Participants from all over the country were gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a week-long training of the fourth phase of the Local Fundraising (LFR) course undertaken by the Change the Game Academy (CtGA) in partnership with KCDF.

Makaror location in Wajir county is home to dozens of households that settled there after being displaced by a mix of calamities including clan conflicts between the Borana and Somalis in Isiolo, persistent drought, the 1998 El Niño rains and the infamous Wagalla and Budhaha massacres.

Upon settling in Makaror, the community that emerged had to start building their lives from scratch, without a single amenity. No schools. No dispensary. No shopping centre. The community had to seek for solutions within if they were to not only survive but define a future for themselves. This is how Makaror secondary school came to be and has contributed to the thriving centre that Makaror is today. 

The school is a low cost, mixed day public secondary school situated in Makaror location in Wajir East, Wajir County. The school was started in 2012 by a combination of several stakeholders including; Development Agency Wajir Netherlands (DAWN), Wajir East Community Development Fund (WECDF), Wajir County Council and the local community. The main objective of starting the school was to assist the poor inhabitants of Makaror access to education at an affordable rate given that parents could not afford school fees for boarding schools.

At the heart of Makaror is the principal, Mr. Abdi Billow, whose goal is to see the school become a premier institution in the provision of affordable, accessible, and quality education in the county.

Billow believes that by attending the LFR training course, he will gain knowledge that will help the school mobilize resources to develop further. Makaror currently has 900 students and Billow’s main aim is to ensure 100 % transition from primary to secondary school. The main problem however is that the facilities in the school are over-stretched. There are serious resource and infrastructure gaps. this requires a serious resource mobiliser and an entrenched local fundraising drive; something that Billow is aware of.

“Currently there is a paradigm shift from international to local donations due to political and economic changes in the western world. Local donations are more sustainable and has ownership among the locals if carried out in a sincere and transparent way,” shares Billow.

Diminishing international donations have affected many organizations including Sang Limo’s. Limo is an active listener and participant who is not shy to point out that his organization currently has only one international donor and not a single local one. He too was in the training on a mission. Limo works with Make the Difference, a community-based organization in Kisumu County that supports orphans and vulnerable children. Their vision is to expand their scope beyond providing only food to the children. 

From here, he hopes to mobilize resources to support the lunch program, sponsor the needy children to school and construct a library and computer lab. They plan to change the story of having one donor by embarking on an elaborate fundraising strategy to mobilize local resources.

“This course has equipped me with the requisite knowledge to organize local fundraising and I look forward to applying the knowledge to our fundraising efforts,” Limo says. “The vision we have for our organization is to be a well performing school complex and a technical institution,” he adds.

Unlike the CBO’s that were represented in the training session, Living Positive Kenya, a community-based organization that supports women and children living with HIV in Ngong areas was a tale of success, one that inspired the likes of Makaror secondary and Make the Difference.

Mary Wanderi, a Director from Living Positive, attended the training on the last day to share her positive story and journey of fundraising with the group as a previous learner. “Local fundraising has become interesting for us. It has become a culture in our organization. We have introduced income generating activities like chicken rearing and have involved the community in fundraising along with us. Community has to be the center of it for it to be sustainable,” she shared. Their beneficiaries have become their biggest fundraisers. They go out to the churches, and communities around to fundraise for the organization as a sign of ownership and gratitude. They now have a 70% local to 30% international ratio of funds.

Change the Game Academy (CtGA) offers community-based organizations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and other interested non-profit entities the necessary knowledge and skills through the six months intense training as well as mentorship and coaching to successfully raise funds locally and diversify income for their mandate.

Undeniably, there has been a paradigm shift in how development is carried out and there is a realization that communities are richly endowed with resources, not only of monetary value, but also ideas and providing leadership in sitting at the driver’s seat in addressing their own development agenda. The local fundraising equipped the learners with the necessary knowledge needed to go out and ‘Dare to Ask!

 

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