It’s hard to believe we are nearly two thirds of the way through 2018 but when you consider what we have been up to in Kenya it is perhaps not surprising that the time has passed so quickly!
After more than 8 years’ tireless – albeit not non-stop – work and £250,000+ of investment, our redevelopment of Kisimenyi Primary School is finally at an end (for now!) following the recent completion of the multi-purpose hall. The school becomes the first in our network to attain the targets we have set in terms of the range and standard of facilities, although we will continue to invest in maintenance and upkeep of the structures that we have built to date.
Elsewhere, our other partner schools inch slowly closer towards reaching the same high standards we have set at Kisimenyi and, more recently, at Ngambenyi. This is especially true of Kiteghe Primary where, with the August school holidays and another three-week window with schools largely empty now upon us, we are continuing with the next phase of major upgrade works to the original parts of the school that pre-date AP.
Meanwhile, exciting plans are coming together for our next major redevelopment at an eighth partner school, Mkamenyi Primary. We will be revealing these plans at our 10th anniversary reception next month and hope to be in a position to start the work in the first or second quarter of 2019.
Away from our building projects, our feeding programme is reaching its own milestone with the five-year anniversary of its launch in September 2013 fast approaching. Initially benefiting a single school of 330 pupils, since May 2015 we have provided a daily meal for all pupils across our partner schools (currently numbering around 2,500 children). After a horrendous 2017, when prices rose seemingly out of control due to the nationwide drought, we are relieved that prices have remained largely stable and predictable throughout this year.
In July, our partner schools were visited by Gregory Omondi from the Kenyan NGO, Start a Library. This was the first stage of a partnership we are facilitating which will see the organisation introduce their literacy and reading programmes in all of our partner schools. This work, we hope, will give the teachers and pupils the tools and knowledge to make better use of the library facilities we have provided in each school and to create a reading culture and genuine love of books and reading amongst all pupils.
Finally, this school holiday has been an unusual and exciting one for a lucky few pupils from our partner schools with a group of 100 pupils spending two days visiting sites in the coastal city of Mombasa, with other groups spending time in the nearby Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. The Mombasa trip, which included visits to the historic landmark of Fort Jesus as well as to Haller Wildlife Park, the international airport and the beach, was the first time that we have sponsored a school-wide excursion, with pupils drawn equally from each of our seven partner schools. Meanwhile, by the end of the holiday three groups of pupils will have visited Rukinga Sanctuary (run by our friends at Wildlife Works) to learn more about their natural environment and the importance of conserving it for their own benefit and that of future generations. The funds for these trips are being raised by a friend of both African Promise and Wildlife Works in memory of the late Rob Dodson, who was Head of Ops for Wildlife Works for nearly 20 years until his sudden passing last year, and we ultimately hope to be able to finance at least one trip for 35 pupils from each of our partner schools and eight others in our wider project area.