Rural Mtito Andei, Kenya is a small truck stop village on the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway. Best known for its proximity to the nearby Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, Mtito Andei is also home to problems ranging from inadequate water supplies, wide ranging poverty and an alarming rate of AIDs and HIV infection.
It is also the home to one of our greatest success stories.
It was in Mtito Andei, in the Mutulani School District, that Global Roots established the first Children‘s Garden.
In this area, children face a number of obstacles. Despite the availability of good schools and dedicated teachers, many students had only a sporadic attendance due to issues involving poor health and malnourishment.
Global Roots quickly discovered that establishing a Children’s Garden onsite at schools helped to address these issues. Not only were students able to get the proper nutrition needed to combat malnourishment, but this added sustenance proved to be invaluable in the fight against AIDs and related illness. All too frequently, children who had access to the vital Anti-Retroviral medication needed to manage HIV would nonetheless succumb to the disease because these medications can’t function on an empty stomach.
Further, Global Roots discovered that where schools had our Children’s Gardens, children benefitted beyond mealtime. As families understood that children could get a solid meal at school, students who had previously been kept home now attended. In the districts in which Global Roots Children’s Gardens are operating, regular school attendance is now averaged at 90%! And once the students are well fed, schools have all reported higher scores on exams, increased rates of matriculation and better overall concentration.
After many years spent developing relationships with the local community, Global Roots has been able to establish community needs and community strengths. After meetings with local school administrators, site visits and examination of transparency, a new school is selected as a recipient of a Children’s Garden package.
The Children’s Garden package for the Mtito Andei region generally includes a fully functioning greenhouse, a hen house and a rabbit farm. We provide the materials, we work together with the engagement of the community to construct the gardens and provide the appropriate training, and the community keeps these gardens sustainable!