Donating to Kenya - Ideas and resources

Visitors have asked me how they can donate to Kenya - what are good causes and organisations. This page provides some directions to look. You can also look at my page with help requests - any organisation with a legitimate request for help can post there.

Besides the things mentioned, you can also help Kenya by... having a great vacation there. Tourism to Kenya brings some US$1 billion each year, the biggest source of foreign income.

Investing in Education

I believe in the saying: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Therefore I think donating to educational facilities in Kenya is an excellent choice – especially those schools and universities that have shown results already.

It’s pretty normal across the globe for schools and universities to receive outside grants (other than fees from students and their parents). Most schools and universities in North America and Europe also rely on third-party funding. Besides, it’s in a way logical for companies and other organizations to donate a part of their income to education. Education delivers skilled employees to them, among others, who in turn have money to buy products. Companies can perform because other organisations take care of education.

If you’d like to donate to education in Kenya, have a look at:

Strathmore Foundation
The American support foundation of the Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. This private, not-for-profit university specializes in commerce and information technology and has shown very good results since it’s foundation in 1961. It’s the first educational institute in Kenya to receive an ISO 9001 Certification for quality in management. More on it’s website (where you can donate online as well):

Business Development

From my travels and other life experiences, I’ve become convinced that what Kenya most of all needs, is more plain business initiative. Small businesses and self-employed people who work within the regular free-market economy and that meets real needs of costumers.

Not abstract ‘programs’ launched by governments, but fostering business activity at the grass-roots level starting with the present abilities of people even if they're poor. Micro financing fits that. Especially when it’s not done as charity but as a regular banking activity, as envisioned by the inventor of mirco credits, economist Muhammad Yunus. Here are two resource:

Kiva is a new internet platform where individuals like you can loan directly to small business owners who've posted their business plans online. You can search the database of borrowers and pick one that interests you. Loans are interest-free and start from $25 and you can transfer the money with a credit card or a free PayPal account.

On the receiving side, there's a financial organisation working with the small business owner who check the soundness of the plan and also keep an eye on repayments. Most organisations have a default rate of 0% with a high number of loans, so if you pick one of them, you're almost sure to get your money back. The system-wide default rates are low anyway, around 1.5% (at the time of writing, Summer 2009). The system is very transparent: you can follow everything, including whether each repayment term was met. Small business owners also post updates how their business is developing.

Equity Bank (Kenya)
The Equity Bank of Kenya is a privately held bank which has put it’s main focus on micro credits for (small) Kenyan businesses since the mid 1990s. It has won the MicroCapital Award for Best Microfinance Bank in Africa (as well as the EuroMoney Award 2007 for Best Bank in Kenya). From it’s profits it is also donating money and expertise to Kenyan universities and schools, as well as to disaster relief organisations.

Disaster Relief

However, next to investing in structural changes through improving education, and facilitating regular economic development, emergencies occur – floods, hurricanes, food crises, outbreak of wars etc. – that require immediate action. Then we do need to hand out the fish. Have a look at:

Red Cross - Kenya
Disaster relief is one of the pillars of the work of the Kenyan branch of the Red Cross, next to health improvement and development work. It’s a branch in the international Red Cross organization.

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