January 14, 2014

Reach Out Programme Report: Watoto Wema Christmas Visit

BACKGROUND INFORMATION 

Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change is a youth movement in Kenya that is part of a regional youth movement in Africa. It was started in 2006 by a group of passionate youth who felt the need to create awareness on sustainable climate practices. It has carried out its activities through trainings, advocacy platforms, partnerships with other stakeholders and the Reach out Programme (ROP). The ROP programme was started three years ago which is a commitment to support the WatotoWema Centre, a children’s orphanage with over 56 children through visits and mentorship. AYICC supports the Centre through donations of food which are donated by members and bought through the support of contributions made during the weekly meetings. The Group contributes exceptionally towards the last visit of every year as a Christmas gift to the Centre. This year it brought together contributions from members and the Visa Oshwal School for the Party of the Year with the children. Money contributed was spent to buy foodstuff that were prepared by members and the children on the fun-filled day graced by around 15 AYICC members.



THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
The day started with preparations for food which included goat meat, chapatti and a stew to go along with the delicacy. The mature children and staff volunteered to help with the cooking which provided a bonding moment for the AYICC members and the children. Those who could not stand the smoke went to the field to play football with the boys from the centre. Other younger children were entertained in the hall by music that was loud enough to bring the children to a dance mood.
Food was ready by late afternoon and members served the children who were looking forward to their late lunch meal. The children had also prepared something for the team; they entertained us with some catwalk showing off their gorgeous outfit and talent. Others set out to dance joined by the AYICC members.



The Group then brought out the gifts they had brought the children for Christmas. Naomi Gichungu who is the current Coordinator of the project introduced the Group and invited Antony Ogolla to handover the gifts to Marjory and Simon who are the administrators of the Centre. They were grateful for the gifts and the children came on stage one by one saying how grateful they were to be remembered this Christmas and they urged the Group to continue coming to visit them. It was a moving testimony from the children and the Group committed to continue supporting the children.
There followed a photo session and a counselling session for those who were in high school. Led by Daniel Wasonga and Antony Ogolla, they spoke to the children on how important it was to put effort in their studies. The children left the session more motivated to work hard and excel in their studies.



STATUS OF THE POULTRY PROJECT 
The ROP committee took time to evaluate the status of the poultry project that was adopted by the Centre to raise funds and supplement diets in the Centre. The chicken were still not doing very well but they had increased to a total of 15 which were laying eggs. These chicken were healthy which is definitely better than before as the breed was more adaptable. The project had been unsustainable from the way it was carried out though with the reduction of feeding levels, the chicken can now be sustained as it takes in much less resources. The Centre has the intention of expanding this project to stock more chicken to generate income for the Centre. 

WAY FORWARD



The Centre is in the process of constructing new classes and dormitories to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of children at the Centre. They have also constructed rental houses that shall generate revenue for the Centre. The health centre is a project in the pipeline that shall be constructed to provide health care free of charge for the children and charge a small fee for the community to generate income for the Centre.
The WatotoWema Centre prepares meals by the use of LPG gas alternated with firewood jikos that are filled with saw dust. There was need to therefore assist the Centre to set-up energy saving cook stoves that would help  them save on energy and save on costs involved in procuring a source of energy. Gladys Gatiba volunteered to develop a concept paper for this project to help in fundraising for the same.
A close evaluation also set out the need for a regular mentorship programme for the children at the centre. They all aspired to go to university as many of our team members had but they needed support to get there. A mentorship committee shall be established to carry out regular mentorship activities and members were asked to commit their time towards this project.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Centre was very grateful for our contributions in time and resources. The children were particularly happy for the chapatti and a fun-filled day. They urged us to keep coming to visit them and work with them and prayed for blessings upon all who made the day a success.
The members were urged to commit to this project as it would be adopted as our centre of excellence with implementation of our projects. The mentorship project and energy saving cook stoves were recommended to be major projects for the coming year of the AYICC calendar.

We appreciate all who made it for the event and braved the smoke to put smiles on the Watoto Wema Centre children.




Compiled by Naomi Gichungu and Edited by Herman Kwoba.

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