Kenya: Community Development Projects

SVQF’s community development projects in the Narok County of Kenya’s Masai Mara take a holistic approach to poverty alleviation, simultaneously providing health care, primary education, safe water and sanitation, and income-generating programs for the women of the community. The immediate improvements in health and social services, coupled with the long-term economic development initiatives, will enable the communities to independently maintain an improved standard of living once the project is completed.

In each project, SVQF’s primary partner is Free The Children, founded by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger. Free The Children and Craig Kielburger have been recognized on several occasions for the excellent work, receiving the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child in 2006 and three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. SVQF also partners with other organizations to complement the work done by Free The Children: MoojAnimations has created educational animated children’s films to strengthen health and sanitation training in the communities; Doc2Dock has provided medical supplies and equipment for a mobile health clinic as well as for the District’s first permanent medical clinic; and PCCHF provided a medical team that included the first doctors and dental team to visit the clinic and treat members of the surrounding communities.

MODEL VILLAGE: the Kipsigi community of Salabwek

The first of SVQF’s community development projects was located in Salabwek, a Kipsigi tribal
community living in extreme poverty: the average household income was less than US $1/day,
90% of the population was illiterate, and children are not given names until they reach five years
old because so many die before then.

SVQF provided for the construction and furnishing of 8 one-classroom schools and teachers’
quarters, community safe water sources, latrines, a mobile health clinic, and an alternative
income program that created women’s groups that were provided with financial and business
training and micro-loans. In addition to physical infrastructure, the project provided educational
workshops and training. Drawn by the improved facilities and social services, people from
neighboring communities migrated to Salabwek over the course of the 3-year project, expanding
its population from the original 1200 to 5000 inhabitants.

Impact: Transformation of a Village

  • Average household income has more than doubled.
  • Each of the communities now has a steady source of clean water from deep-bore wells that are operated and maintained by the communities, with a number of households additionally installing their own rain catchment systems, latrines, and hand washing stations.
  • The incidence of water-borne diseases affecting the community has decreased dramatically.
  • The schools now have the infrastructure and teachers needed for students to attend and complete primary school, giving them the opportunity to attend secondary school.
  • The teacher-student ratio has decreased by half, and students no longer have to share textbooks and materials.
  • All students and teachers are regularly dewormed.
  • Quality affordable healthcare is now easily accessible to all members of the community.
  • An alternative income generation program for women’s groups has led to an increase in the incomes of participating members, inspiring the formation of new groups by the community’s men and youth.

Community Ownership and Sustainability

Improved health and social services coupled with long-term economic development initiatives have enabled these communities to independently maintain their improved standard of living and continue with locally-driven community efforts.

The community residents have full ownership of the projects and the tools to sustain progress on their own.

Documentary on SVQF in Kenya 2009

Educational animations for Salabwek schools 2009

SVQF visit to Salabwek 2009

Shipment of medical equipment to Salabwek, Kenya, 2007

SVQF visit to Salabwek 2007

Salabwek Progress Reports

REPLICATED SUCCESS: the masai community of Osenetoi

Building on the success in Salabwek, the second of SVQF’s Kenyan development projects in partnership with Free The Children launched in 2010. The Masai village of Osenetoi, which has approximately 2,000 inhabitants, faced many challenges:

  • Approximately 70% of the villagers lived on less than US$1 or $2 a day, and a third of the villagers were in debt stemming from school fees, the cost of livestock rearing, and loans taken to expand small businesses.
  • The literacy rate in Osenetoi was 20% for adult men and 10% for adult women, and approximately 20% of the village’s primary school-aged children did not attend school.
  • Osenetoi’s infant mortality rate is 15%, and the mortality rate for children under five years of age is 10%. There are no health care facilities within a 10km radius of the village, nor are there any private practitioners available.
  • Health problems amongst the villagers most result from poor water and sanitation facilities and practices. None of the households has access to safe drinking water or proper sanitation facilities.

Osenetoi community profile

Osenetoi Progress Reports


What SVQF and its Partners Provided:

  • Direct and indirect benefits to approximately 7500 people.
  • Safe water sources in the form of rain catchment systems and deep bore wells in each community.
  • Latrines and hand washing stations located at the schools to prevent disease, and ongoing water safety and sanitation training for the communities.
  • New comfortable classrooms for 1st through 8th grade and teachers’ quarters to ensure sufficient staff for all the children.
  • Measures to ensure the enrollment and retention of female students,such as the construction of appropriate sanitary facilities at school, the placement of sources of clean water at school so that the female students  raditionally tasked with collecting water no longer had to miss school to do so, and ongoing community awareness programs on the importance of education for girls.
  • Mobile health clinics offering medical care, including vaccinations and medications.
  • Health education workshops providing training on health and safety issues, supplemented by an original animated health education series conceptualized and produced by SVQF.
  • An alternative income generation program instituted to provide the communities’ women with financial literacy skills, business training, and micro-loans.