Amy, Chief Operating Officer of Friends of Ngong Road, recently visited the Ngong Road Children’s Foundation (NRCF) and Karibu Loo (KLL) offices in Nairobi, Kenya. She was there for two weeks. Her objectives were to work with NRCF and KLL staff on a number of financial and operational projects and to visit with students and alumni of our programs. Some highlights from Amy’s visit include:
Visited with Sponsored Students and Alumni
The most fun part of visiting Kenya is spending time with kids and young adults. Amy spent time at the Saturday program, popped in on alumni in a coding “boot camp” in the amazing ElimuHub computer lab, and visited with the young people she, her husband Daryl, and son Nate have sponsored. Their sponsored post-secondary students and alumni gave Amy helpful insights on their experiences in the program which she has shared with leaders. And if you love babies, it will make you smile to know that Amy met the one-year-old daughter of the alumni she and Daryl first sponsored. Seeing the impact of sponsorship on the next generation is what it’s all about.
Attended Employment Programs for Alumni
Small Business Training – Amy attended a small business training session for alumni interested in starting or improving their small businesses. This very practical training, which is particularly focused on start-ups, is done in partnership with the Kenya Small Business Development Center. The Saturday training usually takes place at the NRCF office, but that day it was held at Strathmore University and was facilitated by Isaac Mwangi, an instructor at Strathmore and one of the county leads for the Kenya Small Business Development Center.
Metrics! Since joining NRCF, Martha has significantly advanced our employment programs to support alumni. We now need a way to assess the impact of these and future programs. Martha, Kelvin, and Amy brainstormed a list of metrics – measurable indicators of alumni success and upward mobility – we could use to assess the impact of these programs over time. This working session has already led to a plan to update this summer’s annual alumni survey to capture key indicators and develop the analytics for our monitoring and assessment.
Focused on Finance Processes and Controls
A key focus of Amy’s trips is always financial processes and controls, both for NRCF and KLL. On this trip, she determined that our processes are working well and as designed, but everyone was excited (really!) to find ways to be more effective and efficient. They tackled and found great opportunities in areas like procurement, managing inventory of supplies, and school fee payments. At Karibu Loo, they completed a post-implementation review of the team’s fantastic work in 2022 to leverage our accounting system more fully for the sales and invoicing processes.
Reviewed NRCF Governance
The Board – Amy joined the NRCF board meeting in person to report on finance matters. After the meeting, she and Kelvin Thuku hosted a celebration to welcome two new board members, Neena Shah and Jeff Nthiga who bring important skills and new energy to the NRCF board. They also bid farewell to retired board members Robert Murimi and Anupa Sanghrajka with thanks for their many contributions. Martha Otieno (our employment programs officer) and several alumni joined the event to share their inspiring stories with board members.
Engaging Alumni in Governance – In its meeting, the board discussed and agreed that having the voice of alumni at the table would be very useful and agreed to develop an alumni advisory board member role. This role will leverage alumni experiences and perspectives in our programming and give them an opportunity to learn how the governance of an NGO works.
Overall, Amy said it was a highly productive trip. Seeing the passion and commitment of the staff, the energy of the students, and the impact that is being made, was wonderful to experience.