A LEADERSHIP STORY FROM KENYA
by SUSAN AKELLO WASIKE
LEADING THE COMMUNITY
ST. ANTHONY GIRLS SECONDARY SCHOOL
1.0 My first encounter with real Leadership
The Catholic Diocese of Nakuru had planned to spend an estimated total cost of Kshs. 36,750,000 for the construction of 2- stream school, completed with boarding facilities, a modern library and a computer lab. Construction works begun in 2015. Despite the high vost of the project, the spirit to get there did not die. The journey was long and rocky, with lots of discouragement. Here goes the story………………
People dream daily and build very beautiful projects in their mind. Getting them to become reality to many is another high wall. That was what I was before I got an invitation to attend a leadership for how training that had been organized at the Catholic University in Nairobi, Kenya, This was in June 2014. And there I met Trevor, the great trainer whose training made me rediscover life. I realized that:
“I can do more with others. No need to struggle alone” then I also agreed with him that “ I could change my thinking to get to greater heights”.
I remember Trevor gave the more than four hundred trainees an assignment – to come up with a community project they would lead. I thought about the St. Anthony Girls School that had been agreed upon in 2008 but nothing had been put on the ground seven years down the line. This is a Catholic church got a 10 acrea land donation on condition that they constructed a girls secondary school in the area. The Christians kept postponing the idea as they believed that they were poor and could not afford. For them, this was an impossible project and no one wanted to think about it.
My encounter with Trevor, and the leadership for hope team got me thinking. This was made worse when Trevor called me to share with the others about the Community project I was to lead. I had to set on it despite the high wall that stared at the community.
I am even happy now to share with as many people as possible MY STORY. We are not yet there! But we are somewhere and we cannot get off the truck.
2.0 Brief about St. Anthony of Padua Girls Secondary School
St. Anthony of Padua Girls Secondary School is a Private Catholic School, in the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru. The school is located in Hell’s gate location, Ol-Karia sub-location, near the Kwa Muhia shopping centre, and sits on a three (3) acre piece of land donated through the St. Anthony DCK Catholic church, Naivasha. The Church acquired a 10 acres plot (Plot No LR404/17) through mutual agreement with the then Homegrown (K) Ltd (which became Finlays Horticulture (K) Ltd in 2008, and now is Flamingo Horticulture (K) Ltd). The initial vision of was that the church puts up a Girls Secondary School to address the high rates of the girls child school drop out in the location in addition to the Church and other facilities.
Working with the already existing church structure, I managed to get on board of the sub-parish council and took a leading role to ensure the school enroll and get going. An advantage we had was that I was also a member of the Company community social responsibility committee. Before I attend the Leadership training, I did not see the school project as my responsibility even though I was a member of this church. My mind set was – them and I, two different persons. After the training, what drove me to take responsibility was the training.
Construction begun in 2015 and we agreed that we must enroll the pioneer class in January 2016. The monay we received as a donation from the Catholic diocese of Nakuru was not enough but I managed to convice the team that we can start off and things will work out.
The church council set a target of Kshs. 2000 to be contributed by all the church members. The period for this was put at one year and Christians were to pay their contributions upto Kshs. 100 per month. A number of Christians paid up the amount once and we got funds to set off.
We had started off well and were at the roofing stage with all our funds exhausted and the parish priest planning to get back to Christians for iron sheets when he (Parish priest) collapsed in church and passed on minutes later. This was in November 2015, and the school was to enroll in Feb 2016! The church council withdrew and was planning to write to the Finlays company management to give them more time. I discouraged them. Luckily we got a new priest immediately and picked from where the late Fr. Kuria had left. We went out to all the sub-parish churches and requested that they support the school development team buy iron sheets for the buildings. An iron sheet was estimated at Kshs. 1200. Each Christian was to buy an iron sheet.
Oh, we got the roofing done by early December 2015! Once more no funds in our kitty, yet we had a long way to go. Sympathizers came in handy. I met the Construction team leader to get an overview of what would be required to get two classrooms completed for enrolment by February. He listed sand, cement, electric wiring, window frames and labour. In a meeting with the executive, we agreed that we had to talk to Christians to give material on credit. We were lucky as some of the businessmen and women in the church made some cash contributions as they gave materials on credit. We managed to pay deposit for desks and chairs and promised to pay up balance from fee payments!
An interim school board was formed and held two meetings in December, then one last one in January. Interviews were done in December 2015 and the School started off by recruiting the Principal on 8th January 2016, followed by two teachers who reported on 1st February 2016. On 8th February 2016, a total of 13 students reported and classes began the following day. The third teacher reported three weeks later and with the support of the other teachers has been able to cover the missed lessons adequately.
To date a total of 30 students have reported and classes are run starting at 7.50 am and ending at 4.00 pm daily from Monday to Friday. The teachers are also available daily for preps from 6.30 am in the morning, from 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm in the evening, and Saturdays from 7.50am to 12.00 noon.
First day at School: On 8th February 2016, 13 students reported smartly dressed in the new uniform.
3.0 School Development Plans
As noted above, school construction begun in 2015 but only after an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), had been undertaken (NEMA file no. NEMA/NAKURU/PR/5/2237, with an approval: NMC/DRG/4637) as required by the Government.
St. Anthony Catholic Church selected a team of Christian to form the school development committee and spearhead the works on behalf of the Church. The Development Committee has put down a detailed plan for the development of the school. This will be done in two main phases, each phase taking three years as detailed below:
The School Board of Management (BoM) was constituted and is made up of 8 members including the school principal and the Administrator, who is also the Parish Priest in Charge. The Board met and planned the recruitment of teachers and the initial start of the school. Quarterly meetings are scheduled to deliberate on the status of the school
Phase 1: 2015 – 2017
It is envisaged that this phase will cover the learning facilities ie classes, library, administrations block, staff room, laboratory, sanitary facilities and will take 3 years to complete. The school will run during the period as a day school with hopes of making it a boarding school once the boarding facilities are in place. The committee detailed plan for this three year phase is as follows:
Part 1: 2015 – 2016 plans
Classroom Block – 1 block with 4 classrooms and 4 stores
Construction of this first block is underway, two classrooms plastered and in use by the 28 students and their four teachers. The facility can accommodate upto 40 students and recruitment will continue till second term. One of the rooms will serve as a classroom for the form ones. The second room will act as a laboratory and staff room till the third room is complete. The entire block will be completed before end of the year. This will provide adequate facility for the next form one intake next year.
Part 2: 2016 – 2017 plans
During the last quarter of 2016 and 2017, the development committee plans to embark on the construction of the following:
– Staff room and Computer block – 6 rooms and 2 wash rooms
– Overhead Drinking Water Tank – 1
– Toilet Block – 22 toilets
– Septic Tank – 1 large unit
The following will only be considered in case the fundraising initiatives put in place succeed.
– Classroom Block – 1 block with 4 classrooms and 4 stores
– Laboratory Block – 1 laboratory and 2 small rooms/ stores
– Administration Block – 6 rooms and a store
– Underground water tank – 1
– Soak pit – 1 unit
Phase 2: 2018 – 2020
Development will concentrate on the boarding facilities encompassing the following: Dormitories, Dining hall & Kitchen, and sanitary facilities for the boarding section. It should be noted that these might come earlier if funding is acquired from the Church well wishers. Details of the facilities to be constructed will include the following:
• Dormitories – 2 double stored blocks with in-built toilet and bathrooms (20 bathrooms & 20 toilets) Note: the development committee is in the process of revising the current plans to the attached single blocks. (To be provided in due course).
• Dining Hall and Kitchen – 1 Block consist of 3 rooms, the smallest serve as food store
• Septic tank – 1
• Soak pit – 1
• Water Tanks – 2
4.0 Staff and their qualification
Four teachers have been recruited, one of them also acting as principal of the School. Additionally, the school has recruited a cook as the students are served with porridge and lunch daily.
4.0 Project Funding
As indicated above, the first part of phase 1 is near completion. This has been funded partly by the Christians of St. Anthony DCK Catholic parish and the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru office. More and adequate funding will be received once fund raising initiatives are put in place by the development team and the Catholic diocese of Nakuru development office.