Kawangware Vision Centre
Since 2008, NextAid has collaborated with the Kawangware Vision Centre (KVC) in the Kawangware slum bordering Nairobi, Kenya. KVC is a locally created and managed organization started by former street child to provide positive opportunities to get kids off the streets and support vulnerable children at risk of engaging in street life. The organization runs a micro-business making silkscreened gift bags out of recycled paper. NextAid has partnered with KVC to build a new "green" workshop and multipurpose facility to expand their operation and ultimately serve more youth.
NextAid also supports Kawangware Vision Centre with capacity building support, technical assistance, technology donations and training, and emergency relief funding.
NextAid's new project in Kawangware aims to provide a model to alleviate youth unemployment, while gaining useful skills in ecologically smart construction methods. NextAid's approach to community development aims to maximize sustainability and community involvement. Instead of just hiring a contractor to build a building, we are creating employment and marketable lifelong skills for youth, while emphasizing environmental considerations for a truly community-owned facility. By the end of this project, we'll have 22 youth trained in construction theory and practice, along with all the tools and equipment they need to carry on their own eco-construction business. And hopefully this will be just the beginning of a continual cycle of youth upliftment and working towards self sufficiency.
Our crew of 22 youth apprentices are thrilled to be a part of this training and labor program. Many of them have never had a job before, not for lack of trying. We've recruited 7 girls to the team who are determined to break down gender barriers and show that women can be great construction workers too. Three of the girls are single mothers and see the need to seize this opportunity to get employment and gain skills by working hard for their daughters to have a better future.
NextAid is funding the youth training and facility construction in partnership with GO Campaign. In order to provide secure and sustainable space for the new center, NextAid is jointly funding the purchase of a ¼ acre plot of land that will be owned by Kawangware Vision Centre and managed by its local governing board.
NextAid is still raising funds for this project. Our goal is to raise $55,000 by June to keep the project on schedule. Please consider making an online donation today.
For more pictures from the field, please visit the NextAid Facebook Fan Page.
Kawangware is one of the largest slums outside of Nairobi, Kenya. In a population of over 400,000 people, 65% are children and youth. There are over 9 million unemployed youth in Kenya, many residing in urban settings. Kawangware lacks strong social and economic structures which consequently means many people lack the basic requirements for life, such as clean water. Many children in Kawangware do not attend school because they cannot afford to pay the fee, buy a uniform, or purchase the necessary learning materials. This, combined with the absence of programs to assist these children, has led youth to take part in deviant behavior and become at-risk for HIV/AIDS. With the help of KVC, at-risk youth and vulnerable children in the Kawangware slum will be given the opportunity for a brighter future.
Green Workshop and Multipurpose Facility
The multipurpose facility and green workshop will allow KVC to increase its business and accommodate more youth and vulnerable children. The new Centre will include an expanded space for KVC's bag-making business and space for its community programs for vulnerable children and youth. In addition to the expanded workshops, features of the new facility include arbor-loo compost toilets, a shaded veranda for child feeding programs, self-manufactured interlocking earth bricks and roof tiles, and an office. Also included on site will be locally made furniture, rainwater catchment and harvesting, a water well, and the sustainable farming of vegetables and bamboo.
Credit: CADD Rendering: Anderson Nyaga Design:Kariuki Kiragu General CADD input: Waswa Nyongesa.
Eco-Construction and Business Management Training Program
In 2010, NextAid began the theoretical training in eco-construction to prepare youth apprentices for the construction project. The program was held over several months with 16 youth apprentices learning the skills necessary for eco-technology from expert trainers and our architect, Kariuki Kiragu. The students participated in a field trip to Nyumbani Children's Village in Kitui, where they received hands-on demonstrations in various eco-technology. The students have demonstrated that they are extremely passionate about the program and immersed in what they are learning; during one session the teacher arrived late to find that one of the young women was teaching the other students entirely from memory of the last class!
The practical portion of the youth training program resumed in January 2011 on the site of the new land for Kawangware Vision Centre. We have 22 youth working full time, five days a week over the next seven months to make the necessary blocks, slabs, roof tiles, and other materials needed to build their own center. We broke ground on the site in February and the apprentices have cleared and leveled the entire plot by hand. To-date, they have installed a security fence, compost toilets, brick making machinery, and built a temporary storage shed and classroom space. We expect construction of the building to begin after the rainy season in May and to be complete with phase one by August.
Four of the apprentices have been selected for business and management skills training and are being mentored by a local accountant in all aspects of bookkeeping, procurement, reporting, and financial analysis. These apprentices are working alongside the construction team to assist in running the business aspects of the project.
Agasto has dedicated his life to serving the vulnerable and homeless children in his community. He has created lasting change for hundreds of children in the Kawangware slum by uplifting them through the improvement of their economic livelihoods. Agasto grew up in the slums experiencing many of the hardships that are facing children today. As he got older, he felt it was his duty to stop the suffering that many street children experienced, especially when the hardship was caused by HIV/AIDS. In order to carry out his mission of positively transforming the lives of street children, Agasto has initiated numerous projects in Kawangware that focus on the task of uplifting children and youth. Since he began the Kawangware Vision Centre in 2002, Agasto has provided direct livelihood to hundreds of youth and vulnerable children. Read an amazing letter written by Agasto after his first visit to Los Angeles, this December 2009.
NextAid is thrilled to be working closely with architect Kariuki Kiragu during the planning and construction process of the Kawangware Vision Centre. Kariuki is a visionary architect who applies his talent to projects that utilize local resources in 3order to gain sustainable social, economic, and environmental benefits. Kariuki, who has a great deal of experience with field-based leadership, shares NextAid's passions for helping orphans and vulnerable children, and sustainable environmental conservation. For example, in 2004 he successfully built a sustainable village in Nyumbani in order to accommodate 1,000 HIV/AIDS orphans and 125 elders. Kariuki has proven to be an inspiration for the communities and people his projects support, as well as, the entire NextAid team. Find him on Sustainable Holistic African Development Alliance.