Below is the August monthly update to the major donors of the Ndandini Water Project:
Here we are less than one week until Jan & I head back over to Kenya. While there, we will oversee the installation of the pump and generator, the commissioning of the operational well and the long anticipated day of dedication by the village of the well on September 5th.
I hope that everyone has been keeping up to date with our progress and photos this past month on our blog www.ndandini.blogspot.com . We have been adding photos of the hard work that our project manager Duncan has been doing to get our project complete. Without Duncan's dedication to our project and his personal sacrifice involved in spending many, many days out at the village and many, many nights sleeping in his tent, this project would never have come to a successful completion. I know that all of you join me in a very big "thank you" to Duncan. I can heartily recommend Duncan to any Rotary club (whether in Kenya or overseas) that is looking for a project manager in Kenya.
This month's update letter covers off the following:
1. Status of our site work preparing for the installation of the pump & generator.
2. New members of the Water Project Management Committee.
3. Plans for the Drip-Irrigation Greenhouse at Ndandini Primary School
4. Links to new YouTube videos of our last trip during the drilling of the boreholes.
5. Potential additional follow-on projects?
Well Site Preparations
As far as the well is concerned, I am really pleased to report that everything on site is ready for the installation of the pump and generator. This is now scheduled to be done August 18-20. I am planning to be on-site for the completion of this work. To this point, we are also running within budget and do not see any overrun.
The dedication of the well is scheduled for Sunday September 5th. We are expecting many villagers from around Ndandini and the neighbouring town of Kyaithani. There will be a group of 8 people attending from Sechelt BC and we also expect several Rotarians from our Nairobi Industrial Area host Rotary club. There may also be some other Rotarians from some of our partner clubs.
New and improved Water Project Management Committee
I reported last month that because of the 18,000 liters/hour that we were able to pump during the testing, we were approached by the sub-area chief inquiring about whether we would provide water for the next village, Kyaithani. And I had indicated that the water would be available as long as it proved out that there was enough.
I also asked the sub-area chief to assist us in augmenting the composition of the Ndandini Water Project Management Committee to add more experienced local people and some with demonstrated leadership skills and who had respect from the government. I am very pleased to confirm that he has done this and we now have as chairperson of the committee the principal of the secondary school for the area (located in Kyaithani) and the headmaster and one teacher from the Ndandini Primary school are also on the committee. Both the principal and the headmaster have opened up email accounts (even though they have to travel some 25km by motorbike to the nearest cyber cafe) to enable better communication with them for longer and more detailed correspondence. I have also set up a system for almost instantaneous exchanges of shorter text messages to their cell phones. Since they have joined the Committee we have made great progress, due in large part to the improved internet communications, and I am very encouraged that the well will be a sustainable venture.
Plans for Installing an Amiran Farmer's Kit at Ndandini Primary School
Last month I mentioned that beyond the scope of the Rotary Matching Grant project, we had also received a donation of almost $5500 from St. Hilda's Anglican Church in Sechelt to be applied towards water for Ndandini. While these funds were originally collected with the intent of helping to meet the shortfall in project funding due to TRF's lack of grant money. St. Hilda's has now agreed to apply their donation towards "maximizing the benefits of the water from the well". They have agreed to fund the installation of an Amiran Farmer's Kit (drip irrigation greenhouse and garden) at the Ndandini Primary School. This project is being assisted by the Belleville Ontario Canada Rotary Club through their charitable organization. The Amiran Farmer's Kit is scheduled to be delivered on August 13th and to be completely installed by August 18th. We are expecting that the improved crop yields from this new technology, the first in the area, will significantly increase the food available for the school meal program and also provide some much needed revenue for the school. We hope that this first installation at Ndandini Primary school will be a model that can be replicated in each of the other primary schools and at the high school with either government support or by donors. We are also hoping that we will see the implementation of a larger Amiran Farmer's kit as a volunteer "community garden" to help offset the costs of operating the well.
Links to YouTube Drilling videos
Here are some links that you will find interesting. The first two videos document our experience in late May/early June when Jan & I were in Ndandini while the boreholes were drilled. We have tried to give a bit of a chronological experience so that you can share with us in the anticipation, the concerns and worry, the ultimate success and also share in seeing the future hope for the drip-irrigation greenhouse.
To watch the Ndandini Drilling Part 1 click on the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEqJOKp3F4A
To watch the Ndandini Drilling Part 2 click on the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ReBDc2NrOk&feature=related
To read a recent article in our local paper click on the following link
Possible New Projects?
I received a couple of expressions of interest after last month's update email, about possible future projects to help the Ndandini area. In order to get a much better description of the kind of things that are on the "wish list" of the teachers and head administrators of the area schools I have asked them to provide me with their wish list. I am very pleased to tell you that not only have I received the wish list, but two very informative and well presented letters from Kimali, the principal of the Kyaithani Secondary School which will give you some insight into the difficult situation and great needs existing in the community. I encourage everyone to read these letters, share them with your club members and give serious consideration to how your club (and perhaps others in your area) can help this desperately poor area of Kenya. We have established a great working communication link to some qualified people within the Ndandini area who can help the community to help itself with a little bit of help from us, their friends. The well has been a great success. Let's try to follow it up with another outpouring of our "Service Above Self" actions. I thank you in advance.
Here are the two wish list letters sent to me by the principal of the Kyaithani Secondary School:
I am glad that Kenyans have overwhelmingly endorsed the New Constitution after peaceful campaigns during the August 4th referendum.
I am also impressed by the concern with which you have dedicated your precious time and resources to turnaround the lives of so many people in the village.
I strongly believe that education gives the learners the ability to fit in the society and to exploit the opportunities in the environment for personal and social progress.
It is my wish that you allow me to digress and tell you about the task bestowed on me by the Community to spearhead the provision of quality schooling to the young learners in the village.
I joined Kyaithani Secondary School in July 2009 as the Principal and I began exploring ways of improving the academic standards in the area. As a long-term measure, I conceived the idea of forming the Kyaithani Cluster composed of five Primary Schools that form the catchment for Kyaithani Secondary School.
The Kyaithani cluster has been fully operational for the last one year with tremendous initial results. The cluster mobilizes the management, teachers, parents and pupils of Kyaithani, Ndandini, Muusini, Ndunguni and Nthilani Primary Schools.
The main objective of the cluster is to improve the academic performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams by instilling the spirit of competition among the learners. The cluster has put in place measures, to achieve the set goal, such as:
I. Administering joint exams for all the learners right from class one to class eight;
II. Preparing a merit list and awarding the top performers in each class and
III. Organizing Guidance and Counseling sessions at which the learners are advised on strategies to improve discipline and academic performance.
We have set in motion the above measures and held several public Barazas to educate the community on the importance of supporting the education of our children and the response so far has been impressive.
As the Patron of Kyaithani Cluster, my dream is to provide the learners with an environment suitable for full exploitation of their academic potential.
It is at this point that I truly welcome your input in all material and possible ways to enable the Cluster turn its dream into a reality for the benefit of the learners.
I can now present a list of two items that each of our primary schools in the cluster can make good use of to facilitate proper teaching and learning of the pupils.
(i) An Administration Block.
All the primary schools in the Cluster lack this important structure and so the teachers have no ample space to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.
The provision of furnished Head teacher’s Office, the staffroom and departmental offices would go along way to improve the productivity of the members of staff.
(ii) Modern Latrines.
The compounds are littered with collapsed or filled up traditional structures that served as the convenience rooms.
The construction of modern exhaustible latrines can provide the learners with a clean and stench- free environment for answering to the calls of nature.
It is my humble request that you encourage your Group of Donors to give a positive consideration towards alleviating the state of neglect and despair in the Kyaithani cluster Primary schools.
Your presence in and association with the community as well as the enormous financial input in the projects is an investment that will ultimately rescue the local people from the dehumanizing state of under – development.
Once again, I wish to give a firm commitment that any resources provided to the schools for the projects will be put into the intended use prudently utilized and accounted for up to the last coin.
I am looking forward to your consideration and positive response to our wish list.
See you when you land at the village on August 20th
KYAITHANI SECONDARY SCHOOL
MOTTO: AIM AT THE BEST
P.O BOX 339-90200
RE: APPEAL FOR FUNDING
I am truly pleased to have received your message of hope concerning the items our local High School would put on its wish list.
Before I put down the facilities necessary to facilitate effective teaching and learning a brief history of the school would be quite in order.
Kyaithani Mixed Secondary School is an upcoming teaching and learning Institution just started in the year 2009. It offers a rare chance to the sixty form one and two students to obtain basic education that would otherwise have been unaffordable in the high cost schools.
The existing physical structures (2 classrooms and an administration block) were put up by the federal government's Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and there is urgent need to erect more buildings to cater for the increasing number of learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The young boys and girls are very eager and determined to learn so as to qualify for specialized training in colleges that would give them a competitive edge in the labour market.
Unfortunately a majority of the students come from desperately hopeless households that cannot and do not provide the basic learning requirements. Many a time, I get emotionally and financially strained, when I have to provide food, teaching services, stationery , clothing and even kerosene to students who have nobody responsible enough to cater for their personal needs
A good number of the students are from poor broken families or from single parents while a few are total orphans. The local community has all along being more than willing to contribute towards the physical development of the school and well-being of the students.
However, the donations by the community are too little and far apart to match the numerous needs of the newly established school.
It is against this background information that I wish to present my list of three priority needs that would go a long way to make Kyaithani Secondary School a competitive institution offering quality teaching and learning for the benefit of the learners and the wider society.
(1) Two Dormitories
A lot of precious time gets wasted as the students trek as far as seven kilometers to and fro school. Fully equipped modern dormitories would create more time for studies , cushion the boys and girls from the effects of broken and/or hostile families, enhance student’s interaction and conduct, protect the youth from social vices such as sexual harassment and drug abuse .This would keep the learners in a controlled environment suitable for personal, social and academic progress.
(2) One Science Laboratory
Currently the school offers theoretical teaching of science subject due to lack of basic chemicals and apparatus as well as the laboratory structure.
The construction of a fully equipped laboratory would expose the learners to the important practical aspects of the science subjects namely Biology, Chemistry and physics.
As the world takes the IT super highway, our teachers and learners remain largely computer illiterate due to lack of the necessary infrastructure.
The provision and installation of internet – enabled computers along with the solar power to run them would give the learners a chance to be technology / information savvy.
Having presented the wish list for Kyaithani Secondary School ,I am fully aware that the above items would require enormous amounts of money a lot of co- ordination and planning as well as follow – up and strict controls.
I am sufficiently confident and expectant that you can use your unmatched organizational skills and ability to make contacts with donors who are willing and able to make a lasting impact on the lives of many underprivileged boys and girls of Kyaithani High School.
On a practical note the items on the wish list can be addressed over a staggered period of time if need be for it is better late than never .On behalf of the School Management Committee, I wish to give a very strong commitment that whatever resources are provided to the School will be prudently utilized and fully accounted for to the benefit of the learners.
Allow me to get back to you a bit later after consulting the Primary School Management about their priority wish list. Once again, thank you very much for your concern about the plight of our young generation and for the consideration to go out of your way to alleviate their suffering from abject poverty, low self- esteem and hopelessness.
Terry, thumbs up for your willingness and resolve to make the world a better place to live in.
I look forward to meeting with you when you come over this August.
Thanks again everyone for all your support. The deep well will be in production very soon providing potable water for many people of the Ndandini area. Keep watching our blog as we will try to keep updating it during our trip to Ndandini over the next few weeks.
Yours in Rotary and for the benefit of the Ndandini area.