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East African Center Newsletter

In This Issue
Term 1 Update
100 Laptops to Vutakaka!
Health Update
Peace Corps Volunteer
An Evening for Africa
Suzanne to Graduate School
Top Students Term 1
KG1 - Amina Al-Amin, Grace Baya, and Nabahan Rashid

KG2 - Reuben Mumba (below), Linet Karisa, and Khamis Ali

KG3 - Lilian Ngala, Nancy Daniel, and Mohammed Ali

STD1 - Robert Mumbo, Musa Unda, Lilian Moses, and Samuel Kalama

STD2 - George Katana, Moza Twalib, Baraka Kaingu and Saumu Katana

STD3 - Jospehine Safari, Mary Emmanuel, and Lucky Chai

STD4 - Albert Masha, Aisha Mohamed, and Rehema Kenga

STD5 - Ibrahim Ramadhan, Muttaqina Salim, and Mohammad Aboud

Congrats to these outstanding students!
Reubeen Mumba
Recommended Reads
EAC Social Networking
EAC on Twitter

EAC on Change.org

study time
East African Center
How you can help!
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July 2009
Dear EAC supporters,

As the tremors of the economic crisis are felt throughout the globe, we have come to realize the true interconnectedness of our fates. With this great crisis, comes a great opportunity for change and has provided the space to redefine what is important to us; what do you value?

At the EAC we value the expansion of skills and opportunities through health and education. We recognize the value in giving quality education or medial attention to even just one individual. We recognize that those services have a multiplier affect, benefiting individuals throughout their life as they are able to build upon the skills they have learned or pursue livelihoods and also because such benefits spread through a family and a community. Our programs strive to further and expand these values in Takaungu, Kenya with the recognition that each service we provide is life enhancing and life changing. 

Thank you for keeping in touch with us and following along with our progress! We hope you will continue to deepen your relationship with the EAC and the Takaungu community! They are depending on you and appreciate your involvement.
Semester Update
classroom Vutakaka school teachers have reported on the progress of each of the classes after the first semester of 2009.

KG1 - Madam Kimolo worked with the KG1 students on the basics: counting and writing numbers and letters, talking about pictures, and practicing their English. They learned the parts of the body, names of domestic animals and fruits and about different things in their environment. Margaret said of the challenges they faced this semester, "some children were very young and are fresh from home and therefore had trouble concentrating in a school environment. I helped them by having a lot of singing and poem recitation to make them gain interest in school. Many of the children could not hold pencils well so I helped them by doing a lot of coloring and scribbling to strengthen their finger muscles."
KG2 - Students in KG2 practiced spelling and dictating words focusing on three-letter words and vowels and began adding and subtracting. Malemba Mwadime helped them practice their English "by learning the Kenyan flag and its colors, utensils, domestic animals, parts of the plant, parts of the body, wild animals, and the types of weather." Malemba used visuals to help students make the connection between numbers and their values. By the end of the semester, students were better able to draw pictures from imagination or their memory.
KG3 - Madam Faith had students in KG3 counting from 1 to 100 in English, adding and subtracting in the double digits, and practicing the tough sounds like ch, th, and sh. Students in this grade began reading entire books and developing their handwriting.
STD1 - STD1, which is similar to 3rd grade in the US, is the first class at Vutakaka Junior School. Here students begin to rotate through different subjects such as science and social studies. Charts and photographs that line the classroom walls help remind students of what they have learned in primary school and to aid them in the transition to new subjects and syllabi.
STD2 - Saade found that STD2 students began enjoying class more throughout the semester as the courses at this level become more creative. This grade incorporates more life skills into lessons, such as problem solving, health, and environmental education. Their discipline and focus has improved as well as their energy thanks to the physical exercise they are getting each day at the school.  Saade attributes this to their higher interest and performance levels, as well as self-esteem, at this grade.
STD3 - Teacher Joseph helped students become fluent in Kiswahli and English and to prepare them for the upper level classes they would be taking the next year. He used lesson plans to create awareness of the challenges students face in day-to-day life. Joseph stressed the importance of independent reading skills throughout the semester.
STD4 - STD4 is the first class of upper primary and the first year that students attend school until 3:30pm everyday. Science classes are facilitated with more experiments and social and religious studies (required by the state to be taught) become more advanced. Madam Mary found students becoming even more engaged and creative at this level.
STD5 - Preparing for State exams is a major focus of this grade and STD5 students learned the value of reaching out to teachers, peers and parents to assist in their studies. Students at Vutakaka received the highest scores in the district and received an award from the state last month for this achievement!
100 Laptops to Vutakaka School!
OLPC Program Begins!

Breona Gutschimdt, Emma Neirman and Cecila Jezek from the University of Washington, and Jen Hill, Priyanka Rao and Bryan Isom from the New School, were awarded a grant from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)! The grant is a part of the OLPC Corps Africa Program and is the first of its kind. Grants were awarded to teams of students to pursue OLPC's goal to put one XO laptop in the hands of every child worldwide.
OLPC's mission is, "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future."
Priyanka and Bryan have just arrived to Takaungu from a two-week training workshop with OLPC in Kigali, Rwanda.  Two Vutakaka teachers, Omar and Anita, joined them for the training and together they will introduce 100 laptops to the school and the local community. This is an amazing achievement and we are so grateful to be able to introduce this new type of knowledge and skill to STD3, 4 and 5 students!
Priyanka and Bryan have begun conducting teacher and student assessments in order to track the progress of the program. With their evolving understanding of the XOs, the country, the village and the implications of introducing these laptops into this small community, they established their goals: 
"What is success for us: Success is having the building complete, having power installed, having the teachers excited about the XO use and able to integrate it into their curriculum and allowing students to explore 'learning by doing' rather than just being instructed on what to do.
Challenges: power, corruption of Kenyan government and providing appropriate services, sustainability of project on teacher's part and student's interest in using them." - Priyanka and Bryan
We will continue to update you as the program is implemented and evolves! We hope to have the students contributing to the blog we have created for the program and possibly to create one of their own! In the meantime, please take a moment to learn more about the team, OLPC and the amazing work they are doing all over the world!
Health Update
The Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the Health Clinic are busier than ever this summer. We have added a second health outreach to a new under-served area in conjunction with the public Takaungu Dispensary every month. 
Mothers, children, and sick patients crowd each of the outreach sites, to receive treatWaiting at the Clinicment, medicine and immunizations. Because the clinic is now receiving most of its medicine for free, we are able to offer services at a lower cost and our patient numbers have quadrupled. 
The head nurse, Valerian is extremely busy, but is greatly assisted by his head CHW, Mohamed, and the rest of the team. We are organizing new trainings during the remaining months to refresh and improve the knowledge of the CHWs, and have been meeting to discuss new ways to effectively reach a conservative and traditional community with our health education.
Peace Corps Volunteer at the EAC
Krystle Dowling Krystle joins us in Takaungu

This year, Krystle Dowling joined the EAC as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA and has spent the last 5 years working for Campbell Soup Company and Johnson & Johnson in various analyst roles. Her education background is in business, with a B.S. in Finance and M.B.A. in Marketing.
When she was deciding whether or not to take the Peace Corps assignment, she stumbled upon the Seattle Post- Intelligencer article about Suzanne Wilson and the EAC. The article was one of her motivating factors to come to Kenya. Krystle will be working with Kate Crowley, our in country program director, to propose a more rigorous adult education program and curriculum, analyze and report the Health Program Monitoring and Evaluation data, and work to provide more resources for health education. We are grateful to have Krystle's support over the next year and a half!
An Evening for Africa 2009
The Total Experience Gospel Choir EAC annual fundraiser a huge success!

On June 6th, The East African Center (EAC) held its "2009 An Evening for Africa" event on at the Downtown Seattle Hilton. The evening was an overwhelming success! The nearly $24,000 raised will enable the EAC to continue providing much needed quality medical and educational services in Takaungu, Kenya.
With around 150 people in attendance the evening began with a silent auction of nearly 70 goods from Kenya as well as items and services donated by local companies and individuals.
In the main hall, The Total Experience Gospel Choir brought energy to the room with their amazing and inspirational talent! Dinner was followed by a "desert dash" where tables competed for the first choice from a wide selection of deserts. Traditional Kenyan ingredients inspired the much sought-after Palisades elephant cake.
The paddles rose during the live auction and attendees gave generously to win golf and sailing trips, weekend stays at B&Bs, cooking lessons, spa services and items made by the Takaungu Sewing Club with "Obama" fabric!

Suzanne Wilson, the founder and former Executive Director of the EAC, spoke about the ridiculous dream that has become a reality in Takaungu and was followed by a moving expression of empowerment by the current Executive Director, Emma Nierman. 
The entire evening was filled with positive energy and true generosity!
Suzanne Wilson, former Executive Director
Susanne and Emma Suzanne Wilson (right) founded the EAC in 2001 after working in Kenya for a year. This month, Suzanne stepped down as the Executive Director and will begin pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health at the University of Washington.

Suzanne will continue to advise Emma Nierman (left), the EAC's current Executive Director, Kate Crowley, the EAC's Kenya Program Director, and Jen Hill, the EAC's Director of Fundraising, as they continue the work that she began almost 10 years ago. We are eternally grateful for her tireless efforts and her passion to empower. We will continue to operate the EAC with the same drive, transparency, and passion that were the foundation of the organization.
Thank you for staying connected to the EAC and the people of Takaungu! We would love to hear from you! How did you come to know the EAC? What would like to hear from us or see us do?

In the next newsletter, you will find out if we received a grant from a Kenyan HIV/AIDS Foundation for the CHW program, you will learn more about the progress of the XO laptop program, and be introduced to the EAC board!

Thank you for your interest and support!
Jen Hill