Nzilani-nduku in Kenya

Kenya is in East African country looking eastward towards the Indian Ocean with all that lovely water but northwards lies drought stricken Ethiopia. Needless to say, the weather doesn't change at the national border and Kenya itself has struggled in recent years with shortages of water affecting crops. Less than half of the rural population have access to clean, safe water and two thirds of children being affected by malnutrition. You can find out the facts as seen by the CIA or take a more anglophile view from the BBC. The big news at the start of 2003 is that President Daniel arap Moi has retired after 24 years as Kenya's leader. The elections at the end of December gave a landslide victory to the opposition leader, Mwai Kibaki. On the day of his inauguration, there were no fond farewells for the departing leader. Daniel arap Moi was jeered and had mud slung at his car. But afterwards, many Kenyans felt this treatment of the former president to be shameful. So, what next, we wonder? The Lonely Planet will give you a feel for the country but the key point is that the country needs to be helped back to some sort of financial stability. The latest news can be seen in the Kenya Star.

Nzilani-nduku was born in 1998 and remains too young to help in the family chores. However, it won't be long before she has to join in with the nine family members that share her brick house and its straw roof. Thankfully, she has kept good health which is fortunate because many children in the area still suffer from preventable diseases. Her basic vaccinations are now completed which increases her chances of a healthy life despite the difficult conditions. These, for example, involve her family travelling for four kilometres just to get untreated water which may be vital but is also unsafe for drinking.

Plan International works to help improve sources of water as well as assisting in the areas of health, education, housing and income. The project priorties are worked out in conjunction with local families who, then, supply what they can in terms of manual labour, local materials, technical expertise and financial contribution. Ultimately, the whole community including Nzilani-nduku will benefit from this work. This is where our money is going to help.

Plan International has developed a large, global network of support for children. From this, they were able to introduce us to Nzilani-nduku. The organisation was started in 1937 by a couple of journalists shocked by the orphaned children in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Today, the organisation operates at a number of levels in 45 developing countries. They get involved by working with governments, development partners and communities to help to improve specific facilities in deprived areas. They key point is that everyone can buy into the local projects to safeguard the future of the community and, in particular, the children. When a local family is involved in these projects, people like us get the opportunity to sponsor their children for the duration of the community project. These projects are based around five key elements that support the development of the children and, hence, the future of the community. These are health, education, livelihood, habitat and building relationships. Nobody can argue with that and Plan International does a wonderful job across many parts of the world. Pretty obviously, Mr Kite thinks that it would be great if you got involved, too. Read about sponsoring a child here.

The Extended Family

The Buryi family in Belarus

Hui in China

Luis-Alberto in Colombia

Diego in Ecuador

Mai in Senegal

Ho in Vietnam

Mr. Kite Homepage