The Power of the Community and Alumni Networks in Mobilizing Support for Community Development Projects

“I am proud to be part of this great initiative as my child, a student at Ndithini Secondary School will access quality education.” Joshua Mutinda, a member of Ndithini Community Development Association (NCDA), community-based organization, and a parent at Ndithini Secondary School.

Ndithini Secondary School is a mixed day secondary school in the heart of Masinga Sub-County. In an area plagued by poverty, the school has tried its best to ensure that the students are able to access quality education despite the various challenges faced by the community.

KCDF through its education thematic focus and programme began implementing a project titled ‘Accelerating Good Performance for Secondary Schools’ in Masinga sub-county, Machakos County. Ndithini Mixed Secondary School is one of the schools that benefited from this pilot project.

Through the project, the school’s Board of Management was trained on the importance of a good composition of a school Board and the role and contribution of each member, good management practices and handling conflicts. The schoolteachers were also trained on how to improve their methods of instruction and teaching methodology, all with the objective of enhancing quality education for the school.

“We wanted to build a library where the students could have a space for additional reading outside of class and space for doing their assignments. KCDF through NCDA, informed us about the Pamoja4Change Initiative and how it works, and I thought it would be a good idea.” Justus Mbaya, Principal Ndithini Secondary School.

The Pamoja4Change is a grant initiative where organizations are required to raise 50% of the funds required to fund their development initiatives while KCDF matches the other remaining 50%. The initiative works on a 50:50 matching model, every shilling for a project raised is matched. The initiative’s objective is to encourage local giving towards development priority areas for communities while incentivizing community giving. For Ndithini secondary school, having a library was top priority towards accelerating good performance amongst the students.

Mr. Mbaya called for a meeting with the heads of departments and shared with them the Pamoja4Change idea. He also explained how the P4C matching grant works and how it stands to benefit the school. The heads thought it was a good opportunity for the school to get co-funding to build the library. Once the teachers were onboard, he approached the Board of Management and lobbied for the idea. Luckily for him, they were on board as well. It was agreed that as they mobilized for the resources, they would encourage people to contribute according to their capabilities.

Everyone was motivated to honor their pledges. The teachers were encouraged to contribute Kes. 2000 ($20) and the students were requested to contribute between Kes. 200 ($2) and Kes. 300 ($3). During the planned Annual General Meeting (AGM), Mr. Mbaya took the opportunity to hold a community fundraiser and encourage the community members to come together and fundraise. They were able to raise Kes. 140,000 ($1400) in that sitting.

They held subsequent meetings on how they could fundraise and decided that reaching out to former alumni was another opportunity. This is because they had a good network of alumni members who were doing well in the community and they were more than willing to give back to the former school.

“I personally called the alumni one by one and encouraged them to contribute whatever they could and to also reach out to other alumni who were willing to be part of this great cause.”  Mr. Justus Mbaya adds.

When Mr. Justus reached out to Jennifer Mwanzio, alumnae, she was more than happy to help the school to raise funds for the library construction. “Being a former student here, I was happy to contribute and help the school build a library.” Jennifer shares.

The community, parents, teachers and students were able to contribute a further amount of Kes. 415,000 ($4150) which they had pledged through the fundraising period. With additional community pledges, the school was able to reach its target of Kes. 750,000 ($7500) of which KCDF would match equally to reach the required amount of Kes. 1.5M ($15,000) needed to construct the library.

Ndithini Community Development Association (NCDA) community organization has been working closely with the community to ensure development initiatives are prioritized in Ndithini area. Through a series of community meetings, the alumni members and teachers were also mentored on best learning practices and how their role as community mentors can contribute to improved performance, retention and transition of pupils in Ndithini secondary school.

NCDA additionally supported Ndithini secondary school with financial services and offered trainings through workshops so that they can have necessary financial management skills that will help the school administration.

“We realized that the community has the ability to come together and mobilize resources to drive their initiatives. As NCDA we train community mobilisers with skills to encourage the community to come together for a great cause” Tabitha Wamuyu, Program officer NCDA.

The library will be a great asset to the Ndithini students who will have additional space for studying, doing their assignments and researching. This will be a catalyst for improving performance for not only students at individual level, but the school performance in general.

Mr. Justus Mbaya, the Principal has only one fear. Due to the current reshuffle of teachers. By the government, he is a bit apprehensive about being transferred to another school. His hope is that if that happens, the projects will continue, and the community will still support each other.

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