June, 2014
Kiwimbi Global
The Newsletter
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Focus on

Ms. Emily Osakaese

Congenial and easy going, industrious and reliable - all describe this vivacious woman in charge of catering services for the grade eight pupils of Amagoro Primary School. 


Ms. Osakaese is the force behind the unprecedented success that is the lunch program of grade eight pupils of Kiwimbi Kenya's model school.


To her, catering is more than just a trade; it is a passion. This, combined with her sharp, innovative mind and business acumen, has made her invaluable to Kiwimbi and a model for everyone.


Rather than complain about the high prices of charcoal or resort to cutting down tree after tree in search of fire wood to cook her food, Mrs. Osakaese went green - and clean.  With the help of an American Peace Corp worker, she set up a small bio gas plant, making use of the excrement of her Jersey cow. 


The bio gas plant consists of three simple stages:

  1. The feeder through which the dung is fed into the system.
  2. The digester where the dung ferments, producing methane gas which is then piped into a conventional stove in the kitchen and used for cooking.
  3. The waste pit where the residual dung is left to decompose and later used as fertilizer.

Besides the bio gas plant, Ms. Osakaese has a solar cooker which she uses to cook light meals such as rice.


Ms. Osakaese, a caring mother of three, is an astute small scale farmer in her own right. She keeps poultry - about two hundred healthy layers in an enclosed structure inside her homestead. Her kitchen garden is replete with flourishing vegetables, tomatoes, onions and more (thanks to the composted manure from her bio gas plant!)


She aspires to expand her catering business in the near future. Besides serving Kiwimbi Kenya, she runs an outside catering business with a group of ten middle-aged ladies dubbed "The Smarts". This group uses a fraction of its savings to offer financial assistance to widows in Teso District North. 

In Swahili, nouns are grouped into classes according to their initial prefix, and that prefix changes for most classes of nouns to create the plural version.Thus:
mtu (person) becomes watu (people)

Mzungu (a European or white person) becomes Wazungu ~ interesting insight:  the literal translation is "someone who wanders aimlessly"

kijiji (village) has a plural of vijiji 

kiwimbi (ripple) becomes viwimbi


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 Challenge
There are about 62 languages spoken in Kenya.  The official languages are Swahili and English, but locally the language of the parents' ethnic group is generally the first language of a growing child.  Then a child might learn Swahili, then English as a third language. Why does that matter?  Because English is the language of education in Kenya: the all-important national exams are in English, so a student finishing Grade 8 and a student finishing secondary school must be a master of English in order to progress to the next level of education.  Yet large class sizes and limited curricular material in poor areas such as Amagoro limit a child's ability to learn this foreign language.

The Solutions

Where shall we begin?  Kiwimbi Kenya has set up operations in Amagoro to help the local population address this and other challenges.  There is no single simple solution, so our approach has been multi-faceted. Kiwimbi Kenya:
  • upgraded an abandoned building to create the first public Library in Busia County where we have steadily added services including: 
    • the first book-lending program in the area
    • access to exam preparation books for the use of students preparing for the national exams
    • Library outings for school children
    • library assistants to help those making use of the facility
  • has joined forces with The Elewana Project, Peace Corp workers and the American Embassy in Nairobi to run academic camps for students during periods when school is not in session
  • established supplemental education for Grade 8 students at Amagoro Primary School.  This includes:
    • providing lunch so that students do not have to walk home and back to school mid-day and are assured a nutritious meal
    • providing teaching assistants to help the classroom teacher 
    • training for teachers and assistants on alternative educational approaches
    • after-school and weekend programs
And in our April Newsletter, we told you about the Kindle program where 25 E-readers, fully loaded with the Kenya curriculum, are now housed at the Library and available for general use, with personnel as well as students trained in their use.

In May we joined forces again with local partners (and with funding from the US Embassy) to run an English Access Program.  This brought together teachers of English from 30 schools in the District to discourse on how best to implement the national curriculum, enhancing mastery of English among their students. 

In addition, a comprehensive Scholarship Program was rolled out through which top students in their first or second year of secondary school (Form 1 or Form 2) undergo a 2-year sequence of rigorous training in English.
Educational Progress in a 
Whole different Realm!
Kiwimbi Kenya's new Arts & Crafts Programs have been developed to showcase untapped talent while helping young men and women learn to make a living with their artistry. Programs in Fine Arts, Beading, Pottery and Basket Weaving are taught by local experts.

As Kiwimbi Kenya established itself in Amagoro, we had very concrete long-term goals, though it could be difficult to know where to begin. We decided to focus on specific needs that would have immediate impact and serve as prototypes for future endeavors ~ we started with:
  • educational camps available to students and to other young people hoping to improve their lives  
  • enhancing the Grade 8 academic program at Amagoro Primary School with substantial academic assistance after school as well as the lunch program that allows students to remain at school rather than walking long distances to and from mid-day
  • agro-forestry and 
  • the Library

Vocational training (beyond the agro-forestry) has always been fundamental to our mission.  Not every child in Kenya can go to university; the trick is to help them develop alternative skills that will enable them to prosper on their own. This program in the Arts is part of our commitment to that goal.  


In this pilot, young adults develop a marketable skill that will enable them to support themselves locally, empowering them to make the best of their world.




New Trustee 
Kiwimbi International is thrilled to welcome our newest Trustee, Jennifer Tse.  Jennifer brings a wealth of energy and experience in various volunteer efforts to us. She also serves as a Trustee of Cedar Crest College, has served as an ESL tutor with Literacy Volunteers of America and has been an invaluable Parents' Association volunteer for both Chatham Day School and Montclair Kimberley Academy.
A Summer of Volunteerism 
Speaking of volunteers, Kiwimbi's first official Service Trip is finalizing plans for our trip to Amagoro.  The dedicated crew includes two trustees, one of our most active volunteer supporters, a videographer, a Special Education teacher and an artist with his family! Not only that, but two college students have also already headed to Kenya to support our efforts there.  We hope to bring you lots of news from both expeditions soon!
Jeffersonian Dinners 
Trustees are beginning to reach out to friends and acquaintances to connect and to foment discussion about our passions of education and philanthropy.  

The dinners are inspired by none other than Thomas Jefferson who sought out leading thinkers of the day to join him in stimulating conversation and educational discussion.

If you receive an invitation, we do hope you will join us. If you would like to join us for one of our events but haven't been invited yet, please feel free to reach out to your closest trustee or email [email protected].  We'd love to hear from you ~ the more insight we receive from people who care about our mission, the more effective we can be!

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 [email protected]