OLPCorps Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Kenya

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The OLPCorps team from Tulane University will work with a coalition of organizations in rural South Coastal province of Kenya. Our goal: Empower local children to tackle development, conflict and health challenges in their communities. The Objective: Help cultivate a student led initiative that incorporates the XO’s into community development and capacity building projects surrounding community health needs.

Baseline Data Collected in Likoni

Three quarters of the population in Coast province fall below the poverty line. In Likoni, the prevalence is much higher. According to a study done by the Bureau of Statistics and UNDP Kenya the main causes of poverty in Likoni are landlessness; lack of credit and training; unemployment; low incomes; HIV/AIDS; negative socio-cultural practices and local communities not being integrated into the critical decision making processes.

Voices of Africa for Sustainable Development, one of our local partners, has conducted a rapid needs assessment survey with 130 respondents from various areas of Likoni. We found that Likoni is a highly populated area (approx. 120,000) consisting of mainly young adults under the age of 40. All of the tribes of Kenya are found in this area. There have been several violent episodes of tribal clashes. The worst of which occurred in 1997 and is the subject of a Human Rights Watch report.

Our data suggests that unemployment is by far the biggest issue in Likoni, seconded by insecurity fueled by the lack of economic opportunity and tribal conflict. The reasons named by the residents include lack of credit, corruption, and lack of education. 90% of the interviewees had an educational level of Standard 8 or less.

Surprisingly, more than 50% of the men have used a computer at some point in their lives. Few have ever accessed the internet, and almost none have used a web browser. 90% of the women surveyed had never used a computer and none had used a web browser. 100% of the respondents said that they would be willing to learn. Most were extremely excited at the prospects. While there are many organizations working on a number of community issues, there are very few services providing internet access and opportunities. The productivity of the youth in Likoni has been significantly hindered by the lack of computer and information empowerment training.

Meet the Team

Hilary N Ervin is a second year graduate student at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. She is a candidate for a Master of Public Health in International Health & Development. Hilary has been in Kenya working and fund-raising for Hatua Likoni since July 2008 and has been involved with Voices of Africa since September of 2007. She has lived and worked abroad extensively on every continent save Australia and has a demonstrated commitment to community development and minority empowerment. She has been in Kenya for almost a year and is conversational in Swahili.

Adrienne B. Warren is a second year graduate student at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine and former U.S. Air Force Commissioned Officer. She is a candidate for a Master of Public Health in International Health & Development. Adrienne has been providing support and guidance to Voices of Africa since May 2008. Professionally, she has worked in Haiti, Mali, South Korea, Senegal and the Brazilian Amazon. She has a solid background working in diverse locations and is especially interested in grassroots development lead by women and youth.

Faith Kimanga is an undergraduate sophomore at Mombasa Polytechnic University. She is studying to complete a Bachelor’s of Arts in Community Development. She is a Kenyan native from Coastal Province currently residing in Likoni, she is a native swahili speaker. Faith has been associated with Hatua Likoni for over five years and has been a volunteer with Voices of Africa since August 2008 when Likoni operations began. Recently Faith became the Chairwoman of Voices of Diani a community based organization currently working to provide nutritious porridge to orphanages and schools and generate income for locally unemployed youths in Likoni.

Wilfred Atisa is an undergraduate senior at Strathmore University in Nairobi. He is a semester shy of completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology. Wilbur is a Kenyan native with a wealth of volunteer and community based experience throughout the country, he is a native swahili speaker. He plans to relocate to Likoni for the duration of implementation and is excited to complete the field-learning portion of his degree through the OLPCorps opportunity with the Tulane University team.

Alex C. Ervin is an undergraduate junior at Green Mountain College in Vermont. He is studying to complete a Bachelor’s of Arts in History with a minor in Education. He plans to become a teacher after he completes school and is using this opportunity to fulfill the internship/direct learning requirement for his degree. He has helped promote content generation for the Voices of Africa website for the past six months. Alex works every year with young children as a snowboarding instructor and is excited to expand his teaching to a community development based curriculum.

Brenda Shimwadi Khaukani is an undergraduate junior at Catholic University of East Africa. She is studying to complete a Bachelor's of Arts with a major in sociology and a minor in political science. Brenda has been certified through USAID in monitoring and evaluation and will assist Adrienne in building an effecting plan for our program. She recently served with the Caucus for Women's Leadership and is dedicated to social development in Kenya. She is a native Kenyan fluent in both Swahili and English. "I am excited for this amazing opportunity to impact the young minds of my nation". -Brenda

Ngira Prichard Odera is an undergraduate senior at Catholic University of East Africa. He is studying to complete Bachelor's of Computer Science and has also been a pupil at the Institute of Advanced Technology where he received A+ (hardware & software) and N+ (networking) certifications. Ngira has solid experience installing operating systems and software. He will work closely with Wilfred to develop and write a learning curriculum and educational games for the laptops. Ngira is a Kenyan native fluent in Swahili and English.

Meet the Partners

Hatua Likoni[1]: Is a coalition of community organizations working to create new opportunities and long term, self-sustaining solutions to the challenges faced in Likoni, Kenya. By increasing access to education; care for orphans; mentoring and guidance for youth; micro-finance loans; and jobs, opportunities are created that enable Likoni residents to achieve their goals, provide for themselves and their families, and uplift Likoni's standard of living. It's their version of development: home grown, community driven development that empowers individuals to determine their own future and the future of their community. The team is mostly Kenyan and all residents of Likoni. They are knowledgeable about Likoni and the kinds of programs that are needed and will be effective in the community. "We are extremely excited to work with the Tulane OLPCorps teams. We believe decisions made at the local level enable us to involve those affected by our choices in the decision making process, which is the essence of community development"--Hatua Likoni team.

Voices of Africa for Sustainable Development [2]: Is registered as a non-governmental organization in Kenya, a 501c3 non profit organization in the United States, and has a sister organization named Terra Phoenix, a social enterprise in the United Kingdom. Its sole purpose is to engage in poverty alleviation and education for sustainable development in Sub- Saharan Africa. Their vision is to live in just world without abject poverty. To this end, Voices of Africa will foster sustainable development in Sub Saharan Africa through information empowerment and fair trade. It is VOA's mission to empower impoverished women and youth to improve their communities sustainably through the use of innovative and cutting edge information and communications technology and fair trade income generation. "Working with the Tulane OLPCorps team will allow us to bolster our Likoni operations while empowering a highly impoverished and needy community of children".--VOA Board of Directors

SchuleTech Foundation: Is a nonprofit organization working to educate and render Information Communication Technology(ICT) services and assistance to the young generation in Kenya. The foundation aims to be a center of excellence in terms of providing information technology and any others services in Kenya to educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and youth groups. The SchuleTech Foundation consists of individuals dedicated to the promotion and advancement of the foundations objectives, through public education, training, and skill development. Membership is open to anyone wishing to render support, guidance and encouragement to individuals wishing to learn or enhance Information Technology related skills and activities. "We are excited to work with the OLPCorps Kenya Team and their collaborating partners on this unique and amazing opportunity to impact and empower our countries youth".--Fanon Ananda, Executive Director

Training the Trainers

A core group of 10 outstanding youth ages 9-12 will be selected by Hatua Likoni staff. Hatua Likoni has been involved with all the youths targeted for the program for multiple years and can best identify the ideal youth leaders. The remaining children will be split into 10 groups during weeks 6-8 and the core group will serve as team leaders for each.

The Class Rotations

Madaraka will rotate classes into their schedule and Hatua will host after school programs at the Youth Empowerment Center. Students are in class until August when they will break. The Youth Empowerment Center will be open for the duration of class break and classes will be run out of the center. Additionally at least two teachers, and any other volunteers, will be trained by the Tulane team on the XO so that they can assist children in class and with assignments on their XO's after initial implementation.

The Youth Empowerment Center

Provided to Hatua Likoni by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and opposite the Madaraka School the Youth Empowerment Center offers classes and space to youth groups and youth targeted initiatives and will house the computers and classes.

Speaking the Language

Swahili is the native language of four team members in addittion to multiple tribal dialects each speak as well. The team leader Hilary is proficent in Swahili and English is required of all students studying at the Madaraka School. Hatua Likoni staff will provide any translation services into local dialects for parents needed and where our team is not fluent.

Child Ownership Challenges

We will bring up at the Kigali forum how best to address true child ownership as the threat of theft is a concern. One solution our team has come up with is to place the child owner's name on their laptop so as to make it more easily recognizable. However we are looking for additional solutions to this challenge such as parent/guardian forums and discussion sessions with the children.