Community Based Initiatives 



Africa Economic Foundation (AEF) excels in working with grass root communities:

AEF has made a notable steps in their mission of motivating comunities towards participation in development. Through their patron, Kilisa Village Development Community (KVDC) has received guidance from AEF since its inception. It has become an ideal model for AEF innovations. The village is in Kiteta location, Makueni District in Kenya a semi-arid area with great potential for development. KVDC fits well for most of the AEF grass-root interventions.The majority of the homesteads in this community are poor and the area is semi-arid with frequent droughts. This results in frequent spells of famine. In addition the literacy rate is low and the impact of HIV/AIDS epidemic is manifested by the number of orphaned children. The community is determined to take action. So far the community has organized it self a community based organization (CBO), fully registered with the Ministry of Social services in Kenya and running a bank account. KVDC has conducted a baseline situation analysis that outlines their problems. Based on this KVDC has drawn a strategic plan and made significant advances in implementing their plan with the support of multiple partners.There is potential to turn Kilisa from a poor village to an economically viable village through harvesting and use of the potentially available water resource, controlled sand harvesting, improved farming practices, increased income generation projects, community based micro-financing, improved education base,improved health education and care and improved environment (a-forestation).

What KVDC requires is a steady partner in development. Since all these  interventions are relevant to AEF mission, therefore AEF and KVDC have formalised collabotration in development. Under this collaboration, AEF will offer KVDC the necessary technical support in identifying and building strong partnership with development partners.KVDC in return will share their success and train other communities. In their first KVDC news update released in November 2003, KVDC highlighted their needs as identified in their first baseline study conducted by the community themselves in 2002 following a training facilitated by the Ministry of Social services. The News update provided highlights on the actions that had been undertaken by November 2003. Overall, as will be appreciated from report on achievements below, KVDC has demonstrated capacity to learn and to take lead in development in their locality. Below is an account of KVDC’s achievements in pictorial format. From the report it is clear that KVDDC  is making significant strides to towards sustainable development.



The baseline study identified sanitation as one of the major problems in the village. The report urged improvement in Sanitation. In response KVDC launched an education program on sanitation. The teaching urges the community to put up toilets and to wash hands after visiting the toilet. Most of the homes now have latrines and have water bottles hanged by the toilet to ensure running water for washing hands after toilet use.  

To emphasize their teaching, KVDC rose to demonstrate good practice by ensuring that the first permanent building at the development site was a toilt (picture) with two door one for gents and the other for the women (culturally gender sensitive). This was in anticipated needs due to the increasing numbers of people working at the site, increasing number of visitors and increasing population receiving services at the site. 



Education and health:

In response to their baseline study, KVDC wishes to see improved education and health status in the village. The desire to commence the education and health program was so great that the services started ahead of construction at the site. Growth monitoring, weighing, and feeding of needy children started under a tree. Due to increasing demand for the services and the need to ensure that the services are not interrupted during the rain season, in 2003, KVDC put up the temporary structure below as their first House at the Complex site and as a short term plan while soliciting financial support for a more permanent structure.This temporary structure served as a multipurpose center for growth monitoring, nutrition and adult education.The construction of this structure was judged to be a sign of community commitment by many partners. With financial support from Community Based Nutrition Program (CBNP), a program supported by DANIDA, the community is now finalizing the construction of the first permanent building as demonstrated in the next pictures. The community has contributed significantly to this construction in terms of labor and materials e.g., the molding of the bricks and meeting some labor costs through community volunteer participation.KVDC encourages visit to their site, which is strategically located by the main road from Machakos to Makueni. As such the number of visitors to the site has increased progressively. KVDC maintains a visitor’s book and an album of most of the pictures taken.Above, visitors form DANIDA and Government officials from Makueni and the divisional headquarters tour the site. It was a great achievement by the community and CBNP to have the first permanent block nearing completion. Once completed, the block will serve as a Village based education and health center. The health center will model the Bamako initiative. The center serves and will continue to serve as a source of information and center for action in implementing the national community based health and education interventions eg increased access to child health services, access to impregnated nets for prevention of malaria, HIV/AIDS control programs, adult education and education for the underprivileged children. KVDC envisions a time when this complex will develop into a center of excellence for community driven (community based) initiatives including introduction of information technology at the grass root level if resources avail. KVDC, inspired by their Patron, would not like to see IT literacy becoming one of the factors inhibiting socio-economic development in their village and the adjacent localities.

KVDC invites support from development partners who may share their vision.