During the latter part of 2013, a local family in Lamu offered to donate land for a new school building. Working together with the donor, it was agreed in February of 2014 to found the Al Maawiya Development Group, a certified and registered community-based organization (CBO). This organization is basically a locally chartered NGO which is effectively owned by the community with at least a 10-person board. It can operate schools, hospitals and other activities of a general community support nature and can own the facilities necessary to support such activities. In our case, we have appointed a mixed board of local Lamu representatives including the donor of the land
as chairman (the grandson of the former town head man); the head of the local community women’s organization; the former mayor; Maria Parga, the Anidan orphanage head; a leading local teacher; some local white Kenyans involved in businesses in the area (who also helped support the temporary school); my husband and myself. Given the creation of the necessary organization, the process of building the new school can begin with the transfer of two acres of ridgetop land in the center of Lamu island, 15-30 minutes away from the town of Lamu and the village by foot, a lovely rural setting.
The first phase of the project will consist of the following:
1. Designing the school
2. Obtaining appropriate contractors with competitive bidding
3. Constructing two school buildings with eight classrooms (possibly including a teachers’ meeting room
• Plus a small house for the headmaster and his family
• Plus a kitchen and dining hall (the hall to be roofed with tables where children can eat lunch)
• Plus a small building with eight toilets and sinks
• Plus a small house for a guard near the entrance gate plus a fence around the whole two-acre plot.
4. Estimated costs: US$150,000.--
3/Ideally, the children can move in by September but sometimes things move more slowly than planned in Kenya.
The second phase would comprise:
1. Adjacent sports fields.
2. A house for visiting exchange program teachers/students or families.
3. Estimated cost: US$20,000
A final Phase 3 could include:
1. A computer room
2. An arts center
3. Another school building for classes
4. A structure to house potential Right To Play project in Lamu
5. No estimated cost as this is truly longer term planning