Better Globe Forestry

Child Africa projects in Kenya

Handover of Kiambere School ComplexHandover of Kiambere School ComplexIn Kenya, Child Africa registered with the Non-governmental Organisations Board on 27th September 2007. Child Africa Kenya operates in a slightly different way from Uganda, as the NGO does not sponsor individual children. It has however set itself the objective to build schools in Kenya or to sponsor existing schools in order to enhance or provide education for the people in the buffer zones of the Better Globe Forestry projects.

CA has also donated food to the people hardest hit by the successive failures of the rains. In this respect, CA has already set the pace by sponsoring two schools - The Kiambere School Complex and Mboti Primary School.

1) The Kiambere School Complex

In 2004, Better Globe Forestry initiated negotiations with the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) to start a large-scale afforestation project on the land around Kiambere Dam. On this occasion, the founder of CA, Julie Solberg, visited the Kiambere School Complex for the first time and was shocked by the conditions in which children attended classes. The buildings were in a pathetic state as the roofs were leaking and all the windows were gone. The dining area was completely neglected, the showers and toilets had no doors left, hundreds of kilograms of animal droppings had accumulated in the space between the ceilings and the roofs as bats had taken possession of the place, termites had attached the woodworks, etc. Still, the teachers had not given up hope and the school was doing quite well, considering all its problems.

It is then that Mrs Solberg pledged to take the school into the Child Africa programme and sponsor major refurbishing works. In 2006, BGF started a pilot afforestation project at the Kiambere Dam reservoir and based on the progress, CA fulfilled its promise.

On 25th May 2008, CA signed an agreement with a local contractor for the refurbishing of the girls’ dormitory, the administration block, the dining hall and the kitchen. The total amount of the works was Ksh 3 million (about € 30,000). The refurbished buildings were handed over on 1st August 2008 in the presence of H E Hon Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of the Republic of Kenya and other dignitaries. Due to the refurbishment and a change of management, the school is now doing very well in national examinations.

2) Mboti Primary School

On 26th May 2008, Better Globe Forestry Ltd (BGF) reached an agreement with the Sosoma Cooperative Ranching Society to plant trees in Sosoma Ranch, an extensive piece of land (60,000 ha) in Mwingi East District in Kenya. BGF is currently preparing for this venture in several ways, including preparing various technical studies, the fulfilment of the legal requirements and identifying appropriate sites for boreholes.

In the meantime, Child Africa has initiated assistance to Mboti Primary School in Nguni Division of Mwingi East District. When the founder of CA, Julie Solberg and the chairman, Rino Solberg, first visited the school, it was in a very poor condition. The classrooms had mud floors, no windows and no doors. Food was prepared in a mud kitchen on the floor and the teachers had to gather in a classroom, as there was no administrative unit. Most devastating, the place has been suffering severely from drought. As a result, some of the children had to travel up to 20 kilometres to fetch water for their families. Such conditions are not conducive to learning and CA decided to sponsor refurbishing works at the school.

Today, the classroom floors have been done with cement while doors and windows have been fitted. The teachers have their own administrative building, and most important, four 10,000-litre containers with gutters have been installed to catch rain run-off from the roof. As such, there are enough water reserves to bridge the two rainy seasons. The total investment in this project today is Ksh 1.25 million (€ 12500). In addition, in the midst of the biting hunger crisis of 2009, CA donated food both through the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation and directly to the parents of the Mboti Primary School children.

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