Volunteers for Kenya
Explain your project in details:
Started in 2016, Volunteer For Kenya is an NGO that seeks to improve livelihoods, alleviate poverty and cut down reliance on donor aid in needy communities through implementation of community-based sustainable projects. Our Main objectives are to alleviate poverty and promote volunteering. We work with local volunteers; from students in different high schools and universities to youth in all career fields. Our work, which is divided into 3 programs (Tunza, Technobrain and Elimisha) seeks to promote a self-sustainability culture in needy children’s homes, schools and communities in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Tunza ( a Swahili word meaning “to take care of’) is a home improvement program that targets to develop long term infrastructure projects where we work on renovations in needy children’s homes and schools that include setting up of libraries, computer labs, technology hubs, classes, dormitories, kitchens and any other infrastructure. Elimisha (a Swahili word meaning “to educate”) is a program whose main objective is to offer career and life skills mentorship to underprivileged students and youth in needy communities during our mentorship days. Technobrain program is aimed at promoting education relating to Science, Engineering and Information Technology through the use of volunteer teachers in impoverished communities. We believe our approach is innovative because it encourages the culture of local volunteerism which in turn empowers the needy communities with solutions that reduce their reliance on hand-outs and gives them an opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge that they can use to uplift themselves and improve their living standards. Engaging young people also makes them sensitive to the need of others and gives them a platform to contribute towards achieving the SDGs.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Within 3 months of starting the organization, we successfully pitched our idea to the Pollination Project which gave us a grant of $1000 which we have used to execute a number of projects at Young Life Africa (YLA) Children’s home in Ruiru, Kenya. YLA is an all-boys children’s home that was established in 2003 with the mission to rescue, rehabilitate, accommodate, educate and feed orphans and vulnerable boys in the society aged from 5-18 years. Currently the home has 30 boys. In March 2017, we had a mentorship day for the boys which engaged 20 volunteers from campus. The boys got to learn about different careers they could engage in and the sessions were run by the campus students. The sessions touched on architecture, music, fashion and engineering as career paths the boys could aspire to be part of. From June 2017, we have been engaged in an infrastructure development project in the home where we have been renovating an existing room to establish an information hub that consists of a library, computer laboratory and engineering corner that will serve the boys and other children from the neighbouring community. The project is now complete and we had a general clean up and painting activity on 15th July 2017. 40 Volunteers were engaged in the clean-up and painting in conjunction with the boys who later got the chance to enjoy lunch over a brief mentorship session. Thus far we have also managed to build a network of about 200 volunteers who engage in our activities, set up a website as well as active social media pages and furthermore we have submitted an application for registration with the NGOs Board of Kenya and are due to receive our certificate in August 2017.
Sustainability and future plans
We are currently a self-sponsored organization and are seeking partnership or sponsorship with other organizations and companies who share our vision of giving back through volunteering. Beyond applying for grants and receiving donations from well wishes, our intention is to source for finance by applying our current skillset. We offer to do event planning for other organizations, for example Community Based Organizations (CBOs), NGOs and corporates where we volunteer our skills and time in exchange for monetary sponsorship and in-kind sponsorship to our ongoing projects in our different programs. We are also available as talent managers and motivational speakers for different youth engagement platforms where we benefit by helping to cultivate the culture of local volunteerism, build a greater network of volunteers and for organizers who are willing, we set up a desk where we accept donations such as clothes, shoes, spoiled electronics, desktop computers and books. Besides setting up sustainable and fully operational programs, some of our future plans involve offering internships for students to work with us in rolling out projects giving them a chance to gain experience in social entrepreneurship and project management. In line with the UN SDG 17 that calls for partnerships for goals, we would also like to plan, execute and pioneer networking conferences for all Youth-Led NGOs and CBOs in Africa to encourage partnerships for greater impact and development.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Betty King’ori and I am 23 years old. I have recently completed my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical, Manufacturing and Materials Engineering at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and expect to graduate in November 2017. I am an all rounded individual demonstrated by my participation in both academic and voluntary co-curricular activities. Whilst studying, I worked as a Brand Ambassador for Centonomy, a financial management course that seeks to enlighten individuals towards wealth creation and financial freedom. I have also worked for my University’s Administration as an appointed committee member for the annual JKUAT TECH EXPO where I served as the Lead Projects Manager. I was also an active member in a number of student lead societies that include The Society of Engineering Students (SES), IAESTE and AIESEC. I had the privilege of serving as President of AIESEC in JKUAT in 2015 and with my team, we were able to develop the leadership potential of the youth in JKUAT through experiential learning, volunteer experiences and professional internships recording the highest number of student exchange experiences in JKUAT since 2009. This achievement enabled me to travel to India and Poland to represent my university at the AIESEC International Congress 2015 & 2016. I am driven by the opportunity to contribute and add value to anything I am engaged in and that is something I believe successful entrepreneurs possess. The experience I have gained in the activities I have engaged in previously have helped to shape my mission to contribute towards empowering youth to develop their leadership potential. I am also passionate about and hope to develop a career in Project Management.