Since 2011 we have helped the local community build 57 latrine blocks in schools across Kipkelion. Many of these blocks include washrooms and showers, enabling girls to attend school throughout the month. Over 11,000 children have benefited so far. In each case, the school agreed to cover half the cost of the project, and in many cases the parents of the pupils volunteered to excavate the latrine pits themselves as their own contribution to the project. We also provide menstrual hygiene training to encourage girls to continue their education once they start their periods.
We have also provided 26 schools with water storage tanks – in most cases at least 32,000 litres in capacity – this enables the schools to store rainwater during the wet season and use it during the dry season, which helps keep the schools hygienic and the children healthy. Over 8,000 children have benefited from this initiative so far.
Our community water scheme at Nduro, which again was a collaboration with local people, has brought clean water to 11,000 men, women and children in the Nduro area of Kipkelion, by capturing clean spring water at the top of the hill and piping it downhill via a system of storage tanks. This was officially opened in 2016 by our Chairman Michael Deriaz and the Governor of Kericho County.
Our FGM eradication project, partly funded by the Department for International Development (now part of FCDO) from 2015 to 2018, initially protected over 3,000 girls in Kipkelion from the risk of FGM by providing support for an Alternative Rite of Passage. We are continuing to bring this project to more communities in the Kipkelion area, protecting up to 1,000 girls from the risk of FGM each year.
We and our partners have worked closely with local officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Health to improve access to basic health care in Kipkelion. In 2018 we supported a Maternal Health project which encouraged mothers to give birth in health facilities or with the aid of a trained birth attendant, rather than in their homes. The result was a sharp increase in the number of births taking place in health facilities in Kipkelion, and much improved ante-natal and post-natal monitoring, including vaccination of babies. This has led to better health for both mothers and children, and decreases in maternal and child mortality rates.
In 2020 we supported the training of Community Health Volunteers across Kipkelion. These are ordinary community members who are trained to identify health problems in their own villages and to liaise with the trained medical staff in nearby towns, to ensure that sick people get the treatment they need. This project was ultimately overtaken by the pandemic, but the Community Health Volunteers were still able to play a vital role in encouraging handwashing and distributing PPE, and more recently they have helped with the Covid-19 vaccination programme across Kipkelion.
Both of these health projects were part funded by grants from UK AID DIRECT, provided by the FCDO.
We have helped hundreds of families in Kipkelion to get a smokeless cooking stove, which saves fuel, saves money and enables children to grow up in a smoke free atmosphere. The stoves cost about £40 each and the fuel savings are such that they usually pay for themselves within a few months. The reduction in the use of firewood also helps to save the local environment. We are teaching local people in Kipkelion to make and install the stoves, ensuring that the project is fully sustainable.
Girls in Kipkelion often stay off school when they have their periods as they have no access to sanitary products and little understanding of menstruation. Through missing weeks of school each term, they fall behind in class and often drop out altogether. This can lead to early marriage, early motherhood and a lifetime of poverty. We have provided thousands of girls in Kipkelion with reusable sanitary pads and have shown them how to use and maintain them, enabling them to attend school regularly and complete their education. We are now taking this project out into the wider community in Kipkelion so that women of all ages can benefit from access to menstrual hygiene products
We’re helping young people in Kipkelion to start their own businesses through our Economic Empowerment programme. Groups of young adults attend a short course where they learn the basics of marketing, record keeping and how to write a simple business plan. At the end of the course, those who have produced a good plan are given equipment or trading stock to get them started in business. It’s particularly helpful for people with disabilities who are not always able to participate in traditional farming activities. Over 500 people have already taken the course.