In 2009, fresh drinking water in SVH–Mbakalo became minutes away, rather than miles away, thanks to the Lake Victoria North Water Services Board, the Gender Sensitive Initiatives organization, the Kenyan Water Services Fund Trust, and SOTENI Kenya. SVH–Mbakalo managed the project. The massive project brought 20 hand-pump wells and 20 spring-water pipes to the area, as well as 15 three-door latrines and 12 rainwater-harvesting tanks to its local schools.
The Improving access to Family Planning Project in SVH Ugunja began in 2015. The overall aim of this project, supported by the Positive Action for Children Fund, is to spread family planning information and increase the uptake of family planning and other Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) services among rural women living in SVH Ugunja. This includes providing integrated HIV, SRH, and reproductive rights services through outreaches, home visitations, and linking women to health care in order to access family planning at a subsidized cost.
SVH–Mbakalo opened a dispensary in early 2005 to provide essential medical services to an underserved area that includes the largest rural slum in the Western Province. The seven-person staff includes a two nurses, nurse's assistant, lab technologist, accounts clerk, watchman, and a cleaning person.
Between 200 and 300 people visit the dispensary each month, often walking miles to receive care. Most require anti-malarials, antibiotics, analgesics, or antihistamines. With the assistance of a government health center, the dispensary also offers immunizations. Despite having no electricity, the dispensary is thriving. In fall 2008, SOTENI purchased a solar refrigerator to store vaccines and medicines.
In 2011 SOTENI was able to build a simple structure on the 2.25 acres that was donated by the community to SOTENI. The dispensary is currently located in this building. Plans are in the works to upgrade, and expand the dispensary. The expansion project is estimated to cost about $75,000 USD. We are seeking donors to help with the project.
Due to the generosity of a donor, SVH-Mbakalo will be developing the Mary Kibor Empowerment Project. After strengthening the current infrastructure a community resource center will be built on the SOTENI land. Plans are to have a library and cyber-cafe.
In October 2007, SOTENI Kenya (SK) was awarded a $105,000 two-year grant from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) to help local women in SVH-Mituntu through a Women's Empowerment Project. SOTENI implemented the project in partnership with the Forum for International Cooperation (FIC) and Community Relief and Concern, a Kenyan organization. In July/August 2008, 24 Kenyans were selected to become "trainers of trainers" and underwent extensive education. Since then, more than 750 women from 60 women's groups have acquired new knowledge and skills in business management, entrepreneurship, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality and empowerment.
Because of the success of the first phase of the program, in 2010 DANIDA awarded SK a three-year $350,000 for a second phase initiative in SVH-Mituntu. The grant will enable many more women's groups to receive the in-depth training and offer guidance and assistance to individual women and women's groups that have started their own businesses.
In June 2009, SVH–Mbakalo launched the Flo DeWitt Women Empowerment Initiative, a microfinance program providing short-term loans of 30,000 Kenyan shillings (~$400) to local women's groups. These loans finance income-generating activities and help the groups achieve greater self-sufficiency. The women work on projects ranging from beekeeping to crop development.
Before receiving the loans, the women received training on how to effectively manage their capital, maintain active membership, develop a sustainable project, and repay the money.
Mary Kibor Community Empowerment Center
Located in SVH-Mbakalo, the Center intends to offer three main resources including a library, a computer lab, and a meeting hall to serve the community. Plans for community members and children to have the ability to learn year-round, beyond the traditional school year.
SVH-Mbakalo serves a section of the Western Province with a population of 155,000. Most of the residents are Bukusu, a sub-tribe of the Luhya culture. More than 55% of the people live below the poverty line. HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated at 7%, but the burden of care continues to overwhelm local health facilities and programs.
Led by a locally elected management committee of volunteers, SVH–Mbakalo provides essential services to vulnerable children and ensures they remain HIV negative or live positively with HIV.
SVH-Ugunja serves Nyanza Province's Ugunja District, which has at least 3,000 AIDS orphans. The prevalence of HIV in this part of western Kenya is about 24% of its 520,000 residents, most of whom are members of the Luo tribal culture.
In this area, poverty is severe. Women are at great risk for HIV/AIDS, which gives rise to high numbers of other vulnerable children. Wife inheritance is a common practice, which contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
SVH-Mituntu serves a population of 290,000; most are part of the Meru culture. Five volunteer leaders comprise the village's locally elected management committee, whose goal is to counter the effects of AIDS by providing essential services to the community.
The local community, through the Kenyan government, donated 52 acres for community projects. A Community Resource Center (CRC) has been constructed, thanks to a grant of 1.4 million Kenyan shillings (about $28,000 USD) from Kenya's Constituency Development Fund.