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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Auxilary Action Committee

Two days of training completed with a new group dedicated to children's issues in the community. First we did Virtues training and then violence prevention against children and youth, In the group were representatives of different professions and walks of life. Wonderful to work with such enthusiastic and committed people. They are volunteers working under the District Children's Officer.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Composting toilets

Everything progressing well for the composting toilets. (Still looking for the remaining funding!) Rod was there last weekend to help position the base for the maximum effect from the sun. Nixon our contractor is storing the blocks in a classroom.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Water sites

Here are pictures of the present conditions for the 5 sites we have selected for the Rotary District grant. The contractor will build a permanent surround, pipes and will protect the surface from pollution from run off from latrines and fertiliser.  In the new year we hope to work on 4-5 new sites. Some will mean repair to an existing well and pump which is currently out of use.

Friday, October 25, 2013

More Read for the Top

Just finished another wonderful morning with Read for the Top. This time at Ebusiratsi primary. This school was amazing! They knew their books so well we had trouble knowing who was answering the question. Usually it was a confident chorus.

Although it is great to see the children respond positively and do so well, it is heart breaking to realize that, whatever their potential, few will go on to secondary education. Even secondary day schools are beyond the reach of most rural parents at around $150 to $200 per year. The newspaper announced today a new fee for schools (which will have to be passed on to parents). An additional hurdle for those who do manage to complete High School are the final examination registration fee of $50. Incomes in these areas are often as low as $12 per month. More than half the students come to school without breakfast and if they have a meal at school (rare) it is often the only food of the day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Anti-violence and Read for the Top

Very different things this week. On two days we travelled to Shichinji Primary to do Read for the Top for the first time. The children were brilliant! On the whole well prepared (although they can work some more on the English comprehension), delighted with their shirts and prizes
semi-final teams

waiting to compete

two winning teams

Between the two days of Read for the Top, there was another anti-violence seminar at the theological college in Maseno. Twenty-four people gave us a resounding approval and made some helpful suggestions for the future.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Family, neighbours and friends gathered on Sunday afternoon on the compound of our Kenyan 'family'
Maureen, Melvin and Ian
Melvin and her grandmother
 to celebrate and congratulate. We have seen the children grow over the past few years. Maureen earned a degree in IT, Melvin has just graduated with a B Ed. Ian is still at school.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Violence prevention

Greetings from the tropical rainstorms of Western Kenya.
In Canada  this year I trained for the Red Cross violence prevention programme. I held my first anti-violence workshop yesterday here in Kakamega with 46 eager participants. People came on time, the power stayed on. We were truly blessed. 
We had ‘tweaked’ the basic Red Cross powerpoint very slightly, leaving out many of the stats and inserting Red Cross videos and including some Kenyan videos especially on the topic  of sexual abuse. There was a suggestion we should mention as common forms of violence specifically FGM, child marriage and child to child marriage.
I tried throughout to emphasise the need for the community to mobilise, although by some of the comments, they are looking for more workshops and discussion groups from me.
We very much need Kenyan case studies and especially some role play scenarios on how to handle disclosures. The infra structure here on dealing with such things is not uniformly supportive, so there have to be internal procedures. I think I will need to do a ‘follow-up’ document outlining in simple steps what the parish or community should do to carry this forward. 
I know that people are deeply troubled by how to approach things through their churches and communities. Taking a strong and public stand is going to be a struggle. 
I go next Wed to do the same presentation to the theological students in Maseno (St Philip’s), at the end of October a community group who will also receive Virtues training and the second week of Nov we plan to bring together all the Anglican clergy. After that we shall reach as many of the parishes as possible while I am here. The ‘follow-up’ suggestions will be important at that time

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Appeal for the children

Help us replace this:                                                   with this:


An appeal to help the children:
This morning we travelled an hour to Shisango school. Shisango has done Virtues training and Read for the Top, but today their physical needs are more pressing. A Secondary section was opened two years ago which now houses about 75 students and is growing. The Primary (elementary) sector has over 600 children from K to 8. The pit latrines which dotted a large field next to the school were in such poor shape that most have been demolished. The Secondary retained one block of 3 doors which was renovated and is in use. The primary children are left with 6 toilets for girls and four for boys. Here are the pictures. The smell of course cannot be conveyed to you.
The little girl you see is holding the door closed for her friend who will return the favour because there is no other way of keeping the door shut. The boys don’t even have doors on a couple of their units. Public Health is threatening to close the school, and rightly so, but there is no funding available right now for sanitation.
After much discussion this morning with the Head Teacher, representatives of the county government and the chairwoman of the Parent’s Advisory Committee, we have promised to put in a composting toilet of 4 doors for the girls and two doors and a urinal for the boys. This will be for the use of the older children (gr. 5-8) since the composting toilet needs some care and maintenance which may not be possible for the little ones. The school and the county will look for funds to replace the pit latrines for those children.  If we can find funding we will put in a block for the senior girls. The Ministry of Education calculates one latrine for 25 students, so more will still be needed.
Each block will cost between $1200 and $1500, so we need about $3000 for our modest proposal. We are thinking that if there is a Rotary Club, a school, a plumbing or bathroom fixtures company that would be willing to sponsor any part of this, we would put their name and logo on the unit. Any amount from business, or individuals will garner a tax receipt through Tembo-Kenya (www.tembokenya.org)