In Q-1 of 2020, we installed an additional Green-house and an additional 2 acres of drip irrigation systems that included drip lines and two 5,000 liter water tanks to increase the capacity of the project. The farm not only produced enough vegetables to help feed 120 girls and staff in the first quarter, but the farm also produced enough produce to sell to other families in the Masai community.
The income generated from the farm was small, around $1,313 USD, but it was used to pay the farm hand, to purchase other food items for children, like milk and cereals and some firewood for cooking.
The farm expansion garnered the attention of the regional department of agriculture officers, who visited the farm to learn how we were able to convert otherwise arid land into viable agricultural land. The takeaway here is that the project is scaling and creating food security in a region that has historically had a huge issue with lack of food. (The official community pilot training program that was scheduled to begin in Q2 of 2020, has been postponed due to COVID-19.)
Tumaini Children Center- Renewable Energy & Renewable Source of Protein
We installed a small solar panel and converter system at our partner Tumaini Children’s Center. The children and staff now have a source of power to light up their nights. The kids can now do their chores and homework. The panel is small, but it also powers the incubator and lights that will allow us to scale the poultry project to producing more eggs.
Yes! the chickens from the Poultry Project we invested in Q-4 of 2019 started to produce eggs! The farm is producing roughly 300 eggs per week. The children now have a healthy reliable source of protein and they are able to sell around 250 eggs every week to generate some income. This next quarter we plan to carefully scale this project to be able to produce twice the amount of eggs.
Got Milk? We do!
Our Cow projects combined produced over 4,171 liters of Milk! In addition to adding protein to the children’s and staff’s diets, the excess was sold to over 750 needy families at a under half the price of store bought milk. We were also able to purchase 2 milk producing cows for our partner Amazing Grace, to help scale up their current milk farm!
Practice Makes Perfect- Amiran Kenya Training
We were able to host all of our farm hands for another training session hosted by Amiran Kenya on their campus. During these training sessions, our farm hands are able to learn new techniques on how to maximize the yield of their farm, and bring up any issues they are having with growing their crops. We find that doing this on a quarterly or bi-annual basis is invaluable and keeps our farm-hand’s feeling supported and competitive.
Welcome to The Family Boys Rescue Center- Slowly moving loser towards financial independence.
We started off moving into 2020 with the goal of helping our partners achieve financial independence. Although we have yet much room to go, inorder to achieve these goals, we were pleased that this past quarter the reverse osmosis plant that we built in 2016 sold $11,332 USD worth of water. Four years later, the water plant is fully funding the salaries of the staff for Welcome to The Family Boys Rescue Center in Nakuru.
This project has created an impact beyond generating income for our partner, it provides employment to the 3 community members who help run it, and a affordable, clean, fluoride free water security to the surrounding community.
The majority of Kitechild’s projects in Kenya are agricultural by nature, from crop and livestock rearing, borehole water purification, harvesting of rainwater, and numerous other projects they are all directly or indirectly impacted by the abundance of rain. Earlier this year the Kenyan long rains- which typically run from March to May, were significantly delayed, prompting the Kenyan Government to declare a national drought emergency. With 23 out of 47 counties affected, 2.6 million people reached critical levels of food & water insecurity as prices for both of the most essential commodities skyrocketed.
This left many of our existing projects vulnerable, and especially set us back in the implementation of three new projects we had scheduled to break ground in the 1st quarter 2019. With no rain in sight the viability of installing 4 additional greenhouses & 7 acres of driplines for open land for cultivation, as well as the purchase of a 20,000 liter Rain Water harvest tank, seemed low.
Thankfully, the last week of April reported rain in most parts of the country. With faith the rains would return, we and kept all three projects on track as scheduled. But although the drought scare is over for now, having been left so exposed and vulnerable raised some important questions for us and our partners on how we can continue to dig deeper and explore preventative measures that will enable our projects to survive threats like this in the future.
THE SILVER LINING: Ironically, the lack of rain had a positive effect on our Reverse Osmosis water purifying project at the Welcome to the Family Children’s Center in Nakuru. Due to a shortage of water the region, sales of bottled clean drinking water were higher than usual. The project continues to thrive providing more affordable water to the extended community while generating income for the center to cover the cost of skilled social workers and staff who rehabilitate at-risk youth. Cheers to that!
It’s not enough to have a story to tell, it’s how you tell that story. At Kitechild, we truly believe in creating change, not charity. In helping communities rebuild from the ground up – literally and figuratively with our agricultural based projects, and with our emphasis on supporting at risk children and empowering them with the tools they need to thrive.
We were able to share our mission in a beautifully visual, compelling way in the form of our film “Kitechild Kenya – Greenhouses for Good”. This short film takes viewers on a colorful, green, inspiring journey through our various projects in Kenya, the community members who run them, and the children who are at the heart of it all. From a 6 greenhouse farm in Nakuru valley feeding over 250 children, to a 4 greenhouse farm in Migori from which produce sales fund local schoolteachers in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, our projects are highlighted in a visually compelling way that inspires viewers to be a part of a growing movement in development and sustainability.
The children remain the heart of it all, as it is for them that we create our projects for. For their schools, for their families, and for the orphanages that they often must live in as they are placed in better living situations including foster care or adoption. Our projects are changing the way that people are able to support orphan children, those living in orphanages or shelters. We are raising the level of transparency in donating to an orphanage, going beyond the sponsor a child model, and really focusing on sustainability and long term change, as our film depicts.
To our wonderful surprise and delight, our film was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Deauville Green Awards, held in Deauville, France. We ended up taking home a silver award, out of over 370 entries in the competition. We could not be more proud of our work and are grateful to the film festival for the opportunity to share our important message with the world.
Credits: The film was shot in June 2016 throughout Kenya, and was produced by Kitechild, InDigital Media, and Christoph Siegert. Executive Producer Jacqueline Herrera Levi, Director Christoph Siegert, Production Crew Tobern Averkorn, Music Composer Jeremie Levi Samson, and our on the ground Kenyan crew Kenneth Mugo and Martha Maina.
Just like the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”, we firmly believe that the entire community should step up and support at-risk children, and their families, in times of need. On December 3rd, we held our first ever photo exhibit depicting our work in the field. The theme of the night was “It Takes a Village”, with an emphasis on all the different community members involved in our efforts to empower at risk children to break the cycles of poverty and thrive. This village we speak of is global – it goes beyond the immediate geographic surroundings of the child, and extends all across the world, to supporters and donors like you that join our Kitechild village to support these children.
A few of the favorite photos from evening include:
Title: Jeweled Feet Photographer: Benjamin James Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. 2015 Description: Anklets, commonly known as Payal, are worn for many reasons in the Hindu culture, including channeling positive energy into the body, and as a signifier of availability for marriage. However, most of the young girls in our partner centers wear them for another reason, because they like the way they look and the sound they make when they walk.
Title: Commute to Work Photographer: Christoph Siegert Location: Fiwagoh Mission. Gilgil, Nakuru, Kenya. 2016 Description: A laborer is about to go home after working in our Kitechild funded greenhouses at the Fiwagoh MIssion. This project has provided steady employment to members of the surrounding community as they work on the farm, and learn to cultivate their own smaller farms at home.
Title: Room for One More Photographer: Benjamin James Location: LAMP Mission, Nakkapali, Andra Pradesh, India. 2015 Description: A girl stands under an umbrella – twice her size – at the LAMP Mission Home. Through Kitechild, the home was able to reconstruct their roof to protect the sleeping area for the children from the common rains.
We’d like to thank some very important members of our village, those people that support Kitechild and keep our wheels running. From our two talented photographers, Christoph Siegert of InDigital Media and Benjamin James of Empty Space Studio, our talented entertainment for the night, Josh Arias and Jeremie Levi Samson, to our support from our Board members from Xomad and Boxador Labs, our main sponsor BDirect, and of course our staff for the evening and everyone that attended to show their support.
We are inviting you to be a part of this village – by donating to Kitechild’s efforts in funding sustainable projects that empower at risk children to receive the education, quality nutrition, and emotional support they need to break the bonds of poverty and thrive. Will you join us? Donate today.