Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Potential New Project - Water & Education Benefits for Kyaithani Cluster Schools

In late February 2020 our Rotary Club Sunshine Coast-Sechelt (BC) learned that the generator at the Ndandini borehole that was installed in 2010 was beginning to fail (not providing the required level of voltage to the pump motor). The service provider recommended that we look at replacing the diesel generator as soon as possible. His recommendation was that we consider installing a solar panel source of power. 

Since late February, our Rotary Club and the Rotary Club Port Moody (BC), along with the Rotary Club of Machakos (Kenya) have been working on creating a major international project and starting fundraising.  The project will address this future water supply problem and also include significant sanitation and hygiene items for the 8 schools in the Ndandini/Kyaithani area.

The project will:

1. replace the failing diesel generator at the Ndandini borehole (which was provided by a Rotary matching grant in 2010) with a solar panel source of power. The generator was submerged by a flood in 2018 and refurbished but is now not providing sufficient voltage output. The service provider has strongly recommended its replacement as soon as possible. Total failure would stop availability of the community's only source of potable water. Continued operation with under voltage output will lead to further pump failure (we have already had to recently replace a burned out pump motor). Below is a photo of the generator and an example of a replacement solar panel installation.

2010 diesel generator

potential solar array 

2.  Provide hand-washing stations at all the 8 schools in the Ndandini area. There are none now at any of the schools. The Kenya government is indicating that all schools will require hand-washing stations in order to reopen after the current COVID shutdown. The hand-washing stations will require water (from the borehole) on an ongoing basis. Below is a photo of the hand-washing stations that Kenya Connect has installed at all its 55 schools and would provide for the Kyaithani Cluster schools as part of this project.     


handwashing station

3.  Install composting toilets to replace current pit latrines at the 6 primary schools. The current state of pit latrines at all the schools is terrible. At 2 of the 6 schools there are no remaining usable toilets for any of the boys. The use of compost from the toilets will lead to the introduction of improved gardening at the schools by the parent support groups. Below is a photo of the Ndandini pit-toilet block, which is typical of those at other primary schools, and the composting toilet that would be inside each new compost toilet cubicle. Kenya Connect is currently installing composting toilets at several of their schools.

current toilet block

new composting toilet

4.  If sufficient project funding can be provided, we would assist the parent support groups by providing some form of drip-irrigation equipment for the outdoor gardens at the school or possibly to also include a small drip-irrigation greenhouse. The proceeds from the school gardens will help support the parents working at the school gardens and provide funds to buy potable water for the school (for drinking, hand washing and use in drip-irrigation). Below is a photo of a possible outdoor drip-irrigation garden and a small greenhouse.

drip irrigation garden

Except for the installation of the solar panels (which would be done by the local well service supplier), the project will be overseen (on the ground) by Kenya Connect.  Kenya Connect has partnered with our Rotary Club on several major projects since 2015. 

The current project budget is:

us$20k replacement of generator by solar panels
us$ 8k hand-washing stations for 8 schools
us$25k composting toilets at 6 primary schools (for teachers and girls and boys)
us$ 2k water tank at 1 new primary school
us$24k drip-irrigation for 6 primary school gardens (for parent support groups)
us$ 8k subsidized water delivery to 6 primary schools during implementation
us $ 3k project management and travel expense (for Kenya Connect and RC Machakos)

TOTAL project budget of us$90,000

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Major Educational Development Project Successfully completed.

Way back in 2015 we began a major Rotary Global Grant Project intended to enhance education in the Kyaithani/Ndandini area of eastern Kenya!
The project has been highly successful and is now complete.  So many students and teachers are so grateful for what was achieved and provided.

By September 2016, two computer labs had been installed at Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Secondary Schools and teachers trained.  These computer labs each comprised 20 student Aleutia computers, 1 teacher Aleutia computer/server (all 21 computers networked and linked to a satellite access point), desks, and a solar system capable of powering the complete computer lab.
1500 solar lights were provided in early 2017 by this project to students under a "rent-to-own" program where students repay for the light in eight $1monthly payments over the school year and then they own it. The proceeds from the repayment allows for the purchase of another solar light which can be provided to another student in the following year, making the "rent-to-own" program self-sustaining on an ongoing basis.  The solar light "rent-to-own" program is administered by our project partner Kenya Connect.  Almost 7000 solar lights have now been made available since the rent-to-own program started early in 2017.
222 school teachers from 50 primary schools in the Kyaithani & Wamunyu areas were trained during 2018 in how best to make use of new government-provided computer tablets, servers and projectors.  This equipment was sitting idle due to lack of teacher training.  Teachers in all these schools are now making regular use of the equipment in their lessons.

59 primary school teachers from 27 primary schools were trained early in 2019 to use 21st century methodologies in incorporating the use of the computer tablets, computer server and projectorThe teachers expressed gratitude that they were getting a head start on the training that the Ministry of Education has said it would be providing "in the future" and are now regularly using these teaching methodologies.

Our partner Kenya Connect (with Kenyan staff located in Wamunyu, about an hour away from Ndandini & Kyaithani) has provided essential knowledge and support to us in achieving the above objectives.  Kenya Connect does amazing work with 64 schools in the Wamunyu and now Kyaithani area of eastern Kenya.  Check out some of their recent work on their Facebook page:
Here are some of the Global Grant project facts:
  Title  Kyaithani Cluster Schools Development Project, Kenya
US$101,564    Project budget
US$  22,188    Rotary Club Contributions
US$  10,000    Rotary District 5040
US$  37,188    The Rotary Foundation (TRF) 
US$  32,188    Gov't of Canada/TRF Canada
Rotary Club partners:
   Richmond Sunset
   Richmond Sunrise
   Vancouver South
   Whistler Millenium
   Belleville (Ontario)
   Sussex (New Brunswick)
   Saint John (New Brunswick)
   Machakos (Kenya)
   Sunshine Coast-Sechelt

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Tractor and Water bowser "revitalized"

We are so grateful to the Rotary Club of Sunshine Coast-Sechelt and the Rotary Club Gibsons (BC Canada) for making donations this year to support the maintenance and revitalization of the tractor and water bowser that were originally provided in 2012 as part of a Rotary Global Grant.
The new tractor and water bowser being delivered March 2012
The tractor required a full maintenance and replacement of some significant parts at a cost of Cdn$2600.

The water bowser had developed some major rusting and it was important that this be addressed, both for the longevity of the water bowser, and also for the quality of the clean water being delivered to the schools in the area.  The cost to revitalize the water bowser was Cdn$1500.

The water bowser before being revitalized.

After being revitalized!
The people of the Ndandini/Kyaithani area of Kenya are so grateful for the ongoing support from these two Rotary Clubs.

Monday, September 18, 2017

10 Years of Project Work in Ndandini, Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Kenya

Jan and Terry Umbach first visited Ndandini September 24th 2007.
Seeing how dry and poor the area was, they promised to try to get the villagers a water well.
Here we are 10 years later.
Much has been done beyond the well that was drilled in 2010.
Water from the well being delivered to Muusini Primary School
Thanks to many supportive individual Rotarian and non-Rotarian donors and to many partner Rotary Clubs.  
Join our Rotary Club Sunshine Coast-Sechelt to be a part of our work in this desperately poor and famine prone area of eastern Kenya.  Or help us by contributing via this website's "donate here" tab.
The well site provided in 2010 still working today in 2017

Here's a HISTORY of our work since September 2007 in the Ndandini/Kyaithani/Lower Yatta area of Kenya.

Over $428,000CAD has been invested since 2007 (not including the personal cost of 13 visits by Terry and Jan over the past 10 years).

Non-Rotary donors have contributed significantly (see below).

Rotary has executed three Matching/Global grants for:
  1. the well in 2010
  2. the tractor and bowser in 2012
  3. the computer labs and solar lights in 2016-17

There have been many other smaller projects and the scholarship program that is making a major impact on the community.

Source of Investment Funds to Date (for all our project over the past 10 years): 
   Non-Rotary              $107,265        25%
   Other Rotary Clubs   $92,913        22%
   TRF World Fund       $72,843        17%
   RC SC-Sechelt         $47,793        11%
   District 5040              $40,765       10%
   TRFC/Gov of Can     $35,406         8%
   Other Districts           $31,375         7%
Total                    CDN$428,360

The CURRENT Rotary Foundation GLOBAL GRANT #1413848 (approved November 2015)

"The primary overall objective of the Global Grant project is to improve the academic performance of primary and secondary students in the 'cluster' of schools in the remote, famine-prone, and extremely poor Nandini/Kyaithani are of eastern Kenya.  Student enrolment in the 2 secondary and 5 (now 6) primary schools is about 1300 children."

Major Global Grant project deliverables (4 phases):
Computer lab with 21 computers and satellite link at both secondary schools (completed September 2016) now being used by over 400 secondary students.
The computer lab at Lower Yatta Secondary School

Solar light rent-to-own program for students and teachers in 7 (now 8) schools; 1500 lights provided and almost totally subscribed since January 2017.
Students at Lower Yatta Secondary with their new solar lights
Teacher training program enrolment for 70 primary school teachers (pending next course date/availability)
Direct teaching support or electronic teaching aids for 5 (now 6) primary schools (now working to define deliverable as a result of Kenya government's commencement of providing computer tablets at primary schools but with no teacher training).

                                                                        Budget          Spent        Status   
2 Computer labs                                              $60,000     $59,259.12   complete
1500 Solar lights                                              $10,000       $9,797.91   complete
KICD PTO training for 70 teachers                    $7,700                   $0   Note 1
Teaching aids for 7 (now 8) primary schools   $15,000                   $0   Note 2
Project Management                                         $6,000            $2,400
Admin/Kenya travel                                           $2,864        $2141.50
Total                                                       USD$101,564     $73,598.53
         Note 1:  waiting for Government of Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development who has delayed planned 2016 implementation date
         Note 2:  new Kenya Government program providing computer tablets at primary schools removes need for our project to provide computers there, but creates a serious need for primary school teachers to be trained to use them


No electricity in homes in this area.  People are very poor subsistence farmers.
Budget was for 1100 solar lights costing $10,000 total.
Reduction in price permitted the purchase of 1,500 SunKing Pico lights (for same cost) by the Global Grant Project.
Rent-to-own program developed by us and being administered by Kenya Connect.
Kenya Connect has their own solar light rental program also operational and modelled after our plan.
Payment by parents of USD$1/month for 8 months during the school year buys one light for their child.
Rental proceeds used to buy more lights for the program for more student participation in following years.
These initial1,500 lights could result in 6,000 lights in operation by students within 4 years.
Lights have 2 year warranty and 5 year life expectancy.
The displaced cost of Paraffin is several times more than the monthly cost of the solar light.

SOLAR LIGHT SUBSCRIPTIONS (by teachers and parents for their children)

246  Lower Yatta Secondary 
190  Kyaithani Secondary
 84   Nthilani Primary
104  Ndunguni Primary
169  Muusini Primary
130  Kyaithani Primary
  76  Ndandini Primary
  31  Llovi Primary
226  Kenya Connect schools
1256  subscribed to date  
  244  still in stock for subscription
1500  total 


4 individuals for each of the Primary schools have been registered to enrol in the next online PTO (primary Teacher Orientation) training course conducted by the government's Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) with the $100 enrolment fee paid by the Global Grant project.  We are awaiting announcement by the government of the next course date.  This is a year long course taken online to help teachers introduce computer technology to the students and introduce the use of computers into the curriculum.  Teachers receive a formal certificate upon successful completion of the course.

The remaining Primary school teachers will also have their enrolment subsidized by the Global Grant project in the next subsequent course.

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM for Secondary Students

The Scholarship Program started in  2011 with 9 scholarships.  This year (2017) we provided 60 scholarships.
Jan receiving thank you letters from Kyaithani Secondary students
We provide $150CDN per year per scholarship as a partial assistance towards the annual cost of more than $400USD for these students to attend secondary school.  We provide partial funding in order to try to help as many students as possible.

During the past 7 years since the start of the program, 220 scholarships have been awarded totalling Cdn$33,000.  

The program is funded almost exclusively by non-Rotary donors (we are trying to get more Rotary Clubs to participate).
The RC Sechelt-Sunshine Coast has contributed a total of $5700 and now has committed to donating $1200/year.
St. Hilda's Anglican church in Sechelt has been a major partner with our Rotary Club since 2011, having contributed over $22,000 in total. One parishioner from St. Hilda's visited the Kyaithani Cluster of schools last October with us.

Each scholarship is for one year at Cdn$150.   The Scholarship Fund has reserves in trust of Cdn$18,000 so that each of the current 60 scholarships is fully funded for its remaining years (until secondary school graduation) at $150/year, even if annual donor contributions were to completely cease.

Each scholarship recipient must have graduated from one of the Cluster Primary schools (as we are attempting to upgrade the level of education within the local community).

Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement and selected by the principals of Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Secondary schools.

DISTRIBUTION OF 60 SCHOLARSHIPS  (Cdn$9000 in 2017)    21 Boys and 39 girls
              Kyaithani Secondary    Lower Yatta Secondary
                     boys     girls               girls
Form 1           4           4                     6
Form 2           6           2                     6
Form 3           7           3                     6
Form 4           4           6                     6

BURSARY PROGRAM (for vocational/technical school enrolment at Syongila Polytechnic)

This is a trial program, started 2 years ago.
3 students are being funded by a private non-Rotary donor who is interested in providing education in the trades.
Cost is $600/year/student for a two year boarding school course at Syongila Polytechnic in nearby Kitui.
The donor has now provided more funding so that another three students can take a 2-year vocational training course.

Titus did his KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) exams and qualified with a low grade.  The teachers felt that he would not compete well in other academic courses.  The teachers recommended that he enrol in the vocational program.  He chose the motor mechanics program.  In two years he has completed four years of courses!   He is requesting that we fund his final 2 years of courses in order for hime to have his top Grade 1 Mechanics certificate.
Titus and Terry
Boniface was a form two student in Kyaithani Secondary but academicaly weak and requested that he transfer to a technical institute.  He is now completing his second year of the Building Technology (masonry) course at Syongila PolyTechnic near Kitui.  He stands 2nd in his class.  Boniface is requesting that we fund his next 2 years of the masonry course.
William and Boniface (in purple) with their Syongila Polytec teachers
William did his KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) exam in 2012 graduating from primary school.  His desperate family could not afford for his secondary education.  He is now an orphan with several siblings.  He is now enrolled in the 2nd year of the Motor Vehicle Mechanics Technology course at Syongila PolyTechnic near Kitui.  William is doing well standing 7th in his class.  William is hoping that we continue to fund his next two years of masonry training.