Harnessing Community Power

Yesterday I attended the first meeting with the Nkoroi leadership team called by the team coordinator, Beatrice Mwenda. It was exciting to see the team forming and taking responsibility and all I did was help with ideas as a member of the team and no longer the lead.

The team has already gotten 3 kids back to school in the previous week and has set precedence for work that will be happening in Nkoroi. The area ward representative came for the meeting from rumours he had heard about the team and was invited by the assistant chief. He assured us of his full support in our campaign to get 20 children back to school by November 2013.

This note keeps reminding me of the power I have seen in people coming together. It’s a culture I have seen of people getting together to fund raise for hospital bills, burials and even weddings. It has always worked for us. If only we can harness that spirit to finding solutions that hit communities as a whole, then we will have increased the confidence of communities to face challenges with the resources available.

-Ken Chomba, Co-Founder of Tatua Kenya and Lead Organizer in Nkoroi

Hidden Potential

Margaret, Lucyline and Catherine are great supporters of my work in Nkoroi. Today, they showed up early for one of the meetings we had with the vetting committee that is supposed to help propose names for candidates to be appointed in the leadership team of the community initiative.

We spent about 30 minutes chatting about some of the education challenges in the area before the rest arrived. Margaret openly says that one of neighbors has two daughters who have not joined secondary school since last year due to lack of fees, even after receiving admission letters to school. She further said that the area only has 3 secondary schools with over 5,000 kids leaving primary school each year. The secondary schools in the area will only admit kids with marks over 300. With a starting fee of over 20,000Ksh for the 1st term, it is almost impossible for most children to enroll. Catherine says that it is every parent’s dream to see their children complete their education, but they just can’t afford it.

They have one positive story though, the parents in Nkaimurunya primary school got together and raised money to fund kids in the school who did not have the support to register for their final (standard 8) primary level exam. They raised over 40,000Ksh. This story makes me believe more in this community.

There is a lot of hidden power and resource amongst local communities in Kenya to help find solutions for local problems/challenges. How can we help uncover that power and work together to use it in the most beneficial way?

-Ken Chomba, Community Organizer in Nkoroi

A Community Comes Together To Discuss Issues That Matter to Them

“Nkoroi is a community that is really excited about the work we are doing!”┬áKen Chomba held s second forum there the other day.

Yet another gathering for the community of Nkoroi to start the decision making process leading to an initiative that they would take in addressing education challenges in the area. The area chief and all the four sub chiefs were at the meeting, which gave us a lot of confidence in the discussions with the community.

Elizabeth Wanjiru, a member of the community, mentioned in one of her conversations that she felt like there was a new dawn and this was an opportunity for them to start engaging with the county government in finding solutions for community challenges. The community voted largely on education matters, initiatives that will work to keep/get more kids to school and transition more children from primary to secondary level.

The forum also provided an opportunity for the 9 women groups from the location represented to share ideas on how they would have a common training ground on financial literacy by Equity group foundation.

It was another show of success. The discussions once again encouraged me in my work and showed me that people are excited about what we are doing. It is time for the community to own their initiatives and decide how to work together.

-Ken Chomba, Co-Founder of Tatua Kenya