Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife
was established in 2002, when Director Gwen Meyer and her husband John Neumeister spent three weeks in Kenya. 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. Since 2006, FKSW has worked in partnership with the Network for Eco-Farming in Africa (NECOFA), a local organization based in the town of Molo, Kenya.
Between the early months of 2004 and 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. From this FKSW spread their focus to other areas of the UN Millennium Goals
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 percent of primary aged children have no opportunity for schooling. Even though primary education is free in Kenya, some children are still unable to attend classes because their parents cannot afford uniforms, shoes, books or school fees. Although it is a requirement for children to attend nursery school before being admitted to primary school, many rural communities do not have the means to build a nursery school or to pay a teacher's salary.
Our educational focus has been on constructing nursery schools and providing scholarships for children to attend primary school. Girls are often withdrawn from school by their parents because they are needed at home for chores. Boarding scholarships are one way we attempt to address this issue. When girls attend boarding school, they are less likely to leave school.
129 students who were not previously enrolled in school are now attending primary classes. 57 of these students are girls. Scholarships of $50 per year purchase uniforms, shoes, books and pay incidental fees.
- 5 nursery school have been constructed by FKSW
- 180 nursery school students attend school in new classrooms
- 8 nursery schools have received educational materials and supplies
- 1 dormitory at Kokwa Primary School has been renovated for girl boarders
- 19 girls board at Kokwa Primary School rather than walk an hour over hilly terrain to their homes in the evening to do chores. Now they are able to devote more time to their studies and have a little leisure.
- 4 nursery school teachers are receiving salaries for the first time ever
- 1 10 year old student with a hearing impairment attends school for the first time in his life and is learning to use sign language and to read and write.
- 1 nursery school teacher who had had no training graduated with a teaching certificate in August 2009