Volunteer Post - Working with Wagego Kenya

There are many things in life that can cause stress, unhappiness, and uncertainty. For some, we could be facing the mental and financial stresses of landing a crucial business meeting or being overworked and needing a vacation. Other people may struggle to make a dollar a day, receive proper health care and appropriate nourishment. But, thankfully, for every issue and struggle there are many more people making positive impacts in their local communities.

Partners for International Cooperation (PIC) works hand in hand with people and small community based organizations (CBOs) to promote their efforts through funding and resources.

PIC has decided to create a blog to keep you in tune with the awesome work that our partners do each and every day. While the issues that people face day to day may be daunting, we firmly believe that by working together we can reach our humanitarian goals. We have heard time and time again about the poverty in Africa, but there have been great strides by strong leaders that have started to seek help for their community.

These groups and individuals have started nonprofits to seek because they have a vision and the local knowledge to change their communities for the better. We like to think that diversity is the mother of invention, and that outside perspectives and strengths can add to the community's efforts.

One of our partnering organizations is Wagego Kenya, started by David Agagwa of the Wamai Village. Wagego means community or helping each other in the Asubuhi language, and was founded in 2012. The villages  main economical activities  include fishing and subsistence farming and the average income for these farmers are 1-5USD per day. 30% of the village is infected by HIV/AIDS, resulting in high numbers of orphaned children and women in single income homes. The women of Wagego have taken in orphaned children to make sure they have a safe and supportive home. .

Wagego helps provide access to food, health, and education for the children, and the women taught themselves jewelry making skills to sell their own bracelets and necklaces with traditional Kenyan styles. Wagego currently supports 18 boys and girls on the Mfangano Island (where Wamai Village is located) who have lost one or both of their parents due to HIV/AIDS, or parents who do to the illness are unable to support them. This organization helps pay for school fees, uniforms, food, materials, counseling, and after school activities.

Wagego also supports 15 women who have lost their husbands due to HIV/AIDS. These women are often sole guardians, but work together to support their families. The foundation helps with economic empowerment by having these individuals create handmade jewelry (i.e. earrings, bracelets, and necklaces) to bring to market. They also help run Wagego’s organic farm to support not just their families, but sell their produce to provide healthy, sustainable food for the rest of the community.

Although Wagego is making a difference for people in their community, there is still an incredible amount work yet to be done. By using our skills and resources to support their mission, we can continue to expand their work together and to more people in the village.

We’d love to have you join us and Wagego. Check out their website and Facebook page. You can make a suggested donation to receive a jewelry gift, volunteer remotely with PIC, or visit our partners in Kenya and Tanzania.  

-- by Emily, PIC Volunteer