February, 2014
Kiwimbi Global
The Newsletter
Logo (w/o website)

Focus on

 Robert Ikedi



19 year old Robert was home on a four-month holiday from university. When he first saw the new Kiwimbi library in Amagoro. He screamed and left us shocked. That was September, 2013. He was excited to the level of screaming because his 4 month long holiday would no longer be empty, like the previous one.

For 4 months, Robert sat at the far left corner of the library from opening to closing, and read 20 normal sized books; and over 300 small books and chapter books.
Robert is a physics and math major at the University of Eldoret in Kenya. He is brilliant, curious, restless and energetic.  It will be exciting to see where he goes from here!
For more about Robert and other thoughts from Kenya, please visit our blog.


Mwezi ~ moon

Mwezi wa kwanza ~ first moon = January

Mwezi wa pili ~ 2nd moon = February


Likizo ~ holiday

Likizo ya shule ~ school holiday

Shule or Pamasomo ~ school 


News from Kenya
The impact of trading in ivory from Africa's wildlife has made the news a lot lately, with countries openly destroying confiscated ivory that has been poached.  Kenya has been at the forefront of trying to address this situation.  According to The Guardian


"On 28 January, a Kenyan court ordered a Chinese man caught by customs officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with an ivory tusk in his suitcase to pay $230,000 in fines or be jailed seven years. The stiff sentence, described as a "landmark ruling" by a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service, was made possible by Kenya's new Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, which finally gives authorities the powers they needed to crack down on illegal trade in wildlife products."


Kiwimbi Global is comprised currently of two entities:  Kiwimbi International, a US organization registered as a charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; and Kiwimbi Kenya, a Community Based Organization established in the Teso North District in Kenya.  Ultimately, our goal is to replicate best practices from Kiwimbi Kenya elsewhere, creating more organizations under the Kiwimbi Global umbrella.


We see a world where all people are empowered through education to enrich their lives and reach their fullest potential. 


To achieve our vision, our mission is to create regional community centers internationally.  


These centers will:


provide education, training and other learning opportunities; 


facilitate cooperation and coordination among other resource organizations; and 


provide access to innovation and technology.  


The combination of these efforts is intended to maximize self-sufficiency and self-actualization for individuals and communities to prosper.

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The Results are In!

Kiwimbi Kenya began working with the 2013 Grade 8 class at Amagoro Primary School as they were finishing up Grade 7.  At first, we limited our efforts to half of the class so that we could compare results using a control group.  After a few months, however, dedicated teachers insisted on equal opportunity for all and Kiwimbi expanded its focus to the full class of about 135 students.  


What we did


  • We offered a nutritious school lunch program, enabling students to avoid a sometimes long walk home mid-day and giving them time to attend extra class. 
  • We introduced the practice of teaching in small groups.  
  • We supplemented the regular school program with a Saturday program. 
  • We assisted with the teaching of math and English and in other ways that might help prepare the students for the national exam. (The KCPE national exam determines whether a Grade 8 student attends high school and the quality of the high school that the student may attend.)  
  • The new Kiwimbi Library enriched the students' community with thousands of books where there had been none, opening up a whole new world for most of these young learners.


The result? 


The following Grade 8 Students from Amagoro Primary School scored over 350 on the national exam:


Aboss Tiberius (in the 97th Percentile nationally!)
Bena Charity 
Sunday J. Philemon
Nafula Tracey
Emoloto Victor 
Onyango Rawlings 


We were going to provide a photo for this Newsletter, but it turns out that these accomplished young men and women are off to some of the best boarding schools in the country, so the group picture will have to wait! (In Kenya the better secondary schools are typically boarding schools).


And what about the rest of the students?


Results showed a marked improvement compared with the performance of the same school in 2012. The circumstances in the school in 2013 were similar to those of 2012: same Principal, same teachers. The difference in 2013 was the Kiwimbi support for Grade 8.
  • The MEDIAN number of points rose from 237 to 252 (from D grade to C grade)

  • Less than half the class passed in 2012

  • More than half the class passed in 2013

  • The MEAN also rose from 244.97 to 253.75

Put another way, the AVERAGE for the whole class of 2013 was over 10 points higher than for the class of 2012. Apart from that, the Kiwimbi staff observed a marked increase in English fluency with these students in their speaking and presentation.


Passing on the KCPE exam is defined as getting over 250 points out of 500 points (grade of C). The dream of every Kenyan child is to score at least 350 in grade 8.


What's next?


We are very excited about the results after just a year of focusing on one class. Work is well underway with the Grade 8 class of 2014 (in Kenya, the school year corresponds with the calendar year).  We also learned a great deal last year and we have adjusted on the ground accordingly.  We have a dedicated English / reading teacher, we've added peer tutoring, introduced a teacher resource area at the Kiwimbi Library and more.  


Our ultimate goal is to expand this program to students at much lower grade levels.  English is not a second, but a third language for many of these students, yet proficiency in English is necessary if they are to pass the KCPE exam or do well in school generally.  To the extent that Kiwimbi can intervene at a lower grade level, the results for these children will be that much better!   

Big Step for the Library


The Kiwimbi Library has taken a huge step forward.  A year ago, we were just opening our doors with volumes of books as had never been seen in this area of Kenya before.  Since then, we have been welcoming about 300 people a day to this little library ~ it has been a huge success.  As Robert Ikedi's story above demonstrates, however, there was one thing missing.  We were unable to lend books.


All that has changed now - Kiwimbi Community Center and Library is now lending books! 


One of the more inspirational teachers who has assisted with Kiwimbi is Mrs. Charity Mwangi.  Mrs. Mwangi has enthusiastically spread her own love of reading to her students and has led the way in helping them to see the value of this resource.  She was so enthusiastic and such an inspiration, that Kiwimbi has asked her to lead the overall reading and book-borrowing program.  




Planning for the Future 
While big things are happening in Kenya, our US Board of Trustees has also been busy.  Current initiatives include our leap into the world of social media with our active Facebook page, preparation for our Service Trip (see below), investment in a development database program to help keep things organized, legal coordination with our efforts in Kenya and our bi-annual election of Board officers.

Kiwimbi International's Board Officers are:

Lynne Rathgeber ~ Chair
Joe Salsberry ~ Vice-chair
Barry Golub ~ Treasurer
Donna Greco ~ Board Secretary

Thanks to each of these busy people who have graciously agreed to serve in their capacities for another two years.
Kiwimbi Service Trip to Amagoro 

We are thrilled to announce that planning for our service trip this summer is well underway.  This is a wonderful way to see first hand what a difference your contribution of time or money makes. In Kenya you will be greeted enthusiastically while you learn about a world so very differently from ours here in the United States.  We hope to add a safari component to the adventure as well to cap off an experience you and your family will never forget!


The number of spots is limited, so if you are interested in joining us, please email info@KiwimbiGlobal.org.  


Kiwimbi International is a public charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  We welcome contributions, which are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.    

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For more information about Kiwimbi or details about other ways to help, please contact us at info@KiwimbiGlobal.org