Monthly Archives: March 2014

Marasi Primary School Renovations

Many people in the Kasigau Corridor view Marasi Primary School as the symbolic center of Maungu, which is the town nearest to our Wildlife Works REDD+ Kasigau Headquarters. Many of our employees, including the Human Resources Manager, Laurian Lenjo, completed their primary education there.

Unfortunately, a visit to this school, started by parents in 1974, revealed crumbling roofs, peeling paint and door-less classrooms. Students who are fortunate enough to obtain a seat during class must sit at unstable desks that are shared with at least four others, while the remaining children sit on the dusty floor.

One of the renovated classrooms. There are two other blocks that still need renovation

One of the renovated classrooms. There are two other blocks that still need renovation

Several months ago, the school received critical funding through the sale of carbon credits generated through the Wildlife Works Kasigau REDD+ Project. Using these funds, the school was able to renovate four classrooms and will soon be purchasing desks as well.

Laurian Lenjo, the community relations officer at Wildlife Works, Rukinga, addressing wananchi during the official handover of the renovated classrooms at Marasi Primary School

Laurian Lenjo, the community relations officer at Wildlife Works, Rukinga, addressing wananchi during the official handover of the renovated classrooms at Marasi Primary School

The renovation included painting, floor reconstruction, and reroofing among other minor improvements. While this is a colossal step towards bringing the school to acceptable standards of learning, there are still areas of the school in extremely poor condition. Additionally, the classrooms are extremely overcrowded, with each one accommodating 65 children or more.

Mary Mbuga, the head of Marasi Primary School addressing pupils during the handover ceremony

Mary Mbuga, the head of Marasi Primary School addressing pupils during the handover ceremony

The school’s management team, led by Mary Mbuga, is confident that they will continue to benefit from the REDD Project and the sale of carbon credits by furthering improvements on the school infrastructure.

Nick and Gift, two employees who supervised the renovation of the classrooms at Marasi Primary School

Nick and Gift, two employees who supervised the renovation of the classrooms at Marasi Primary School

Mrs. Mbuga envisions a bright future for the school and says that if possible, she would love to establish boarding facilities so that students are no longer required to make the long trek to and from school on a daily basis.

The block of classrooms at the Marasi Primary School before the renovation

The block of classrooms at the Marasi Primary School before the renovation

We are optimistic that the future sale of carbon credits in the Kasigau Corridor will enable Mrs. Mbuga and other community leaders to implement their projects to the fullest. We will continue to remain appreciative of the positive impacts carbon credits are bringing to the Kasigau Corridor communities.

Empowering School Girls in Kasigau Corridor to Remain in School

Lack of sanitary pads is a common concern for girls and women living in poverty-stricken backgrounds in developing nations. In dire circumstances, they are forced to improvise by using rags, tissue, leaves and other unhygienic materials.  This humiliating practice can also lead to serious infections.

Studies and research have also attributed the lack of sanitary towels as the main cause of school absenteeism for countless teenage girls in rural and poverty-stricken areas in Kenya. A recent collaborative study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), The Girl Child Network (GCN) and Human Relations Trust (HRT) shows that one in every ten girls in Africa misses school and eventually drops out altogether due to the shame and stigmatization they face from their peers regarding feminine issues.

Emily Mwawasi, Assistant Community Relations Officer with students from Itinyi Primary School and Marungu Secondary School

Emily Mwawasi, Assistant Community Relations Officer with students from Itinyi Primary School and Marungu Secondary School

In some parts of the Kasigau Corridor, the need for sanitary towels is responsible for increased cases of sexual exploitation and early marriages. Vulnerable young girls can be easily lured into sexual relationships with older men in exchange for money to purchase provisions for basic feminine needs.

In an attempt to solve this pressing issue, Monica Makori, a Wildlife Works employee at our Kasigau REDD+ Project, collaborated with the Community Relations department to empower girls in the community with the knowledge to create reusable and eco-friendly sanitary towels.

Monica Makori shows one of the students how to arrange materials for the eco-friendly sanitary pads

Monica Makori shows one of the students how to arrange materials for the eco-friendly sanitary pads

Monica’s efforts lead to the organization of Girl Child Day.  The event, in which girls from our school and from the neighboring Itinyi Primary School, congregate in the science laboratory at the secondary school for lessons, was meant to impart them with skills on how to make reusable eco-pads from cotton cloths. The eco pads are not only economical but also hygienically safe and may mean the difference between continuing with their schooling and dropping out at an early age.

The pads are made of organic cotton to ensure that they are absorbent enough, as well as soft and easy to clean. In between the cotton flannels lays a strip of polythene that safeguards against any accidental leakages resulting in pads that are functional with the added advantage of affordability.

Students who turned up for the first sanitary towel training at Marungu Secondary School

Students who turned up for the first sanitary towel training at Marungu Secondary School

Apart from learning how to make the reusable eco-pads, the girls were also taught how to treat them hygienically.

“The reusable pads need to be hand-washed in cold salty water or with soap if available, then dried in the sun for a day,” Monica said.

The knowledge obtained by the girls will hopefully go a long way in keeping them in school and from falling prey to sexual exploitation. “With the newly-acquired knowledge we hope that the young ladies will be able to safely keep in school and break the poverty cycle that currently beguiles many households around the Kasigau Corridor,” Emily pointed out.

A student from Itinyi Primary School posing with the sanitary towel that she knit

A student from Itinyi Primary School posing with the sanitary towel that she knit

On behalf of Wildlife Works and the Kasigau Corridor Community, our appreciation is with Monica and the Community Relations Department for organizing the opportunity to eliminate poverty and progress the social welfare of the communities around our project area. Over the coming months we hope to disseminate this knowledge to even more girls and women who will benefit from the team’s efforts.

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORKS?

Protecting + Forests + Wildlife + Community since 1997.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests.