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Summer 2015 Newsletter: — Read it online!
Our Canadian Team
We are fortunate to have a group of hard-working volunteers in Canada, including our seven directors and many supporters. Thanks to the work of Radhika Vaidyanathan and her colleagues at Gowlings, we are now a RegisteredCanadian Charity. We would also like to thank Lynsay Beavers, Rachel Clark, Chris Moore and John Haddock who have recently become involved in our work. We hope to add to our base of volunteers and directors as we continue to grow. We invite you to consider joining us.
Mission and Vision:
Kenyan Kids Foundation Canada is in a unique position to make a real difference in the lives of impoverished people living in Kenya. We connect directly with the people of Cherangany through Wesley and Tarah Korir. We believe that the best way to support Kenyan children and reduce poverty is to strengthen their families and communities. In January, at a workshop led by Mary-Lynn McPherson, we developed concise and meaningful vision and mission statements which will be instrumental in guiding our future work in both Canada and Kenya.
“Empowered families, thriving communities”.
“Investing in Kenyan co-operative development for education, health and economic vitality”
Empowering families – Investing in cooperatives
We determined that the best way to help families was to focus our efforts on local farm groups. Our first major initiative involves working with the Taito and Mwaita Dairy Co-operatives. The plan will help them acquire milkchilling equipment and develop sustainable business plans. The Mwaita Dairy Co-operative Society is a newly-formed co-operative with an elected executive. It already boasts more than 100 members. Taito, which was formed in 2011, has more than 350 members and an experienced executive team. With our support, farmers should be able to improve their milk production, negotiate better prices, and increase their family incomes.
Our first (contract) Employee
Eluid Kitchwen is our Kenyan-based Project Manager of Training. His role is to organize training sessions in Kenyaand ensure that the members of the Kenyan co-operatives share their collective knowledge with their members. Eliud’s hard work and long hours are helping to ensure that our first major project in Kenya will be successful.
Caleb gets a warm welcome to Canada
Caleb Kirau, began his contract as our Project Manager of Construction with a trip to Canada in the middle of a very cold Canadian winter. The main purpose of his visit was to work with our Canadian team to design milk cooling facilities for
the two Kenyan co-ops. While in Canada, Caleb toured a variety of Canadian dairy farms. He also visited the facilities of Semex Canada, Cribit Seeds and the Gay Lea Dairy facility in Guelph. Caleb received valuable training from some of our equipment suppliers including Norwell Dairy and T & T Power Group.One of the highlights of the trip for Caleb was a two-day AI training course provided by EastGen. As a direct result of his trip to Canada, Caleb made changes to how he feeds his cows and adjusted his milking times. Milk production on his farm has already improved. During his visit, four directors and their families hosted Caleb in their homes, providing us with an excellent opportunity to build a stronger relationship with him. We look forward to hosting other Kenyan farmers in Canada and visiting their farms and families in Kenya as our project moves forward.
In February 2015, Blair McKay (director) travelled to Cherangany and met with our project managers and members of both the Mwaita and Taito Dairy Co-operatives to complete the building designs and to develop site plans for the two milk chilling plants. Blair, Tarah and Wesley had the pleasure of being part of the ground-breaking ceremonies at both sites.
Container Unloading – a Cherangany Challenging!
The container of dairy equipment which left Canada in December, arrived in Kenya in early March and was safely delivered to the Mwaita cooling plant site in Cherangany. Blair arrived in late June to coordinate the unloading process. It had taken only a few hours to load the container in Canada. However, without the luxury of fork-lift trucks and their skilled operators provided by Cribit Seeds, unloading took a little longer. With only a $30 Canadian Tire winch, two twenty-foot metal bars, many eager hands and a reliance on basic physics, it took nearly two weeks to unload! By mid July both sites had a 30 Kilo-watt back-up diesel generator and a pair of 3 000 L milk cooling tanks. We hope to have both cooling plants fully operational in the fall, once the remaining construction (water towers, wells, septic systems, etc.) is complete and electricity is connected.
Books, Early Literacy & Computers
In addition to the dairy equipment, we were able to use thecontainer to ship several thousand gently-used books to Cherangany for primary schools in Cherangany. Tarah is working with the teachers to develop programs such as reading buddies which will promote early literacy. Older students and teachers will have access to more books and resources through the Kenyan Kids Foundation library. Our shipment also included some used computers which were enthusiastically received by a Cherangany high school.
Gay Lea Foundation supports Cooperative Dairy Development
In March we applied to the newly-formed Gay Lea Foundation for a grant to help finance our current dairy development project. We were delighted to be informed in early April that our application had been approved! These funds will help ensure that we are able to complete our two initial chilling plants in a more timely manner. The funds will also allow us to provide much needed training in a variety of areas including modern agricultural practices and effective dairy farm management.
Canadians deliver training
An essential component of our support is to provide training opportunities which will improve farming practices and strengthen the Kenyan dairy co-operatives.
In April, Dr. Karen Galbraith (director) and her husband Steve visited Kenya to share their extensive experience in the Ontario dairy farm industry with members of both co-operatives. In June, Stewart Skinner (director) and his wife Jessica provided workshops in farm management and computer technology skills. They worked with the executives of both co-ops to begin developing procedures to improve milk quality control and reporting practices.
In our December shipment, we were also able to include a pair of semen storage tanks, donated by Semex Canada. Pierre Marx, an employee of Semex Canada (based in South Africa) spent the first week of July visiting numerous Cherangany farms and talking to small groups. He also delivered a full-day training workshop to each of the co-ops. Hundreds of farmers learned about the benefits of using AI (Artificial Insemination) to improve the quality of their cows and as a result, increase milk production.
Wesley and Tarah – Our founders in action
In addition his duties as the MP for Cherangany, Wesley still finds time to train and compete in marathons. In April he returned to Boston and earned a fifth place finish in a time of 2:10:49 In August, Wesley attended the IAAF world championships in China as a Member of Parliament with the Kenyan team. He will once again be competing in the Chicago Marathon in October. Wesley appears on the cover of the issue 5 of the iRun magazine (www.irun.ca).
As a mother of two young children, Tarah manages to fit in her training along with work for both Kenyan Kids Foundations (USA and Canada) which involves hosting visitors from North America and working on the ground in Cherangany. In March, Tarah ran 73:39 in her debut Half Marathon in Prague. This ranks her in the top ten (alltime) Canadian female runners at this distance. She plans to run her first marathon this fall at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 18th to raise funds for scholarships. www.kenyankidsfoundation.ca/Tarah-runs
The Korir family also found time to visit Canada in the spring. Tarah and Wesley hosted a screening of Transcend in May at the Princess Cinema in Waterloo. The event was sold out!
Help us, Help Kenyan Kids
We appreciate your financial support and also welcome volunteers who can help at a fundraising event or offer professional expertise to support our work here and in Kenya. For more information contact us at: email@example.com
We are a Registered Canadian Charity
Consider making a donation online or by mail.
Kenyan Kids Foundation Canada
66 Willow Way, RR#1
St. Clements, Ontario, N0B 2M0