Week 1 and 2 in Kisii Update!


The Project Workers have now been in their schools for two weeks, having waved goodbye to us at the Headteachers Conference on the 6th July and headed off for their villages – and what an action-packed two weeks its been!Having settled in with their various host families or at their accommodation over the first weekend, many of them attending a very long and loud Church service in the village on the first Sunday, the PWs very rapidly became accustomed to Kenyan cooking, Kenyan greeting, packed matatu rides, and general Kenyan culture. Of course, going to the schools on the Monday was the highlight, and the Project Workers got really stuck in, sitting in on lots of lessons to see how Kenyan schools work, getting to know all the students and teachers, and, always a lot of fun, playing sports with the students in their games slots. Getting used to using long drops, bucket showers, and the inevitable bug infestations was an experience for some, but as we went round doing our pastoral visits to all the project pairs, we were very pleased to see how well they were coping, and loving their new surroundings!

The Summer Team had a busy week, even without the PWs in the house (which did seem suddenly very quiet and roomy without the 21 Project Workers!). Finally managing to get the Kisii map printed (woo, thank you so much google maps for plotting all Kisii schools!) was such a high point (thank you Bobby for spending hours trying to get it printed big enough to go on the wall!!) and meant that we could now really cleverly plan our school visits knowing exactly which schools were near each other. We knew that having 2 first year schools this year, and 9 second year schools meant that we would probably have to find a fair few schools for the following year, but as the week went on and we heard more from the PWs, we soon guessed that we may actually have 9 to find, as most of the second year schools were, after the investment of this year’s hardworking PWs, not going to need a third year! The Coordinators picked up the school selection technique really quickly, and over the past two weeks, we’ve now completed all the pastoral visits, and also 18 new school visits, with many potential KEP schools, which is so rewarding! There are so many variables in choosing a good KEP school though, so we’re going to have hard choices to make…as we realised when we even tried to make a priority list of all the schools we’ve been to in the last two weeks! Big discussions will certainly ensue…!

The Summer Team also had a big job to do preparing lots of procedural documents that in the past we have existed without – especially regarding admission to local hospitals, evacuation procedures, and advice to be given to the PWs regarding holiday week and travel within Kenya to avoid unnecessary risk.

Coming back on the first weekend, it was so lovely to see all the Project Workers reunited again in the house, sharing stories and experiences (some which inevitably were T.I.A,, and some which were more sawa sawa and quite ok!) and enjoying being back together once again. A night in the Kisii house on the Friday eating guacamole sandwiches, was followed by a weekend researching prices and writing up inventories, and also meeting with the Summer Team to discuss how their first week had gone. It was great to see how much they had found out about all the different aspects of the school, from the physical resources, to the accounts, to the future plans of the headteacher, the PTA and the BOG. They all had great plans of how they thought they might be going to spend their money, but were sensibly ensuring they’d had consultations with all the teachers, management staff, students and PTA/BOG chairmen. Working in partnership with the school, ensuring what they spent their money on would be sustainably continued after they left, was going to take the first two weeks, so we were encouraging them not to dive in head first, but to bring their plans to the Second Week Meeting the following Friday, wherein they could have a thorough discussion with all the Project Workers together and then start implementing the week after.

We’ve had a few illneses along the way, Becky catching malaria and having a bad case of blood poisoning too, and some of the PWs suffering with dodgy stomachs, a few fevers, and some concerning allergic responses too. However, the Summer Team responded amazingly, and it was really pleasing to know that our procedures for dealing with illness and emergencies were spot on. As we’re expanding, all these institutionalised procedures obviously become more and more important.


The Second Week meeting on Friday was a real high point, wherein all the Project Workers returned to discuss the big issues that they were facing in their schools, and think about solutions. They presented their schools and their plans to the group, and lots of ideas about bet practice and things to avoid very helpfully came up. It also got the Project Workers thinking about broader KEP strategy, which was great to see, as they were inspiring us with their ideas!They also handed in their LTP24 application forms, applying for the central pot of money raised by Tom Bishop and his friends, which will be used for supplying electricity or water tanks, in hopefully 7-9 of the schools, depending on how much each one needs – we are deciding which schools will be recipient this evening, based on their neediness, their need of the electricity of the water, and the usages they will put it to. We will keep you posted on this front, as this is a very fast moving and exciting project that will be implemented in our schools as an extra grant of money, by the end of the summer, and will obviously make a huge difference to so many students!

Enjoying a much needed day of relaxation, many of the PWs spent the weekend in the tea plantations in Kericho, and are arriving back  to return to their schools for today. It’s very exciting – it’s time to start the implementation of their plans now, and they all know they have a lot of work ahead of them, but are very much looking forward to getting stuck in! As the Summer Team, we’re really keen to see them succeed, and also to continue our hunt to find next year’s schools. The next two weeks, until the Kisii schools break for a holiday, will certainly be busy, but should be a lot of fun!

Jenny Jones, Project Manager, Kisii First Half