History - How it all started

In 2002, FKSW Director Gwen Meyer and her husband John Neumeister spent three weeks in Kenya. That trip to Africa changed their lives. Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife grew out of a desire to help address the poverty and inequity they saw during that first visit.
In collaboration with Kenyan Mike Lawrence, owner and operator of Westminster Safaris, they formed FKSW in 2003. With some of the $4000 in donations they received as wedding gifts in July of that year, they returned to Kenya in January of 2004, taking 8 friends with them. On this trip, they visited the 5 rural communities they had agreed to support. Between the early months of 2004 and Mike’s death in August of 2006, FKSW projects focused on education – specifically the construction of nursery schools, support for teacher salaries, school supplies, school lunch programs and scholarships for students to attend primary school. These projects provided educational opportunities for 230 nursery and primary school students who previously had no chance to attend school.
At the 2006 Slow Food International Terra Madre Conference in Torino, Italy, Gwen and John met Samuel Muhunyu, the Director of The Network for EcoFarming in Africa-Kenya (NECOFA/KENYA). NECOFA is a community-based non-governmental organization (NGO) in Molo, Kenya promoting: food and nutrition security; indigenous food cultures; participatory community development; community empowerment and capacity building for sustainable income generation, good governance and gender equality.

In January of 2007, Gwen and John visited Samuel in Molo to become more familiar with NECOFA’s activities and in June of the same year, Samuel and John Munene, another director of NECOFA visited Gwen and John in Oregon. In January of 2008, as a result of these meetings, the two organizations became partners and now support participatory community development in six communities.