Hello everyone!

I must first apologize for the delay in posting this blog. Electricity and internet here at the CYEC have been scarce. Over the past week, a few blackouts knocked out the power in Thunguma and other areas surrounding Nyeri. And the internet in all of Kenya was out for two days. These are the obstacles we face in development work. These obstacles have certainly brought me closer to the people here and made me less reliant on the PSU team at home. Granted, I still need my team’s assistance and support, but this forced lack of communication has made me focus more on using all of my resources here in Kenya.

Even without electricity, the Equity financial literacy training went on as scheduled. This 3-day workshop is designed to teach the youth about budgeting, saving, bank services, and debt management. The youth seemed very receptive and ready to learn. They asked a lot of questions and took diligent notes. To my knowledge, everyone has passed and is now awaiting their certificates!

In addition to this training, Fatuma and I have set up an export training workshop through the government’s Women’s Enterprise Fund. Fatuma and I will attend the training in the coming days, along with the two most talented tailoring students at the center. This will give the girls the knowledge to legally export their bags, which will bring in more profit.

In other news, the CYEC is now working to develop permiculture on their land. Permiculture aims to use every resource possible in an attempt to use fewer inputs and be more ecologically friendly. The women working to create this permiculture design visited over the weekend and, along with the help of myself and the youth, measured the dimensions of the CYEC and began creating the plans for a grey water system. This system will capture all water used by the center, aside from toilet water, filter it, and release it into the Shamba. This will help the CYEC better use their resources and cut down on water consumption.

Yesterday, I visited Jeffery the social worker’s church in the slums. We had a 4-hour brainstorming session for ideas to improve the center. We came up with a lot of things he hopes to present to the CYEC’s director, Paul Maina. These ideas included the need for counseling and conflict resolution skills. Thinking back to a program my high school had, I suggested peer mediation. My high school had a training program where upperclassmen learned how to resolve conflits between peers. This program benefited the mediator and the students in conflict. These would be great skills to learn at the center and would help resolve peer conflicts without the need to hire more staff. This is a program held in many high schools, so if any of you reading this may have access to a curriculum or training information, please pass it along (cbg5037@psu.edu).

As far as the CBO, they continue to use our record books and are starting to use the timesheets. Edward, the accountant, and I have been working through tweaking my loan policies and I believe we have a solid foundation. We will soon meet with Maggie to go over how to account for the CBO’s money and loan repayments. This will enable us to get Lydiah’s loan out very soon. The implementation of the policies I have created will mean that the CBO members will begin to fund their own allowances and will receive bonuses for their extra effort. They will truly be working for themselves and their organization.

On a lighter, non-work related note: I got to visit Julie’s coffee farm! I saw where Julie’s coffee is grown and got to meet Julie, her mother, and her adorable 1-year old daughter. I saw the entire coffee process from planting to roasting and brewing. I even got to pick coffee beans!

1/25/2012 11:54:37 pm

will be restored shortly

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1/27/2012 04:57:52 am

Appreciate your data

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3/22/2012 04:18:24 am

Great info, thanks

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3/27/2012 01:51:16 pm

Nice article dude

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