U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec Attends Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund Grant Signing Ceremony

U.S Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec signed new agreements for six recipients of the Ambassador’s Self Help Fund Grants on August 26, to promote income generation, clean water, and better health in different communities throughout Kenya.

Six Community-Based Organizations will receive funding from the Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund, and will execute projects in the Coast and the Rift Valley.  Of the six projects, three are income-generating activities, two are water access projects, and one provides  medical equipment.  The grants total $50,000 and are expected to benefit over 128,000 Kenyans.

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Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec at Ceremony

Hamjambo mabibi na mabwana.  Habari zenu?

Thank you and good morning.

I’m pleased to welcome all of you to the U.S. Embassy to announce this year’s recipients of grants under the Embassy’s Self-Help Fund.  I am also pleased to recognize today our grantees from last year who have now completed their projects.

The Ambassador’s Self-Help Fund is one of my favorite programs.  The name captures the program perfectly:  it provides direct help from the United States government to groups that are already working hard to improve their own communities.  These groups are quite diverse, with projects ranging from income generation to providing better access to safe, clean water.  At the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a truly historic event in Washington in which many Kenyans participated, President Barack Obama said our partnership with Africa is focused on African capacity to solve problems and to grow.  That is precisely what the Self-Help Fund is all about.

Small, community-based groups such as yours are the engine of growth fueling economic and social development here in Kenya.  I witnessed this firsthand when I first worked here in Kenya back in the 1990s and had the privilege of managing the Self-Help Fund.  I will never forget the groups I met at that time, such as a women’s self-help program battling discrimination and economic hardship on the Coast.  Like them, all of our grantees are dedicated Kenyans who have decided to organize their communities to tackle social and economic challenges.

For this year, the Embassy’s Self-Help Fund supported six projects.  Grants ranged from $6,500 to $10,000 each, for a total of $50,000 (approximately KSH 4.4 million).  While each grant by itself is small, we know from experience that these projects will change lives for the better.  The positive impact of these funds in supporting your work is felt immediately.  This year’s funding will support projects in Kericho, Njoro, Kitale, Naivasha and Magarini on the Coast.  For the coming years, I give you my personal commitment that the Embassy will endeavor to reach Kenya’s more remote areas to expand the benefits of this program to where they are needed most.

The U.S. Embassy is proud to help all of you help your own communities.  I am always so impressed with the proposals we receive, and I’d like to highlight this year’s projects now:

  • The Maraigushu Dispensary Self-Help Group is here today from Naivasha to receive funds that will provide comprehensive health services to their community.  This $9,000 grant will help purchase medical equipment to be used in their newly constructed maternity wing, but will also help the dispensary provide better overall maternal, child, and inpatient care.
  • The Chebown Youth Group, another group from Kericho County, will receive a grant of $10,000 to provide them with water tanks and pipes for the group’s fish pond, an important source of income, while also providing clean water to the community.
  • The Lunyu Community-Based Health Financing Project is preparing to start their fish farm with a $7,500 grant to purchase fish hatcheries.
  • The Okoa Community-Based Project, a group in Trans-Nzoia, will receive a grant of $6,500 to purchase materials for making fireless cookers, an income generation project.
  • Nyayo Sigwaya Youth Group, on the Coast, will receive $9,000 to procure irrigation equipment and farm implements and to sink and modify an existing shallow well to help the group in their irrigation project.
  • Gichobo-Mutaro Rural and Sanitation Organization, a group from the Nakuru County Molo District will receive a grant of $8,000 to expand an existing water system.  They will extend mainline pipes and provide valve chambers so that water users can connect several distribution lines in order to bring clean, safe drinking water to their homes.

Taken together, this year’s projects will directly and indirectly benefit over 128,000 Kenyans.  These projects in your communities will be an enduring symbol of the friendship between the people of the United States and Kenya for generations to come, and the awards you receive are a testament to your hard work and dedication.

I would like to invite each organization to come forward as you are called to sign letters and to receive a certificate commemorating each grant.  Thank you to all of you and last year’s grantees for taking the time to come today to help grow our wonderful partnership.  I would also like to thank the Embassy’s Economic Section and particularly Nancy Omondi for their work in making this program the success that it is.

I wish all of you great success with your projects, and I hope that I will have an opportunity to visit you and see the impacts of your projects myself.  You are living examples of the strength of the ties between the United States and Kenya.  Thank you for all that you do to make Kenya a better place.   Asanteni sana.