TEACHING-EMPOWERING-MENTORING-BUILDING OPPORTUNITY Mission: to partner with individuals and communities in Western Kenya to support entrepreneurial activities, education and health through training programmes, scholarships, water and sanitation projects

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Read for the Top!

I’m all excited about an idea. Shichinji Sec did Read for the Top with Form 4 and for the first time ever, English topped all their results. As you know, English  scores in the rural areas are usually poor.

I think it would be great to do R4T with ‘story books’ in Form 2 in order to promote or continue the reading culture from a primary start. I'm thinking of using The Hunger Games and would need about 100 copies. Anyone out there with ideas or contacts that might help?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A sad story

 Our colleagues at CHES gave a scholarship for High School to  a needy, bright girl. Her father, who seems elderly and dressed very poorly, sold his crop and borrowed money to pay for her 'shopping' (mattress, linens, trunk etc) When she went for her medical check up, the doctor found she was pregnant. The father wept in the CHES office. We shall try to find a way to help him repay his debts, but more devastating is the fact that this bright girl has lost her opportunity. We have no idea what will become of her as she sinks back into the culture of the village.

Composting toilet for boys

Explaining how it works

On site tutorial in Swahili

Curious parents

Monday, March 11, 2013


A boy of 15 desperately wants to go to Sec school. His mother was raped when she was 14 and raised the boy alone until she married. She has 5 children. Her husband  left her for a second wife who is now coming to the family home. The boy was living there with the grandmother but received death threats. He fled to an aunt's house. The aunt died & then the uncle, leaving the boy with the two orphan children. He kept himself in elementary school by digging, carrying water and scored quite well in final exams, but has been home for a year for lack of fees. He needs $200 to go to secondary school. Our funding is almost exhausted. What would you do?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Almost finished

Civil servants were ordered back to work as of today (Friday) and head counts were scheduled. Schools will resume on Monday. A new message from the Canadian High Commission advises caution and to avoid protest groups and demonstrations. The people conducted themselves in an exemplary fashion during an orderly & peaceful vote. The subsequent mess of the tallies has added a lot of confusion and anger. ‘Bugs’ suddenly discovered in the in-house programme that multiplied spoilt votes eight fold, people refused the right to vote even with ID cards and passports, and polling officers handing out multiple ballots and failing to stamp some as authentic. The people had to vote for six offices and the ballot boxes were colour coded. Each ballot had a long list of names, photographs and symbols for the illiterate. It was quite intimidating and confusing for many. The lawyers will be busy for months to come.
At the moment it looks as if Kenyatta will make it with a 50% +1 overall majority and a majority in at least 24 of the 47 counties. His rival, Odinga has suffered greatly from years of detention under Moi and the ‘stealing’ of the last presidential vote five years ago. He got 98% of votes in his home province of Nyanza and 68% in Kakamega, but it is not likely to be enough.
Both Kenyatta and his running mate Ruto will be on trial at the Hague in July. They ran a successful propaganda campaign urging their supporters to prove to ‘the West’ that Kenyans are masters in their own house. Unfortunately the reality will not be pretty.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Election: the eye of the storm?

So far things are quiet, very quiet, after Monday's election as everyone holds their breath for the results. The new Biometric Voter Registration system failed eventually everywhere and votes are now being counted manually. Nairobi is described as a 'ghost town' as people stay home and wait. So far Kenyatta has a substantial lead despite his indictment at the ICC, although about one third of polls have not yet reported. There is a big fight brewing over the high number of rejected ballots. There are reports of food shortages and high prices for fruit and vegetables as truckers do not deliver.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Boys' composting toilet

This should be ready for handover on Mar 16

new scholarship students


Vincent O
Vincent K
These four young people scored extremely high in the Elementary National exams and would have been eligible to attend the country's top boarding schools. However, they faced the prospect of never continuing with their education because their parents cannot even pay the very reduced fees of a local day school. We have agreed to send them to a good local day school at a cost of about $200 each, which includes uniform and lunch every day.