"A busy day today, starting at 5.50 when I landed in Nairobi. Benjamin, one of the drivers at Macheo (our partner charity in Kenya), picked me up and we headed to Madaraka to catch up with Marnix Huis In’t Veld, who founded and still leads Macheo. It’s the start of the week so things are pretty hectic but we sketched out a plan for the next few days, starting with a visit to our projects at Mukuyu School.
I haven’t seen our work at the school since my last visit in 2012 and it was great to see just how much has changed and improved in that time. The lunch programme is going from strength to strength – 800 kids now receive lunch, nearly double the starting point five years ago, with 3 local parents and a dedicated coordinator employed to help run the scheme. The kids seemed more energetic than the last time I was at the school, and Joyce (one of the teachers at the school) told me that she believes concentration during the school day is better than when she started. Importantly, the headteacher – Mr Peter – told me that the kids are performing better too. He is now in his third year there, and has seen a rise in the average KCPE scores in that time. He also noted that one of the children there scored 390 out of 500 last year, the highest for many years.
I spoke briefly to Mr Peter at the end of my time there today: he has ideas for further improvements to the school including further refurbishments and partitions to improve teaching, additional toilet blocks for the nursery children and support for sports facilities. He is also keen that the school forges communications links with schools in Scotland and the UK, at the very least to share an understanding of what life is like on either side.
In the afternoon, we visited some of the family empowerment projects that Kipawa supports via the work or our excellent outreach workers Mary and Moses. Today, we met:
- Ann, who lives in a very cramped one bedroom house with 6 of her 7 children. Kipawa has helped clothe some of those children and given some additional equipment to allow those of school age to attend the local school. We are looking to support Ann with some employment this year too.
- Mama Patricia, whose house burned down in the early summer. Mary and Moses supported her getting back on her feet with an initial 5000 shilling payment to set up a fruit and veg stall, which seems to be doing well a few months down the line
- And Rosa, to whom Kipawa gave seed funding in 2015 to set up her own vegetable stall. The initial 5000 shilling funding (about £36) has paid off, with a business now sustaining her family of five.
A good day all round, with more to follow on Tuesday and Wednesday.