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Development Pamoja

Community Support

Community Support

Our aim as a charity is to help to raise the living standards of the whole community.

While our medical and farming programs are working to improve people's health and income, our community support programs fill in the gaps by helping to improve conditions for the most vulnerable and introducing initiatives to help make daily life easier for everyone.

We play a very important role in the communities we serve and our facilities act as a hub for the local area.

Support Groups

The most vulnerable people in rural Kenya are the elderly, the disabled and children. We run ongoing support programs for these groups to ensure that they can access the facilities and services needed to overcome their disadvantage.

Elderly Program

Elderly people in rural Kenya often live in extreme povery, suffering from malnutrition, untreated medical issues (high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis), loneliness and physical neglect.

We run monthly social gatherings for the elderly. As well as being a social outlet where they get a hot nutritious meal, we provide the following services:

  • Medical Assistance - consultation and/or medications
  • Physiotherapy / Occupational Therapy
  • Personal Hygiene Help
  • Home Visits - to assess individual needs and encourage neighbours to check in on them.

There has been huge enthusiasm for this program among the elderly. They meet at our medical centre and thus become more visible members of the community.

Disability Program

Disability is still a taboo subject in Kenya, so disabled people are often hidden away to live isolated lives without social interaction or medical treatment.

We offer the following supports to disabled people and their carers:

  • Monthly Socials - participants can socialise over a meal and discuss common issues
  • Free Medical Treatments - ranging from regular physiotherapy & occupational therapy to phychiatric and optical care.
  • Free Education for disabled children and the children of disabled parents
  • Financial Aid in the form of table banking for carers and disabled adults

As a result of this program, disabled people in our community are now accepted and acknowledged as having a positive contribution to make to society.

This program is funded by the Caring and Sharing Association (CASA), Ireland

Education Programs

Education in Kenya costs a lot. As well as fees (only for secondary school), the cost of extra items can be too much for many families and so their children don't attend school. Extra items can include books, stationery, uniforms, bags, food, desks, extra teachers' salaries, mattresses, etc.

We run two education programs which provide funding and support for vulnerable children who would otherwise not receive any education. Some have been abandoned or orphaned and some come from abusive or extremely poor households. Having the opportunity to attend school gives these children a new opportunity for a brighter future.

Davis Education Program - funded by Anne Davis, her family and friends in memory of Simon Davis
Fr Fachtna Education Program - funded by the estate of the late Fr Fachtna Staunton

Community Finance

Banking facilities are almost non-existent in rural Kenya, making access to cash or credit very difficult.

Mobile phones are now used extensively to transfer money for all kinds of transactions - a solution which works well to solve the cash issue but brings the problem of easy access to loan sharks. Banks charge high interest rates and are only in cities, while lack of collateral means many are not eligible for loans - particularly women who are the drivers of the local economy and who run the majority of small businesses.

Our finance programs aim to help people in the community to access the money they need to improve their standard of living.

Table Banking

Table banking is a group funding initiative where members (usually women) save into and take loans from a shared fund. Groups hold regular meetings, where they have full control over their fund and set their own rules.

With small groups, members have a strong sense of collective responsibility. It is in everybody's interest to keep up repayments / contributions and to help those in difficulty.

We have helped to set up a number of these groups to whom we provide the following services;

  • safe-keeping of cash
  • provide our facilities for meetings
  • capital contribution to supplement the shared fund
  • administrative support

These table banking groups have proven to be very successful and participants are now more financially secure - they can cope with large/unexpected bills and have the means to make business or household improvements.

Micro-Finance Scheme

Micro-finance schemes in Kenya are often plagued by poor compliance and high default rates - particularly when provided by charities (from whom people are used to getting things for free).

Table banking is therefore our preferred method of ensuring that funding is accessible in the community.

However, we do provide micro-finance loans in limited circumstances as follows:

  • loans to staff members - repayments made from salaries
  • loans to reliable individuals - known from past experiences
  • asset-backed loans - e.g. for water tanks

Daily Living Improvements

Solar Lights

On the equator it gets dark every evening at 6pm, and people have to use paraffin lamps to light their homes. These lamps cause many problems:

  • Expensive - paraffin costs eat into limited household incomes
  • Toxic Fumes - paraffin fumes cause health problems (equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes per day)
  • Danger - children often receive serious burns from lamp fires

With no electricity, people have to walk miles to charge their phones; this is an issue because mobile phones are used extensively to make payments for all kinds of transactions in lieu of cash (there are no banks or ATMs in the area).

Solar lamps are a cheap, safe and reliable way of lighting homes. They cost €20 and can be installed in individual homes quickly and easily. They allow children to do homework, mothers to cook and do other chores and everyone to enjoy reading - and they can also charge mobile phones.

This program is funded by Afri: Action from Ireland

Household Water Tanks

Access to clean water is a huge problem; the local rivers are far away, they often run dry and the water is contaminated (diarrhoea, typhoid and dysentery are common as a result). Since the groundwater in the area is salty, the only solution to this problem is rainwater harvesting.

We provide families with household watertanks that allow them to collect rainwater from their roofs - water which is safe to drink.

The participants contribute towards the cost of the tanks and they are trained on how to maintain the tanks and guttering.

Public Water Provision

There is no source of clean water in the areas we work; river water is unreliable, labour intensive and is contaminated.

In some areas, public access to water can be provided by digging a borehole, but the groundwater in our area is salty, so that is not an option - the only alternative is rainwater collection on a large scale.

We have a large underground tank (300,000 litre) on our farm which collects rainwater from the roofs of our buildings. The water is then filtered to ensure it is of the highest quality before being sold at the water kiosk on our farm. We charge a nominal cost for this water - a precious resource - to discourage wastage.

Period Poverty

Period poverty is a big problem in rural Kenya, where most young girls have no information on or access to menstrual hygiene products. As well as the social stigma, this also affects their education - missing school 4-5 days per month puts these girls at a distinct disadvantage.

We have partnered with an Irish company called We Are Riley who are committed to tackling this important issue by sponsoring a Menstruation Education Programme in local schools. Our doctor Mary regularly distributes basic sanitary products to these girls and helps to demystify the issue by teaching them how to manage their periods.

We Are Riley also supply basic sanitary products to our medical centres for distrubition in the community.

Other Community Initiatives

Community Participation

Our organisation plays a central role in the communities we serve and we regularly facilitate and give contributions towards community events.

The Community Event Area (a covered pavillion) on our Sarambei farm, along with large rooms in our Rongai Medical Centre are regularly used for these occasions and we supply gazebos when required. Some examples of such events are as follows:

  • Funerals & Weddings
  • Medical Appeals - community fundraising drives for seriously ill individuals facing large hospital bills
  • Education Fundraisers - for those not in our education program - often for those who wish to attend 3rd level institutions

We also make occasional donations to local community groups when they have specific needs - e.g. sports equipment, school upgrades, group uniforms, etc.

Emergency Assistance

While we don't believe that giving free aid is beneficial to the community in the long-term, there are often exceptional circumstances where it is the right thing to do. The following are some examples of emergency aid that we provide occasionaly:

  • food aid (often from our farm) to those in acute need
  • beds, mattresses, house repairs for those living in extreme poverty
  • help for eviction victims

Covid Aid

During the Covid-19 crises, there was a huge shortage of masks and other PPE; even when available, the price for such equipment was very high.

We were lucky to be able to secure a supply for our own medical staff, and were able to donate some to staff of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Services - people we regularly deal with in our work.

We also provided masks to the motorbike taxi drivers who transport people to our medical centres and we donated disinfecting equipment to local markets.

Testimonials

Salinah

67 year old widow & sheep farmer who cares for her 3 grandchildren

"The solar lamp gives light for my grandchildren to study and lets me charge my phone so that I can sell my sheep. My neighbours pay to charge their phones so now I have some extra income to help us.

Brian

Development Pamoja Employee
Education Program

I'm Brian. I'm a fresh graduate of Egerton University (Bsc. Economics Statistics). Development Pamoja's education program paid my school fees throughout secondary school and univeristy. Now I am working with the organisation to enable me acquire more experience in employment.

I'm thankful to the organisation for providing the environment to prove my self worth in education and to be a future aspiring professional.

Ofwana

90+ years old
Elderly Program

Ofwana lives on his own and has no family nearby. He attends our medical centre regularly as well as our monthly social gatherings and we help him with daily living costs.

Photos