Rotary Alternative Christmas Kenya Project

Welcome to the Rotary Alternative Christmas project list for Kenya!  For the past 8 years the Wooster Club has partnered with the Maragoli Community Development Foundation (MACODEF) to provide support for water projects and other rural development initiatives in Vigetse and Vigina Villages in the Western Province of Kenya.  Over this time period, nearly a dozen Rotarians or their spouses have participated in trips to the Maragoli region with College of Wooster students to learn firsthand about grassroots development in one of the most impoverished regions of Kenya.  The following list of gifts has been drawn up by the MACODEF local board of governors based on the stated needs of community members.  In all cases, recipients of gifts will contribute 10% of their own funds in order to provide a sense of ownership of the project.  Thank you very much for considering this alternative way of sharing the Christmas spirit.
If you are interested in making a donation, please send a check payable to the Wooster Rotary Foundation to Treasurer Greg Long, PO Box 58, Wooster, OH 44691  or present it to Tim Swift at the Monday meeting.

School uniform for AIDS orphan: $15
AIDS orphans make up about 10% of the school population in rural Maragoli, but they often have great difficulty paying for a school uniform. These uniforms are made by a local seamstress, providing employment in an area where the jobless rate is over 50%.

Traditional clay water pot with spout on bottom: $20
In Maragoli, drinking water is traditionally stored in clay pots, yet one dirty hand scooping water from the top of the pot can easily contaminate the entire family’s water supply. This modified pot with a spout at the bottom solves the problem.

Solar lamp: $20
Because the Maragoli region is located on the equator, darkness comes regularly at 7 pm. This means students have to do their homework by the light of a paraffin lamp, which is expensive, or by using a special candle, which is smoky and creates a fire hazard. This solar lamp can be charged in the sun during the day and gives off clean, free light at night.

Sturdy wheelbarrow and hoe: $35
Subsistence agriculture is very important for most Maragoli families, who grow maize,  beans and other vegetables for daily use on small plots of an acre or less.  A good wheelbarrow and hoe can make all the difference during the two growing seasons.  

Solar cook-kit and fireless cooker: $40
Most homes in Maragoli have a separate hut where food is cooked over an open fire, yet meal preparation is plagued by firewood shortages and smoke inhalation.  This solar cook-kit can be used for up to 10 different local specialties when the sun is shining, and the food continues cooking when it is transferred to an insulated basket.

Micro-loan for a goat: $40
Goats are an important source of milk and meat in Maragoli, and young boys are often given the important responsibility of tending the family’s goats. The gift of a goat is one that “keeps on giving,” as a goat will have many kids over its lifetime.

Rainwater harvest system: $100
Community springs do exist in Maragoli, but they are located in steep valleys and can be up to a half mile away from a family’s home. Getting enough water for a day’s worth of cooking, drinking, washing and bathing might require up to 10 trips by young girls or women. This rainwater harvest system, which includes a 1000-liter tank plus gutters and installation, can provide up to two-thirds of a family’s water needs during the long and short rainy seasons.  

Micro-loan for a cow: $190
Cattle served as a traditional form of currency in Maragoli, and they remain a prized possession today. One cow can supply a family’s entire milk needs. This gift includes veterinary and artificial insemination services.

New latrine: $250
A major cause of illness and even death in young children in Maragoli is E.coli, which gets in water contaminated by human or animal waste.  With no running water, many houses have makeshift latrines—mere holes in the ground surrounding by rocks—that are very difficult to keep clean.  These new latrines have a cement floor and ventilation, and an adjoining area for bathing. 

Four-year scholarship for a secondary school student: $500
Only about two-thirds of primary school students in Kenya can afford to continue their studies after 8th grade because school fees are required for grades 9-12.  This gift provides the lion’s share of school fees for a student from a background of extreme poverty to attend Vigina Secondary School for four years.