Progress at Empakasi Primary

GreenhouseThe Mwebaza Foundation’s newest sister school, Emapaksi Primary School in Kitengela, Kenya, has come a long way since the beginning of our partnership. Kevin Omondi, our project manager in Kenya, has been busy directing the development of a sustainable lunch program for the students of Empakasi School. Among many other things, Omondi has overseen the construction of a chicken coop and a greenhouse garden at Empakasi School so the students will get a well-balanced lunch. The extra eggs and vegetables will be sold in the local market to create supplemental income that will support the continuation of these projects.

St. Paul School is Complete!

St. Paul Rear           St. Paul

This winter, our Development Assistant, Devaki Douillard, spent two months in Africa, with the majority of her time at St. Paul School in Nkokonjeru, Uganda. Part of her role there was to oversee the final stages of construction of their new school building. The new school structure towers over their old makeshift shed where classes used to be held. The school has four classrooms, a library space, and an office for teachers.

John Tembrock, a solar expert from Boulder, CO, visited Douillard during her trip to help oversee the installation of the solar system that he designed. This system has the potential to power a small computer lab or provide light during evening classes for the adults in the community.

Since the school now has concrete floors, the children are protected from burrowing fleas (jiggers) that live in the dirt. Nearby, the EnviroLoo bathroom system is complete with its own rain-fed hand washing station. The school is also designed with a rainwater collection system, providing easy access water for hand washing, cooking, and drinking.

School attendance has significantly increased since the appearance of the new school building. We would like to purchase a school bus for St. Paul so they can continue to serve the broader community of Nkokonjeru.

Back in Africa! Follow Our Blog.

Devaki with Mwebaza penpalsThe Mwebaza Foundation’s Development Assistant has returned to Africa!  First, she will be visiting Kenya to assist in the initial construction stages of Empakasi Primary School’s sustainable lunch program. Then she will travel to Uganda to help oversee the installation of doors, windows, and solar panels at St. Paul School; the installation of the roof at the new secondary school, and much more!

Follow her live blog from January 10th through February 27th, here.

Eagle Crest’s Skype with Empakasi School

e75d32d1-9528-4161-9079-56e7316ce9d4On Friday, Oct. 26th, Eagle Crest Elementary conducted their very first Skype session with Empakasi Primary School in Kenya. The feeling in the Eagle Crest gymnasium was electric! Despite the inevitable technical glitches, students from both schools were able to share stories songs and dances from their cultures.
This was made possible by a group of dedicated students at United States International University – Africa. These students organized a technology program at Empakasi that includes two portable solar panels, one battery charger pack, two mini iPads, and one small projector. These materials were donated by the First Congregational Church of Boulder. In addition to being able to Skype with their partner school, the staff at Empakasi use this equipment for developing and presenting engaging student lessons.

Board Member Additions

This fall the Mwebaza Foundation doubled the size of its Board! We welcome the talented new members, Lindsey and Courtney Tucker, KayLyn Giles, and Sarah Reynolds! To view their pictures and detailed bios, please visit the “Our Team” page of our website.

Mountains of Change Fundraiser

Donald Beuke, Principal of Coronado Hills Elementary and avid outdoorsman, is embarking on the Damson Expedition this summer in Denali National Park to summit Mount McKinley. With the help of Coronado Hills Elementary, the Damson Expedition has started a fundraising effort entitled “Mountains of Change.” All proceeds raised by Mountains of Change will assist the Mwebaza Foundation in providing St. Paul Primary School with a school bus.

A lack of transportation is something the St. Paul students and staff have been dealing with since the schools inception. Students walk for miles each day to get to and from school. A school bus would allow these students to be transported safely and efficiently to school, while also being used as a taxi in the off hours that would bring in an income for the school.

The Mwebaza Foundation would like to thank Mr. Donald Beuke and the Coronado Hills community for their generosity and admirable efforts to assist St. Paul School.

Mwebaza Opens a Store Online!

7dabb433-0524-4837-8f26-27278baa8d51Help us raise money by helping yourself to some of the authentic African art and jewelry that the Mwebaza Foundation is now selling online! We have a online shop on Etsy and a new Square store where you can find most of our pieces being sold! All items can be shipped right to your door. All proceeds go to help our African partner schools.

Below are some of the featured artists that have created work for the Mwebaza Foundation to sell.

Scholarship Program

61dd2535-f40b-40f7-a3e1-071592606766Keeping kids in school is a widespread issue across Africa. With many families living in poverty, paying school fees becomes a large financial burden that many can’t afford. That is why the Mwebaza Foundation, with the help of a generous donation from the Heaven’s Hope Foundation, has created a scholarship program at both Ugandan partner schools. This summer, eight students from each school were awarded full-ride scholarships to attend school for one year, tuition free. Devaki Douillard, the Foundation’s Development Assistant, with the help of an interview committee comprised of school staff, completed detailed interviews of dozens of applicants. They interviewed the guardians of each applicant and did their best to assess each student’s motivation to learn. We wanted to ensure that we were awarding scholarships to students that are not necessarily the highest performing students, but the ones that have the initiative to succeed at school and in life. This scholarship program not only benefits the families and students that were allotted a scholarship, but it also benefits the school as a whole. Both St. Paul School and Mwebaza School have allowed many students to attend school for free or at a discounted price. This has made it difficult for the school administration to pay teacher salaries. However, now with the scholarship money, the schools can continue to let students attend school for free and more easily afford teacher salaries.

Maintenance Workers Hired at Partner Schools!

896df0a4-8c1c-4c17-89ab-b0fc65efe659While the Foundation’s Development Assistant was visiting all of our African partner schools, she worked with staff to implement a new maintenance program at both St. Paul and Mwebaza Schools. Local community members have been hired to maintain each individual project, while documenting the work accomplished. This documentation will make it easier to track the success and identify the inadequacies of each project while ensuring accountability for project success. At Mwebaza School, there is a maintenance worker for the egg-laying chicken program, the green garden and orchard, and the rainwater collection tanks. At St. Paul School, there are maintenance workers that oversee the piggery, the garden and orchard, the rainwater collection tanks, and the newly-installed EnviroLoo toilets. This maintenance program not only assures the sustainability and success of the school’s initiatives, but also creates a level of community involvement that is advantageous to the school at large.

Progress at St. Paul School

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Background: new school building at St. Paul. Foreground: old school structure.

Last year, the Mwebaza Foundation began construction on two new school buildings in Uganda. One school will replace a dilapidated shed that was used as a classroom building at St. Paul School. The other school is being constructed as a middle school in a village near Mwebaza School that will serve the graduates of Mwebaza School as well as the children from that community. We focused our efforts on constructing St. Paul’s new school building first since they are already serving students in an inadequate school structure. Despite significant delays due to heavy rains, which blocked the roads to St. Paul, we are happy to report that the school is in full operation even though we are still lacking the funds to equip the school with windows, doors, and desks. Construction has now begun on the middle school in Nkungulutale. The walls have been built and progress is steady.