2022 was the first year of our 2022 – 2026 strategic plan for Friends of Ngong Road. Our headline goals in the five-year strategic plan are:
- to double our impact in Kenya, and
- transition from volunteer leadership to a sustainable staff-led model.
Double our impact. To double our impact means we must recruit more sponsors or find new ways of supporting children’s education. We knew by mid-year that this goal will be our most challenging to achieve within this strategic plan. Our goal this year was to recruit 70 new sponsorships and by the end of November, we had added 33, so we expect to be at about 50% of goal by year-end. We have formed a team to develop new tactics for increasing the number of children in the program and in 2023 you will learn more about these initiatives, some which include adding students without a 1:1 sponsor relationship. We know we are going to have to be creative and open-minded as we seek to increase the number of children getting our support in their life transformation journey.
Hire and onboard an Executive Director. Carole Patrikakos joined Friends of Ngong Road in April, and we are all working together to transition duties from volunteers to Carole and other members of staff in a measured, effective cadence. Carole is a very experienced development professional and has a significant assignment to broaden fund-raising efforts and build a robust development program. We successfully raised a $400,000 transition fund to support our leadership transition over the next few years. I am grateful for Carole’s increasing leadership in Friends of Ngong Road, allowing me to step back from some day-to-day duties.
Prepare Infrastructure to support more students. We accomplished several important operations-oriented milestones in 2022. In Kenya, we opened Elimu Hub, a student resource center including an expanded library/meeting room and a well-equipped computer lab. We completed year two of a three-year technology transformation project, including significant data clean-up of student records and a transition to out-of-the-box SalesForce technology for case management. We have streamlined case management in Kenya and donation processing in the U.S., allowing our lean global staff to focus on value-added activities.
Enhance governance in Kenya. We have been engaged in a year-long effort to enhance committees and governance in Kenya. This will culminate with the addition of three new Kenyan board members in January 2023. We are optimistic that the growing number of capable Kenyans who are engaged in our mission will add increasing value. Our management team in Kenya is by far the strongest it has been since our inception.
Build Employment Programs in Kenya. To accomplish our vision of life transformation, students must be educated and get jobs. In 2022, we hired a full-time, experienced professional in Kenya to help graduates get jobs. She is having a big impact, both on recent graduates and on our 183 alumni as they try to get better jobs. We launched a technology internship called TechMates and have processed about 18 recent college graduates through this internship. They learn WordPress (used to build websites) and get hands-on practical experience with our websites and working with clients. We delivered an entrepreneurial skills training pilot and will build on learnings from these new initiatives in 2023.
And finally, a word about Karibu Loo. Launched as a pilot in 2015, Karibu Loo is a commercial portable sanitation business with two goals: to employ graduates and to donate profits to support our charitable mission in Kenya. The business faced significant challenges during the pandemic but has made great progress in 2022, landing a long-term contract with the British Army in late 2022 which will extend into 2023. Seven of our eight full-time employees (the exception is our long-serving Business Manager) are program alumni and we have provided short-term employment to nearly 200 high school students and recent graduates. In 2023, Karibu Loo made progress on repaying past-due shared expenses to Ngong Road Children’s Foundation and in 2023 we are targeting a financial contribution equivalent to 5% of Kenya’s operating expenses. At this writing, Karibu Loo is the largest provider of portable sanitation in Nairobi.
As a supporter of this organization, I hope this helps you gain perspective on the reach of Friends of Ngong Road and Ngong Road Children’s Foundation and on our many accomplishments in 2022. In addition to the students we directly support, our work in Kenya has a direct impact on thousands of people – our employees, vendors, teachers, families of children in the program, and more. Thank you for being part of this good work!