We have so much to be thankful for! The following people and organizations have generously donated their time, services, products, and other talents to further the mission of Friends of Ngong Road and Ngong Road Children Association.
Greetings from a world that has changed. We are all coping as we work to understand what COVID-19 will mean for people across the globe and what the downstream economic harm is likely to be. Like most people, I don’t yet understand the long-term implications however I have already deeply internalized an important lesson: We are all in this together! Viruses do not respect borders, income levels or political preferences. We all have to pull together to overcome this threat.
In that spirit, Friends of Ngong Road board members Amy Johnson, Keith Kale and I have been working long days for the past ten days to establish a Crisis Management process for Ngong Road Children’s Foundation (NRCF) and Karibu Loo (KLL) in Kenya and for Friends of Ngong Road (FoNR) in the United States. Teams meet daily in Kenya while the U.S. and global teams confer weekly. We have taken steps to reduce expenses in both organizations with a goal of weathering this storm.
There are several important staff changes you should know about…
- Lacey Kraft joined Friends of Ngong Road as our first full-time paid employee in February 2016. Her assignment was to build upon the work volunteers did during Friends of Ngong Road’s first ten years and formalize the organization’s development program. Lacey tackled this assignment with great energy and made significant contributions during her four years with the organization. Sadly, she has decided to leave for another non-profit in the Twin Cities. We are sorry to see Lacey go and wish her all the best in the future.
- We have made the difficult decision to eliminate the position of Program Director spanning both NRCF and KLL in Kenya. Maureen Mulievi is the current incumbent in that role and has served the organizations well. We are sorry to say goodbye to Maureen and wish her the best in her future endeavors. In this environment, we believe the organization must streamline leadership so we are as effective and efficient as possible.
- Kelvin Thuku will assume leadership of NRCF while Emmanuel Mukasa (business development) and Steve Muendo (operations) will co-lead Karibu Loo through the crisis.
In all cases, Kenyan staff members will report to Crisis Management teams comprised of people in both countries.
In Kenya, the immediate and significant need is for food aid. Families in our community faced great food insecurity before this crisis hit. Today, they are also told to stay home and work remotely – except when your work is casual labor such as cleaning homes, doing laundry or construction, remote work is not possible. And these families don’t eat if they don’t work. We are increasing food aid and appreciate your support in helping us feed these children and their families. For $35/week we can provide enough basics so a family of four can eat at least one meal daily – with 255 families with children in our program, the unplanned-for cost could be as high as $9,000 per month.
If you would like to help us provide food aid in Kenya, please click here. We are all in this together, thank you!
Do you remember how you learned about Friends of Ngong Road? Chances are, you knew someone who was involved as a donor, sponsor or volunteer. They told you about the difference the organization was making for children in Kenya for a relatively small investment. You signed up for our newsletter, came to an event, gave a donation, sponsored a student, or started following us on social media because you believe in the mission and trust your friend or family member. Friends and family networks are the most common path for people getting involved at Friends of Ngong Road.
We are now formalizing that friends and family method with the introduction of our new Ambassador Program as a strategy for growth. Ambassadors are people who know and love Friends of Ngong Road, agree to learn more about it through ongoing learning opportunities and commit to recruit two sponsors and raise $2,000 each year for two years. Ambassadors can be of any age, background, and experience with the organization. Ambassadors believe in the mission and want others to know about the chance they have to completely change the trajectory of a child’s life for a relatively small investment of approximately $2 per day. They believe the opportunity to change a child’s life is too important to not be spread.
A shout out to the first four Ambassadors who started volunteering with the organization last month. They are high-energy, dedicated leaders paving the way for this program and creating more opportunities for students to join the program and transform their own lives. We thank you!
If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador, please contact Lacey Kraft at [email protected] or 612-568-4211.
Once our students graduate from a post-secondary program, their chances of becoming employed are over 90 percent. As of the end of 2017, 93 percent of our students were employed or in internships that we believe will lead to employment. But getting them there is hard work.
Over the last ten years, only 83 percent of our students who began secondary school (high school) completed their education. And 87 of those who entered post-secondary completed their post-secondary education. Students drop out due to unintended pregnancies, getting caught up with the wrong crowd, drugs and other challenges teenagers with significant trauma in their background often experience across the globe.
We are determined to increase our secondary and post-secondary graduation rates. To do so, we are kicking-off two new programs. In December we launched a sexual and reproductive health program, and just last month, Meghan and Evan Feige traveled to Kenya for the second time to lead a two-week life skills training. The training is designed to support recent secondary graduates in making the important transition from secondary to post-secondary education and into a career following their post-secondary education.
Meghan is the Global Talent and Performance Manager at Cargill Inc. and led students through topics such as personality style, effective communication and listening, emotional intelligence and resume and interview preparation. Evan is a Senior Planner in Graphics and Design Collaborations at Target. In the follow-up survey, students said:
- “I had to critically evaluate myself and think of my inner being and how I carry out my things. I had never done this before, so it challenged and stretched me.”
- “The training helped me learn how to communicate better with people and to provide the correct information. It also helped increase my confidence.”
- “I believe I can now make wiser decisions for myself.”
The program is going to be launched with all secondary students and recent secondary graduates in November of 2018 in partnership with a Rotary Global Grant. The South Metro Minneapolis Evenings and Kikuyu Rotary Clubs are sponsoring the program and are instrumental in making such an urgently needed program possible for our students to continue succeeding and transforming their lives.
Thank you to everyone who made Giving Tuesday 2017 a success! Your support helps people like Winnie’s mother no longer have to choose between education and food for her children. There are still match funds available before the end of the year! Double your impact and transform lives through education at https://www.ngongroad.org/donate
World Toilet Day/World Portable Sanitation Day was November 19, and to celebrate the occasion, the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) put on a 5k Urgent Run fun run/walk in Minneapolis that benefitted Karibu Loo! Karibu Loo is our portable sanitation business in Nairobi that was established in 2015 with the mission of providing income to the nonprofit, providing jobs for graduates, and improving sanitation in Kenya. The PSAI focuses on helping to create a world in which clean and safe sanitation is accessible to all and is a helpful resource for portable sanitation companies across the world.
The Urgent Run was held at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis on a cold November morning. Several Karibu Loo supporters, including Mike Switzer, the founding manager of Karibu Loo, showed up to test out their running skills among the portable sanitation competition. Mike won the Urgent Run by breaking the finish line made appropriately of toilet paper. Mike was presented with a medal and Karibu Loo was presented with a check for just under $4,000.
PSAI has been a supportive partner, resource, and cheerleader as we continue working to make Karibu Loo a success in Kenya. In August 2018, several PSAI members plan to visit Karibu Loo in Nairobi to provide even further support, meet the staff and students, and enjoy the beautiful wildlife of Kenya. Thank you, PSAI, for all of your support!