Work Update

We’ve just passed the four-week mark since we’ve arrived here, and it’s time for an update on some of the work we’ve accomplished!

Through our fundraiser, we were able to raise about $1600 for our career project, library project, and other renovations and technology for the Youth Center. We were also able to assess and edit our annual budget, and lower that by about $800, leaving opportunities for more scholarships and support for the girls to attend school, as well as more exposure visits. We have also made contact with some successful businessmen and businesswomen leading exemplary careers in or around Nairobi, and have set up future plans for the girls to visit these role models in their workplaces to receive inspirational guidance. An on-site career day is also in the works.

Here’s a rough idea of what we have decided to devote our fundraising efforts to:

-Books (story books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, motivational books) and bookshelf

-Painting the Youth Center and repairing the walls

-Repairing the cabinets and obtaining locks to secure the contents

-Computer parts (CPUs and mouses)

-Educational Programming for the computers

-Repairs to some of the recreational activities in the center that were otherwise unusable (pool table, ping pong table, etc.)

– A potential kick-start to a program for boys

-We are also working on getting yoga mats donated to the youth center for free.

In addition to working on our budgets and obtaining estimates and value assessments from the different U-tena members, we have also been working on preparing for the graduation of the current class of Kuza girls, and the recruitment of the next class. This has included preparing the Monitoring and Evaluation report, preparing the endline surveys, preparing the baseline surveys, and creating a pamphlet (with the takeaway messages from the endline surveys and the Kuza manuals in general) for the participants to keep as a reminder of the important key points they have learned.

In our free time, we have also been trying to engage in local community efforts, and also participate in some of U-tena’s other projects. This has included doing yoga with Kevin (see Carly’s blog), visiting Wajukuu (a painter’s collective in the slum), going with Vicky to St. Phillips school in a rural area of Kenya to teach dance, visiting the African Yoga Project for a fundraiser for South Sudanesse regufee children to attend school, visiting and volunteering in several local schools and hospitals, and also giving a motivational speech to aspiring runners in Ruben Primary School in the slum (Ariel and Carly do Track and Field at Brown, and Sierra does Frisbee). We have gotten to meet many of the local community members, and see how many of the projects are delicately intertwined.

By the end of this week, we will be done with painting the youth center, purchasing the books, administering the baseline survey for the new group of recruits, repairing the ping pong table, pool table, and bookshelves too. We have also decided that we want to place a big emphasis on “bringing GROW back” to Brown’s GlobeMed Chapter. In other words, we want the members of the club to understand the work U-tena does, the people behind it, and the communities it reaches. We have started doing video interviews with some of the head staff members to put together a video compilation of some of the stories of U-tena members.

Work has been busy! Projects have been snowballing our way, but we are so excited to be getting the chance to do so much while we are here.

P.S. The internet has been a bit too spotty to post the photos from the past few weeks, but updates to the photo blog are soon to come!

–Ariel

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