Posted by Heather Campana on Aug 08, 2019
Port Orchard Rotarian Bob Cairns introduced Naomi Miundi, from Kenya who is with Hifadhi Africa (https://hifadhiafrica.org/).  The Hifadhi Africa is a Kenyan based non-profit organization established as a development, advocacy and youth empowerment organization working to transform lives -providing innovative education support and mentorship and equip communities with the knowledge and skills required to address multiple complex challenges they face.
 
Naomi is visiting the United States because she was named a Mandela Washington Fellow for 2019. The prestigious Fellowship involves academic and leadership training for young men and women who possess leadership potentials in their field and within their community. Naomi’s field is civic leadership, and what a perfect fit for this bright young woman. The three components of the Mandela Washington Fellowship are University placement, summit, and life-long membership of YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Naomi’s University placement was Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
 
Naomi spoke primarily of a region called East Pokot, which has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world, at 96%; where more than 60% of children never attend school in their lifetime. Without access to education, they cannot build their futures and transform their communities.  They are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms and practices like cattle rustling, theft, drug abuse, prostitution, and forced recruitment into inter-community conflicts. Factors that hinder East Pokot children from going to school include: poverty and drought, non-existent parental education background, migration and pastoral lifestyle, and a lack of family income. She spoke about each of these challenges in depth, and how HAO has developed solutions. Their programs include:
 
  • Education - Scholarships, e-learning systems, institutional capacity building, construction of a library, and distribution of sanitary napkins for young ladies.
  • Water & Sanitation - Construction of sand dams, rainwater harvesting systems, storage water tanks and water purification system.
  • Livelihood - introducing integrated irrigation farming project, adopt-an-animal project, distribution of relief food
Port Orchard Rotary has funded projects for each of these programs - including a one-time donation to East Pokot of $5,000! Rotary is making a difference near and far!