Kenya, Africa

KEN06 - Fame Childrens Home, Maseno: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: July 13, 2011

Report from BHW Field Director

 

We travelled to Maseno from Kisumu, a trip of 45 minutes.

good land
 

Recent events

Additional land

We visited the land that had been purchased prior to my last visit. While here last time there were significant disputes about the boundaries of this piece of land that had been purchased. Since then the boundary has been established and a fence has been put up, so the funds we sent for a fence have been used well. It is a nice piece of land. We walked across the whole place, around 15 acres. We saw the geological report in regard to where water was available and found the place where the geologist suggests the bore hole should be put. They would like to put in a bore hole but after an ongoing discussion about it we decided this would be a low priority initially and that part of what we should do here is to help them get seasonal farming underway. Once we know what the land is most suitable for we will then decide whether a bore hole should go in or not. It is a nice flat piece of land with one or two ant hills on it, but the tractor could go in there and start ploughing tomorrow.

Onions
 

Hostel land

We then went up to the land where the current hostel is and spent some time walking around and viewing all the aspects of it. It was pleasing to see that the greenhouse we put in 18 months ago was now operating. It was planted out in onions. Last year I was quite disappointed as they hadn’t looked after it very well but repairs have been made and it is looking a lot better now. Oscar, the guy who runs the programme, obviously has some skills in farming but I would like to get Jerry Field up here to spend a week with him to help him. It is the old story, he does 90% well, but it’s the last 10% that makes the difference and I think that last 10% is missing. 

Oscar took us around the gardens and we saw a lot of vegetables, tomatoes, spinach, kale and ground nuts in good rotations. They say that right now the 23 children living there don’t require any vegetables to be bought for them. The cow we bought last year and its offspring which is now 14 months old both look really healthy.

Great crop
 

Leased land

Across the road from the hostel they are leasing a piece of land and growing a large amount of Napier grass which they cut and bring to the dairy animals for feed. It is obviously providing the cows with good nutrition. The older cow is dry at the moment. It is due to give birth in about a month and then they will be back into milking. When the cow is lactating it gives them a good income which helps support the children and also gives them good nutrition. It produces around 15–17 litres a day.

They also lease another plot of land on which they grow maize. It’s obvious from the maize that Oscar is a good farmer. The cobs were large and much better than the neighbours by comparison. It’s about 3 weeks from harvest from the look of it, some is currently being used for fresh maize. This provides about 50% of their maize requirements.

Nice place to live
 

Children

The number of children has dropped to 23. They have done this through natural attrition. They just don’t have the money to keep the hostel operating with 68 children as it was when it was given to them. Their new strategy is to build a hostel and a secondary school in this place for around 160 students. The context for this is that they will close down the secondary school they operate in the Mathare Valley and shift all those children out to this rural area. The children would then be involved in a discipleship programme and then go on to tertiary education. I like this idea. There will be some building required but they can currently house about 60-70 kids. There will need to be classrooms built as well.

 

Ideas for the future

We talked about a number of things that they would like to do in the future and I have split these ideas into three phases:

Healthy cows
 

1) The first phase is to assist with chickens. They have built a building in which to house local chickens and broilers. They would put about 400 broilers on the second floor of the building and then below that would run local chickens. They would run about 100 local chickens and the eggs would be hatched. Once they have hatched they would be separated, grown up for a few weeks and then sold off. I saw all the figures and it is very impressive. They are talking around about KES900,000 profit per year which is approx US$8,000 so potentially is pretty good. 

The second activity as part of phase one is to buy another pregnant cow. They now have the Napier grass planted and would be well able to cope with another cow.

vege garden
 

The third part of the first phase would be to develop the fenced land. The first thing they want to do is some soil tests there. They say it is around $2,500 to do that. We will get that quote from them at some stage soon.

2) The second phase is to get some pigs set up and to dig some fish ponds. Potentially this would be useful, especially for nutrition. If we think in terms of the school being built and operating within a couple of years, that is the time period we’ve got to try and set this up so that it is self-sustaining. 

3) The third phase is to develop the school.

The second part of phase 3 is to put in the bore hole. Again some water has to go under the bridge so to speak before we decide whether to do that and secondly it would need to be established where the best location would be. I would prefer to put in a decent size borehole and pipe the water between the two locations.

Childrens home
 

The third part of the 3rd phase is to help fund two key positions in their broader organisation so that succession from Daniel’s leadership can continue.

In regard to the secondary school, Compassion are currently funding a number of those children and that funding would continue if they shifted out to this place.

 

Field director's comments

Overall it was a very positive visit. They have a very clear vision and a strategy in place. Daniel has confirmed that this is the content of the discussion we had so I will continue looking at getting the final information about phase one for the coming year.