A Decade of Development
July 13th, 2011 by Dipesh
Simon Englefield is our Africa Director and has been with us from the very start. That’s ten years of memories and thoughts to gather and sum up in a few hundred words…
Camps International is nearly ten years old and with it, comes ten years of experience supporting sustainable development. There really is no question that good education is the key to improving livelihoods and protecting our environment. That is why, over the last decade, we have primarily supported local schools.
Sadly it’s a known fact, that in our part of the world nowhere near enough is invested in education. Therefore, one of our key focuses has been to support infrastructure development for schools, be it, building new classrooms, providing desks, toilets, libraries, and sports facilities, we are there.
But the challenges didn’t, as we found out – stop there…
It’s all well and good if students have a roof under their head and a desk to sit at, but what happens when there are seventy students to a class? So, where we can, we have sponsored additional teachers. This simple but very effective cash commitment, relieves part of the problem, but then comes the next dilemma. Primary education is free in Kenya, but secondary isn’t. So we manage through our Trust an active secondary school sponsorship scheme, with currently 40 (and climbing) students being sponsored through secondary education, thanks mainly to generous volunteers.
The challenges unfortunately don’t stop there either. What happens when someone finishes secondary education and the family simply does not have enough funds to send their children to university or for skills training? The current situation in Kenya is that there are simply not enough jobs to go round. So over the past two years, we have been looking hard at what we can do next to provide people with a skill base that will allow them to provide for themselves. A recent study by Berkley University stated, “Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing social and economic problems facing less developed countries. Kenya, like many African countries, suffers from high youth unemployment. Vocational education is one promising avenue for addressing the problem, in particular through the dynamic private vocational sector.”
With the support of the Camps International Trust, we recently acquired 3 acres of land to build a vocational training centre in Muhaka Village, Kenya. Over the next few years, we aim to develop a fully operational skills training centre, which will directly support local community development. Training courses in carpentry, tailoring, agriculture, building, engineering, ICT and business development skills, will provide significant benefit for the many individuals who will pass through the centre.
I believe it is one of our most ambitious projects to date. Once the centre is up and running, there is no doubt in my mind that this exciting initiative, where needed will be reproduced across all of our international locations.
Camps International are proud that after ten years of supporting sustainable development, we really do have the experience, know how and drive, to actually do what needs to be done.