Education, Enterprise and Empowerment

At the September 20, 2017 Board meeting, HKA resolved that the next decade should be focused on Education, Enterprise and Empowerment (EEE). This was announced to the public at the 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner on October 21, 2017. Here are some preliminary ideas about projects we are considering in EEE:.

Education: There are 3 high schools and 7 primary schools in the Nyankoba ward. Many are in poor shape and need structural improvements. They need better facilities such as science labs, classrooms, computer labs, internet connection, libraries and sanitation. They also need targeted educational supplies (more than just pencils) such as books, science equipment, computers. They need outlets for the energy of youth, such as playing fields, basketball, badminton and tennis courts, running track. We can enlist our existing relationships, such as the Ministry of Education and the County Governor, to help guide and support the Education effort.

Enterprise: The products of a good education system are high school graduates with expectations of future prosperity. The current problem is that there are few jobs for them unless they are lucky enough to go to university. Many leave the community to try to find work in the cities, often unsuccessfully. The remainder stay in the community and are either under-employed or unemployed. The Enterprise program could focus on developing local economic activity. There are currently three initiatives in this area, the tea-buying center, the Seeds-to Sew enterprise and the proposed GCK center. We could build one or more enterprise buildings that could be equipped with facilities needed for small businesses to develop, such as work desks, computers, workshops and tools, and space for small-scale manufacture. Taking advantage of the upgraded road system, we could develop a locally owned public transportation system (matatus) so people can rapidly and easily get to surrounding towns. We could also develop a cooperative for agricultural product sales – a community owned truck that picks up products from the farmers and takes them to markets to maximize the profits from sale, saving the farmers time. We could look into micro-finance for enterprise development, leading to larger investments for successful ones. The Enterprise project could be connected directly to the two vocational schools in the area (alternatives to high school) so that young people are trained to work in local enterprises. The Enterprise concept will be supported by the County as one of its major goals is to develop job opportunities.

Empowerment: We have discussed one topic in this area in the past, that is to help establish a form of local government to raise funds to maintain and grow the infrastructure without HKA support. Paul Anzano and Hopewell Borough Council offered to support this effort. A current example (linked to Enterprise) is to develop of a water company to manage and grow the water supply system. Other aspects of this are to get the community to come together to support each other in economic growth. We could develop a local Chamber of Commerce where enterprise owners could share resources and support growing businesses. A Better Business Bureau would be good to ensure integrity and ethical behavior. There is also the issue of empowering women in the community. The general vision would be to develop economic growth that would be sustainable and lead to increasing prosperity for the whole community. Ambassador Githae has talked about the importance of this as he tries to encourage the Kenyan diaspora in the US to help grow the economy in Kenya, so the national and local governments is likely to support this initiative.

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