As Friends of Ngong Road begins our 12th year of operation, I would like to share a few thoughts with you about the progress the organization is making in leadership succession. Our board of directors began thinking about this challenge several years ago and we continue on the path we devised. Although I expect to lead Friends of Ngong Road for the next several years, it is prudent to lay plans.
- Staff and Board. We are making progress in transitioning from a volunteer-run organization to one with a more traditional staff/board model. Lacey Kraft completed her second year as Director of Development and we added a part-time Operations Associate and a part-time Chief Financial Officer. Jil Bakko is our long-serving, faithful accountant and together these people are transitioning activities from volunteers to staff where appropriate.
- Financial Model. We are also making progress in creating a financial model that does not rely 100% on U.S. philanthropy. The elements of a sustainable long-term financial structure include building a successful business in Kenya (Karibu Loo), a strong endowment fund, and a professional development program. I believe that Karibu Loo will start to contribute to our charitable work in 2018 and with each year that passes our endowment grows and our development program matures.
- Leadership Succession. We are continuing to involve more people in the organization and remain committed to an active and engaged corps of volunteers who can provide substantive leadership. While we have not yet identified my successor, we are working on it. I feel confident that the right person will emerge.
We have much to celebrate in Kenya:
- We had 38 students finish 8th grade in 2017. 12 of them (31.5%) have been selected to attend national high schools, our highest percentage to date. This demonstrates the impact of more selective student selection processes that began in 2012. Our experience has been that when students are successful in academics they don’t get into as much trouble during adolescence!
- We had 27 students finish high school in 2017. 25 of the 27 (96%) are enrolled in our post-secondary program. They are currently taking computer classes, have completed a 2-week Life Skills training program, and will begin college applications soon.
- In December, we launched a new Sexual & Reproductive Health Program with strong support from Dr. Patty Kissinger from Tulane University. Our objective is to ensure that students understand their sexuality and feel responsible to manage their own bodies, that they have access to contraception and that there are safe places for them to go to get help. We trained 20 Youth Peer Providers, 8 of whom are leading the education of all students in Class 7 and higher. We believe this Youth Peer Provider model is the most robust available. We hope it results in fewer unplanned pregnancies among girls.
- We welcomed 31 new students to the program in 2017, giving them each hope for their future. Our waiting list remains long with over 200 students and our goal for 2018 is to add 40. If you or anyone you know would like to have a direct, positive impact on a child in Kenya, please follow this link to sign up: https://ngongroad.org/sponsor/
This work would not be possible without the hundreds of you who believe that education can transform lives and partner in this important work with us. Thank you!
President and Founder
Friends of Ngong Road