Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hatua Visit Twaayf Children Center

Hatua's L.S.F scholarship recipient will be visiting Twaayf Children Center on 20th August 2011. Hatua's staff and the beneficiary will spend the whole day at the children center where they will help clean the facility.
This home hosts twenty two under privileged kids; and on this day participants will be cooking and get the chance to share a renowned coastal dish known as pilau.
There after the party will be taken down to the beach.
Lots of fun to be had with the children from the center.
LSF on behalf of Hatua Likoni will be donating food worth ksh 39,380.
fotos to come after the visit

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Junior Acheivers Sit down

Recently programs director Kwame Mwakio and a representative from the junior achievers office in Mombasa had a sit down in which an intense exchange of ideas took place. Lewis from JA had come in for a small workshop to speak to residents of the community about company program. Company program is a flagship of JA and Lewis first outlined it carefully for Kwame before the workshop.
Usually JA deals with high school students but company program is branching out of school to educate youth on financial literacy and get them started in the entrepreneurial and finance game.
The seminar was informative and formal as was to be expected, most of the questions and comments came from Hatua Likoni staff representatives present illustrating their tendency toward being so highly informed. One question was about how far JA would go to support a company program sponsorship recipient past the competition itself. To which Lewis assured us that JA will be there for any youth who shows sufficient zeal and seriousness in business.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Books & Computers donations

Programs Director Kwame Mwakio traveled with Juma Kassim to the capital city Nairobi to collect a book donation from AFK and a donation 10 computers from the Kenya Education Fund. This comprised of about 83 boxes, and according to Mr. Mwakio it was a hectic endeavor. The capital is more hustle and bustle than Likoni, and Kwame says he spent a couple of sleepless nights trying to get everything together to travel home. According to Kwame the little pickup was "full of boxes" filled to the brim with the communities' much sort after resources. These books and computers will go toward building the foundation of the empowerment library, more books mean more information translating into more knowledge. More computers will give the the youth and members of the community an avenue leading to the information super highway. At the end of it all, according to Kwame it was all worth the hassle!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Equity Wings to Fly Sponsorship Recipient

One of our students, Omar Suleiman Musa has on the basis of a demonstrated academic and leadership capacity been selected for the Equity Group Foundation Education and Leadership Congress! This is really exciting both for the recipient and for Hatua being that he is one of ours. The objective of the foundation is to give wings to fly that is this mentoring workshop will likely lead to greater things and will be his launchpad into greater heights.
The aim of this workshop is to provide an environment which enables young people to realize their personal goals and harness their potential as leaders.

Suleiman was born in Kwale in 1996, on his scholarship application he wrote a heart felt essay about how if given the chance to effect change within the community he would set up counseling centers to erradicate the drug menace which has plagued his community. He is presently a student in Moi Forces Academy, having had received several awards for attaining good grades.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AFK Workshop & Donation

Ag. Librarian Evans Wafula attended a workshop in Meru County to make a presentation on the Instructional role of a school library. All the invited guests attending the workshop seemed impressed and all the AFK members said that they had learned a lot thus, Evans felt appreciated. This made Lia, Audra and Maureen invite him to join them in the meeting they were going to have with Meru KNLS staff on 16th July, 2011.

Networks were established with Lia, Barbra, Maureen, Audra (all from the States), selected Secondary school principals and deputies from Meru county, school librarians and teachers from Rurama secondary school.
Lia taught them about:Internet searching,Data bases,Web site evaluation,Library collaboration.
Maureen presented a paper on Internet safety,How to site sources,Internet and classroom Instruction Researching (online)
All parties were requested to join AFK Library Forum on facebook, promote librarianship, assist library users, market libraries develop new skills. Lia and Maureen promised the AFK team next year will pay Hatua Likoni a visit during the summer. They also promised to donate more books and other materials and to find scholarships for interested qualified people from their partner organizations.
In addition AFK is donating 1000 books on Wednesday 3rd August to the Likoni Empowerment Library.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Volunteer Housing

Hatua Likoni volunteers and interns have the opportunity to be housed at Pungu beach, which is on the way to Shelley roughly 7km from the Hatua office. Access to the main land is via the ferry then you take either a tuk taxi or motor bike costing approximately 30ksh-50ksh [one way] to Pungu.
The residence is a three bedroom bungalow with a makuti roof complete with two bathrooms [both with a shower]; the unit also has a kitchenette, a little living room and a small backyard. The best thing is you have direct access to the beach for that relaxing swim after work. Residents have a clear view of the magical sunrise and enchanting sunsets. The flat at Pungu provides that coastal Likoni feel reminding you that volunteering does not have to be all hard and arduous, you can also relax during down time. There is also a beach bar about 500 meters walk along the seashore, for that nite cap or happy hour on Thursday.
Full board per week, per person is 11,500ksh, this includes meals and basic cleaning of the flat. Funds go toward funding Hatua Likoni's various projects. Meals range from the coveted Swahili cuisine to a more local flavor. Security in the area is exemplary, both provided exclusively within the compound [in the which] the flat is located and in the surrounding environs.
In addition volunteers from other agencies are also welcome, as well as staff from other organizations, or patrons interested in long term leisure.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

UN Drug awareness day

In June of this year the students and staff of Hatua Likoni attended the annual drug awareness walk.The procession trudged from the police station down the main road in Likoni county. In attendance was the chief magistrate, the provincial commissioner, district commissioner and the representative for the United Nations organization charged with drug awareness and the eradication of the menace which is drug abuse.
Drug abuse is a serious problem in Kenya and particularly at the Coast which is where Likoni is located. The situation in Likoni is a recipe for one to slip into such anti social tendancies; however a place like Hatua empowerment library is a safe place in which the youth and children of Likoni community can avoid such behavior through self education about self reliance, self sufficiency and the fostering of high self esteem.
At the walk which is held annually and was held on June 26 respectively, the Hatua Likoni banner was flying high; Showing Hatua Likoni's presence and support of such a positive cause within the community.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Madaraka Nursery School Values Hatua's Support

There is no such thing as public nursery education in Kenya. As a result children from poor families begin their education in Primary School, at age 6, while kids from more well of families enter primary with 3 years of school and a head start in reading, writing, counting and speaking English. Madaraka Community Nursery School offers low cost or free early childhood education to children from families that can’t afford private nursery school. Our goal is to help children from poor families get an equal opportunity succeed in primary and continue on the secondary school and higher education.
Madaraka Community Nursery School was founded by a pair of brothers who first founded a home for orphaned and abandoned children.
In April and May of 2010 Hatua Likoni constructed a new school house for Madaraka Community Nursery School, consists of 6 large classrooms. School is taught by six teachers who dedicate themselves to providing high quality reading, writing, math, and English instruction using music and art as learning tools.
While all other nursery schools in Likoni are for profit and charge high fees,Madaraka charges only 300/- ($3.75) per month, or 13.6/- ($0.17) per day, just enough to pay the teachers wages and ensure that the school can sustain itself. This is about 1/3 of what other schools charge.
Madaraka provides its students with education 5 days per week from 8 am until 4 pm, morning porridge and lunch.For families that struggle to support their children, being able to pay less than a dollar a day for child care and food for a child is a great service, as feeding the child at home would cost at least as much or more. For children that would not eat if they were not in school, our feeding program is more than just a service, but their source of basic sustenance. For parents day care enables them to work, while the education Madaraka provides helps ensure that Likoni children from low incomes families have access to early childhood education and a head start in life.
Hatua Likoni, with support from SDL Foundation, helps ensures that Madaraka's students are nourished by providing Madaraka with the food that is served to all students, every school day. In total Hatua Likoni provides students at Madaraka with 70,000 meals per year.
In June 2011 Hatua Likoni constructed 36 new desks for Madaraka, able to seat 108 students.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grand Opening of Likoni Youth Empowerment Library

The opening of the Likoni Library is set for early August 2011, all factors remaining constant. It will be a hub of activity offering such services as internet access and a quiet place for students to study. Presently the Ag. Librarian Wafula with the help of Kassim and student volunteers, are cataloguing books so that all will run smoothly. Wafula says the chronicling is about half way done and he is very optimistic about the outcome of his and the efforts of those who are assisting him with this project.
There will also be computer classes and funds raised will assist in maintenance costs of the library, as soon as the opac system is in place it will become a borrowing library but for now folks will just read and study and conduct their own research. The energy around this facility is bound to bring about positive change to the Likoni community!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Throughout the April school holiday Hatua Likoni's scholarship students have been learning how to draw and paint. At the end of three weeks they have finished 4 murals, each 8ft by 5ft, and each based on a Swahili Proverb.

"Go East, Go West, Home is Best"

"Money if you use it decreases, but education, when you use it, increases"

"Those who work in the sun eat in the shade"

"A broken cooking spoon doesn't mean you stop cooking"

Monday, May 2, 2011


After two years as an empty room Likoni's Youth Empowerment Center Library is finally furnished!

The building was constructed with funding from Likoni's Constituency Development Fund (money allocated by the Kenyan Government and managed under the supervision of our local Member of Parliament) and complete in early 2009. Since then no government funding as been allocated to furnish the facility.

Hatua Likoni got tired of waiting, so in Sept 2010 we organized a committee of teachers and community members to plan fundraising activities for furniture. In early Feb. 2011 we hosted an Harambee (community fundraiser), and together with support from SDL Foundation, managed to raise 590,000 Kenya Shillings ($7,400).

With this amount and the expert work of our carpenter, Peter Ochola, we have build 5 wall shelving, 4 center pillar shelves, 9 reading tables, a librarians reception desk and computer tables for 9 desktops. We are remaining with money to buy computers which will then help earn income to pay the facilities expenses.

The day we placed chairs around the new tables students were already hard at work making use of them. However, we still don't have enough chairs. To donate a chair for $19 please visit

Hatua did not accomplish this alone. We thank the members of Likoni Library's steering committee, particularly its chairman, Mr. Ngombo. We thank Post Bank and Cooperative Bank for their generous contributions, we thank the Likoni schools that contributed 2,000 Ksh each and all the students that help to raise funds through student proformers. We thank SDL Foundation for their major contributions to furniture and computers, we thank American Friends of Kenya and The East Side Community High School in NYC for book donations, and we thank Desi and Juma for their hard work as Library Development Interns.

Still our work is not finished. Tomorrow we will begin interviewing volunteer librarians to help us catalog our books. If you or someone you know is qualified and interested in this position please contact us at


Last week our students finalized their compositions based on Swahili proverbs and painted four large murals, each 8 ft x 5 ft. When asked all said they loved the project and most stayed late everyday engrossed in the work. Some were big picture artists, while others took on the detail work. Together they created murals that showcase the beauty and diversity of the Likoni community.

On Saturday we concluded three weeks of art education and mural making by taking 31 students, our two art teachers, some of the Hatua staff and Brigid, our FSD Intern, on a field trip to Diani where we visited the Diani Beach Art Gallery, a gallery dedicated to fine African art. Learn more at Brigid organized the gallery tour together with Diani Beach Art Gallery's owners who generously hosted our group and exposed them to the breath of styles being created by East African artists. The students were given a private tour and walked away inspired. The gallery owners saw photos of the student's murals and were extremely impressed with their talent, they even offered to feature our students' art on the gallery's Facebook page.

After the galley visit we spent a few hours at the beach, eating a delicious pilau lunch and playing in the surf. For 19 out of the 31 students this was their first trip to Diani. Everyone had a wonderful time and it was the perfect ending to a rewarding student project. Now our goal is to find ways to leverage the murals to develop awareness and a new income stream for Hatua. Given the initial reaction and feedback this should not be difficult.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Recently another San Francisco based volunteer, Brigid Brahe, came to Hatua with a project concept for our students to paint murals of the local Likoni community during their Spring Break holiday. The project's main goals were to teach students basic drawing and painting skills while allowing them to express their creativity, to learn teamwork, and to ultimately use the murals to raise awareness and funds for Hatua. Brigid felt that we could digitize the art work and place it on items such as t-shirts, beach bags, posters etc. to sell to the local tourist community as well as on line in the US and Europe. We decided there would be four 5' x 8' murals painted on canvas and each mural would follow a theme based on a local Swahili proverb.

We hired two local art teachers, a Finnish art teacher named Suvi and a very talented local painter named Peter. During last week's sessions Suvi and Peter taught the students basic drawing concepts, basic painting technique and color theory, then sent them out to photograph images in the community as inspiration for their murals.

This week the students continued to practice their painting skills and have gotten into their groups to work out their mural imagery and composition in readiness for next week's mural painting event.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hatua's Interns Continue their Impact from Home!

Stephanie Tholand, a 2010 Hatua intern, left a big mark here by designing a monitoring and evaluation program to help Hatua track its impact on the lives of our student. During her 6 month stay with us she also organised an 'International Literacy Day' event that brought together education stakeholders and students to highlight the need for a public library in Likoni.

Stephanie with Kwame during a clean-up event in Likoni

Back in San Francisco, Stephanie is expanding her impact by creating the Bay Area International Development Meetup Group, a community of international development professionals and enthusiasts who share knowledge and promote dialogue about development.

Students during International Literacy Day

Click here to read all about Stephanie's development activities.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The money raised during Likoni's Library fundraiser in February is being put to use! Last week, Hatua hired a carpenter and purchased the timber needed to build 9 library shelves.

Kwame off-loading timber

After being purchased and planed in town we transported our timber across the ferry to Likoni and offloaded it in the library. On Friday 11th March, our fundi (carpenter) began building.

The carpenter at work

Half the shelves are now complete and looking wonderful! The rest should be finished by weeks end. Before long they'll be covered with over 2000 books donated by American Friends of Kenya and the East Side Community High School, in New York City.

Some of the fixed shelves

When work on the shelves is finished, we'll begin building reading tables. Stay tuned for word of more progress!

For more information on Hatua Likoni, click here.

Monday, February 28, 2011


On Sunday, Feb 20th, eleven girls from the Likoni Scholarship Fund joined Gabrielle in Hatua’s office to receive clothing donations.

Photo credits: Todd Shapera

Alice Winkler together with Ariel-Alpha International, a US based sleepwear and lingerie company, donated underwear, bras and sleepwear for our female scholarship students, all of which was carried to us from the US by Todd Shapera. Erika Bonnevie, Hatua Likoni’s Community Research Coordinator, donated shirts, skirts, pants and sweaters for our girls. Erika is also working hard to complete Hatua’s Baseline Study Report of Likoni’s Development Needs. This study is the first in-depth analysis of living standards conducted in Likoni.

Photo credits: Todd Shapera

Our students were thrilled to have new and beautiful cloths to wear, including items that would otherwise be unattainable luxuries!

From our LSF girls and the Hatua family to Alice, Todd and Erika, ahsanteni sana!

Visit us here for more information on Hatua's activities.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Todd Shapera, a professional photographer from New York, joined Hatua for two weeks in February to document our work in Likoni. Previously a print and radio journalist, Todd began his career as a photographer 15 years ago after having his early work published in the New York Times. His mainstay is event and portrait photography but Todd also makes time for his passion, photojournalism, which he calls his passport to the world and his way of giving back. Through photojournalism Todd has traveled to 38 countries on 5 continents and photographed for dozens of philanthropic efforts, including Ashoka, The Ford Foundation, The Bill Clinton Global Initiative and Rockefeller Foundation.

Todd Shapera

Todd's aim as he travels through the developing world is to capture the humanity, inner beauty and dignity of his subjects and their diverse ways of life. When working together with charitable organizations, he has donated his photography to help raise awareness for important causes, such as the impact of the Tsumani in Sri Lanka.

Photo credit: Todd Shapera
One of our students at home with his family

In Likoni, Todd photographed various aspects of Hatua’s efforts, including our staff at work, our primary and secondary students in school, students with their parents at home, and vendors, mechanics, and other small business operators in Likoni, some of whom are parents of our scholarship students.

Photo credit: Todd Shapera
Gabi and Kwame with two of our students at their home

Photo credit: Todd Shapera
A welder at work in Likoni

Todd also led two photography workshops for our scholarship students, over thirty of whom participated in each session, and among whom only one had ever used a camera before. Thanks to those of you who generously donated your cameras to Hatua Likoni our students have been able to practice the techniques Todd taught them. Every week students borrow these cameras to capture scenes from their lives, from which we are creating a portfolio of their best work.

Todd during a workshop with our students

Photo credit: Todd Shapera
Students taking photos

We thank Todd for coming to Kenya to share his skills with our students and create captivating images of Hatua’s work.

To view more of Todd's work, click here.