Our 4th annual conference was held at the Methodist Guest House and Conference Center on April 25. Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, Vice President in Kenya, Catherine Kaimenyi, Student Coordinator and Deb Gust, President, were in attendance along with the PATHWAYS scholars.
This conference was special not only because it marks the year in which two of our very first scholars graduate, but because in addition to hearing presentations from the scholars on the progress of their community projects, we went as a group for a site visit to David Mundia’s tutoring project in Korogocho. We were greeted by many of the youth who have benefited from David’s project as well as many of the mothers of these students. David took the opportunity to tell those gathered that this coming year he would begin work to make the tutoring project sustainable by asking the women to form a group to produce products from which some of the profits would support the tutoring. The women were encouraged by this prospect and had many good ideas of how to proceed.
At the conference this year we gave out two awards: “Scholar of the Year 2008″ and “Role Model of the Year 2008″. We were happy to award Noah Kanda Kelly the PATHWAYS Scholar of the Year 2008 award for his excellence in academics, his dedication to improving and expanding his environmental project in his village of Tutarung and his initiative in seeking out ways to improve his project such as with solar power. Monicah Wairimu received the Role Model of the Year Award for her assistance with scholar mentoring, organization of PATHWAYS meetings and her seamless transition from scholar to professional in the workplace.
Also at the conference meeting Monicah reported on the site visit she, Deb and Betty Auma made to Isaac’s project the week prior. Isaac is PATHWAYS first scholar. His project is to support the orphans in his village through the development of community projects that serve to fund the orphans’ needs such as food, school fees and uniforms. During this site visit, Monicah, Betty and Deb learned about each of several subprojects and how they relate to the overall objective of supporting the orphans and other children in the community. Monicah suggested that many ideas from Isaac’s project could usefully be adapted by other scholars for their projects, for instance, the active involvement of the community support group in the development of and reporting on the community project /subprojects and having a small group of people be responsible for the success of the project.
As noted, 2009 marks the year PATHWAYS is graduating its first scholars. In this vein, we talked about the plan for continued involvement of the alumni. Monicah Wairimu, our first graduate, accepted the position of PATHWAYS Outreach Coordinator. As part of her responsibilities, she will work with other scholars to draw up the alumni guidance document. It was discussed that one of the missions of the alumni will be to develop a business plan where the profits will help support future PATHWAYS scholars and alumni community projects.