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.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Solar Light Rent-to-Own Program starts at Lower Yatta Secondary School

January 17 was a great day with 206 Solar Lights being distributed to students at Lower Yatta Secondary School.

Registering for the Solar Light Rent-to-Own Program

Each student will pay $1/month for 8 months and then own the solar light.  The $8 received from these payments will then allow another solar light to be bought to be made available for more students.

Kenya Connect is helping us by administering the program in the cluster of 7 schools in the Kyaithani area of Kenya.

Kenya Connect has almost 1000 of these solar lights out under their own Solar Light Rent-to-own program in the Wamunyu area of Kenya, about an hour from Lower Yatta.  Their experience is that students are spending almost 3 times the amount of time every day doing homework and reading than they were able to do before.  And the monthly cost of the solar light is much less than the previous cost of paraffin.

The 206 Lower Yatta Secondary students with their new Solar Lights 

Everyone, especially the students and teachers, was really excited!

This is part of a Rotary Global Grant which will see 1100 of these solar lights made available to the students in 2 secondary schools and 5 primary schools in the Lower Yatta & Kyaithani area of Kenya.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Great Visit to Kyaithani Cluster October 9-12 2016

A team of Canadian supporters from St. Hilda's Anglican Church (Sechelt) and the Rotary Club of Sunshine Coast-Sechelt BC visited the Kyaithani cluster of schools  for 4 days in October 2016.  It was another life-changing visit!  For 3 of the visitors it was their first visit to Africa.  What a way to start!!

We first visited with members of our partner Machakos Rotary Club and with members of our partner Kenya Connect from Kenya and Maryland in the USA at the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Centre in Wamunyu (about an hour away from Kyaithani) to review the project progress to date and discuss plans for next year.  Our project members from Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Secondary Schools were also keen participants in the project team meeting.
Our project team includes Rotary Clubs of Machakos Kenya & Sunshine Coast-Sechelt Canada,
Kenya Connect Wamunyu Kenya & Maryland USA, and teachers and administrators of Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Secondary Schools in Kenya.

Then our team from Canada spent 3 days in the Kyaithani & lower Yatta area visiting all 7 schools in the Kyaithani cluster.  Members of our partner Kenya Connect accompanied us and we built a great partnership bond that we all hope will grow even stronger over time.

Our first stop was the new computer "Learning Resource Centre" at Lower Yatta Secondary school.  It will be so much more than just a computer lab!  We were very surprised to see that the principal Ann had already arranged to have dust covers made for each of the 21 computer monitors, screens and keyboards.

Lower Yatta computers with dust covers

Lower Yatta Principal Ann with her 205 female students

205 Kyaithani Secondary School students

As we toured each of the 5 primary schools and the 2 secondary schools we were amazed at the progress each had made in the past year.

At Kyaithani Secondary we could not believe the 100 students sharing the 20 newly installed computers in the new Learning resource Centre after a class break!
Kyaithani students share the 20 computers
Here are the 36 scholarship recipients at Kyaithani that donors support.  It takes $600 to provide a 4 year scholarship for each of these students.  Please consider helping.  It makes a HUGE difference in the lives of every recipient student.

36 Kyaithani scholarship recipients

We were honoured to acknowledge the teachers and administrators at Kyaithani and Lower Yatta Secondary Schools who work so hard to help these students achieve better grades and improve their future life options.
Kyaithani teachers/administrators

At each of the two dedication ceremonies we presented each school's Learning Resource Centre with a Plaque to commemorate the day and honor the donors who made this happen!

Kyaithani Learning Resource Centre Dedication Plaque
Lower Yatta Learning Resource Centre Dedication Plaque
The students in the Kyaithani Cluster area are so keen - beginning in Primary School.  Last year there was a big jump in the number of students carrying on from Primary to Secondary school.  We think that the availability of scholarships to attend secondary school is making a difference. 

There were 74 students in the Form 1 (entry level) class at Lower Yatta last January and all in one classroom!  How many will there be in January 2017?
74 new students at Lower Yatta - will make great use of the Learning Resource Centre
Lower Yatta girls are keen to learn about the computers
12 Lower Yatta Secondary scholarship recipients

With only 12 scholarships for a school population of 205 we have a long way to go to make a difference in the lives of these dedicated scholars.  We'd love to have your support of our scholarship program.  Visit to read more and contribute.

Thanks for your interest and support.
Terry and Jan