NPCA staff member Molly Mattessich, manager of our Peace Corps Connect website and Africa Rural Connect Project, recently traveled to Kenya to present the $20,000 Africa Rural Connect grand prize to Jacky Foo and to make a presentation on Africa Rural Connect at Africa Gathering, a conference which brings together people interested in technology and development in Africa. You can read earlier blog posts about her visit to the Peace Corps Kenya office here, the ARC press conference here.
First, there was the singing. We could see the women dressed all in matching outfits dancing down the road, and Ernesto asked me from the car, “Is this for us?” Indeed, we were greeted by a great company of women impacted by the Africa Rural Connect project prize. We stepped out of the car and enthusiastically said hello to the women, who in their own language showed us that they were very very happy to see us.
So began our day in Nanyuki, Kenya, where we had the opportunity to visit the project site of the first prize winner of the Third Round. Upon arriving at the school, we were greeted by Macheru Karuku and the school's Principal who gave us a tour of the Gakawa secondary school and told us some of the background of the project.
Then, we watched a bike show given by all of the school kids who had received bikes from One Dollar for Life. Macheru gave us a tour of the garden project that they had built with the ARC prize money in cooperation with Seanet Organization, and described how before the award, there had been no community garden on the hill. Now, kale and spinach were growing well despite it not being the rainy season due to the irrigation water jug and system set up to water the plants when they needed it. We learned how the project was initiated and why it was important to this community, and how they planned to expand it.
During a short ceremony during which we heard moving speeches from the administrators of the project and the school, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the project. What an honor!
This project was a wonderful example of Africa Rural Connect in action – we hope to stay in touch with those people that we met in Nanyuki and also take time to follow up with and meet others who have posted ideas on the Africa Rural Connect website. We encourage you to keep posting ideas so that everyone can continue making connections across continents to share ideas about what’s working for rural agricultural communities in Africa.
Molly Mattessich, ARC Project Manager, visited the Gakawa Secondary School site in Kenya with Ernesto Gluecksmann, an ARC web developer from Infamia, on December 19, 2009.