Friday, December 21, 2012

We Have Moved!

We have moved our website and blog to a new location.  We will no longer be updating this blog.

You can now find us at http://www.uwezakenya.org.

Our new blog is at http://www.uwezakenya.org/blog.


Monday, December 17, 2012

My Story: Dorcas Kirwai

My Story" gives beneficiaries of Uweza programs the opportunity to tell their own story about their experience with Uweza.  Today's story is written by Dorcas Kirwai, who just finished Class 6 at St. Anne's Primary School, which is a boarding school.  Dorcas ranks at the top of her class during exams and is targeting a national high school to fulfill her dreams of being a lawyer and a journalist.  During breaks from school, she is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club and frequently writes stories about other Uweza projects for this blog. 

My name is Dorcas Kirwai.  I am thirteen years old, learning in Saint Anne's Primary School and going to class seven next year. I live with a mother who came to my rescue when my mother died while I was still young.  I, Kirwai Dorcas, would like to inherit the title "journalist," follwing the footsteps of my role model Julie Gichuru (Kenyan journalist working for Citizen TV).  I would also like to work with the children's department as a lawyer.  As Ben Carson illustrates to us, to 'THINK BIG,' I believe 'YES I CAN.'



I joined the Uweza Journalism Club in November 201.  Since I joined, I have experienced different and good things.  The most exciting time is when I wrote stories after every visit.  Our teacher, Thomas, has taught us how to take different kinds of photos.  During the August school holidays, we as a journalism club, has the opportunity to visit two media houses, which gave us an insight of how they are run. The stations were Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, a state owned media house, and Citizen Televsion, a privately owned media house.
Dorcas, left, with fellow Journalism Club member Aisha
The trips gave us great priviledge to meet some of the news anchors, who shared their experiences and what it takes to be a journalist.  This gave me good motivation, knowing that I am on the right track with my career path.


Mostly, when I go back to boarding school, I usually share with the other members of our school what we learned during the holidays.  I am very proud of myself, my journalism teacher, and the Uweza Foundation for their thoughts to empower young people with rightful skills as we look ahead to the future.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Be Inspired Before You Expire


Story by Dorcas Kirwai
Photos by Rebecca Musanga

The afternoon of last week journalism session was one of its kind.  Despite the cloudy and windy weather, we all settled down ready to be informed with the two journalists from a local community radio station based in Kibera, Pamoja FM, Felix  Asoha and Kamadi Amata. The session started with formal introductions so as each one of us could get well acquainted.

As routine now, we had our newspaper review session, which gives all participants an avenue to read through the day’s dailies, after which everyone shares one news story they read.  We also share news happenings from the past week so as each one of us could get up to speed with current news affairs, both locally to nationally, and even international news.





The day gave each one of us an opportunity to preview one of the toughest interviews we have had never ever thought about. The interview had Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and Nation Media News Manager Linus Kaikai.


The video was to give us more insights of different interview techniques to use, should any one of us get into such a situation.  Then it would be easier to use learned skills to take charge and overcome
The interview was not that easy for Linus Kakai, the interviewee seemed to have taken charge and kept on challenging the interviewer with questions rather than answers. This kept us thinking if any of us were in that hot spot, how would we have handled interview?

Felix  Asoha and Kamadi Amata of Pamoja FM
All of us present were asked to give our feedback about the interview. Mr. Felix could not hesitate to teach us on how to prepare oneself before any interview. He featured on information, stating that, we should always be informed especially when going for an interview to avoid questions of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and to do thorough research before any interview.


We all had the opportunity of getting informed at least from people already working from a media house what it takes to prepare beforehand for an interview be it with celebrities, locals and even dignitaries. From the video piece we all watched, I think we are better off and would be looking forward to put into practice a few of new learnt ideas on interviewing skills.

Our day ended with a simple but a challenging game and the nutritious cup of porridge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wonders Never End in Museums


Story and photos by Rebecca Musanga and Dorcas Kirwa.

As the old saying goes,’ Old is gold’ and indeed we have now verified this proverb because we also believe that seeing is believing.  So on a cool Saturday morning, on the 8th of December 2012, all roads led to Nairobi National Museum. We went under the supervision and guidance of our art instructor, Mr. Joseph Wanderi ("Wanderer"), who was well armed with two well-trained journalists known as Dorcas Kirwai and Rebecca Musanga (the authors of this blog).


It was a chance for the art program kids to take a day off from their normal routine with the paint brushes and explore what is offered at the Nairobi National Museum. On arrival, a scary gigantic dinosaur welcomed us as we waited to be cleared. We first visited the museum art exhibition where we were totally inspired by people’s professional artwork. I was amazed when I saw one fine art painting costing 350, 000 Kenyan Shillings ($4,120 USD), meaning that if I was to paint or draw three of them, then I could be a millionaire in a few weeks time.



“When drawing or painting a landscape, never start with the people or objects but always start with the sky to give your picture a balance. You can also use boundaries of a picture that contains objects of different localities,” advised Mr. Wanderer.

We were able to see different species of all types of birds, including the owl, which most people associate with bad omen. For the first time, I saw an ostrich’s egg. We also saw an exhibition on cutleries, read Kenya’s history, learned about the Mau Mau generation, saw colonial garments, and learned about older means of transport, including the railway line in which we saw one built at the museum, and learned about media culture, sports and lastly fossils.



Next was a walk to the Snake Park, where it even got scarier.  We viewed live snakes caged in different glass transparent walls and they were as well crawling towards our direction. I guess they were excited to see us. I got very interested when I saw these two types of snakes; one was the Milk Snake that eats insects, eggs and frogs. It’s harmless and lays 10 eggs per clutch. The second one was known as Boom slang, a big fanged venomous tree snake that has deadly slow acting venom that causes a general bleeding and the snake is non aggressive. We also saw some moving turtles, crocodiles and an alligator.



The trip ended with some adventure and funny games as some dancers entertained us. The music carried us too and we joined them in dancing to their tune of the orutu, flute and the drums. Sadly we had to leave all the fun behind and go back home but we remained with great memories stored in our minds. All that has a beginning must have an ending. We entered the bus and left for Uweza Foundation Center where we ended the day with lunch.



Rebecca Musanga and Dorcas Kirwai are members of the Uweza Journalism Club.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Speak It Out: First Edition

by Thomas Bwire

The center was filled with youthful faces, all waiting in anticipation for the day’s afternoon session that was going to be the first of its kind in our programs. This came timely as majority of the kids in different programs were now on holiday and home from their respective schools.

It’s five minutes past 3pm as scheduled on the program and small murmurs in low tones could be heard outside the sitting bay where benches were neatly arranged and filled up by the participants. Being one of the moderators of the session, with Sponsorship Coordinator Mathew Muema, we took charge of the program by introductory remark  and making every one present feel at ease since it was a day specifically to speak out their minds on one of the key topical issues in life, "Choosing a Career."


The number of the adolescent in attendance was 58 for the first session of “Speak It Out.” Speak It Out is a new project that brings in guest speakers to engage and motivate youth ages 14 and up about issues that are important to them.


Today's topic touched on best choices for university admission, how to choose your future career and what it takes to succeed in the soccer field. Our first speaker Charle gave an inspiration talk on what it takes to be a good academic scholar and on choosing the right course when one wants to join campus.

Charles addressing the group
Charles also encouraged the participation of all participants wanting to know how one can join campus to pursue their dream courses. Different aspects were presented by Charles whom also shared a little bit of his experience which ended to be very motivational.

The second speaker was someone who is viewed as a soccer guru and seen by many as a hero. Godfrey Otieno, known by many here as Solo, shared his experiences of what it takes to excel in the soccer industry. The majority of those present followed keenly and wanted to get a better understanding of skills needed to succeed in the soccer industry. The talk revolved around his experience and how he started playing soccer at a young age.

Solo discusses how to develop a career out of talents
Solo explained that he would always play with his friends and whenever he noticed her mother passing by in the field, he would enact all the tactful moves so as to get noticed and also get support. His passion has seen him travel to many African countries as a player and he has also played for the national team, Harambee Stars.





Finally, the speakers were able to answer some of the questions from all the participants.  Each of the participants filled out an evaluation form to provide their feedback for future sessions, which will take place every month.  Participants appreciated the new initiative and requested to learn more about topics such as drug and alcohol addition, family breakup, relationships, peer pressure, and drugs. The session came to a close with snacks for everyone involved.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uweza Kibra League Awards

by Sharon Akinyi

On Sunday 25th November, we went to the field as part of our Journalism Club activities.  We went to watch the Uweza Kibra League awards ceremony, which was held at Toi Primary School.  Many children attended the function in order to cheer for their team and accept their awards for the 2012 season.  The league is held annually and includes teams from throughout Kibera.

I first interviewed a coach known as Abel, who coaches Marren FC.  He told me that the team deals with players 8 years old to 15 years old.  The club has approximately 50 players. Abel told me that they had played thirty games as a part of the Uweza Kibra League and finished the season with 80 points.

Journalism Club members interviewing League Coordinator Joash Ngaira
Joash Ngaira, the league coordinator and Uweza coach for Under-12, was hoping for his team to win.  Before they played their match, I asked him what he hoped for.  He answered, "as a coach, I only expect the best and that's winning."

Uweza Under-8 played a match with Brothers Under-8 and won the match 1-0.  Henry Waweru, a young and ambitious player, scored the goal for Uweza.  Their coach Said was happy because they did not draw.  He said that Henry Waweru was one of his best players on the Under-8 team. "He has determination even though he is small.  He knows where he wants to reach and to him, not even the sky is the limit.," he told me.  The Uweza Under-8 team usually trains on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  They are almost 25 in number. 

Uweza Under-8 vs. Brothers Under-8
The opponents of Uweza were not sad.  I interviewed the Brothers FC coach, Edu, who thought the game was cool but "the minutes were very few."  I asked him who his best player was he and he told me they were two, named Diblo and Imoli.  In the next match, coach Abel's team Marren FC came head to head with coach Joash's team Uweza Under-12. Even though they played and fought tooth and nail for a victory, the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

After the match, we went to the awards ceremony.  Coach Joash encouraged all of the players to keep putting more effort into everything they do and in improving their talents in football.  The guest of honor, known as "Solo," who is a former international soccer player, told the players to set goals and play well in order to view themselves like their role models.

Uweza Team Manager Charles Kaindi addresses the players and coaches
"Solo" also told them that they had to be disciplined. "You could be doing well in everything but without discipline, you won't go anywhere."  Many prizes and awards were given to different teams. The first prize for Best Defender went to Quinter Anyango of the Uweza Queens (girls team).  Top Scorer of the Uweza Kibra League was Rashid Abdul of Marren FC, with 21 goals.   The prize for the Most Disciplined went to Juma Suleiman of Marren FC.

Slum Soka team captain accepts certificate on behalf of his team
The winning teams for Under-8 and overall categories received certificates, medals and a trophy.  Truly, all that starts well ends well.  The league for the year was over and was closed by Managing Director Jen Sapitro.  She thanked each and every one for coming and participating.  

Marren FC players with their first place trophy

Sharon Akinyi is 14 years old and a member of the Uweza Journalism Club.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life Skils All Ladies Should Know

by Rebecca Musanga

Life skills is next to common sense but as we know sometimes this skill is not as common among many individuals. In life, we undergo numerous and different transitions that enable us to move to the next step of success. On a bright Saturday morning, the 24th of November, Uweza Foundation organized a ladies life skills forum and the young ladies who came were from the different programs that it provides.

The main aim of the forum was to educate young ladies about the mandatory skills that they need to apply in their daily lives. Under the guidance our beloved, respected teacher Lydia, we all sat down, regardless of our age, to listen and learn more about life. Teacher Lydia dwelled mostly on the proper way of hygiene.

The major points she tackled were as follows:
  • The proper way of bathing where we were advised to always have a shower at least twice in a day.
  • Brushing of our teeth at least twice in a day.
  • Wearing clean clothes daily.
  • Always to use a white tissue when visiting the toilet and wash our hands regularly.
  •  Wearing well fitting pants that should always be dry and clean to avoid getting infections.
  • During the monthly period to use recommended pads and disposing them correctly.
  • Get a better education and after that a career which will enable us to live a pleasing life.
  • To abstain from sex until marriage since one can contract various diseases, some of which, like HIV and AIDS, don’t have any cure.
  • Respect to our elders especially our parents and to the laws provided in the constitution.
  • Shaving of pubic and armpit hair to avoid bad smell and other complications 
  • Above all to keep our dignity through earning a good education, happiness good social and moral values and reverence for God.
The explanations to this session were in depth, which left us with no questions to ask but more knowledge to acquire. “Our life as ladies is like an egg, it can easily break, we are like flowers that need proper care to blossom or else we can fade anytime,” said teacher Lydia as she concluded.

We all had a great time and did not want the session to end. Everyone had a great time to enjoy the snacks that were provided as we promised to share the knowledge with the other young ladies who were absent. Truly, life skills should be a mandatory subject in all learning institutions to remind people on the good morals and ethics of life.


Rebecca Musanga is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We are on the move


by Nicholas Gisemba

Sunday the 11th of November was a day to remember as one of our new programs, the Uweza Cultural Troupe, was lucky enough to be invited to perform at a wedding outside Kibera. The group has been meeting since August to sharpen their dancing skills and recently had their first performance at Uweza Soccer Academy's Prize Giving day. The group meets every Sunday and brings together youth from throughout Kibera to learn dances from different Kenyan cultures.



The wedding was held along Thika road at St. Bernard Catholic Parish, where the bride and the groom were having the best day of their lives. The service went well with the parish priest giving word of encouragement to the newlyweds. Time came for the Uweza dancing group, wearing their new dancing costumes and shoes, to perform and everyone was impressed by their dancing styles.



For sure their performance was not a disappointment as wedding guests were treated to lively moves and were very impressed. According to their trainer Mr. Antony Juma, his task has been to train the youngsters in dancing skills, since it’s also like a sport to relax one’s mind and also enjoy oneself.  The Cultural Troupe was able to participate in wedding festivities and enjoyed a meal of rice, chapati, and meat as appreciation for their performing.  The group returned back to Kibera at night, after a day of enjoyment.


The wedding guests were so happy with the performance that one of the guests made an approach to the club if they can also perform in another wedding, which took place today. Antony’s vision for the group is to see them continue to perform at many events outside of Kibera to bring more exposure for Kibera youth outside of Kibera, to showcase their talents, and to gain sponsorship for the program.

Watch a video clip of the performance below and contact us at info@uweza.org or 0706823283 to book the Uweza Cultural Troupe to perform at your event!



Nicholas Gisemba is a member of the Uweza Journalism Club. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Story: Uweza Sponsorship House

My Story" gives beneficiaries of Uweza programs the opportunity to tell their own story about their experience with Uweza. Today's story comes from five Kibera adolescents who have moved into a house together that is paid for by Uweza.  In Kibera, most adolescent boys are considered adults and are expected to find a place to sleep outside of their family homes.  The authors of today's story are high school students who had particularly difficult living situations, which prompted Uweza to intervene.

by Ali Juma, Charles Omondi, Erick Ondimu, Michael Kubasu, and Steven Okello

Opportunities are very rare to find. This is because, nowhere in this planet earth, will you find someone who sacrifices to guarantee all your requirements such as paying your school fees, providing a shelter for you, and lastly ensuring that you get food.  We are boldly appreciating for all that Uweza Foundation has provided us with. The opportunity that you have given to us is a wonderful and visionary idea that has enabled us to focus ahead.  We thank you for everything.

Before we entered this house, most of us went through a lot of challenges in life such as lack of school fees, food problems, housing problems, and lastly difficulty learning.  Learning was the most serious problem that most of us had.  First, we lacked resources such as textbooks.  The place to study was a major problem.  Time management was a serious issue.  Most of us could also be influenced by friends that were negative influences.

Erick Ondimu and Charles Omondi
 The house is located opposite K.A.G. near Ceno Grounds in Kibera.  The house is cemented from inside to outside. The floor and the walls are cemented wonderfully. The walls are painted in a white color which makes it look deliberately good.  The iron-sheet is well built in that leaking problems during raining are minimal.

Uweza Foundation has provided us with facilities such as beds that have made us sleep comfortable without worries.  We have, enough food that has made us to be so energetic whereby from our past appearance we looked thin but now we have changed a lot.  When you look at us, we look much more healthy than those past days.

Michael Kubasu
 We also have a place to study whereby we are able to read well without any disturbance and also we can manage our time appropriately. We have been provided with books that have enabled us to improve our academic performance.  And lastly, you have provided a house that enables us to live better.

The house has helped us live peacefully and in harmony and has brought unity between all of us.  We are all coming from different backgrounds but it is the house that Uweza has provided for us that has brought us together without looking closely at who we are and where we came from.


 With our ending remarks, we would like to appreciate Uweza Foundation for what they have done to us.  All of us have set targets/goals that are going to bear much fruit.  We promise that we are going to work hard and pass our exams well because we have all that requires a student to pass. We will pass with flying colors.  We believe that one day, we will come to surprise many with our achievements and progress.

Lastly, we will not forget the blessings and love of God that has enabled Uweza to do all of this because of us. Please continue having the same spirit of assisting people that are in need and for sure God will not forsake you but He will reward you  more.  Thank you very much and may the Almighty God bless you (Uweza) all the time.

From left: Steven Okello, Erick Ondimu, Ali Juma, Charles Omondi, and Michael Kubasu

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Today's Entrepreneurs

by Rebecca Musanga and Thomas Bwire

Have you ever wondered why some businesses thrive and end up being big companies? And have you ever asked yourself why some big companies end up to their downfall? Well the answer to a better managed business entity is through proper planning, undertaking a market research to understand its need.

November 3rd 2012 was a day set aside by Barclays bank staff that came all the way to Kibera to undertake a community service among the children of Uweza Foundation.  Their mission was to teach and mentor youths aged between ages 12-23 on life skills, financial skills, and entrepreneurship skills. Despite the chilly and rainy muddy day, all the participants both from the Barclay’s team and Uweza had the energy to go all the way. Sessions were organized for different age groups in some of the classes at Toi Primary School.

Uweza youth ages 12-14 received mentorship on life skills from Barclays staff members
The older youth were taken through the fundamentals of growing a small business with as little capital as 1,000 Kenyan Shillings and the major points that are essential for business growth.  One of the major factors one should consider in starting a business is the demand of product. Second is the package, available market and quality of the product. These factors play a big role because many people consciously or unconsciously buy things not because they need them but because they saw them and were attracted to them.

To become a good entrepreneur, one needs to be bold and good in negotiating skills, social, persuasive, determined and goal oriented. At the end, the greatest investment one can ever make is in the people themselves and not in the machines. With the help of some of the facilitators like Ramesh Kavil, Charity Kimathi and Francis Mwango, the group of older youths were now able to understand how things work in the real business world.

Ramesh Kayil of Barclays leads a lesson to Uweza youth ages 19-23
An in-depth interview with the Barclays Africa, Chief Operating Officer (BA, COO) Mr. Eric Modave noted that Africa is still the best place for market investment opportunities that can easily target the youth. “Youth comprise of a bigger population though we see many disparities among them, and that’s why Barclays is here to support youth ideas and possible ways of creating new jobs for them” noted Eric. 

Eric Modave teaching youth ages 15-18 about Africa's potential for entrepreneurship growth
 The Chief Operating Officer also added the need to embrace technology advancement in this area since most youths own mobile handsets that can hasten use of mobile banking, call centers, and internet use.  To put all the theories taught into practice, a section of the youths were divided into groups of three and each given a Ksh.1000 to purchase some clothes at the nearby Toi Market with an aim of selling to make profit. This had to be done within a time frame of 1 hour.

Organizing their goods purchased at the market
Upon their return to the event, some shops were opened and business took center stage as Barclays staff members bought some of the clothes displayed and gifted them to younger kids who had emerged winners in a dancing competition that was held.

Dancing competition winners with their new clothing donations
“I feel much different now, and I am thinking of possible ways I can start a small business one day,” were Ali Juma's sentiments.  While Dennis Odhiambo, age 19, also appreciates the few learned entrepreneurship skills that he had never given a thought to before.  Thank you to Barclays for their support in making this great day possible!
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