The “R” in the LRC!

Resource: to provide (a person or organization) with materials, money, staff, and other assets necessary for effective operation

Kenya Connect’s Learning Resource Center (LRC) has become the hub of enrichment activity in Wamunyu for the students and teachers at 44 primary and 11 secondary schools and has provided material and enrichment resources for the community and beyond.

During this past year, most of the primary schools in Kenya received computer tablets from the Kenyan government. Although this was a positive step for rural schools that lack even the most basic school supplies, it was implemented with mixed results since most of the teachers were not comfortable or trained on how to use the technology. When visiting the schools, the Kenya Connect team saw tablets locked in cabinets. When inquiring about the tablets, many of the teachers reluctantly replied they were not comfortable using the technology.

As a result, the Kenya Connect staff researched and found a master teacher on the tablets technology. The master teacher has worked hand in hand with our technology specialist Patrick Munguti to develop a three-days training session to help teachers in Wamunyu to effectively use the tablets.. Kenya Connect has also reached out to partner teachers in six other primary schools in Kyaithani Cluster in Kitui county to offer joint training on the new technology along with KC teachers. The master teacher and Patrick will jointly conduct 6 training sessions. Kenya Connect has been partnering with Kyaithani as a result of our partnership with the Sunshine coast-Sechelt Rotary Club of British Columbia Canada.

We are very pleased to announce that the Sunshine Coast-Sechelt Rotary Club’s grant proposal was funded by The Rotary Foundation for $14,800 to provide training for 216 teachers from both Wamunyu and Kyaithani cluster on how to effectively use the technology as well as to provide Rachael plus devices and additional educational content to 6 primary schools. The grant will also fund two projectors in two secondary schools. This dynamic training will begin in January and continue through June, 2018. One of the goals of the training is to have at least 4 teachers from each school successfully learn how to use the technology in order to share it with other teachers in their community.

As we prepare for 2018, Kenya Connect continues to look at creative and innovative ways to be a RESOURCE for teachers and students in rural Kenya. Launching our teacher tablet training will be an exciting way to commence the new academic year.

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Will You Support a Super Hero? #GivingTuesday

It’s that wonderful time of the year filled with Giving!  One special way to give this season is to make a donation that supports our Super Hero students in Kenya.  Did you know that most of our students are children of subsistence farmers, wood carvers or basket weavers?  Staying in school and achieving is very challenging for these children and they overcome many odds to learn.  You can help make the difference in the life of students like Helen.  She is the third daughter of a wood carver and farmer and dreams of being a nurse.  Thanks to past donations, Helen learned how to use a computer at the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center and used computer assisted design and a 3D printer to make a small solar flashlight.  Participating in deworming, hand washing and our other health initiatives has also helped keep Helen healthy and in school.

We invite you to make a donation on #GivingTuesday, November 28 or through the month of December.  You can make a donation  HERE or on Global Giving and if you do a recurring gift on Global Giving, your gift will be matched!  We also have a special deworming fundraiser occurring thanks to Johnson and Johnson’s Caring Crowd program.  Each of those donations will be matched 100% so if you make a $50 gift it is worth $100 to KC!

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Calling All Educators: Looking for an Adventure?

Kenya Connect is offering our third Volunteer and Travel Opportunity for Educators at our Learning Resource Center in Wamunyu. The trip, designed to provide teachers a rich cultural experience in rural Kenya, is being offered in June 2018. Kenya Connect Board Member and retired teacher, Laura Carter, will lead the trip in conjunction with the Kenya Connect staff in Wamunyu. Participants will have the opportunity to teach in Kenya Connect partner schools and assist in a professional development workshop for Wamunyu teachers. Participants will also visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center and visit the Tuesday Wamunyu Market, The Woodcarvers coop and a homestead. For more information contact Sharon Runge, Executive Director.

teacherbrochure       KC General Trip Application

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Kenya Connect 5K: Running for Education on Two Continents

It was a glorious day for the 3rd annual Kenya Connect 5K in Wamunyu. Running on the red earth roads through the market and up into the hills of Wamunyu, over 200 students, teachers, and community members ran the 5k race on a beautiful sunny day. A celebration of education, this event recognized Kenya Connect programs and the top runners received backpacks, books, and prizes from SunKing . In addition six students were awarded for their prize winning essays and poems in honor of Global Hand Washing Day.

The next Kenya Connect 5K: Running on Two Continents will be held on Saturday, March 24 in Ellicott City, Maryland. Details will be posted in January, but save the date.

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Wings Poa: KC’s Reusable Sanitary Pad Program! See the Vid!

Wings Poa, Kenya Connect’s Reusable Sanitary Pad program, is helping girls stay in school during their menstruation.  We learned through surveying girls at two or our participating schools that 85% of the girls missed 3-4 days of school each month.  After using the kits for 3 months, we learned that only 5% of the girls were missing school when they had their periods.  We are thrilled with these initial results and are continuing to distribute more kits.  We will continue to provide updates on this exciting program, but in the meantime, we invite you to watch a video to learn more about the Wings Poa kits!

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Our Hands, Our Future: #GlobalHandwashingDay

Students in Wamunyu were invited to write and essay or a poem to celebrate Global Hand Washing Day 2017!  One of the six winners, Mercy, wrote the following Poem.

Washing My Hands

All through the day
Killing those nasty germs
Pushing them away
Clean hands saves lives
Our hands, our future 

Before we eat and after
Wash our hands each time
Your hands are clean
And mine
Our hands, Our future

Washing off my hands
Never seems to cease
Whenever I do anything
I have to wash them at least
Clean hands saves lives
Our hands, Our future

After visiting the toilet
Wash hands to cure away germs
To keep our body healthy
And free from disorders like cholera
Our hands, Our future

Washing, Washing
After working in the mud
I have to wash them with laundry soap
To be free from intestinal worms
Clean hands saves lives

Our hands, Our future!

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Pan-African Awards Shortlist!!

We are thrilled to announce that Kenya Connect has been shortlisted for the Pan-African  Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education by the Teach a Man to Fish Foundation.  480 grant applications were submitted and Kenya Connect was selected for the top 50.  The selection of the TOP 10 will happen in the next couple of weeks.  We are honored to be among such wonderful organizations!

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Is there an Impact?

It’s 9:30 am and I am squished between my mom and the window, seated in seats designed for skinny eighth graders. We just left Kenya Connect’s Learning Resource Center and are headed to the primary school we are working at today. The trip takes us out 45 min. from the small village of Wamunyu into increasingly remote areas. With the bumpy rhythm of the drive, my mind starts to mull over the question that had plagued me ever since I had committed to this trip four months earlier: is my traveling to Kenya to teach primary school classes each day (me, an engineering student who has zero experience with teaching) the most impactful way to use the money I’m spending or should I have instead donated it directly to the cause – to help pay for secondary school for several students, for example?

As we journey down the rutted road, with dust spraying up from the tires, we see two older men who are straining to pull some rocks out of a hole. When we pass by, their faces light up and they wave enthusiastically.   Ten minutes later, we pull into the school, and a crowd of 150 singing and dancing kids forms behind the bus to welcome us. As we get out of the bus to join them, they inevitably draw my attention to the slogan painted in white on the back of the bus: Wonderful things happen when kids connect.

Each day at a primary school had a different moment of connection for me. There was the hospitality I felt to be welcomed as one of the Kamba tribe at a ceremony at the first school where they named us in Kikamba. Mine is Mutiso, meaning, “Boy born under the moon.” The joy of silliness we all experienced when the school children released delighted giggles as we taught them the “Go Bananas” song. Watch the inquisitive faces of the older girls as they watched the demonstration of the reusable sanitary pads. And it was fun to watch the struggles of each student team as they tried to navigate the river of lava their floor had suddenly turned into without leaving any teammate behind in our team building exercise.

On our last Saturday, the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center was bustling with activity from a group of teachers and two groups of secondary school students, one from The School Fund (TSF) and the second from the US Embassy Access Grant program. I worked specifically with the Access students where we hosted a series of presidential debates with the goal of improving public speaking skills. It was clear that the extra LRC classes, the exposure to computer resources (the LRC is the only facility with accessible computers in a 100 mile radius), and the field trips to Nairobi, Kenyan universities, and the US Embassy had connected these two student groups to a world of possibilities. Their hope and potential was infectious. Each had their own dream; a profession they wanted to pursue with their education, whether that was politics or architecture, and they would fit right into any high achieving group of students in a US school.

Over the duration of the trip, as I kept pondering my impact question, I came to a couple of conclusions. First, I realized I had experienced firsthand the role of education in providing ambition and optimism within a community. Second, I realized how much I, and my view of the world, had changed because of my connection with these people in Kenya. Between my personal growth – my expanded horizons, and my increased ability to place poverty and NGO work in context – and the work I did through and with Kenya connect in the community of Wamunyu, I came away secure in the knowledge that the trip was well worth the investment. Wonderful things happen when kids connect.

Evan Schlick recently graduated from Dartmouth College. He traveled with Kenya Connect in June 2017

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KC15! Gala Info and Tickets


Special guests include:

  • Mr. James Musyoka of Wamunyu, Kenya- Cofounder, Director of Operations and Field Director of Kenya Connect
  • Mr. Tim Gregory, Washington DC- Cofounder and founding Executive Director
  • His Excellency Robinson Njeru Githae, Kenya Ambassador to the United States
  • Mr Exaudi John of Arusha, Tanzania – Owner/Operator of Allure African Safari


    Delicious cocktail fare will be provided by Swahili Village Bar & Grill.
    Beer, wine and soft drinks will be provided.
    Entertainment throughout the evening will include music, the NaZu and Company Dance Troupe, and bidding fun on many great items in our silent and live auctions.


    Come help us celebrate 15 years of Kenya Connect’s dynamic work in rural Kenya!
    All proceeds will go directly to supporting Kenya Connect in their work to empower and engage students and teachers in rural Kenya to succeed in the 21st Century!


    If you prefer to purchase KC15! tickets using a check, please make it out to Kenya Connect and mail to:

    Kenya Connect
    6030 Marshalee Drive, Suite 204
    Elkridge, MD 21075


    Please include the following information along with your payment:

    1. Name(s)
    2. Number of tickets
    3. If your are interested in an upper level ticket, please specify which level and recognition information.
    4. Your email or contact information.


    KC15! Ticket Options
    Click on Register to purchase tickets online

    $1000 – Super Supporter Patron
    8 Gala Tickets, Recognition & $200 is Tax Deductible

    $500 – Gold Patron
    4 Gala Tickets, Recognition & $100 is Tax Deductible

    $250 – Silver Patron
    2 Gala Tickets, Recognition & $50 is Tax Deductible

    $100 – Patron
    1 Gala Ticket, Recognition & $25 is Tax Deductible

    $50 – Individual
    1 Gala Ticket & $25 is Tax Deductible

    $50 – BOGO Ticket
    2 Gala Tickets for Young Adults and Teacher Partners



    Thank you to our KC15! Sponsors…

  • K & L Gates
  • Matt Bowman & Sarah Converse
  • Cindy & Chris Dyer
  • DG Custom Designs – A special thank you for the KC15! Gala invitation design
  • Swahili Village Bar & Grille, Delicious and authentic Kenyan Food in Beltsville, MD
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    Hand Washing Stations + Liquid Soap + School Buy-in = Healthier Kids

    By James Musyoka, Co-Founder, Field Director and Director of Operations

    While it’s a significant achievement to leverage local innovation to create and install efficient hand washing stations at schools in rural Kenya, it’s another to keep them all in use. Over the last five years, Kenya Connect has installed hand washing stations at all of our partner schools: 44 primary and 11 secondary, and at our Learning Resource Center in Wamunyu. Promoting hand washing is one of several efforts to keep students healthy and in school.

    The sturdy hand washing stations are handcrafted by local metal workers in Wamunyu and funded by Kenya Connect donors. Each school also receives a one-month allotment of soap supplies as well as training about effective hand washing techniques. Kenya Connect volunteers even composed a song, “If You’re Healthy and You Know it, Wash Your Hands!”, to engage the students. Partnering with the Henry the Hand Foundation, Kenya Connect has painted colorful murals on water tanks and stations to encourage students to wash their hands after using the toilet, before preparing food and eating, and after petting animals.’’




    As the hand washing program has progressed, we discovered that a number of stations were not fully operational due to the lack of soap. After conducting extensive research and conferring with local public health professionals, Kenya Connect initiated a sustainable liquid soap project to address this issue. Thanks to a crowdfunding program through Johnson & Johnson’s CaringCrowd platform, 40 of our partner schools have successfully launched a school-based liquid soap-making project, with the remainder expected to come on board in May.

    Justina Pereira, an education officer and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) professional in Kitui County, met with students, teachers, and parents to instruct them on why and how to make liquid soap. Over the course of four days, school communities were trained and equipped with skills to manage a sustainable soap-making project. Justina brought a holistic approach to the project, focusing on all aspects of hygiene, including promoting the national initiative to make Kenya “Open Defecation Free by 2020”. After the training, each school forms a health club including parents, teachers, and students to spearhead the soap making and hygiene promotion. Thanks to the Johnson & Johnson CaringCrowd platform, we were able to provide every participating school with the ingredients for their first batch of soap. Since the materials for making the soap, including ungarol, ufacid, industrial salt, caustic soda, carbon methyl oxide, perfume, and color, are not found in the local market, Kenya Connect has committed to making them available at the Learning Resource Center at cost, 600 ksh to make 30 liters of liquid soap.




    Liquid soap is a multi- purpose, affordable product that everyone needs. Community and school based Health Clubs promote the cause in the school and at home. Soap making takes place under teacher supervision and may be integrated with topics in science, math, social studies, and literacy. Soap sales promote good hygiene, increase school attendance, and provide an elegant self-sustaining solution to a critical issue in our rural community. To ensure close follow-ups with the schools, the health club patrons formed a social media group in WhatsApp. Since the day the group was set up, the flat-form has been abuzz with posts from teachers on soap making as well as other hygiene promotion activities at their schools.

    “I have never, trained such a wonderful group before! It’s awesome, amazing and so thrilling to see how they have passionately embraced the concept” Whenever I see all their posts on Watsapp, it gives me more energy and enthusiasm to train more and more groups!”
    (Justina Pereira)

    As the workshops were being conducted, many teachers felt that to have the program fully operational and flourishing, that the School Headmasters needed to be involved. A month later, we invited head teachers to a special meeting to explain the program, the importance of hand washing and how they could support it. At the end of the meeting all 33 participating Headmasters indicated they were ready to support the program.



    Teacher Josephine from Kambiti Primary School had this to say about the soap project

    …”Soap making has helped us at Kambiti primary School very much. We make some money to buy soap materials. Children are washing hands, uniforms, utensils and even classrooms. They feel very good! The whole community is appreciating the soap making project so much and their general health has improved. “

    Another teacher Catherine Munywoki reported as follows:

    …”What a wonderful and inspiring project the soap making initiative is! Kithiiani primary school is never the same again. Pupils, teachers and the community at large have become dirt-free. We are using the soap to wash our hands after visiting the latrines, and before eating. We also use the soap to clean classrooms, offices and even our clothes. Kithiiani fraternity of free from germs and diseases. That is great!”

    As with all of our programs, the feedback we receive from our school and community partners are instrumental in helping us to fully realize results.
    This is what Matheka Wambua; a standard 7 student at Kambiti PS) had to say on the project.

    …”The soap-making project has helped our school by selling it to make money to more materials for making soap making soap. I am now able to wash my hands after visiting the toilets and before eating. I am using the soap to wash my school uniform and utensils at home”

    We will continue to monitor to see how keeping our students healthy and in school translates into academic success.

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