Kenya

Location: Province of Meru, approx 250 km north of Nairobi

Project Partner: Sister Gemma Kathure/Sisters of Nazareth

Women’s Affairs Department
Diocese of Meru, PO Box 16, Meru, Kenya
Tel: + 254 64 20 261
Fax: + 254 64 20 865
Cell phone: + 254 72 231 40 43

Email: merucatholicwa@yahoo.com

Update 2009

Mesics was very active in Meru in 2009. Despite some severe setbacks, partner Sister Gemma was able to realize planned projects and start new ones. Continuing draught not only caused reduced harvests and human suffering, it also stopped building processes: no water, no cement. In May the Generalate / Headquarters of the Congregation Sisters of Nazareth took fire. Fortunately there were no personal losses. But lots of material damage. Last but not least, Sister Gemma lost her beloved father in August. In spite of these emotional circumstances, Sister Gemma realized or started following projects:

  • administration block Ndekero School
  • administration block and extension Nkabune School
  • schoolbus Mfariji Secundary Girls School
  • ablution blocks Mfariji Secundary Girls School
  • first stone St. Mary School Antubetwe
  • first stone Health Clinic Mutuati
  • first stone Ruiri Health Centre
  • goat-raising project for the women’s group of Kariakomo,
  • school fees for 29 individual, underprivileged children, of which 18 girls
  • extension of loans of Micro Credit Fund to more than 250 extra individual women-lenders. No defaults reported yet.
  • reception, putting to work and evaluation of 3 volunteers from Holland:
    • Claire Nolte, November-February ’10
    • Gustaaf Kout, December-January ’10
  • reception of two Dutch retired dentists, in order to investigate possible cooperation. No follow up, as it appeared that Italian dentists are already active in Meru.
  • reception of Lysbeth Land and her family for fundraising action for the St Mary Primary School, Antubetwe.
  • decisions on the building of the new Generalate and the Kinoru Girls Hostel in Meru.
  • systematic follow up of on-going projects, see report of Sister Gemma here under.

Below a 10-minute video impression of the year 2009 on account of the visit in november by a Mesics delegation.

Background

The Sisters of Nazareth have cooperated with Fr. Jan Heine in the promotion of small scale tilapia culture since approx. 1990. Although conditions for tilapia in Meru are not optimal (too high altitude, too big differences in water-temperature), the Sisters of Nazareth were able to have success.

Based on this good experience, Mesics decided in 2001 to enlarge the scope of the cooperation. Upon request of Sister Gemma, various projects in the framework of income-generating, education and water supply have been undertaken.

In most cases, the women’s groups of the Diocese of Meru, animated by the Women’s Affairs Department, are partner in the projects, resp. own the projects. Local contributions are financed by the weekly contributions of each individual member of the group. The local parishes frequently make land available..


Income generating projects

Bakery Prayer House Women, Kionyo

Investment by Mesics: € 35.396,-
Local contribution: € 60.000,-
Capacity: 4000 loaves/day
Production: 2000 loaves/day
Staff: 8 permanent at operation; 6 sales people
Turnover 2005: € 60.706
Profit 2005: € 13.060

Profits are being reinvested (in working capital and assets) and partly distributed as dividends for the members of the Prayer House Women

St Theresa Oilpress, Meru

Investment by Mesics: € 3.500
Local contribution: € 1.000

The press processes sunflower seeds produced by the members of the St Theresa Women’s group and also by others. So far no details about turnover and dividends, as the project started only recemtly.

St Stephen Rental Equipment, Meru

Investment by Mesics: € 3.500,-
Local contribution: € 1.000,-

The equipment consists of chairs, tables, tents and other necessities for gatherings and banquets. Especially birthdays, jubilees, weddings, funerals, national holidays are catered for. Details about turnover, etc. are not yet available.

Posho Mill St Lucy, Kianthumbi

Investment by Mesics: € 30.000,-
Local contribution: € 10.000,-

 

The mill processes produce mainly produced by members of the group, but also for third parties. Details about turnover, etc. are not yet available.

 

Posho Mill Women’s Group, Kanyakine

Investment by Mesics: € 8.500,-
Local contribution: € 2.000,-
Details about turnover etc. not yet available.

Filling station, Men’s Group Mutuati

In various aspects this is a pilot project: upon specific request of Father Mathew Khaimeiny, the Parish Priest of Mutuati, and after recommendation of Sister Gemma, Mesics decided to fund this first project with a men’s group.

At the same time it was agreed that the financing by Mesics would be realized on the basis of a loan. Contracting partners are the Men’s group, the Diocese of Meru and Mesics.

Interest 2% per year; pay back period: 36 months after start of operations, expected late 2006/early 2007. Administration is done by the Diocese of Meru/Father Mathew. The proceeds of the loan are to be reserved at bank in Meru, and can act as a revolving fund for new projects.

Investment by Mesics: € 30.000,-
Local contribution: € 5.000,-


Education

Kaungu Primary School – Mwanika

Investment by Mesics: € 47.000,-
Local contribution: € 15.000,-
Capacity: 400 non-boarding children

 

Mfariji Secondary Girls School – Mutuati

Investment by Mesics: € 40.000,-
Local contribution: € 50.000,-
Capacity: 200 boarding girls

St Albert Primary School – Riiji

Investment by Mesics: € 40.000,-
Local contribution: € 10.000,-
Capacity: 400 non-boarding children

Ndekero Primary School

Investment by Mesics: € 30.000,-
Local contribution: € 20.000,-
Capacity: 200 non-boarding children

Nkabune Primary School

Investment by Mesics: € 8.000,-
Local contribution: € 10.000,-
Capacity: 200 non-boarding children


School-fees

Upon specific recommendation of Sister Gemma, Mesics sponsors school-fees for special individual cases. Also upon recommendation of Sister Gemma, Mesics facilitates “adopting” of pupils by European families, whereby long-term relations between pupil and family can develop.

Water supply

The region east of the provincial capital Meru is deprived of natural water supply. As a result of geological conditions, all surface and sub-surface waters flow from Mount Kenya southward, direction Nairobi. Especially the Tuuru Valley suffers from this lack of water. When in 1968 the Diocese of Meru started a school for disabled children in Laare in the Tuuru Valley, the supply of water for the school was a major problem.

The Diocese received a concession of the Government in the mountainous Nyambene Rain Forest to source water. Assisted by Italian engineers and funded by Miseror (Germany) a system was developed to collect water in dams, and transport the water by gravity to the Tuuru Valley. The system appeared to be so successful, that not only the school for disabled children could be supplied, but also parts of the Tuuru Valley. Thus the Tuuru Water Scheme was founded and registered as an official Water Company in 1984.

Mesics has co-funded in 2005 (€ 32.000,-) a major extension in the piping-network, total value € 250.000,-. Other donors were Manos Unidos (Spain) and the community of Ancona (Italy).

The next planned extension consists of building a 4th dam, doubling the actual capacity. Necessary investments approx € 1.000.000,-; execution planned for 2007. Extending the pipeline in the valley is considered as priority, as well as fencing the entire concession in the Nyambene Rain Forest. Supporting the management team of TWS could also be a possible contribution of Mesics.

The Tuuru Water Scheme is a unique project in its sort, whereby water supply, transfer of technical know-how and rain-forest preservation constitute a unique and harmonious balance of development, economy and ecology.

In spite of the success of Tuuru Water Scheme, not all villages/families have easy access to the distribution-points (water kiosks). To enable some of these families to collect rain-water, Mesics has sponsored an action in 2004 of the Diocese of Meru to buy approx 100 water tanks.

Investment by Mesics: € 10.000,-

Local contribution: € 1.000,-

AIDS/HIV/Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

In 2005, after recommendation of Sister Gemma, Mesics has donated € 2.500,- to the activities of the Nairobi-based journalist Francis Muroki in the framework of his voluntary work to create AIDS/HIV awareness in rural villages.

In 2006, Mesics agreed to sponsor a 3 years program of Sister Gemma to execute an AIDS/HIV/FGM awareness program among the women’s groups of the Diocese of Meru. Investment of Mesics: € 40.000,-

Local contribution: € 7.000,-


Specials

Emergency Food Relief

After a special appeal of Sister Gemma, Mesics agreed in March 2006 to sponsor an emergency food relief program necessary after subsequent periods of great droughts. The project was executed in the province of Meru by the Diocese of Meru under management of Sister Gemma.

Investment by Mesics: € 40.718,-
Local contribution: € 7.000,-

Training Programs of Women’s Groups

Sometimes, upon request of Sister Gemma, Mesics supports training-programs organized by the Women’s Affairs Department.

Investment by Mesics: ca € 4.000,-

Local contribution: a multiple

Administration Support

Incidentally Mesics has agreed to support the office of the Women’s Affairs Department.

Investment by Mesics: € 2.000,-

Local contribution: a multiple


Volunteers/students

Over the past 8 years, 8 students from Holland and 1 from Germany worked through Mesics at the various projects of the Diocese of Meru.

The students mainly helped at the schools/orphanage, but also at the Tuuru Water Scheme. As a general rule, the student pays the international travel expenses themselves, and offers a contribution to the local travel- and boarding expenses.

Visits to Europe

Given the relatively important commitments of Mesics in Meru, Mesics sometimes sponsors the visit of a representative of the Diocese of Meru to Europe. So far Sister Gemma has visited Europe twice and Father Mathew once.

Investment by Mesics: ca € 2.000,-
Local contribution: ca € 2.000,-

Reporting