Category Archives: Schools

ASSETS fulfills its promise…BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

It has been a while since we last updated a blog, but that does not mean that we had nothing to say….absolutely not! On the contrary, we at ASSETS have been busy, running up and down ensuring that ASSETS lives up to its reputation as a sustainable development program. The past few weeks have seen a buzz of activities of dispatching of cheques to schools.

We give thanks to God for He has been merciful and faithful. We have been praying for funds for bursaries and God did it again and we managed to allocate and disbursed bursaries for 52 ASSETS students. God surely is working in our lives.

With our relatively old but rather responsive Yamaha DT motorcycle, the ASSETS coordinator Festus with the help of our volunteer from Holland, have been busy dispatching bursary cheques in secondary schools for the continuing students. Already, the fifty two (52) beneficiary students have been awarded bursaries to keep them in school, paying a total of five hundred thousand shillings (Kshs. 500,000) for all of them.

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This is just the first phase of the bursary payment which has been done for the continuing students only. The second phase will include those students who joined form one this year. An assessment which has taken us this long to conduct due to lack of funds, of the new beneficiaries who have joined this year will be conducted and then bursaries paid for these new ASSETS members.

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Inspiring entertainment by the ASSETS beneficiaries and their parents

On the 7th of October 2014, we held a grand opening ceremony for the new Environmental Education resource facility. Bishop Julius Kalu officiated the official opening.
We had several entertainments as the ceremony was taking place from primary school students, an ASSETS beneficiary, a choir and a play by the community. The ASSETS beneficiary a young bright man from Gede boy’s high school gave a small talk on how the program has played an important role in his life and the importance of conserving the environment.

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The primary school students presented two songs about the dangers of not conserving the environment, the importance and urged the people to conserve the environment. The choir also did a wonderful job to emphasize on the same singing a wonderful song about the environment.

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The community wasn’t left behind  they  performed a play:  a group of parents whose kids benefit from the program. They illustrated very well why people should not go around poaching elephants and other wild animals and the consequences of such actions.

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The entertainment was…i cant really find the right words to describe it but let me say it was simply breathtaking!

Chipande’s outstanding Team effort!

It’s amazing how many hearts one can touch by simply giving. Through A Rocha Kenya’s ASSETS program hope has been restored and dreams have come true. Chipande, a group of parents of the students who have benefited from ASSETS program gathered together to prepare a nursery bed.

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Chipande is one among many of the clusters of villages in the same neighborhood formed by parents of those students who have benefited from the ASSETS program. The parents belonging to these clusters meet regularly at the schools  to cultivate the trees seedlings that will later be distributed.

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The students will cater for the tree seedlings until they are ready to be distributed. Wouldn’t you want to touch a child’s heart today? Put a smile on his/her face? …these children are our tomorrow’s future!

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In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:16.

A Visit from an ASSETS Beneficiary

We were delighted to have David Nyundo Charo come down to the A Rocha Centre in Watamu, to come and tell the ASSETS team that he had just graduated from Secondary School, with impressive marks. He was pleased to have a quick interview about his background, and how ASSETS has affected his life.

David was born and brought up in Mijomboni (a small village near Gede). He’s part of a family of 10 – 3 brothers, and 4 sisters. He’s in the middle – 3rd oldest. Both his parents are farmers, growing maize at a small shamba where they live.

He went to Mijomboni Primary School up until the age of 16, a school he greatly enjoyed being part of, and the place where he first heard about ASSETS. He says he remembers when the ASSETS team came and spoke to his class about it, and how he might have an opportunity of going to secondary school, as he knew his family wouldn’t be able to afford it.

He also explained about a day when people from ASSETS came, and helped his class, and their parents plant Kasarina (indigenous) trees in a tree nursery at Mijomboni Primary. He says they’re still growing well there! The seedlings will be given to the parents, to take home and plants at tIMG_1937heir own shambas.

He explained how he had been to the boardwalk at Mida Creek, and learnt more about ASSETS there, and was very keen find out more about the scheme, and become a beneficiary.

David did very well in his assessments at Primary School, and ASSETS started to sponsor him to go to Secondary School. The school he went to was Godoma School, in Bamba. He loved his time there, and said he worked very hard, especially enjoying maths and the sciences! His final grades were impressive, and gave him an aggregate mark of 64 – a ‘B’.

To go to university, the required mark is 61. David is now 20, and hopes to go to study Maths or Chemistry at Kenyatta University – he showed real passion for these subjects. He said he would love to be a teacher of Maths and Chemistry when he is older. He said – ‘I really want to thank ASSETS for pushing me, and helping me through secondary school – giving me the opportunity to study and achieve good enough results for university.’ David is now trying to raise money to go to university.

 

Robin Harris

Films for a difference!

The classroom filled up all along the film!

The classroom filled up all along the film!

 

Last week in Mijamboni Primary School near Gede, the usual Tuesday evening Wildlife Club was offered a rather exceptional activity! The classroom was made into a cinema, staring David Attenborough and his BBC Earth Series.

This was very and increasingly well-attended, with about three times as many students at the end of the film than at the start! (and many more watching by the window). As the Wildlife Patron wasn’t here, we could not have a discussion afterwards as we usually do, but it was nevertheless an enjoyable afternoon for everyone, filled with ‘ohhs’ and ‘aahhs’ of amazement at the sights of nature and wildlife. Favourites were chasing scenes – lions chasing an elephant for instance-, and the monkeys having a bath.

We believe these films can make a big difference in giving a positive image of environment. Although they may not grasp all the commentary, children see how beautiful, diverse (and apparently funny) nature is. We know that for someone from a similar rural primary school, seeing such a film spurred an interest in the environment and eventually led to a full time career in this field! So let’s hope many more will be inspired to protect the environment through this!

 

Children packed outside the window too..!

Children packed outside the window too..!

ASSETS Beneficiaries Days

Students play “Hungry Hippos”

On Friday the ASSETS program started camps for families receiving bursary funds.  In the morning, parents and students from Gede primary school and Mijomboni primary school gathered in Mijomboni. This is where Festus, a community conservation officer, started off the day teaching the families about the history of A Rocha Kenya, shared the location of the eco-tourism sites that provide bursary funds and highlighted the importance of conservation in the surrounding area.  After enjoying juice and cookies the parents left leaving the students for the rest of the day. A key part of the ASSETS program is to teach students about conservation. The afternoon was spent explaining the ecological importance of the Arabuko-Sokoke forest and Mida Creek. Students participated in games called, “Hungry Hippos,” and “The Wader Migration Game.” During “Hungry Hippos” students had to share limited resources with their friends and by doing so they were able to cross a river full of hippos. “The Wader Migration Game” involved the students learning about the challenges birds face while trying to migrate around the world. The day ended with the introduction of a brand new curriculum, called A Rocha Conservation Education Course for Secondary Schools (ACCESS), where students participate in a four year long environmental studies course outside the classroom. The students were very excited about the introduction of the new course and agreed to participate. The day was full of learning. Next week Festus and volunteers will continue to run camps for eight more schools supported by the ASSETS program.

Students and parents learn about the ASSETS program
Students play ” The Wader Migration” game

 

Taking gifts across the river

It was utterly unbelievable to see the children so amazed by the visitors. Definitely, most of these children were seeing a “mzungu” (European) for the first time in their life.

Mgamboni children

Andras and Noemi, guests at Mwamba Field Study Centre had generously donated some note books and pencils to the children of Mgamboni primary school. Despite being a fairly new school Mgamboni has already attracted over 200 pupils who used to walk five kilometers to the nearest school.

Within five minutes of arrival, they had all gathered around the camera, each pushing and pulling their way to the front to be photographed. While Noemi was busy telling the students stories about Hungary, where they come from, Andras and I had a chance to see the classrooms and their only office.

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Math class

It was great to see the enthusiasm in the teachers despite the very difficult conditions they are struggling to overcome.

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We were later shown the school new classroom under construction. Here Andras was thrilled by the indigenous architectural skills which reminded him of his hobby back home, building kayaks.

Anras admiring the new classroom

In the end we were very happy about everything and surely the two hour drive to Mgamboni was worth it.

Environmental Education, trees and volleyball

The Environmental Education team took a bigger group with them this time to Mijomboni Primary School. The group involved students on a trip organized by the Minnesota Zoo, USA. Melanie a staff at the Minnesota Zoo accompanied them to this trip. The students are interested in nature conservation and some of them study related courses at the university. The rest of them have not joined the university but have an interest in nature.

The students and pupils listening keenly

The students and pupils listening keenly

The pupils at the school received us warmly as we gathered into one of the classes. This time they bombarded us with questions concerning the sustainable use of natural resources like the forest. This could tell that they are very active in conservation efforts. They were keen to learn how they will convince their parents on sustainable use of forests and water sources like rivers.

The tree planting

The tree planting

Each of the students together with the local pupils got a chance to plant an indigenous tree in the school compound. Later on they played volleyball in the school field together with the pupils and donated some stationery to the school.

The volleyball match

The volleyball match

Naomi Wanjiru Gichungu- Environmental Education intern

Environmental Education at Kahingoni Primary School

School visits for Environmental Education have picked up very well, and this time the staff and volunteers of A Rocha Kenya were in Kahingoni Primary School. As usual the pupils were excited. They assembled in one class where we had our lesson which later on led to a very lively discussion. The lesson touched on the importance of conserving the forest and the endangered animals like the Golden-rumped sengi (elephant shrew), whose habitat is the Arabuko Sokoke Forest.

pupils answering questions during the lesson

Pupils anwering questions during the lesson

A Rocha Kenya also donated some tree seedlings to the Wildlife Club of Kenya members in that school. The tree seedlings were of the Bombax rhodognaphalon (East African Bombax) commonly known as ‘msufi mwitu’ in Swahili and Balanites wilsoniana commonly known as ‘mkonga’ in Giriama which is the local language here. The trees were planted after the lesson by the pupils.They promised to take care of them by putting a small fence around each of them and watering them.

Mapenzi, a pupil planting one of the tree seedlings

Mapenzi, a pupil planting one of the tree seedlings

We hope to get more funds to continue sustaining our program which involves a lot of traveling. Our goal is to educate all the schools surrounding the forest on the importance of conserving it since it is an important biodiversity area.

Naomi Wanjiru Gichungu- Environmental Education intern

Environmental Education at Nyari Primary School

On June 10, 2011 we had another chance to teach the pupils surrounding Arabuko Sokoke forest about the importance of conserving the forest and their environment in general. This time it was in Nyari Primary School.

The pupils were excited because we had earlier announced that they we were going to show a conservation film. When we entered the class where we were to make our presentations, they all stood up at once to say hello, which was amazing with such a large number of students!

Nyali Students

Nyali Students

Without wasting time we introduced the film. The film was produced in Swahili, and made to help encourage people to conserve their forests. The film was done in Tanzania by the Community Based Conservation Films. The pupils enjoyed the film all along and later on we asked questions on what they had learnt to summarise on our lesson.

Students watching an Environmental Education video

Students watching an Environmental Education video

The excitement of the pupils was a great motivation for us to continue with school visits. This time apart from Mr. Stanley and I (Naomi), we were joined by Lydia,  an ASSETS graduate who attended Nyari primary school. Lydia was interviewed previously on this blog, and is currently doing an internship with A Rocha Kenya. She is awaiting a sponsor so that she can attend university.

Lydia, watching the presentation

Lydia, watching the presentation

We were able to show a film at this school because a projector was generously donated to A Rocha Kenya last month by Ruth and Ron Rob, from Canada. It has been appreciated greatly, as we can now take many different kinds of educational media along when we go to do the presentations, and keep the students well engaged.

Naomi Wanjiru Gichungu, Environmental Education intern.