Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hatua Scholarship Fund: The selection process

Following the application deadline last Friday, the whole Hatua team has been busy this week processing a total of 195 returned applications for 35 new secondary scholarships to be awarded in the new year.

At Hatua we endeavor to select students for scholarship in the most fair and equal way possible, always according to academic ability and need. We use a points system, awarding points according to a students average end of term marks during the previous school year, the strength of a recommendation letter written by a teacher, and the quality of three essays written by each student. Each essay is marked by two different staff members from Hatua, following standardized marking criteria. Throughout we use each application’s reference number rather than the name of the student in order that we make the selection without any knowledge of who the particular student is, so as to prevent any chance of bias. 

Those who earn high points on their written applications are selected for the second round of the process, during which we conduct home visits to assess the need of each applicant through conversation about the family's economic activity and by seeing their living situation. We also consider the teacher’s comments regarding need in his/her recommendation letter, as well as a note written by the family's village elder or religious leader commenting on the family's need.
After home visits our short list is shortened to only comprise top students with high need. We then wait for the results of Kenya's end of primary standardized exam results, which we assigned a point value to, and which we add to each applicants score from earlier in the process. We then select the top boys and girls, being sure to maintain gender balance. Only once we finish our final selection do we pair applications with the name of the applicant and come to know the names of the students we have selected.

Our scholarship selection process has been designed to help us find top performing students who would otherwise be unable to continue their education. We strive to give equal opportunity to all applicants.

If you have any questions about the selection process feel free to visit our office!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New staff marks a new year for Hatua Likoni

October saw 6 new people join the Hatua Likoni team, marking an exciting new year for us. Having filled the positions that were identified as necessary for Hatua to grow, we can now expand our work and take Hatua to the next step.

Joining the team are Evans Omondi as Resource Center Coordinator, Winnie Muthina as Mentoring and Career Guidance Coordinator, Austin Walker as Research Coordinator, Grace Ochieng’ as Development Coordinator, Peter Mashauri as Volunteer Coordinator and Heather Alice as Communications Coordinator.

Omondi is a Likoni resident who holds multiple single-subject diplomas from the Institute of Commercial Management. He hopes to increase Hatua’s presence in the community through events and workshops at the library, to improve library services and to work towards its self-sustainability as a business venture.

Winnie has lived in Likoni since 1999 but was born in Kitui Central. Professionally a counselor trained in HIV/AIDS management, she hopes to bring her counseling experience to develop the mentoring and career guidance program for Hatua students.

Austin is from Maine, USA, and recently graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in International Development and Social Justice. He hopes to use his skills in conducting surveys to develop a well established database for Hatua’s research.

Grace comes from Nyanza, Kenya, where she is founded of the New Vision Sewing Group. She joins Hatua with a degree in Government and Global Studies from St. Lawrence University, New York. She hopes to increase Hatua’s financial standing in order to increase school attendance among Likoni students.

Peter is a Likoni resident. He has a diploma in Sales and Marketing and a certificate in Accounts and has previously worked in the Financial and Media sectors. He hopes to bring his skills and experience of business and sales to develop Hatua's volunteer program.

Heather is from the UK and recently graduated from SOAS, London with a degree in Swahili and Development Studies. She hopes to expand Hatua’s online presence and develop visual media in a way that harnesses voices from the community.

This month we also said a temporary ‘goodbye’ to Priscillah as she left for three months’ maternity leave. She has given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Chantell, who we warmly welcome into the Hatua family! We wish her a special and happy time for these precious months with her new baby and look forward to her return in January. Taking her place is Masika, a Hatua student who has been working with Priscillah for the past three months during her gap year between finishing school and going to university.

Despite the minor setback of having no power in the office for the first 3 weeks of October, the team is excited about the year ahead and has spent these weeks planning how to grow Hatua!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hatua says goodbye to student Caren as she goes to university

At Hatua, we strive to employ some of our best students during their gap year between finishing school and starting university.

By being employed in Hatua’s various projects, students gain invaluable experience of the work environment and learn the discipline of keeping strict working hours.

This week, Hatua says goodbye to one student, Caren, as she goes to Moi University, Eldoret to study Counseling and Psychology. Caren has been working in the Likoni Community Library for the past nine months since she finished secondary school.

Working at Hatua has been Caren’s first employment. Caren says, “From working in the library I’ve learned how to interact with different people. I’ve learned lots of skills; managing my time, how to be punctual – Evans [the librarian] wants punctuality!”

Caren says her biggest challenge has been dealing with those who don’t respect library rules. However, learning how to manage people and to assert her authority are invaluable skills that she will take to university and beyond.

We wish Caren the best of luck as she continues her studies, and will miss her around the office!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hatua travels to Malindi to co-hold a Medical Camp

On the weekend 13 - 14 October, Hatua Likoni in partnership with the Pamoja Africa Initiative traveled to Mjanaheri village just North of Malindi to hold a free Medical Camp for the local community.

Doctors and nurses from St. Peter‘s Hospital, Malindi and other medical personnel from the Ministry of Health in the region volunteered their time and services over the weekend. APHIA PLUS were also present, hosting VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing). The camp was hosted by friends from Italian Supermarket Malindi, and White Sands Hotel and Spa provided mineral water for the whole team for the weekend.

The Medical Camp ran from 9am until the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday, and over the weekend the team treated over 400 patients seeking treatment for a range of ailments including respiratory infections, skin diseases and dental complaints. Other services included cancer screening, deworming, family planning, jigger treatment, pharmacy prescriptions, nutritional screening and laboratory testing.

Despite heavy rainfall on Saturday, a number of families still managed to travel to attend the camp. Come Sunday, the rain had subsided and many more people came for the free medical care.

On Sunday, we also visited a nearby orphanage, Pumwani Childrens Home, with one of the doctors to carry out medical check-ups on the children.

The weekend ran smoothly, and was a great opportunity for us at Hatua to make new friends. It was also a great learning experience as we assisted the medical team in washing the children's feet as treatment for jiggers.

"This was the first medical event Hatua has been involved in. It has been an eye opener for us and we're now looking forward to hosting our own medical camp in Likoni," Kwame says. "For us to provide scholarships we need healthy kids, so it makes sense for us to provide this service to the community."

Many thanks to all those who volunteered their time and resources; to our hosts, doctors, nurses, and the organizers for their commitment and hard work to make the camp such a success!

Visit Hatua's Facebook page to view more photos from the weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Students get expressive at Community Poetry Workshops

Over September and October, Community Poet Tony Hillier from the UK has been conducting poetry workshops for Hatua’s students at the Likoni Youth Empowerment Center.

During the first two workshops in September, Tony introduced the students to Community Poetry, an art form that enhances formal and informal education through the power of poetry. By encouraging self expression, community issues are raised in a safe environment and achievements are celebrated.

Students discuss the art of poetry in its different forms, and are encouraged to compose their own poems with Tony’s support.

The students are really enjoying the freedom of these sessions, and are producing some great poetry. Check out some of their work below about Hatua Likoni, Likoni, education and Kenya.

Thank you Tony!

Here is a small selection...


Hatua is like a river flowing in a desert
cherishing our African roots
building our personalities
making us important persons
in the society filled by illiteracy
a dream come true but not a fantasy

Hatua is like a mother breastfeeding
feeding us with knowledge
knowledge to a great college
WOW! opening doors to the world
unveiling our inner potential

Hatua is like an oxygen cylinder
without it no life
a patient dies in silent death
Thanks to Hatua
poverty has no room

Sheila Kioko Abigael


Likoni is like a shade of tree
where people don't stay permanent
because it is engulfed with a lot of slums
It is the land of the poor
where rich people are rare
Many come here just for a tour
but they have their homes there

There are a lot of investors
and a lot of sponsors
to support the poor peasants
and those who are learners
Surely most of the residents
are not the pure settlers
but only passers by

Sulleiman Musa 

Kenyan Changes

My country is rich
with a lot of beauty
Something destroys it.
Corruption is the game
our leaders play

Something I will change
is the tiresome education system
Something else I will change
is tribalism and racism
We in Kenya have a lot of work to do

Peace and harmony
is what we want
All are welcome in our peaceful country
making Kenya the place to be

Athman Mohammed

Education, key to success

We children have a right to be educated
but due to high levels of poverty
our dreams are vanishing to nowhere

Thanks to Hatua Likoni, slowly by slowly
We are going to be what we dreamt of
Through education we will be what we want

We are the people who are going to change Likoni
as fortune knocks once at every man's door
Let's use the opportunity of scholarship
and be someone important to Likoni

For everyone is wishing to be useful
and important in their community
education really is the key to success.

am thinking I have to iron my school uniform and have a lot to do today

Fridah Makokha

My Country Kenya

My country Kenya, I love it.
It is like a shining star in the sea
full of wealth and blessings
I love my country

A country full of honey flowing,
beautiful scenery and natural resources
Truly, I love my country

Kenya is like a highway passing
across the sea of success.
Appearing from each corner of the horizon
here come different tribes full of thoughts,
habits and characters to achieve their destiny
Surely, I love my country

Samuel Kimwele

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ben Levey receives award for the LCFL

Founder and Director of the Likoni Community Football League (LCFL) Ben Levey was recently presented with an award in recognition of his work with the LCFL at the 2nd Kenya Diaspora meeting held in Arlington, Virginia Washington D.C.

Hatua Likoni works very closely with the LCFL, which has grown hugely since the first organized match was played in May 2011; now 26 teams from around Likoni play in the league, which has just finished its fourth season, and a girls league is being created - just last month the LCFL sent a girls team to take part in the Mathare Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) Girls Soccer Tournament in Nairobi for the first time.

The story of Ben's award featured in Jamhuri Magazine.

Ben says, "The most important thing that this article does not discuss is how all the coaches in Likoni are working together to make this happen. PAMOJA... Kevin Odhiambo Wambura and Yusuf Mwabundu and all the coaches in Likoni should be receiving this award!"

"Receiving this award is awesome," Kevin says, "recognition for our work really gives us and the coaches motivation to continue doing what we are doing and bringing about change."

Congratulations to our friends at the LCFL for this great award of recognition!

Check out the LCFL's great work at their website.