Hand to Hand Education Centre
We are excited to announce that Hand to Hand Community Kenya has opened a school for the children of Transmara West Sub County in Narok county of Kenya, at our farm. We have a Board of Directors that oversees the management of the school. The children of Transmara West are utterly marginalized due to poor economic and education conditions in this area. The community, on the other hand, is watching helplessly and due to poverty and illiteracy, it is gradually accepting this as a reality in the lives of their children.
HHCK envisions supporting 350 children of ages 3 to 9 years to acquire quality education. We further intend to improve the infrastructure, build more classrooms, employ more trained teachers and expose the community to an environment of quality learning.
The catchment area has approximately 4,600 children of ages 3 to 9 years. This is within a radius of about 5 kilometers from our school and is served by only 4 public The rural area is very hilly, becomes muddy during rainy seasons and dusty during dry seasons. As a result many small children do not attend school. The situation is made worse by the cultural traditions of the local Maasai community, who do not value education highly. This has seen many children diverted to different trades such as livestock rearing, with young girls getting married off at a very tender age.
A unique aspect of the school is teaching the children permaculture farming. We have preserved a portion of our land for this purpose. We registered 87 children within the first three weeks of opening despite a minimum of advertising. Our school is affordable to the average resident, and the extremely needy get scholarships. In addition we provide two hot meals every school day. We feel the community has confidence and trust in us.
POLICY DIALOGUE (PD)
Hand to Hand Community Kenya envisions to support groups (CBOs, SHGs, and FBOs) to engage in policy dialogue in order to create meaningful change in the community. These groups will be spread throughout seven counties in Kenya and will collaborate with CSOs in Uganda and Tanzania for benchmarking and research.
Policy Dialogue is a process that intends an open and inclusive dialogue on development policies (Accra Agenda for Action section 13). It aims at achieving sustainable change and development in interest of the communities/beneficiaries. Advocacy is part of PD. However, the difference lies where power is located. For policy advocacy, power is located in the duty bearers; in PD power is located in the beneficiary/right holders. Thus this program enlightens people in the grassroots to demand their rights in an informed way. We want people to be a part of policy formulation by engaging the authorities in non-violent ways. Our women and youth groups engage in this exercise from time to time.
We have PD clubs in which participants discuss issues affecting them and the society in general. A printed manual that seeks to counter corruption among other ills guides them. For example, it is sad to be an orphan because a careless driver bribed the police; it is evil to lose a loved one because someone stole drugs from a public hospital; it is wrong to convert walkways in the cities and towns into open-air markets; it is irresponsible not to offer clean and safe water to everyone; it is disheartening to see children out of school because they cannot afford the basics of education; it is inhuman to let anyone die of hunger; it is immoral to treat people differently because of tribe/color/religion/political affiliation; it is unacceptable to engage in Gender-Based Violence (GBV), child abuse etc. These and many topics including resource allocation will feature in the PD sessions.
As a way to advance and create an impact, we shall involve pro bono lawyers to dissect the constitution for the participants in order to identify weak links in policies that will require legislation. We shall then petition parliament to enact laws to strengthen our institutions. The media will form a central pillar in the project.
KAJIADO COUNTY PROJECT
We recently received a special gift, a rare one in Kenya by any standard. This is half an acre of land near Kitengela, Kajiado County. This place will be used to rehabilitate street children, grow organic vegetables for our beneficiaries as well as offer accommodation for our staff and volunteers. We are specially excited about this land because we will not have to continue paying rent. Another advantage is that water is available on the property.
You will notice that Kitengela is a town in Kajiado County and is part of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. It is one of the fastest growing urban areas of Kenya and is only 30 km south of Nairobi.
TREE PLANTING PROJECT
In response to rampart deforestation, HHCK has a vibrant reforestation program. We create awareness among our neighbours on the importance of tree planting and conservation of the environment. In line with this, we raise thousands of seedlings, which we share with our neighbours, schools and churches. We work with partners to enhance this program. For example Kimisitu Sacco has been a dependable source of seedlings and expertise.
Cases of children and young adults being exposed to drug abuse and exploited are increasingly becoming rampant in most urban centers/slums in Kenya. The upsurge in these cases is because the urban centers are becoming highly populated as a result of people relocating from rural areas in search of jobs/livelihoods. This has made the informal settlements in the urban areas to become resource constrained. This is also due to poor urban planning that has pushed many families to the streets. in any productive work.
Recently, there have been many cases of uncontrolled consumption of illicit brews forcing the government of Kenya to crack down on the entire outlets selling these illicit deadly liquors. The majority of consumers are unfortunately boys and young men who have dropped out of schedule and are not actively engaged. Girls are not left behind either. This has deepened the need to rescue, rehabilitate, reintegrate and re-socialize the young adults who have been caught up in this web of drugs and substance abuse. This is the work of HHCK. While we acknowledge the efforts of the government in the intervention on drug abuse, it is evident that such measure are short term and very limited in fighting drug abuse making it necessary to maintain long term drug rehabilitation programs. This has led us to establish a residential drug rehabilitation center in Nairobi. Our intervention includes schooling for those willing to go back to school, vocational training, job placement, and provision of trade tools to enable graduated to start their own enterprises. We have registered high success rates so far. Most of our graduate clients are working and earning a decent living away from the streets and drugs.