Makindu region faces crop shortages
According to MCC Program Director John Mwangi (Ngili), there have been widespread crop failure for the November-December plantings. No harvest is expected until after April rains. “Schools have started feeding children during lunch hour,” Ngili says, “and this will subsidize home-based efforts, although the calorie level for school based food is minimal.”
In the midst of this local crisis, MCC’s own shamba has brought in a small income from the sale of tomatoes, and continues to subsidize the daily supply needs of the Centre’s kitchen. And the German Agro Action/ ACTNOW-Makindu has donated another consignment of 580 kilograms of Unimix and 80 liters of cooking oil to the Centre. Yet concerns over increasing food costs have necessitated MCC to cease home nutrition support for guardian families for the time being.
MCC students & classmates are offered reduced-priced exercise books
Makindu students, their families, and MCC are set to receive a boost from cheaper primary education books, as the Kenyan government press has reduced the cost of exercise books. According to MCC staff, prices for exercise books will now range from 3.50 shillings (4¢ US) for a 32 page exercise book, to 18.50 shillings (23¢ US) for a 200 page book. This is a major reduction for books, says Program Director Ngili. “In reducing the cost of exercise books, the Government has underlined the need to enable primary schools to buy more books and other stationery to benefit more students.”
Medical support continues in January.
During the month under review, seven children received treatment from various health units within Makindu. Major complaints included stomachaches, headaches, coughs, ringworms, and a fractured hand. Five guardians with life threatening medical concerns were provided with medical support as well.
MCC makes January school report
MCC currently has one child enrolled in an early education class, 72 enrolled in local primary schools, and 22 in secondary schools. Two students are now attending vocational schools as well.
Primary school visits continued during the January. MCC staff met with the head teacher at each school, and the individual needs for each student were reviewed and will be followed up on in the coming months. Kiambani primary school readmitted a sponsored child, who had been dismissed for not providing their own desk. When MCC staff reminded the school of MCC’s past contributions (including many desks built and donated by the centre), the school’s headmaster apologized and re-admitted the child.
Three children who were reported as truants last month (Kanini Mwalimu, Kasee Mwalimu, Kajoni Ndangili) have reported back to school. Wambua Kisangi, who had been expelled from school last July last year, has returned to classes after months of counseling. Additionally, Kanini Muloki, who has been out of school for more than eight months due to epilepsy, has rejoined class four at Ngukuni primary. The school has been educated on Kanini’s needs, and efforts will continue to make sure that Kanini receives continued support from his teachers and fellow students.
Wendo Weavers work to disversify their market
With help from MCC, Wendo Weavers group and MCC’s Program Manager Nelly (x), traveled to Nairobi in January to seek alternative markets for the co-ops products. Nelly and the weavers met with representatives of the Kenya Gatsby Trust, which assists affiliated groups in marketing their product both locally and internationally. Co-op members (and MCC guardians) were encouraged by this contact, and have made a formal request of the Trust for further support.