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

Friday, December 30, 2016

The time is ripe

The Virtues conference on Integrity scheduled for February is coming at the right time. There is shock as people realize that the results of the secondary school leaving exam (just released) show to what extent cheating was rampant in previous years. Only 141 students in the country scored an overall 'A' as compared to 2685 last year. Fifty percent fewer candidates scored the minimum required for university entry.
 An editorial in today's Daily Nation says: "We must establish and nurture a culture of honesty, integrity and hard work. Children must learn values in their formative years or the nation risks extinguishing a whole generation ..."

Integrity through Virtues: Masinde Muliro University in February. Check www.virtuesinkenya.blogspot. com for details

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

a new idea. Could you help?

When we visited Emakuche to make the contract for a well, we were all the time surrounded by children. They sprang to help to carry chairs for us into the shade, they listened fascinated as we went through the guidelines with their parents.

One thing we emphasized was that children should be told not to play on the well structure and use it as a climbing frame. Suddenly a light bulb flashed: What a great opportunity to make a simple climbing frame for the little ones next to the well. Playground equipment for children is rarely seen, even in schools, so anything we could build would be unique.
We would like to put up a simple design, probably with metal piping (because termites would eat wood), and it should not cost too much.We would gratefully receive any small donations towards the project

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Water projects

We went to visit three communities today that desperately need clean water. The water for one site provided a reasonable stream, enough to fill one jerrycan at a time (Emakuche),one other was just a muddy hole where the carriers patiently scooped out the dirty water (Mungulu), the third was a beautiful site but highly contaminated from run off from cattle, latrines and crops (Emakanya).Many people, especially the very young and elderly, suffer from water-borne diseases.

We signed one contract  with Emakuche to build a well and the people should have their clean water by New Year transforming this:

to this:

It costs about $1000 to make this transformation. We feel that the other two sites must be assisted in the New Year. We are gratefully receiving donations to help us do this.

This is Mungulu


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Graduation day

Friday was the annual graduation ceremony at Masinde Muliro university. Fred Omondi received his B Ed. We were honoured to be invited to the private family celebration. Fred  was president of Rotoract, Virtues trained and an instructor at our Math tutoring centre. He has been active in many community projects. As I said in a short speech,Fred epitomizes the Rotary slogan of Service about Self
Brenda was secretary of Rotoract and also a teacher

Fred with fiancee Brenda and his mum

Virtues training

Virtues training in a private home

we enjoyed the beautiful compound

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Justice and empowerment for women is justice and empowerment for men

Justice and empowerment for women is justice and empowerment for men

29 November 2016 9:29AM
The Revd Domnic Misolo, founder of the Kenyan NGO Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education, advocates for gender justice and equality from a biblical perspective.

Patriarchy is an enemy of all! It generates seeds of violence against women and girls across communities around the world. It makes innocent children suffer from what they don’t understand. Patriarchy is like a hidden cancer that continues to kill and destroy human family both from within and out.
Growing up in a rural village in Bondo, Kenya, and witnessing the reign and cruel hands of patriarchy both over us as children and our parents, I grew up hating God whom I perceived from my Sunday school lessons as the author of patriarchy. I could not understand why my father married three wives who competed for his love. I could not explain why there was frequent fighting and beating of my mother(s) almost every day. I could not explain why my mother had to drop out of school at the age of 15 and be married as a second wife or why, as children, we lacked basic needs yet my mother continued giving birth to 12 children in the midst of all the struggles and uncertainty.
Later in my life, God revealed to me that the arch-enemy of human family is patriarchy, and not males or females! Both my father and mother conformed to that cruel culture. Patriarchy hands all power to one sex, locking out healthy choices for many communities around the world for any healthy relationship or meaningful development.
Recently, I was invited by a fellow Anglican priest to speak to a group of young married women and men in his church about positive masculinity and biblical equality. My opening remark “Justice and empowerment for women are equally justice and empowerment for men” attracted smiles and cheers from the group.
During my presentation, a man said, “Last week when our Bible study coordinator said that our next class would be on gender equality I was hesitant and uneasy for I knew it would be all about how men are bad, bad and bad.” He said that he had been opposed to discussions on equality between women and men because they seemed to be about a war between women and men, a struggle for dominant power. My initial remarks that justice for women is justice for men too sounded like good news and a good start for this topic.
One of the great lessons I’ve learned is that in our pursuit of gender equality we need to speak and tell this truth in love. Patriarchy has done and is still doing lots of harm to all human beings with its roots deeply in our religious misunderstanding and in secular worldviews. Millions of women and girls around the world are suffering and enslaved just because they are female.
Based on my passion and struggles to engage men in the fight against patriarchy within church circles, I want to say that equality for women and men is not and should not be portrayed as war between men and women, or a contest for power. Gender equality is about all human beings understanding and upholding the essential dignity, worth, and gifting of each other as women and men, girls and boys made in God’s image.

A version of this reflection appears in A Resource for Prayer, Reflection and Action for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence from the We Will Speak Out coalition. The 16 Days run each year from 25 November to 10 December.

  • The International Anglican Women’s Network and the Anglican Alliance are holding a free online webinar for the 16 Days on churches tackling gender-based violence, at 2pm GMT on Thursday (1 December). Click here for more details and to register.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Planning for the Integrity seminar

Kakamega Rotary Club receiving detailed information and making plans to spread the word

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Integrity through Virtues

A seminar for business people and professionals led by a well known international speaker

Dara Feldman, M.Ed., NBCT

Date   Wednesday March 1 2017
Time: 9.00 am-2.00 pm (no entry after 10am)
Location: Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega (Catering Unit)
Cost: K Sh 2,000 (includes materials and lunch)
Registration and MPESA to 0726036623
Certificates will be awarded  for full attendance

Sponsored by, Masinde Muliro University, Rotary Club of Victoria, Canada; Tembo-Kenya Community Development Society and Virtues Project International

A seminar for parents and educators led by a well known international speaker

Dara Feldman, M.Ed., NBCT

Date   Tuesday February 28 2017
Time: 9.00 am-2.00 pm (no entry after 10 am)
Location: Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega (Catering Unit)
Cost: K Sh 2,000 (includes materials and lunch)
Registration and MPESA to 0726036623
Certificates will be awarded for full attendance

Sponsored by, Masinde Muliro University, Rotary Club of Victoria, Canada; Tembo-Kenya Community Development Society and Virtues Project International

Monday, October 31, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Finishing Read for the Top

Good news for R4T! Went to check on a water project in a secondary school that was done during our absence. The school has been reading The Hunger Games in their second year class, but we were locked out of schools during October when we should have done the contest. They have arranged things so we can do it next Wed. Hoping the other schools will also work around the problems.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Farewell to Canada

Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria sent us on our way back to Kenya with a lovely cake to mark the Meritorious Service Medal award.

Friday, September 2, 2016

More on the award

Our friend Nancy, Vice President of Tembo-Kenya, recently posted this article in the BC Retired Teachers' magazine

Sunday, August 21, 2016

LEAP grant from Better World Books

Sharing an overview of this project. This was created from a Powerpoint to share here, so slides with text move too fast!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What's coming?

Virtues Project Global Mentorship in Kenya, February 2017

For updated and on-going information checkout our Google site https://sites.google.com/site/virtuesforkenya/

Our international speaker and team leader Dara Feldman has booked her ticket. Take a look at how you can participate, visit a Virtues school and a community, invite an Kenyan student to dinner. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Honour award

Tembo-Kenya is proud to announce that the founders and directors of Tembo-Kenya, Patricia and Rod Crossley, have been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Government of Canada for their work in Kenya. . Created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country. The Meritorious Service Decorations are an important part of the Canadian Honours System and highlight remarkable achievements that are accomplished over a limited period of time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Integrity conference

Conference on Integrity through Virtues is planned for Feb 21, 22 2017, targeting teachers, parents, business and community leaders. With an international speaker. Stay tuned as we look for funding.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Global Mentorship for Virtues Project

Virtues Project Global Mentorship is slated for February 23-26 2017 in Kakamega, Kenya. Bookmark this site which will soon be live for updated and on-going information: https://sites.google.com/site/virtuesforkenya

Friday, March 11, 2016

Virtues training

Sixty more students were trained in Virtues at Masinde Muliro University. Head teachers and principals attended an introduction to Virtues, encouraging them to seek training for their schools.

Last sanitation project

The sanitation projects funded by Rotary International and by private donations closed this week with the handover of the boys' toilet in Ebukoolo. The boys were wonderful to work with as we explained the structure and use of the composting toilets and very appreciative of having more than one 'hole' and an old brick wall.

We then visited two other schools requesting toilets. Eshibembe has nearly one thousand students and their pit latrines are almost full (and smell to high heaven!)

Emwatsi has half the number of students but so few latrines (all without doors) that boys and girls have to share. The Head Teacher is afraid of closure by Public Health. The metal structure you see is the boys' urinal. 

Both schools would require more doors than in the normal blocks we install. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Education problems

Many generous people donate money to send girls and boys to secondary school where costs are mostly beyond the ability of many to pay. This is wonderful. As I have mentioned before, low cost day schools are springing up but are struggling because many families can't even pay the minimal costs of infrastructure, lunch, uniform and books.(About $200 per year) The government has introduced tuition subsidy which is helping a little. Also free primary has brought many thousands of children back into school.
However, the following statistics will emphasize the need for funds for job training to allow those who don't go, or don't complete, secondary to put food on the table.
Only two out of five students finish high school. In 2011 37% dropped out before reaching the end of primary (gr 8). An estimate in 2015 is that 18% of those taking the leaving exam in gr 8 would not be admitted to secondary. But in real terms 35% do not take a place in first year high school.
A boy or a girl who doesn't finish school (or who does finish but cannot afford university) can take one or two year 'trades' courses for as little as $500 per year, which is for boarding. Less if they can live at home. When we have had funds we have sent young people to driving school, tailoring, secretarial, motor mechanics, masonry, carpentry. This is a huge need which is not being met by any organisation that I am aware of.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Although 'petty' corruption is often seen as the 'cost of doing business' whether it's to avoid a police summons, retrieve a file from a government office, have an application processed speedily, acquire a job, Kenya is awash at the moment with allegations of massive fraud at the highest levels.  We have lost count of the number of officials, politicians and senior executives implicated in swindling the country out of billions.
A new report from Price Waterhouse says the country's economic crime has risen 25 % above the global average. Whereas the global average was 24 %, Kenya reported 47 % incidence of bribery and corruption, the third highest globally.
In 2015 the country reported an incidence level of 61 % having increased from 52 % recorded in the previous year.
Most of the cases of economic crime in Kenya are committed by internal fraudsters accounting for 70% of the cases reported by local organisations.

One cannot be surprised that donor money is shrinking as appeals are made for education, drugs and infra structure projects when so much wealth is being salted away in foreign banks.

Those of us in the Virtues community are looking at the idea of organizing a conference based on fighting corruption through Virtues, highlighting integrity in parenting, teaching, business and religion. Raising children of integrity and awakening the Virtues in adults is surely one powerful way to battle this endemic disease.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Caning and Virtues

This video will show why we promote positive discipline in schools through Virtues. Caning is illegal and has been for over 10 years, but is common in the majority of schools at all levels.In some schools where we have tried to interest them in the program, the teachers have laughed at us. In others they have adopted Virtues and are flourishing


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Virtues training for more students

On Saturday we did our second Virtues training for Nursing and Education students at MMUST. These young people are soon going out on 'attachment' for internship. We planned for 60 and somehow finished with 65 as 'extras' snuck in. Still some were turned away. We plan four more sessions before I leave at the end of March.
Again, their anonymous evaluations were very positive and they are eager for more. I think it will be easy to spread the Virtues culture throughout the student body with these ambassadors


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Virtues training at MMUST

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega is the first university in the world (to our knowledge) to adopt the Virtues Project campus wide. We have already trained a good number of senior staff and lecturers using the Business and Professional package. Yesterday we received our first group of students to be trained in Phase One. They were student leaders,many the chairperson of different clubs. Throughout the six hours for the 'Community' package they remained attentive, active and cooperative. Their evaluation reports (anonymous) were all positive and enthusiastic, wholeheartedly supporting the spread of to other groups and even to the whole country. On Saturday we shall welcome a mixed group of nursing and education students who will be going out on internship. In amny cases, medical staff in hospitals are considered harsh and uncaring and in schools the use of the cane and other severe punishments are common. We hope we shall be able to give these young people a different approach to use positive discipline, compassion and service.

Writing the Virtues of others on their gem tags

Master Facilitator Richard has everyone's attention

Choosing the core Virtues for our club

Writing a rule in Virtues language

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Water is Life but Sanitation is Dignity. These were the words of a student last year when we handed over composting toilets in a school. We have often posted pictures of the appalling state of many school latrines and have been grateful for the funding we have been able to find. Since half the population is under fifteen, the needs in schools cannot be met at the moment. This article underlines the need for good sanitation throughout the country.where fewer than 20 percent of households have access  to proper toilets and communities are driven to declare themselves 'defecation free zones'.



all good again

The power in Ebulako was fixed at the weekend and we were able to complete the handover of the composting toilets. With close to 700 children in grades 4-8 we had to rune two sessions in the small church to show how to use and care for the toilets. Then we had to select a few from each class for the practical demo. The school has virtually no play area and as their numbers increase becasue of their excellent results, the infra structure becomes more and more fragile.

The other good news is that my new power supply arrived well under the promised 5 days and my laptop is now functional again.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Never a dull moment

An up and down day on Friday. We went to Ebulako Primary School (Picture below) to handover two blocks of composting toilets only to find that a local transformer was inactive and the whole area was without power. We tried a local generator and after much effort decided that there was a problem with our projector which would not stay on. So we accepted a huge amount of local fruits which the children had brought and promised to return on Monday with our other projector. The goof news is that the school has had its best exam results ever with the class that did Read for the Top two years ago!
On our way home we called in at Ebukoolo Secondary which is a growing school boasting a new set of traditional pit latrines for girls but only one hole and a brick wall for 75 boys. (Picture below) We have enough funds left to put in a block for the boys. At home we found there was no problem with the projector so the generator was not giving us enough power. Rod spent the morning trying to fire up our (not often used) generator only to be obliged to take it to a local fundi (workman) for repair. Hopefully it can be fixed so we can take it out with us on Monday.
To crown everything I also found that my laptop is not charging. We were able to locate a new power supply on line which will take 5 days to arrive. So while Rod was messing with the generator I was checking that I have all the files I need for the immediate future on my back up drive and my old standby laptop.
One hole and a wall for the boys at Ebukoolo Secondary

Ebulako children were disappointed no handover on Friday

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


This young man is the son of a watchman. He was able to attend first year of secondary after a long wait at home, but dropped out for lack of fees to continue. He has sat at home with no work and no education since 2012 and he is now 21.Thanks to donations to Tembo for job training we can send him to the polytechnic to study motor mechanics in a two year programme.
For about $250 a year plus a few shillings for supplies he will become self sufficient and contribute to his family and his community. There are thousands of young men and women in this situation with very few organisations that can help them.

Finishing Read for the Top

We are concluding our grant from Better World Books for Read for the Top. Three schools (one primary, two secondary) were unable to complete in 2015 for a number of reasons, but mainly because of a month long teacher strike in September and an early start to National exams in November.

On Monday we were in Emwatsi primary. The teachers usually shake their heads and tell us their children have difficulty, they are 'slow'. Of course this is not true. They have a normal distribution of intelligence. Where they lack is parental support and resources in the school. Once again the teachers were amazed at the way their children responded to the contest and shone with their commitment and comprehension. They all received school bags marked Read for the Top, and the winning teams received their own 'story book'. While we were doing the closing remarks those children were already deep into their new story.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Itumbu Secondary new toilet blocks

On Monday we handed over the two new sanitation blocks for a rural secondary school. The principal told us that we had saved them from closure by the Public Health Service for lack of sufficient latrines. Three hundred students followed the training video with close attention.