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Water tanks

Najile water tank



Community members admire the latest arrival in Najile, a 20,000-liter tank to collect water during the rainy season. Maasai women, known as Maji Mamas, built it using bricks made of compressed earth (more about the technique here). Many hours will be saved by not having to fetch water from sources several miles away, plus the quality of the water will be much better. Another tank was recently completed at the Silan safe house.

Twenty-eight-year-old Agnes says money earned participating in Maji Mamas helps with expenses for her eight children – school fees, clothes, food, etc. Having faced water shortages all her life, she decided to join the project to alleviate this issue, despite her husband trying to convince her not to so his favorite wife could replace her. She didn’t give in.  

Safe house

Silan safe houseYoung orphans up to adolescents threatened by genital mutilation and early marriage will be housed in a current project. A housekeeper will look after 20 girls aged 5-15 at alternative living quarters named Silan (Maasai for "girl"). It will be their home 24/7 apart from time at Kimelok primary school or Ewuaso high school.

Planting orchards at the site of the envisioned safe house initiated the effort, since it takes two years for yield. Bananas, oranges, passion fruit, strawberries, avocado and pawpaws will feed the girls. Funds are sought to secure goats and cows for milk.

Architectural plans allow for construction to proceed as funding is available. A recent donation is allowing construction to proceed toward completion of the first phase – two classrooms, a kitchen, a flush toilet unit, two sets of pit latrines (to conserve water), water tanks, a matron staff room and, if money permits, a dining hall. Hopes are to open it in January to sponsored girls. Funds were raised via Investments for Developing Communities (IDC), a U.S.-based educational sponsor which also sends funds for sponsorships.

Ongoing cost per child would be double that of the $105 annual sponsorship for primary school, $375 for high school. In other words, two sponsorships will be needed for each child.

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Solar micro-grids

microgrid at schoolPartnering with international agencies, MANDO has brought solar micro-grids that produce electricity to its constituent communities.

Involved from the initial survey in January 2014 to appraise the need and prospects for the grids, MANDO liaised with community members ranging from pastors, chiefs, sub-chiefs, county officials and potential users to advance the projects. On the basis of survey findings Eremit, Entasopia and Olturoto were selected in the summer as demonstration sites. Residents and businesses were briefed on use, fees to be expected, connection costs and responsibility for ongoing maintenance. Permits from government authorities and consent to locate the units had to be obtained.

In early December MANDO's three communities as well as seven others in five counties, had systems installed and operating, possible due to cooperation with Green Empowerment, Access:Energy and Powergen. Each customer has his own power monitor at the hub along with security measures such as circuit breakers and fire extinguishers. Customers are shown tariffs based on use of power, then can begin to buy power paying via Mpesa. Training was provided on how to do this and check payment balances.

The size of the power generation unit (solar photovoltaic cells) can be matched to the size of the demand. These grids can be expanded as use increases.
MANDO and Green Empowerment will continue to research and coordinate development activities for these communities. For example, they sought backing of a U.S. investor involved with micro-grid systems to extend use of the Olturoto micro-grid to provide electricity to the school (upper left picture). Installation is nearly complete. Not only will this project enhance educational opportunities for 350 students currently enrolled, but likely will draw back students being sent to boarding school due to the lack of electricity at the local school. It is a testing ground to see how micro-grids can further serve communities where they are located. Another benefit from the micro-grids is reducing kerosene use and subsequent respiratory and eye infections as well as pollutants emitted.

Yet another direction to pursue is micro-grid battery charging. Batteries owned by a local entrepreneur and charged at the central system would be rented to individual manyattas unable to connect to the community micro-grid. The batteries would power several lights, charge cell phones and power small radios for an estimated two weeks. Depending on individual household needs, additional power can be added.

School lunches

MANDO school lunch programThanks to private donations solicited by MANDO, 520 pupils have lunches at Enkoireroi Primary School (Eremit community in Kajiado county, Kenya). Because some of the children walk up to 10 miles to school, many would drop out without something to get them through the day.

Benefits were almost immediately discernable: Increased school attendance, more energy and focus in the afternoon, better overall health and increased enrollment at the school.

Thanks to David Van't Hof of Portland, Oregon USA, donations have made possible two school years of lunches.

Donations are needed to make the program ongoing as well as to expand to two more schools - Nkuyan and Eremit primary schools which have 350 and 650 children respectively. Cost would be $3315 and $5685.

MANDO's sister nonprofit organization in the United States, Investments for Developing Communities (IDC), takes in and forwards donations.

The Maasai community whose children go to the school guard stored food, pay a parent a small fee to cook the food and supply water and fuel.

Farming skills

training for farmers

This year MANDO launched an effort wherein farmers grow their way out of poverty. MANDO's plan provides training, tools, non-genetically modified seeds for staples such as maize and beans as well as help selling the harvest if there is a surplus or storing it. In-kind loans are guaranteed by peers.

More experienced farmers train newcomers in planting, composting, weeding and harvesting. At the end of the planting season each farmer contributes crops that will enable the charity to raise funds to be able to support more farmers the next season.

This year's launch involved 50 farmers - half of them women (responsible for 750 children). The program cost 760,600 kenyan shillings/USD 8,700 with 100% of donations going directly to the program. Fifty percent of field expenses are expected to be covered by farmer repayments. By 2015 the goal is 1,000 farmers, by 2020, 5,000. How you can help make this project grow. MORE...

Tree planting

tree planting project
Growing crops - let alone, trees - was unknown to Maasai herders until recently. Useless. Why bother? When there is no water, just move on. That was how parents of the current generation lived. The current generation must deal with prolonged droughts and diminishing water resources. They are more stationary.

After "seed" money was provided by a U.S. charity*, seedling nurseries started sprouting. These then are planted around homes. Trees initially selected by MANDO are for shade, fodder, wood and fencing.

Trees not only provide income but give the environment a boost. Fruit and wood sales provide a direly needed source of income. Planting trees also improves soil water retention and reduces erosion as well as absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere reducing global warming.

*Investments for Developing Communities (IDC), a charity in the U.S., provided $250/Kenyan shillings 20,957 in source funds for a pilot project planting trees in December 2013.

Donations to support both the tree planting project and the safe house for girls can be made through IDC's web site here or by contacting the MANDO's director. Not only is MANDO continually looking for significant funding to drill a borehole for communities in the area, a caretaker is needed to maintain nurseries in progress. This person would also document progress so as to attract more sponsors for projects like this. Also needed is a 5000-liter plastic tank to store water when damned-up water dissipates. Estimated cost is $250-300.

Ewangan Light a Village Project

solar panelIt is estimated that only 34% of people in sub-Sahara Africa have access to electricity. Most rely on burning biomass and wood for cooking, illumination and heat. In MANDO's community many people also rely on costly kerosene or paraffin for indoor lighting and expensive batteries for simple luxuries like radio. These fumes cause eye infections.

To combat these unhealthy alternatives, MANDO introduced solar lamps. Benefits became apparent: Children could study into the evening; women felt more secure traveling away from home; fire hazards lessened; health improves; money was saved that previously went for candles.

A store in the Eremit community opened with a stock of 450 solar lamps. The lamps sell for 3,900 KES (USD 46.50). Credit and installment payments can be arranged. Sunlite's manufacturers in Nairobi offered a 10% discount, and donor backing brought the price down to half retail price. Now more than 500 households will receive solar powered lights in the Ewangan Light a Village project.

Child receiving clothes  

Children's clothing

MANDO worked with the NCi Foundations, a UK-based charity which distributes children's clothes, books, shoes and toys, to receive an initial delivery of much-needed baby clothes for families in Nkuyan village. This is one of the most remote communities in MANDO's area. When temperatures drop, children here suffer since they often have only a piece of cloth to wrap around them. They get sick frequently.

  Child receiving clothes

Ongoing programs

Contact information

Spoonsor a child