We are also pleased to see that many EASF-supported students are giving back, some before they’ve even left Kenya, some during their course of study, and others after graduation:
--Members of the 2014 Education and Social Empowerment Program in Nandi Hills, Kenya organized a community service and needs assessment trip to Makindu Children’s Center in a hot, rural region of eastern Kenya last February. The day center serves more that 1,200 destitute AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children who live in the area with foster families. Vivian Kiniga and Shadrack Lilan were lead coordinators.
The current EaSEP class is planning a five-day service and needs assessment trip to the Kokwa community on and near Kokwa Island in Lake Baringo in February. The students will work with the Kenyan NGO Network for Ecofarming in Africa with a primary focus on education. Theo Korir is doing the legwork to coordinate the trip with NECOFA. EASF board member Erik Heinonen met with the class in Nairobi recently to instruct the students in field research strategies.
--Harvard sophomore Caroline Kimetto spent her freshman winter break last year doing research on HIV/AIDS and abortion in Kenya. This year she plans to set up a pilot program in her hometown of Kericho to encourage grade 8 leavers to transition to high school. She is focusing on the three-month window between primary school and high school, when youths either have “nothing to do” or begin a cycle of work on farms or tea estates and never return to school.
--Recent Princeton grad (and EASF Advisory Board member) Cornellius Metto spent the summer tutoring at EaSEP camp before heading to Seattle for a job with Microsoft. He was joined by EaSEP alum and current Yale sophomore Michelle Kemei. Other alums who spent significant time helping with the program included Gideon Too (Wesleyan grad now working in Nairobi for Ernst & Young), David Chege (Princeton freshman), Vivian Kiniga (Cornell freshman), Vincent Bett (Tufts freshman), Shadrack Lilan (Penn freshman) and Daniel Lang’at Cheruiyot (June Northwestern grad).
--Hepsiba Chepngeno represented Michigan State at a Young Africa Works Summit in Cape Town, South Africa this fall. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program sponsored the summit which helped prepare youth for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture. Topics included agriculture in Africa and its growth prospects, finance models and the role of technology. Hepsiba is a sophomore majoring in Agribusiness at MSU.
--Gloria Kurere (EASF Advisory Board member and Cornell senior) spent her summer investigating public health issues in Namibia through Cornell’s Institute for African Development. She worked as a health research intern in Windhoek at the Polytechnic of Namibia’s Department of Communications, compiling a report of Namibia’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
She also traveled in rural areas to research the outbreak of the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease in cattle and steps being taken to prevent further spread. She completed her internship shadowing technicians in various departments at Namibia’s Institute of Pathology and spent much of her time in the HIV viral load testing unit.
--Edwin Magema, a spring Harvard grad, worked with a Pforzheimer Foundation public service fellowship program this past summer. Edwin’s initiative provided mentoring and psychological support for Samburu girls of north central Kenya who’ve faced the prospect of Feminine Genital Mutilation and early marriage. He matched the at-risk girls with families of girls attending Alliance High School, one of Kenya’s most respected schools, and helped at a mentoring conference sponsored by the Samburu Girls Foundation which received a shout-out by President Obama on his recent trip to Kenya.