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OUR STORY

Whilst Kenya is among one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, it’s social and economic inequalities are growing at the same rate. 42% of it’s 44 million population live below the World Health Organization (WHO) extreme poverty line of $1.25/day. The majority of the poor population live in rural areas that lack basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water. The lack of infrastructure impacts the communities ability to break out of the cycle of poverty. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 40 billion work hours are lost walking for water in Africa alone. In order for the cycle of poverty to be broken and communities to flourish we must start with water, the building block for life. Water means health, education, food, and economic growth.

Ekenywa believes children are the key to unlocking poverty in any community, often the most forgotten piece yet they carry the most workload and are the most resilient.

Access to clean drinking water means better growth, decreased incidence of water bourne diseases, and more time in school learning. The impact and demands of poverty are multi-faceted. Providing access to water alone is not enough. Children must be taught proper hygiene practices to reduce the spread of disease and given the sanitation facilities like handwashing stations and latrines. Children cannot learn on an empty stomach, incorporating feeding programs is paramount to their health and education. Currently graduation rates from primary schools are very low due to many factors including: leaving school to work at a young age, lack of school fees, poor test results secondary to lack of nutrition, water bourne parasites, and inadequate time to study. Our educational programs focus on access to education through scholarship funds, health education, and creative arts programs. Our goal is to have thriving primary schools that are the foundation for the community and a place where children find hope in the midst of an otherwise bleak future. We work with primary schools that often lack the most resources. Our goal is to support and help build the capacity of the schools for a lasting impact. We believe sustainability is key when tackling the demands of poverty in any community.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for today but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

Whilst Kenya is among one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, it’s social and economic inequalities are growing at the same rate. 42% of it’s 44 million population live below the World Health Organization (WHO) extreme poverty line of $1.25/day. The majority of the poor population live in rural areas that lack basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water. The lack of infrastructure impacts the communities ability to break out of the cycle of poverty. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 40 billion work hours are lost walking for water in Africa alone. In order for the cycle of poverty to be broken and communities to flourish we must start with water, the building block for life. Water means health, education, food, and economic growth.

Ekenywa believes children are the key to unlocking poverty in any community, often the most forgotten piece yet they carry the most workload and are the most resilient.

Access to clean drinking water means better growth, decreased incidence of water bourne diseases, and more time in school learning. The impact and demands of poverty are multi-faceted. Providing access to water alone is not enough. Children must be taught proper hygiene practices to reduce the spread of disease and given the sanitation facilities like handwashing stations and latrines. Children cannot learn on an empty stomach, incorporating feeding programs is paramount to their health and education. Currently graduation rates from primary schools are very low due to many factors including: leaving school to work at a young age, lack of school fees, poor test results secondary to lack of nutrition, water bourne parasites, and inadequate time to study. Our educational programs focus on access to education through scholarship funds, health education, and creative arts programs. Our goal is to have thriving primary schools that are the foundation for the community and a place where children find hope in the midst of an otherwise bleak future. We work with primary schools that often lack the most resources. Our goal is to support and help build the capacity of the schools for a lasting impact. We believe sustainability is key when tackling the demands of poverty in any community.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for today but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

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Nestled deep in the mountains of the Kenyan Rift Valley lies a Christian boarding school where deep friendships are forged and classmates become family. High school can be a time of discovering who you are and while there are many moving parts to becoming a successful graduate the one constant that remained was a friendship of two girls that grew to be sisters.

 

As part of their story the drive and compassion to help others was a core value they shared. Although they stayed up late chatting about all the usual high school drama they could be found volunteering at the local mission hospital on Sunday where they were able to provide care and compassion to burn victims that often had no money, resources, or family with them at the hospital. It was one particularly cold and rainy night in the rift valley when Ashley and Elsie were in their room (supposed to be sleeping) and they talked of all the children they saw without shoes, tattered uniforms, and the lack of opportunity to ever get out of poverty. They vowed one day they would do something to change that. 14 years later, two successful careers in energy and healthcare, they have returned to Kenya and co-founded Ekenywa. Their way of being part of a collective impact movement to break the cycle of poverty through innovative programs that address the multi-faceted needs of poverty in rural primary schools.

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