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Team USA teaches Ebutunyi School Some Good Lessons

Ebutunyi, a school found in western part of Kenya in Africa, with an enrollment of more than 500 pupils, was privileged to receive visitors from United States of America whose main aim was to have projects in the school that would help the children attend lessons and take up their studies comfortably. In the past, girl children were never given an equal opportunity to the boy child in getting an education. Regards to Reach The Children organization for planning to have teams coming to Africa to sensitize communities on the importance of educating both sexes to uplift standards of the people and their communities at large.

Ebutunyi children

The teaching of personal hygiene was one of the aims of the team in order to enable the children to have proper knowledge concerning washing their hands after toileting, brushing their teeth and washing their bodies to keep them clean. After classes the girls would be expected to have all the required information on changes that take place during puberty and how to cope with and overcome the stigma and results of not understanding their maturing process. One of the expedition members said that “When you educate a boy you educate an individual, but when you educate a girl you have educated the whole Nation.” This refers mostly to a girls role as wife and mother in the home, but can also refer to her participation in the community. This statement encouraged girls of this school to work hard in school. Children were also expected to be able to use tooth brushes to brush their teeth according to the instructions given. Because of lack of enough knowledge, it becomes difficult for children who approach puberty and are in adolescence to take care of and clearly understand about their own bodies. These teachings would give them a chance to experience and share the information among themselves, with teachers and their parents at home.

Most families are poor and can’t afford soap to assist their children to wash their clothes and themselves. The group would provide an opportunity to the children, parents and teachers of the school to make soap from cheaply and locally available materials.The soap would also help many families be free from using a lot of money to buy soap, which is a major cost in most homes. The classes were greeted with much enthusiasm.

Soap making

Ingredients used to make soap were Ungerol, Ufacid, Industrial salt ,caustic soda color and siment. Mixing of the ingredients at different ratios was done, led by Justus Suchi, the Reach The Children Country Director. Soap making would assist pupils and the community to stop buying since they would be making their own. Another importance of the soap is to help parents and community members earn money out of it. Children of the school will be able to clean their clothes using soap easily available thus keep clean both in school and home.

The lessons started at 0900hrs and ended at 1600hrs.By the end of the day much was covered and this left children of this school very excited about the teachings. They were taught when and how to wash hands, critical steps to follow when washing their hands. A good song talking about washing hands was sung by happy students who keenly followed the lessons. They were also taught personal hygiene which comprised of procedures to follow while washing their bodies. Dental hygiene was not left behind as they were taught why they should brush teeth, how to brush and when to brush. Local materials were recommended for use during brushing and also use of salt or baking soda. The goal of brushing teeth is to remove particles and prevent many teeth diseases.

The school also benefited from Grow Learn and Give lessons that deal with health for girls. Girls of this school were taught the 28 days cycle, making of sanitary pads using cheap and locally available materials and also menstruation. Many girls in the African setup do not access this information. In many families in Africa, it is taboo to share information related to sexual matters openly with parents or elders. Such taboos make many girls grow up without knowing health matters that later affect their health and education. Thanks to Reach the Children Organization for initiating the lessons to the poor girls. Many of these girls do reach menstruation without knowing anything about what is happening to their bodies. The girls are frightened, alone and unable to get the needed information to cope with the changes taking place. Many girls drop out of school for lack of any understanding about how to take care of themselves during menstruation. The lessons offered them a chance to learn and know what to do during that period. Girls were also taught how to make sanitary pads to use during their monthly periods. Making of reusable sanitary towels simplifies things for the girls because it is a cheaper way of having them for use.

The school and the community was very appreciative for the volunteers who assisted the school to benefit from this education. ”Long Live Reach The Children organization “said the Head teacher of the school.


Preparing Students to Meet the World: Kithing’syo

As responsible members of the society, we have a responsibility of preparing students graduating from high school to meet the world, by every means possible. Can we prepare the world to meet the students? You think about it!

P1020289There has been an increased initiative in building information and communication technology centers in developing countries, Kenya being one of them. These initiatives have often been undertaken on the basis that they are crucial for development of and progress of the social and economic structures. Nonetheless, there is one major barrier to the efficient utilization of these ICT facilities for social and economic development – the considerably low information technology literacy level in rural areas of developing nations, like Chyulu in Kenya. When the people who are supposed to use these facilities lack skills to use and manipulate information efficiently, then investing in the ICT facilities for development becomes unproductive. For this reason, Reach The Children, has been very active in providing facilities necessary for teaching high-school students in impoverished areas the basic information technology skills. Among the schools that have received this support in Kithingi’syo secondary school in Makueni county.


According to the Kenyan government, the achievement of an information-based society is one of its goals in the new millennium. This will help future generations in realizing the national developmental goals for creation of wealth and employment. Similarly, information literacy is a concept that will enable development to be achieved in Kenya. RTC, considers literacy a sine qua non condition that will help young generation in Kenya create dynamic and sustainable economic growth in the future. The organization notes that the efficient application of IT skills can be attained by building training of these skills. As such, RTC UK expedition team of 2011, under their team leader Ray Botterell, donated eight more computers, a printer and modems for each computer to the school. This is bearing in mind that RTC UK had previously donated 8PCs to the school in 2010.


The school now has a well equipped computer lab with printers and Internet connection. Since the school has a small population, each student in each class can access a computer during the computer lessons. With this computer lab in place, many students will be able to gain the required information literacy needed to compete in today's modern world. Kithingi’syo secondary school is in a rural setup and there is a problem of having good computer teachers, since many of the teachers tend to move to more urban centers like Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru where they can use their skills to the fullest. In rural areas, there isn’t much happening in the world of information technology. This happens despite the fact that information technology now has become an integral part of development and economy. RTC advocates for the better education system, which will prepare students well for the information world.

Information literacy is just as important as any other type of literacy like social literacy, functional literacy and alphabetic literacy. The RTC UK P1020288expedition team was working on a information literacy campaign. Information literacy is the ability to identify, critically analyze and competently use information, especially digital information. This includes being able to apply basic skills like using a computer, communication via digital mean and carrying out simple mathematical and logical operations.

Kithing’isyo secondary school is in a very remote village around Chyulu hills of in Makueni constituency. This was the teams' second visit to this school. RTC donated top quality computers to this school in 2010. It was noted that few of the computers were being used so, the RTC team consisting of Ray, Robin, Wendy and I, sat down with the school principle so he could tell us about the school and the challenges they faced with regards to using the equipment. It did not make sense that these computers are locked in the lab when they were intended for use. First, he began to explain to us everything he thought the school did wrong. He spoke softly, radiating a sense of failure. We also sought to know what good thing he was doing at the schoo,l since he was just new, anything that they would be proud of. He said that the students were so enthusiastic about learning computer skills and that the parent teachers association was preparing to give any support that it could; especially by hiring a computer lessons teacher. This was quite encouraging.

Ray and Wendy asked the principle about the computer lab. He looked down and raised his face saying… “I am very happy with the donation and that the parents, teacher and students were extremely grateful”… He said that he knew the computers meant that the school had improved to a status of providing important information skills. He also said he knew more students were coming to the school because of the perception that computer lab offered extra skills besides the curriculum set by the government. A school with a computer lab in such a rural setting was considered a ‘high quality’ school. The computer lab was not being used mostly because there was not computer studies teacher.

The principle reassured us that he had already initiated a series of meetings with the Board of Governors of the School and the Parents and Teachers Association to try and come up with a long lasting solution. The suggestion made was that they employ a computer teacher while they wait upon a request that they had sent to the Ministry of Education to send them a computer skills teacher. We had a very healthy discussion and agreed that I would follow up on the school as they seek a full time teacher. From there we headed to the computer lab to set up the new equipment.

The computers we brought were wrapped in heavy cardboard cartons so we begun to unwrap them. We also invited a few students to help us connect the computers in the lab and to network them. The software was loaded in properly. Robin, Ross and I installed the modems and partitioned the computers for students and administrators. Students’ access and use were limited. For instance, students cannot install software or make changes to the programs. Some of the teachers who came by to see what we were doing began to open up saying that the previous year had been tough for the school. Its relationship with the community reached its lowest point. Students caused a strike and nearly burnt stuff at the school. The computer lab had been locked for that fear. However, with the new principle, who was barely two months into his new administration, there was positive reception of his policies.

Some previous problems were: The old school principle and some of the teacher were very worried about the monetary value of the IT equipment and were worried of its loss. They therefore applied strict means of preventing theft like keeping the computer lab under lock and key even though students and teachers were supposed to have free access. The computer lab hence became a ‘hallowed building’ but no one was using the computers for learning. Students have been taught how and encouraged to care for the equipment.

P1030162Scheduling and the location of the computer lab was also another problem. Most of the classes and teachers were not properly scheduled to use the computer lab, making access a problem. This was because computer courses are not examinable in national examinations so the students had to concentrate on other studies. Computer literacy was not given the seriousness it deserved. Even the teachers had to make concerted effort to get time to visit the computer lab.

The laboratory’s location is at a considerable distance from the rest of the classes hence that discouraged users from visiting it.

After a serious discussion with the principle, most of these barriers will change. Computer classes will be scheduled for each class and access will be allowed all day long with teacher supervision. The proximity of the lab cannot be changed but students will be encouraged to visit the lab because information literacy is one of major life skills in the modern world.

Recently when I visited the school, the BOG had already hired a computer teacher and computer lessons are now on each student's schedule. This is considerable progress and a positive response to this wonderful gift.


Plant a Tree and Educate a Child










Following the general elections in 2007, Kenya was seriously encompassed by violence because of the election outcomes. The violence was more prevalent in Nairobi and the western parts of Kenya. Despite the violence having ended in about 2009, the underlying issues were not clearly resolved. The violence brought to light Kenya’s willingness to cooperate with international bodies and treaties. Environmental conservation was one of the foremost issues of international concern. Kenyans understand the importance of having trees and as such a number of groups and individual people have stepped up to focus on tree planting and making Kenya greener for future generations. Because of huge population increases, there is pressure on the specific use of land in western parts of Kenya and Central Kenya as well. Reach the Children humanitarian organization understands that planting trees is not only important to the environment, but may be one answer to the future education of Kenya's children.


Breeding Center for Better Goats


Goats have an interesting history in the human evolution story.  They are among the first animals to be domesticated and it is believed that the wild ancestor to the domesticated goats are capra aegaprus which were mainly found in Persia and Asia, capra prisea of the area around Mediterranean sea and capra falconeri from the areas around the mountains of Himalayas. Tracing the ancestry of the current goat back to these ancestors is very hard; however the most important thing is that goats are here today to help human beings live on.  Goats have been found to be very hardy compared to sheep and cattle.










Onion Farmers on the Road to Success

Onions are vegetables used by many people worldwide. In Africa onions are grown for commercial and domestic use. Many people like growing them on their small farms for their own use because it has helped to improve their diets. It is difficult for the small farmers to enter into the commercial market, however, and this keeps them from making a living from this farming effort. Thanks to Reach the Children organization in partnership with Manas Investment, these farmers are now participating in a large commercial onion project to benefit local farmers.P1030453

It all started with a few people who formed a group in which they were to register by paying a small amount of money. The objective of the group was to help people from the community to grow onions, using proper maintenance methods and harvest in good time. The farmers were also required to provide the necessary labor and pesticides for their good growth. Another goal of the project was for farmers to have a ready market for their harvested onions. They agreed to use the project as a business opportunity to obtain income to enable them to invest in other projects. The project would eventually help many people improve their living standards in terms of being able to afford medical care, food security, paying school fees, putting up better houses and purchasing land to assist them  in expanding their farms. The group plans to form a society that will plan and market the onions after harvesting. Formation of the society would help them to eliminate ‘’brokers’ ’or middlemen who buy cheaply from farmers and sell at a higher price to traders. Farmers who benefitted from the project will share information on the current market trends of their product.


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