FKSW is committed to empowering Kenyan communities to sustainably achieve access to
- Enhanced economic empowermen
- Quality education
- Improved water, food, and nutrition security
- Improved access to health care
- Enhancement of human rights and social dignity
- Improved management of the environment and enhanced biodiversity
Our partnership with the locally run and registered NGO, Network for Eco Farming in Africa (NECOFA) is central to our organizational philosophy. NECOFA and the communities set the agenda and project priorities and FKSW provides resources to support physical and social transformation that is driven and led by the local community. FKSW participates in the conversation and works to raise funding and awareness in the US.
A Note About Wildlife
FKSW was created in 2003, after Mike Lawrence, the owner of Westminster Safaris, asked Gwen Meyer and John Neumeister, who had been on safari with him in 2002, to adopt a school in rural Kenya. Mike became our partner and in the early years of our organization, he planned to include wildlife conservation as a significant part of our work. Unfortunately, Mike passed away in 2006, and as our partnership with NECOFA has increased our experience with community-based organizing, our focus has shifted away from wildlife to broad commitments to the people and communities we serve. The landscapes and wild beauty of Kenya will always be a source of inspiration to us, and proudly remains part of our name and history as an organization.
FKSW co-founders Gwen Meyer and John Neumeister go on a safari with a cousin in Kenya, with no expectation beyond enjoying the countryside. The man who owned the safari company, Mike Lawrence, invited them to sponsor a nursery school.
They return to the US, and at Mike's request adopt three more schools, and launch the organization.
FKSW is formally created as a non-profit to support education in 3 rural communities in Kenya. John and Gwen request donations at their wedding in July and receive $4000 in start up funds.
A follow-up trip to Kenya with Gwen's book group members deepens FKSW's connections with rural Kenyan communities, and a visit to the Il Chamus village of Longicharo at Lake Baringo launches a new nursery school building project. The community will later relocate to Kokwa Island due to local instability. The first primary school scholarships are given at Waso.
FKSW connects with a fifth community, Kachiuru, and promises to help with a new nursery school, launching what will become one of their most active community partnerships.
In January, FKSW helps with construction of a nursery school at Kachiuru. Primary school scholarships are given to students at Kachiuru, Endonyio Sidai, Longicharo, Waso and Aitong, launching the student scholarship program.
Tragically, after three years of work and partnership Mike passes away and leaves FKSW without a local leader.
A connection through the Slow Food International Terra Madre conference in Torino, Italy, leads to a new partnership with Samuel Muhunyu and his non-governmental agency, NECOFA. The collaboration begins to focus more on community-based organizing.
A school building project develops at Kokwa Island in the new Kirepari community, created when Longicharo community members fled their homes on the mainland after frequent attacks by another tribe.
The Endonyio Sidai Nursery School first classroom is completed.
FKSW is introduced to the Karunga Women's group, which raised sheep. Questions about income potential from working with the wool led to FKSW bringing home hand-knitted animals, handbags, and rugs for sale in Oregon.
The connection between FKSW and NECOFA is formalized and the locally-led development work expands rapidly.
Local unrest after the 2007 elections leads FKSW to provide both volunteer support and funds for internally displaced people living in refugee camps. $2,300 in vegetable seeds, sanitary napkins and other items are distributed.
The Kokwa Island school construction begins and materials and staff salaries are provided.
A partnership with Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation provides a donation of 50 free prosthetic hands to individuals in the Molo District.
90 chickens and a chicken house at the Michinda Primary School provide nutrition and and a 4K (similar to 4H) experience to school boys.
Samuel and another local partner, Karangathi Njoroge, lead peace talks with Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to process their experience of loss in the local conflict.
FKSW hosts a Swahili Soiree in Oregon, including a moving speech by special guest Samuel Muhunyu. Over $5,000 is raised.
New spinning wheels and looms are donated to the Karunga Women's Group, and the women and FKSW go on a trip to Nakuru National Park.
FKSW provides a new solar water pump at the school on Kokwa Island. A second teacher is hired at Kirepari Nursery School, and a fuel efficient stove helps improve student nutrition while reducing fuel costs.
The Tuinuane Nursery School, is built by and for IDPs in Molo.
Hand-knitted animals from the Karunga Women's Group go on sale at the Oregon Zoo, as well as locations in Eugene.
Project managers bring leaders from the five Kokwa Island villages together for the first time to form a committee to oversee the selection for the scholarships, launching a new community development phase.
29 local medical professionals attend to 250 Kokwa Island residents at a medical camp, reinforcing the need for more permanent medical facilities.
Materials for school facility improvement at Kachiuru are requested.
The first group of scholarship recipients graduates from 8th grade, to much celebration.
Sales from the Karunga Women's Group hand-knit animals exceeds $23,000.
School grounds improvements and classroom expansion continues at Endonyio Sidai Primary School.
FKSW colleague and partner Karangathi Njoroge completes a Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
Kirepari Primary School gets a new building, and FKSW commits to supporting the school lunch program.
Collaborations and fundraising efforts (including a generous donation from Cupertino High School's Kenya Dream) fund arehabilitation project for Kachiuru primary school andother activities through a $46,000 Rotary grant.
A beekeeping program begins at Kokwa Island, engaging 25 men and women from the five local villages.
A well project at Molo provides cleaner water and safer wells at Molo.
The Karunga Women's Group receives donations of funds and equipment to open a brand-new workshop.
NECOFA recieves a grant from the European Union to fund the drilling of a bore hole for water at Kachiuru and construction of 2 classrooms for a new primary school there.
15 year old Sian Mulwa, blind from birth and never having attended school, is enrolled at Thika School for the Blind.
Students from Endonyio Sidai go on a field trip to Nakuru National Park, spent a day at Michinda Primary School and Mukinyai Primary School in Molo to learn about gardening.
A fifth classroom is completed at Endonyio Sidai.
A medical camp is held at Kachiuru with 250 residents attending.
The Karunga women learn to weave, receive two knitting machines from US donors and build a toilet for the workshop.
A $42,000 Rotary grant begins at Kokwa Island to fund tree planting, a library and computer lab at Kokwa Primary, civic rights education for the community, a dairy goat project for the Kirepari Women's Group, furnishing the maternity ward at the dispensary, creating a solar water system on the island, and providing an ambulance boat for the dispensary.
Two women come from Holland to teach felting of wool to the Karunga Women's group. The women receive their first order for products from a US distributor. After they return home, they begin a fundraiser to buy sheep for the Karunga women.
A second medical camp is held at Kachiuru with350 residents. attending.
The bore hole funded by the European Union begins to pump water for use by residents and livestock.
75 Days for Girls hygiene kits are distributed at Kokwa Primary School.
200 Days for Girls hygiene kits are distributed at Kokwa , Endonyio Sidai, Kachiuru and Kiserian Primary Schools.
Solar panels are installed at Kirepari Primary School by the government.
The computer lab and library at Kokwa Primary school are completed.
FKSW initiates a secondary school scholarship program with 13 students.
Irene Lechingei joins the NECOFA/FKSW team at Kokwa Island.
Endonyio Sidai community raises $4,800 for a 7th classroom and FKSW matches their funds.
July visitors conduct vision clinics at 4 schools, leading to surgery for a little boy.
Two classrooms at Kachiuru funded by the European Union are constructed.
Sales from the Karunga Women's Molo Wool project since 2007 exceed $60,000.
A new kitchen is built at Kachiuru for preparation of school lunches. The school garden is harvested for the first time and students eat the fruits of their labor at lunch. Construction on the dispensary begins. Three hundred chickens are given to families to raise for food and income.
Funds are received from Wide Awake to build a dispensary at Kachiuru.
The dairy goat project at Kirepari takes off and a pregnant cow joins the goats. Class one is initiated at Kirepari Primary School.
Samuel and the NECOFA team begin an eco-cultural mapping project at Kokwa with help from a group of high school graduates participating in the East African Scholars Fund. The project continues later in the year with four young people from the US who join the NECOFA team for a few days.
Irene Lechingei completes a distant education course in Community Health and Development and finishes at the top of her class.
147 scholarships are distributed to students in January.
Raymond Lesiyon, a high school graduate at Kokwa Island, receives a 4-year MasterCard Scholarship to attend Michigan State University.
The Kachiuru dispensary and toilet is completed. The government hires a full-time nurse and additional funds are provided by WideAwake to furnish equipment and medical supplies.
151 scholarships are distributed to students in January.
The Betty Burbank Laboratory opens at the Kachiuru Dispensary on July 9. The room has been renovated to accommodate the equipment and supplies and a lab technician is hired.
The Karunga Women's Group receives a $10,890 grant from LUSH Cosmetics to assist them in their entrepreneurship activities.