fathers of the girls in Mtito Andei east are not present because the land on the east side of the Nairobi/Mombasa highway is no longer airable due to climate change. The fathers, unable to farm and also unable to engage in hunting, are drinking themselves to death on cheap, home made liquor.

There are only a few other nonprofits active in Mtito Andei because it is very difficult to show results in a place like this. We, however, won't walk away. Our local partners are working very hard and, with intense oversight and transparency, they are getting things done.

Besides our gardens, hen houses and outreach work, we will also continue to pass out entire outfits to children (the poorest children go to school in rags) and distribute solar lighting to the poorest households so that school children can do their homework for the first time.

Thanks to steady donations from Global Giving and a few foundations, we will continue our work in 2014 and hope for improve test scores and improved lives for the children on the east side of the Nairobi/Mombasa highway in arid Tsavo East.

This garden brings nutrition to 250 students
This garden brings nutrition to 250 students
HIV/Aids outreach
HIV/Aids outreach
vegetable distribution
vegetable distribution
our new garden at Matulani
our new garden at Matulani

We have just finished our most productive period ever in Mtito Andei, Kenya.

Over the last two months we have erected a new greenhouse that will provide fresh vegetables to over 256 more children at Matulani elementary school. We are currently growing tomatoes inside the greenhouse and kale outside. Our giant greenhouse (a 5K professional structure) is large enough to keep the elephants away. It is so large that the elephants stay away from our kale and our water supply.

One of the challenges of our new Matulani garden is the additinal cost of water. The school is connected to the city of Mtito's plumbing network so it will cost us an aditional $125 per month to irrigate the garden in the dry season. Unfortunately, the dry season in Mtito lasts for about eight months.

Our master gardener from our existing successful garden at Matangini (20 minutes away by mortorbike) is overseeing our new garden. This, however, is too much work for one gardener. We are looking to add a second master gardener and this will be an additional expense of $120 per month. Thanks to generous past donations from longtime donors Patrick Firouzian and the Trover Family Foundation of Oregon -- as well as ongoing individual donations from Global Giving (including $100 per month from Carolyn Stoebuck), this garden is funded through the end of the year!

We are also happy to report that 100 healthy chicks were purchased from an excellent producer and deliverd to our new hen house Matulani. We spent $1,265 on a three month program that will end up producing 200 eggs a day for several years. The high expense is due to the costs of layers mash and the professional care fo the chicks. Chicks are very fragile and easily stressed.

After three months, 50 of our 100 chicks will be transfered to our brand new hen house at Matagnini school. The current chickens we keep at Matangini are too old to lay healthy eggs. Instead, these chickens are being fed well in anticipation of their slaughter. The meat will of course we delivered to the area's poorest families.

Our greenhouse at Matangini has been successfullly replanted and is doing wonderful.

The vegetables from our gardens and eggs from our hen houses fuel school lunch programs for 600 children who would other wise not be able to concentrate at school due to hunger! Our school lunches also convince local parents to return their children to school!

In a new program, over 30 of the poorest local children who previously dressed only in rags we given new clothes by Global Roots represenative Richtie Mutua. 15 children even got to pick out their own clothes. This is important because these children no longer have to feel inferior when they go to school.

Recently we launched an HIV/Aids campaign in Mtito Andei which will help enhance local knowledge about this disease. We have attached a photo of a recent outreach session below.

HIV/aids outreach
HIV/aids outreach
clothing delivery!
clothing delivery!
egg distribution
egg distribution
our thriving children
our thriving children's garden

We are excited to report from down in Mtito Andei, Kenya that Global Roots has contracted Jared Busi, an American who specializes in the construction of schools, orphanages, hospital clinics and other structures for NGO's across East Africa, to install the windows and floors of the Kimer/Kamba Cultural Center in Mtito Andei. Busi is also a well builder so he will offer free advise on how we can best supply our center with fresh water.

Global Roots founder Rick Montgomery met Jared when he was working with a Maasai woman to protect Maasai girls from FGM last year. Montgomery knew right away he had found a gem in the rough. Montgomery and Busi immediately shared their stories and became fast friends. Each man has committed the last ten years of their lives to helping children with sustainable projects in tough places. Montgomery would later say that Busi is the first person he had ever met besides Patrick Firouzian (a Global Roots senior volunteer) who has traveled over Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountain range to help orphans.

Montgomery immediately started to test Busi to make sure he could provide the transparency and project oversight that Global Roots requires. Corruption is a huge problem in the world of African charity so Montgomery wanted to move slowly. After six months of chats, emails and face books posts, Global Roots assigned two 5K projects to Busi and his team. Busi leaves in a few days to lay down a second children's garden in Mtito followed by a "Girls Garden" in Maasailand. While in Mtito, Busi and his crew will spend a few days putting the final touches on the Cultural Center and devising an elephant-proof water delivery system.

The center was thatched a few months ago and should be ready for program launch this August. Everyone is excited about the center in Mtito Andei. We expect that the center, which will focus on HIV/AIDS education, will reduce the spread of HIV by 1,000 cases this year!

We are still looking for four volunteers to help teach and manage this center from September to December this year! Please email us if you're interested! -- a tax deductible donation of 5K per person will pay for your entire experience, including air fare from the USA.
Our Children's Garden and chicken egg farm at Matangini Elementary School continues to thrive and is the talk of the region.
Construction of a second chicken house at nearby Matulani school is already complete and another Children's Garden will be erected next week. This means that 250 children will be fed a balanced meal at lunch time by next September and more parents will send their children back to school.
children picking their vegetables for lunch
children picking their vegetables for lunch

We sent a team to Mtito Andei in early January to work with Global Roots manager Ritchie Mutua Martin on the expansion of outreach activities in Mtito Andei.

This poor region of Kenya remains one of epicenters for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya. Nearly 60% of the woman here are HIV positive and because many of them are widows, they are forced to turn tricks with truck drivers who stop here over night. Mtito is located halfway between Nairobi and Mombasa and it has always served as an R&R location for truck drivers.

We have always seen the need for an HIV/AIDS education kiosk on the highway so we were pleased when a San Francisco financier agreed to raise funds for it.

Our cultural center on tribal land near Mtito will be used to train the young men who will man the kiosk.

Ritchie Mutua brings a great deal of knowledge to our outreach team because he used to do HIV/AIDS outreach in the Mtito community for the Kenyan Wildlife Service.

Besides our outreach activities, we continue to fund two children's gardens and chicken egg farms in the local area for a successful school lunch program. We also provide solar lighting to dark huts so that children from poor families can do their homework.

Rick with Matulani school children
Rick with Matulani school children

Our founder and a team of nine (including four local staff)  traveled across Kenya in July to check on the progress of all projects, investigate the soundness of a new project that will protect young Maasai girls from Female Genital Mutiliation and keep them in school and assist/train our local staff.

We started in the Maasai Mara where we interviewed young Maasai school girls and had long meetings with Caroline Nangeya -- a brave Maasai woman and FGM victim -- who has taken in more than 42 girls who ran away from both FGM and forced marriage.

After carefully analyzing Mrs. Nangeya's efforts, we determined that she understands the importance of transparency so we agreed to cover 100% of the food costs for these 42 runaways when they are home from boarding school for two months a year. We are now raising funds to build these children a proper dormitory.

We also traveled south to Mtito Andei where we have been supporting an assortment of poverty reduction projects since 2004.

1. We picked up shovels and helped Chairman Leva construct a new building that will be used as a Cultural Center.

2. We inspected the children's garden and chicken egg farm at Matangini School and met with the school master to find out what more we can do for his 300 children.

3. We delivered a complete outfit (shirt, pants and shoes) to more than 10 orphans.

4. We installed solar panels on at least 20 of the areas poorest homes so that school children can do their homework for the first time with a proper light bulb.

5. We visited remote children's homes and inspected the poorest part of Mtito -- on the East side of the Nairobi/Mombasa highway.

6. We visited the hospital and met with the nurse we have been supporting for two years.

Please see the attached photo


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Organization Information

Global Roots

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Rick Montgomery
Seattle, WA United States

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