Kisii Enlists Local NGO Experts for Midsummer Meeting
Relaxed, sunburned and sweaty from 8 hour matatu journeys, the project workers descended on central house this weekend after a week away. With holiday stories exchanged, takeaway eaten and movie night and hot chocolate happily enjoyed by all, Saturday night was a relaxing chance to settle back in before training the following day.
Sunday morning started with announcements and safety reminders before getting stuck in with the project development. Conscious that second half will rush by, we began by splitting everyone into their project groups and getting them to plan the timeline for the implementation of their projects over the next few weeks. After a week away, it was great to hear everyone getting back into project mode and to see the enthusiasm to have their plans put into action.
For the second half of the session, we enlisted our friends Christine and Margaret from Scope Kenya, and Douglas from Aqua Clara to form an external panel of experts to challenge our PWs. With a strong Kenyan base, but working in primary schools, Scope has a lot of relevant expertise and Christine’s extensive experience in setting up labs and libraries she was perfect for testing the M&E provisions put in place by PWs. Scope’s model has a strong local presence by creating committees of community members which Margaret used to advise on project ownership and community buy-in. With six of our schools already working with Aqua Clara, Douglas was well placed to advise on all things logistical about the practical implementation of the projects and made an excellent sounding board for a realistic plan over the final weeks. Each group rotated through the panel giving them time to speak to each member directly, whilst we ran an informal comms brainstorming session with remaining PWs. Conversations flowed well and the feedback from both sides was testament to how productive the session was. By the end, the atmosphere of enthusiasm and motivated excitement towards the second half was palpable.
Aside from bringing energy to the training and forcing PWs to raise their game in the face of experts, the help of Christine, Margaret and Douglas was an important development in building strong ties to local NGOs. Both Scope and Aqua Clara have a wealth of relevant experience to offer EPAfrica, particularly due to their permanent presence in East Africa and involving them in training helped to strengthen the relationship and their understanding of the EPAfrica model.