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Bwaliro School Update: July 2014 - U of Guelph

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Three of the Goals* at Bwaliro Primary School are:
  • To encourage the AIDS orphans and destitute children in the community to come to school regularly and achieve basic primary school education.
  • To provide a school lunch program for the AIDS orphans and destitute children in the community. This may begin at 2 days a week and then increase in the numbers of days per week as funds become available and the school begins to grow their own food
  • To introduce a permaculture programme at the school, such a project would ensure sustainability in the community. This would include growing trees, maize, beans, rice and vegetables as well as livestock.

(* To see all the goals set out for Bwaliro Primary School, please click here to read the contract)

In the summer of 2014, two University of Guelph students did a residency at Bwaliro, as part of their courses.
They arrived in early-May and returned to Guelph, Canada in mid-July and stayed with a local family while in Kenya.
The two students are Nia King and David Borish.
They helped the students and community to continue achieving the above three goals.

Nia and David have been living with a family that has four children attending Bwaliro
(two in kindergarten, one in class 3, and one in class 5) for the past 10 weeks.

Q.  Does the Children of Bukati charity project pay for any of your flights and expenses?
A.  No.  Our flights and expenses are not being paid by the Children of Bukati project -
we are employed by the university to do our research in the community.

Bwaliro School held their field day on July 14 2014, and it was a great success with over 110 parents attending, including the District Education Office. The group was very animated and had many discussions regarding project sustainability, future directions, project management, etc.

NIA KING

Nia King is working under the University of Guelph's Population Medicine department.

Upon arrival, here was Nia's email:

My role here is two fold:

  1. Investigate possible changes that can feasibly be made to the feeding program to improve the nutritional value of what the students are fed (maize and beans). Subsequently try and use this knowledge and see if the community as a whole is willing to implement the changes to improve community nutrition.
  2. Investigate the factors that are preventing children from attending school, or that are contributing to absences, such that the school can work to address these factors.
    The first step of my research is gathering the information.  We started the interview process in May and after we gather enough data we we will act on this information.

In July, just before heading back to Canada, here was Nia's email:

I spent my time interviewing the guardians of Bwaliro students (both orphans and non-orphans) about education, absenteeism, and nutrition. After having completed the interviews I did a quick analysis of the information in order to be able to implement some solutions so as to improve school attendance and community health. One such change has been introducing AfriPads to the school. It was clear that grade 6-8 girls were missing school due to menstruation and not being able to afford sanitary napkins. A Children of Bukati donor generously donated $1000 in order to buy 200 packs of Afripads (reusable sanitary napkins that last for a year). They are being made available to the students for a reduced rate so as to improve attendance but also such that hopefully the collected money can be used once more to buy more.

 

DAVID BORISH

I am an international development student that is working as an intern for the Children of Bukati organization. I spent 10 weeks in western Kenya, and lived with a local Bishop along with his family in a brick house. I am working on a community evaluation for the feeding and agriculture projects at the Bwaliro school. This means that, as orphans and other students are being fed at the school, there are beneficial, and in some cases negative, impacts on various aspects of the community member's livelihoods.

I am looking at how the Bwaliro School project can become more of a community project rather than just children. I am hoping to interview as many people as I can within the community to see what kind of feedback they have about the project, and ideas that we can bounce around the community so that we maximize the benefits.  I hope to produce a video that we show on this website in the near future.

I split my research into the 5 capitals, and analyzed how the project has impacted these capitals.

The capitals include

1) Human Capital, which is the level of education, creativity, knowledge and overall capability to learn within the community,
2) Financial Capital, which is the economic improvements or changes in the income levels,
3) Physical Capital, which is any changes or improvements in the tangible items that families buy,
4) Natural Capital, which is a look at how the agricultural practices and the overall environment has improved or changed, and
5) Social Capital, which looks at the changes in family relations and overall community relations.

Essentially, I took a holistic approach to understanding how their livelihoods have improved/changed/been impacted as a result of the Projects going on at the Bwaliro School. It is critical to understand how the community has been impacted in order to advance these projects in a sustainable manner. 

Therefore, the bulk of my work was to visit and interview families that had children attending the school. I also helped the school set up a more organized and basic accounting system, so that they could keep track of all costs and benefits for their projects: for example keeping track of the amount they spend on fertilizers for the kale in the green house. I also looked at other projects the school could invest in to make future income. After discussing with a local vet, the project committee, the principal, the permaculture committee and various community members, it seems that sheep are a promising investment.


Above, Nia King, Principal Augustine Wasike, David Borish.
Above:  David, Nia, and the family that hosted them during their 2.5 month stay in Kenya.
Above:  David Borish along with two teachers.
Above and Below:
Parents speaking and listening to the other parents and teachers at a field day hosted by the University students.
 Above: Someone from the project committee speaking to the other parents at the field day.
Above and Below: The Canada stickers are NOT from the field day. 
These are students and teachers celebrating Canada Day with the stickers we gave them on July 1st.
Above: The man with the pigs is the school soldier / maintenance person who tends to the animals.
Above and Below:
These students are taking part in the athletics competition that the school hosted.
The children have enough energy (mainly because of the food program) to run and train for various track and field events. 

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Updated August 30, 2014