Even at a small rural clinic—the Andingo Opanga Dispensary, accessible only by unpaved road that goes up to an altitude of 9,500 feet, the highest point in Nyanza—the people can demonstrate in just a few words the remarkable change in their lives.
The small health care outpost is the primary point of call for thousands of people from roughly a dozen villages in the surrounding area.
At the moment, the centre serves at least 20 mothers per month besides other patients seeking various health services.
But worthy of note is that hundreds of HIV-positive patients visit the clinic for care and treatment, which includes getting critical services that help prevent mother-to-child transmission of the deadly disease.
However, until a couple of months ago, expectant mothers had to travel over steep hills to the city of Kisumu, an hour-and-a-half ride away, in order to get critical care before and after childbirth.
Only a few could afford it, and thousands opted for home child delivery services, further putting the women at risk of contracting the HIV and Aids disease.
Under Safaricom Foundation’s Ndoto Zetu Initiative, however, Andingo Opanga Dispensary benefited with a delivery bed and six recovery beds at a cost of Kes 400,000.
About 160 kilometres away from Kisumu, members of Chematich Unit Health Volunteers Organization, a community of over 4,000 people in Trans Nzoia County, is fighting a painful infestation—jiggers—village by village.
They received Kes 200,000 from Ndoto Zetu which they channeled in buying chemicals to help treat jiggers, a health challenge that often erupts in the area during the dry season leading to low self-esteem on the infected people.
“As we speak today, we have eliminated jigger infestation among the people in the target area. Ndoto Zetu support touched the lives of residents in five villages in a big way,” noted Irene Keter who is the team secretary.
In Nakuru County, nearly 60 widows—including teenage mothers—are sewing their way out of poverty after getting the requisite dressmaking and business management skills under Frolics of Hope Africa.
And the future is very promising, “the new sewing machines gave us the strength to reach out to more women, including vulnerable teenage mothers. Currently, I have about 70 applications for the next cohort of trainees,” said Frolics of Hope Africa founder and director Nkatha Mugao
Prior to getting Kes 100,000 worth of sewing machines from Ndoto Zetu, the Community Based Organisation lacked a viable economic activity that could sustain the teenage mothers when they become of age and need to get back to the community.
Ndoto Zetu is a unique style that is redefining corporate giving in Kenya as it enables would-be project beneficiaries to propose their ideas for consideration and therefore funding by the Safaricom Foundation.
Further, Bingwa Special School, a learning centre for differently abled people in Laikipia County also received Kes 100,000 worth of sewing machines from Ndoto Zetu, empowering over 50 learners to sharpen their dressmaking and business skills.
From health to education to economic empowerment, an assessment of projects financed in the just concluded Ndoto Zetu phase II shows there was plan to impact lives in each of the 47 counties.
Teenage pregnancy in Kilifi County remains stubbornly high. Quite often, girls as young as 15 get married, giving up their professional dreams, with no plans to ever return to the classrooms.
While giving a boost to many years of investment made toward keeping girls in school, over 300 girls in Mbita Primary School can now seek refuge away from early marriages and child labour that derails their education.
Ndoto Zetu initiative supported the school with 30 beds and mattresses at cost of Kes 250,000.
Globally, advocates for children rights point to a clear link between marrying early and dying young.
Pregnancy complications and childbirth are the leading cause of death in girls aged 15 to 19 in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The list for projects supported by Ndoto Zetu goes on and on. There were a total of 329 successful applications in Ndoto Zetu phase II which received Kes 60.6 million in funding.
About 14.7 million people have been impacted directly and indirectly across the 47 counties in Kenya.
At the moment, evaluation is underway for projects that are set to get financing under Ndoto Zetu phase III where Kes 100 million has been set aside for a good cause.
The beneficiaries nominate community projects that are within Safaricom Foundation’s focus areas—health, economic empowerment and education—through written submissions on the Safaricom website or by visiting Safaricom retail shops countrywide and filling their application form.