September 27, 2014
Mathare North, Nairobi Kenya
WEB Limited and Global Communities collaborated with other businesses and organizations to help improve the conditions of schools around the Mathare informal settlement in honor of Green Apple Day of Service. The focus of Green Apple Day of Service is to promote sustainable schools that practice, teach and support environmentally responsible choices by advocating and ensuring schools demonstrate commitment to the environment. For schools in the formal settlements of Nairobi providing a safe, healthy learning environment is a challenge.
The event, which took place on Saturday, September 27th 2014, brought together over 560 students and 500 individuals including teachers, parents, community volunteers, WEB Limited’s staff, its partners, Global Communities’ staff, the US Ambassador, representatives from Ministry of Education, county and local government, local businesses and the Kenya Red Cross to hear messages on the importance of keeping the environment clean and to help create healthier schools through community action.WEB Limited and Global Communities chose to focus on seven schools in Mathare for Green Apple Day of Service 2014: Mathare 4A Primary, Mathare North Primary, Huruma Primary, Salama Primary, Drive Inn Primary, Ndururuno Primary and Ndururuno Secondary School. Several of the schools do not have proper hand washing facilities due to vandalism, or proper toilets or bins for solid waste, creating a serious health hazard. In one case, raw sewage flows into the schoolyard and another school has pools of stagnant water where children play. Another school does not have electricity which makes the school dark, uninviting and difficult for children to study. Most of the schools do not have perimeter walls to keep the children safe or trees to provide shade. This year’s Green Apple Day of Service theme, “Think Green: Where We Learn Matters,” aimed to help raise awareness of the state of schools and the importance of protecting the environment. Through the Green Apple Day of Service event, the organizations involved also raised funds to conduct modest improvements that will have a profound positive impact on the quality of health, safety and comfort of the students and teachers at these schools.
Leading up to event, messages around the Green Apple Day theme were delivered on local radio and TV. The Star newspaper ran an article about the event, and Ghetto Radio, a local radio station whose main audience is youth, announced it several times on the air. The station also conducted an interview with WEB Limited and Global Communities. Ghafla Kenya, the most popular online newspaper, had the event trending on their site. The US Ambassador also tweeted about the day.The day started with a procession led by the Scouts and Girl Guides from the seven schools from Huruma Primary School to Ndururuno Primary where the celebration took place.At Ndururuno Primary, students and volunteers helped plant trees, clear a fetid trash pit that was spilling over and becoming a health hazard, clean up the school yard and paint a mural on the school wall with the theme of the day. Kenya Red Cross, supported by the City Council of Nairobi, led the charge to clean the trash heap. Simultaneously, tree planting took place at other schools and another school received a fresh coat of paint to make the classrooms brighter and more child-friendly. The US Ambassador Robert Godec kicked off the celebration, in addition to donating soccer balls and tshirts to the schools, he spoke about the importance of education, care of the environment and volunteering. Students from each of the seven schools presented plays, songs and poems on why a green environment is important to them. Community groups also presented skits delivering messages on the need for proper hygiene and maintenance in the community. Other speakers during the day included, a representative from UNICEF who spoke on the importance of hygiene, a representative from the County Government who spoke about the government’s commitment to the environment and a speaker from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology who emphasized the importance of the environment and our role in protecting it.
Local musicians and emcees helped keep the day on course and lively while Ghetto Radio aired the event live, helping spread the message to a wider audience.WEB Limited and Global Communities raised over US$17,000 in cash and in-kind donations through the generous support of local corporations and small businesses including Mentor Management Ltd, Sinohydro Corporation, GEMS schools, AoN Hewlett, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, United Bank of Africa, UNICEF, Africab Tours Ltd, Daxton Tents, AIRCAB, National Organization for Peer Educators, Kenya Girl Guide Association and City Council, as well as individual donations.
At the end of the day, 50 trees were planted, a mural was painted with the day’s theme and schools were provided solar lighting, painting, portable hand washing facilities and trash bins. A total of 30 classrooms were painted in the school. The schools were also provided with much needed sports equipment and books. While WEB Limited and Global Communities led the charge, it was truly a community effort supported greatly by the head teachers, students of each of the schools and the local community.