|Strategic Partnerships in Education & Community Development
Stories in this issue are the outflow of your partnership. Progress is achieved not by a volunteer or an organization alone; it is propelled by the participation and giving of many. We appreciate your support.
Volunteer Neale Mahoney sees a garden as a teaching tool to nurture girls' self-confidence and teach sustainability. The So. Burlington, VT native models lessons in smart farming and sisterhood. Read more in Three Sisters Garden Program
Kendu Bay teen girls realize the benefit of a network of supporting adults. Local ladies and KSHP partners make Girls Club meetings the "place to be." Read more in It Takes a Village
Project highlights this spring include a new Student Council, the launch of a leadership training seminar, the completion of a second latrine and more. Read Spring Project Highlights
We thank you for your partnership.
Kathleen Dodge, Executive Director
Three Sisters Garden Program
Few mzungu (foreigners) can swing a traditional hoe like KSHP agriculture consultant, Neale Mahoney. Her zeal brings laughter and learning to girls at Kendu Bay partner schools, where Neale has launched a sustainable agriculture program in conjunction with weekly Girls Club meetings.
In Kenya, women do 70% of the farming, yet many girls have little practical experience. To rectify this, Neale wrote a curriculum and created an agriculture program for girls at local primary schools. Her savvy hands-on approach intertwines concepts of girls' empowerment and sisterhood with teaching sustainable farming techniques.
Three Sisters Garden program derives its name from the three crops (maize, beans & squash) that grow stronger when grown together... "in the same way that sisters help one another overcome life's challenges at home and at school," explains Neale.
"The teachers are all on board, so grateful and supportive and encouraging. All the schools are going to build fences with local materials before we start the planting."
Income from the sale of garden produce will be used for future Girls' Club activities. With seedlings now planted, girls line up to fill their new watering cans and brim with pride as their gardens begin to grow.
It Takes a Village
Smiles and giggles rippled through Girls Club meetings last month when Girls Empowerment officer, Mrs. Opondo, distributed HappyGirlDignity Kits to teenage girls in KSHP's four partner schools - and then gave them detailed instructions for their care and use. But girls weathered embarrassment because for the first time in their lives, they owned two pairs of panties and made-to-order sanitary towels. "We are so happy," exclaimed one student. "I feel very confident now and am not afraid to go out from my house. Now that I have innerwears the pads won't fall down." While the global village of women organized the transport of a mountain of underwear, local village widows, known as Voice of the Youth [the VOTY ladies], worked overtime at donated treadle sewing machines to be sure each girl's Dignity Kit contained two sets of reusable napkins. "Mama O's porch is the only place where the towels are produced. The ladies had no problem making up 200 packets in no time (each packet holds 4 pads)," wrote Kate Connell, girls empowerment volunteer. "The VOTY ladies were very excited about the opportunity to go full force with this! We also included some disposable napkins for each kit, as it's best for the girls to have a few on hand." Girls Clubs meet weekly at Oriang Manywanda, Pier Got, Ongalo and Kogembo Primary Schools. This forum provides opportunity to learn decision-making skills, to share and to receive guidance on life issues.
To support this effort, see Girls 'Stay-in-School' programReturn to top
|Spring Project Highlights . . .
Our sixty-four scholarship students home for term break in April gathered with project officers to evaluate school progress, receive sponsor support and elect this year's Student Leadership Council.
Opportunities for leadership training are few in Kenya's schools. Nurturing these skills is especially critical for promising youth whose lives have been shadowed by poverty and uncertainty. The project's Student Council provides experience in assuming leadership responsibility and for learning organizational skills. Council members are seen as role models and act as a support and counseling group to peers.
Each grade level elected its own student representative. Seated are seniors Isaac Opar, president (center) and Lady Sabato, vice-president (right). Sharon Ogutu (left) was chosen as Council secretary. Standing (from left) are class representatives Lyze Corazon, Peter Guna and Judy Agira. Colphax Ondutu is not shown. These faces are the hope of Kendu Bay's future.
A new Scholarship program service was initiated this term: a small-group Counseling and Confidence-building Seminar. Project officials noted that, "Many are very bright students but
lack serious confidence to face life." Close to 90% of our students have lost one or both of their parents. Nearly all struggle with low self esteem and have no one to turn to for confidential advice.
Fourteen students were selected to participate in this term's full-day Counseling and Confidence-building session. "We set it up like a corporate seminar and hired the best cooks in the village to make it a special day for them," writes director Peter Liech.
"We began by sharing our personal life experiences with them and most of them could not believe. But our honesty made them so relaxed and they opened up. Each shared personal life experiences and some were so shocking it was hard to supress tears."
The session was a time of encouragement and bonding for attendees. Mutual understanding gave each student a stronger sense of identity and self worth. "We felt so valued and recognized," says student Judith Agira.
The team plans to incorporate this model into the program for each school holiday.
Girls at Pier Got Primary School can hardly wait to use their new latrine. Construction temporarily slowed by the rains now speeds ahead. Girls are counting the days until doors are attached, surfacing completed and a dedication ceremony officially opens the school's prized latrine. Pier Got girls and its school community warmly thank KSHP teen partners Grace and Shannon O'Hara for their energy and commitment to help the girls of Kendu Bay. "I love coming to school now," says one girl. "I am so proud to attend Pier Got. My friends at other schools now wish they attended this school."
The story of orphaned Lennox Otieno
[March E-News] touched many readers. Lennox did not initially qualify
for a scholarship position. But the caring of a KSHP volunteer sparked an outpouring of community support and Lennox's fees were funded this year. We're pleased to report that Lennox finished his first term in high school at the top of his class at Agoro Sare, with an A- grade average. We're proud of Lennox and will look for a KSHP sponsor for him at the end of this year.
Panty Project organizer, Deb Lathrop, stands outside the Ryus Street Bakery where cookie makers, Adrienne and Mary, created giant decorated panty cookies for sale at La Veta's annual Community Music Night. The theme for the evening: "underwear," of course! MC's Brent and Babz filled the evening with theme-related song, laughter and panty jokes. Deb's efforts sent 500 pairs of girls panties to fill out Dignity Kits for Girls Clubs in Kendu Bay.
We thank everyone in La Veta, CO who joined the effort to help the girls of Kendu Bay.
"The people of Kendu Bay are not farmers, traditionally. They are a fishing people. But these days, the number of marketable fish in Lake Victoria has declined severely. Fishing is no longer a viable and profitable profession. So, many of the people have turned to farming, but they lack the know how to make the most of their land. Now Neale can teach them that. There is no doubt that she will impact this community in wonderful ways."Kate Connell, anticipating the arrival of volunteer, Neale MahoneyReturn to top