THE ELDER OF MTOMO
Mtomo is a semi arid area in Kenya. It is home to two ethnic groups who practice two different set of economic activities, crop and livestock farming. For many years, they lived in harmony and resources seemed adequate for the two communities. All of a sudden, they found themselves competing for the same resources. Rivers were drying up very fast, vegetation cover was diminishing every new day and farms yields were on the decline.Everytime there is drought in the region, conflict erupts and if not mitigated early enough, clashes occurs leading to displacement and loss of life and property.
The area lacks major social amenities: health, education, water, security and infrastructural development. Residents walk for kilometres in order to reach those services. Malnutrition, low literacy levels, high incidences of disability, idleness and local brew greets one as you make a transect walk through the region.
There have been a number of initiatives by the government and civil societies to address these challenges but the needs are enormous for them to stand out. Some of the initiatives failed to take off, others stalled half way, while others stand as monuments of failed projects. Yet those that succeeded stand as pillars of hope and pride to the community.
In a focused group discussion with the community in this area facilitated by ENCO Foundation, one elder said, “We do not know what happened, how it happened and when it happened. All we know is that we cannot feed our livestock, our children, our wives as we used to. Children die young and our women are weak. The water is poisoned. God must be angry with us”
ABOUT THE OUTREACH PROGRAMME
Community outreach program aims at addressing the concern of Mtomo elder by supporting initiatives that enable individuals and communities to move towards integral development. The community of Mtomo knows their problems but these problems have taken a dimension that is too complex for them to comprehend. Everything seems intertwined, interlocked and interrelated.
When they seek to address one problem, the thread is woven with other problems and they can only make piecemeal progress. ENCO targets thematic areas that have a great impact and bearing on vulnerable children, youth, women and marginalised communities.
Community outreach program focus on 6 thematic areas:
In each of these priority areas, the Foundation uses the following strategies
Capacity development and Empowerment
This strategy address capacity gaps in knowledge, skills, practices and other resources identified through participatory methodologies in the community. The strategy seek to contribute to enhanced ability of local communities, organisations and institutions to deliver projects more effectively, efficiently and in a sustainable way to benefit majority of the target group. Local communities are empowered to make more efficient, equitable, and sustainable use of human, financial, social, and natural resources. The strategy ensures that project goals match with community needs, resources, and the needs of at-risk children, youth, and families and accounts for diversity in the community. It ensures a strong commitment from local government structures
Management, leadership and sustainability
ENCO supports effective management of community projects through exposure of project committee to other similar projects, exchange learning, mentorship by other projects and immersion of professionals in the projects.
ENCO builds on the leadership, participation, and commitment of a local community and project beneficiaries. ENCO plays facilitative role while the community drive its own development needs and priorities. The role of ENCO is to support and assist this process as partners toward a common vision. Sustainability of initiatives is entrenched from project design with sustainability indicators closely monitored during implementation. This ensures that projects continue to deliver benefits to intended audiences over the long term in line with program goals and objectives. Projects are modified as necessary to reflect changing needs and emerging innovations.
Research and Evaluations
ENCO Foundation in partnership with institutions of learning and research institutions conduct careful research that is action oriented designed for local conditions. This ensures that research outcome do not end up in shelves but in transforming the lives of the very community and people, it was based on. ENCO partners with institutions of learning to gain access to practical research outcomes in the six priority areas conducted in target regions for implementation.
ENCO facilitates participatory monitoring, learning and evaluation of projects. This is a learning process for the people targeted by the project. Evaluation designs are developed prior to implementing programs and the results are used to modify programming.
Innovations and scaling up
ENCO Foundation places premium on innovations and scaling up of best practices. Resources are channeled to clearly defined, measurable and strategically focused projects that give local solutions to local problems in tandem with the global trend.
The main objective of our community outreach program is to empower individuals and groups of people by providing them with the skills they need to effect change in their own communities. We do these by working with existing social groups that share similar objectives through a focus-based network.
Our strategic approach to community development is founded on designing effective programs to mitigate challenges in health and access to health, education, micro-finance and lending facilities, vocational training, capacity and skills training and social-cultural exchange.
Our focus area in terms of project design and parterships is informed by the following core objectives:
To develop basic rural infrastructure activities such as community potable water and small drainage and irrigation schemes that support farming.
To advocate on climate change and undertake environmental protection initiatives such as reforestation and natural resource and cultural heritage preservation.
To assist communities to fight poverty through asset and capital support of micro and small entrepreneurs and providing credit to target beneficiary groups.
To provide demand-driven specialized skills training to women, youth, and the disabled that will help them increase income and business opportunities
To improve access to education, health, and social services by rehabilitating and upgrading schools and health, youth, cultural, and recreation centers6
To undertake programs for primary health care and satisfy the needs of vulnerable women and children at risk
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