AFG Spring 2017 Update

AFG FUNDS IMPORTANT CAPITAL PROJECT ON GATOTO CAMPUS

In addition to providing $100,000 yearly to support Gatoto’s annual operating budget, American Friends of Gatoto has also begun funding discrete building and capital improvement projects. The first such project—the construction of additional drainage infrastructure—was completed in December of 2016. In addition to your annual contributions, please consider supporting Gatoto’s future improvement projects.

The Issue
In the last three years, the Gatoto campus, located in a corner of the Mukuru kwa Reuben slum, has experienced a serious problem of water accumulating on its grounds. The resulting drainage problem was painfully obvious during a site visit to the campus in May 2016; soaked ground, mud, and standing water were everywhere and tends to remain there for the entire rainy season.

Gatoto School Playground
Gatoto School Playground

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What caused the drainage problem?
For a decade and a half, the Gatoto campus drained well, runoff from the school traveling about 30 yards down a riparian preserve along the Nairobi River. In 2014, however, local politicians allowed the illegal settlement of the preserve. The grade of the riparian preserve abutting Gatoto was raised approximately six feet and housing was constructed. Water that previously drained into the river was trapped on the campus.

Nearby Houses

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The Solution
School administrators and concerned parents, aided by their architect, saw that constructing a new, additional drainage trench along the base of the raised grade would capture its runoff while also improving overall drainage on that side of the campus. Getting the water from the trench into the river was a further challenge—the newer dwellings completely blocked Gatoto’s river access, and their occupants were not cooperative. School leaders opted not to take the drainage to the river and instead connected to the Nairobi sewage line.

Drainage Plan Drawing

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Execution
The timetable for the drainage improvement project was quick. In May 2016, initial conversations with Gatoto’s dynamic head, Betty Nyagoha, led to a quickly scheduled meeting with the school’s architect to discuss feasibility. Conversations between Gatoto and AFG continued through the summer in parallel with design and engineering efforts. Bids were taken, and a contractor selected. Work began in October and was finished in December. The Gatoto campus is now dryer, more level, and free from standing water.

Finished Drain
Finished Drain

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What’s Next?
AFG is considering a campaign to replace the two oldest classroom buildings on campus, which are dilapidated, dark and under-sized.

Gatoto Classroom
Gatoto School Building

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We will need your support to achieve this goal. Will you help?

Peter Edwards
Member, Board of Directors
American Friends of Gatoto

NEW SCHOLARSHIP AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR GATOTO GRADUATES

This semester two recent Gatoto graduates were awarded scholarships by the U.S.-based charity Education for All Children (EFAC).

Importantly, the EFAC program provides far more than essential financial support. With the goals of fostering leadership, creating economic opportunity and nurturing social progress, EFAC offers a full education-to-employment program – with extensive out-of-classroom support, including mentoring, workshops, and internships.

The two young women selected for support achieved high scores on the “Standard 8” national exams (equivalent to U.S. grade 8) and are now attending Vanessa Grant Girls School, a boarding school not far from Nairobi. Assuming they perform well, they will be eligible for continuing scholarships and support throughout high school, and potentially through college.

American Friends of Gatoto is happy to have introduced EFAC to Gatoto. We will continue to support Gatoto in its on-going efforts to develop a vibrant long term relationship with EFAC.

Kerr-sig-600-150

Stuart Kerr
Member, Board of Directors
American Friends of Gatoto

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