Dec 20, 2010

A summary of the activities of 2010

I think it’s a good idea to give you an overview of what we have done together in the past year, cause I fear it is difficult to understand it from the mixed hodge-podge of postings that I added to the blog in the last months. So, here it is:

1) Small scholarships for the primary and secondary schools. These small scholarships helped seven (five boys and two girls) students aged 6-15 years to pay the expenses of one year of school. All the scholarships went to students living in the Samburu district, one of the poorest districts of northern Kenya, where many young boys and girls drop off school because their families can’t afford it. This activity will certainly continue in 2011, and hopefully will expand. In particular, I hope to involve more girls in this initiative, because women are particularly disadvantaged in Africa

2) Fellowships in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya. These fellowships awarded a small monthly salary for one year to three young men (Sammy Bakari, Dominic Kimani and Lawrence Wagura) who work on nature conservation in Kenya. The fellowships are a collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya, that administer the money and pay the monthly installments charging no expense to us, so that 100% of the sum goes to the fellowship-holders. Here follows a description of what Sammy, Dominic and Lawrence are doing. Sammy Bakari, is one of the leaders of the Njabini woolspinning workshop, and eco-friendly initiative that aims to protect the habitat of an endangered bird (Sharpe’s longclaw) by marketing the wool of the sheep that graze in the Kenya’s highland grasslands. You can find much more information on Njabini and the Sharpe’s longclaw in other postings that I published on this blog. Dominic Kimani works at Kinangop, north of Nairobi, an area that is the main stronghold of Sharpe’s Longclaw. At Kinangop, rapidly expanding agriculture is encroaching on the grassland and threatens the survival of Sharpe’s longclaw. Dominic visits the primary and secondary schools of Kinangop (several thousands of students) and teaches them about conservation of natural habitats and their importance. You can read Dominic’s teaching proposal HERE. Lawrence Wagura is a young ornithologist who is working on another severely threatened Kenyan bird, the Taita apalis. The entire world population of this bird is now reduced to less than 500 individuals that are confined to just four tiny remnants of forest in the Taita hills of Southern Kenya (click HERE to read more).
Planting trees in the Aberdares

3) Planting trees in the Aberdare forest with Kawama youth group. The Abeardare forest, 50 km north of Nairobi is one of the main sources of water for Kenya, but has been severely deforested in the past years. The Kawama (“little miracle”) youth group is a group of about 20 young men and women who are working to reforest a tract of the Aberdares with indigenous trees. We have helped them establishing and espanding a tree nursery, and planting the tree seedlings in the area that has been chosen for the reforestation. Currently, about 5,000 small trees have been planted. (click HERE to read more)

Mbara's school pupils
4) The Mbara Community Project. Terry John Hummerston is a friend of mine from the UK. Terry has for some years now led an amazing development project at Mbara, a village of Western Kenya. With incredibly hard work and extremely limited budget, the project has already brought clean drinking water to thousands of people, and assisted hundreds of young students of the local Temow School. I decided to share part of the funds collected in 2010 with this project, because it is really a wonderful little thing. You can read more about the work at Mbara HERE.

Young pupils of Mugumu-ini school
5)  The Mugumu-ini school. Mugumu-ini is a primary school located on the western edge of the Kinangop plateau, about 80 kn north of Nairobi. The school has more than 700 young pupils aged 6-13 years and is in serious need of help, because its facilities are inadequate. In particular, the school suffers of a severe water shortage, which means big problems in terms of hygienic conditions. Thanks to a contribution availed by David Fox and his family, we have helped the school to build a new 3000lt water tank that collects rainwater from the roofs of the school and provides a much-needed source of water that is used for cleaning the school and kitchen utensils (most of the pupils have lunch at the school, as it is usually done in Kenya)

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