Working with the Kileva Foundation

Posted: December 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

During the day, I work as a Global Alliance Director for Comptel Corporation, but as Olivier noted in a previous blog post, I run a charity called the Kileva Foundation in my spare time.

It all started back in 2001 when my wife and I met a man called Kilele whilst we were on holiday in southern Kenya. Kilele and I remained in touch, and over the next two years, the bond between us grew strong. Although I’d never visited his home in the remote Sagalla Mountain, I felt that I was beginning to get to know his extended family and friends through his letters. It was with great delight that I heard early in 2004 that his wife Grace was pregnant, but it was with complete astonishment that, when his son was born, that he named him Cliff after me!

By the end of 2005, I was speaking to Kilele on a regular basis (he had a mobile phone but no electricity or running water at his house) about the life of his family and the entire Sagalla community. It was during one of those conversations that Kilele announced that he was going to get “properly” married, i.e. have a full religious ceremony. He explained the traditions of such a marriage, including that as many as 2,000 people might attend and that he wanted Jane and I to be best lady and best man!

We of course were honoured and travelled to their home village of Kizumanzi in Kenya to attend the wedding on 14 February 2006. This was probably the most incredible week of our lives! People came from villages all over the remote Sagalla Mountain (the high region) and from those at the foot of the mountain (the low region). The celebrations went on for three days, and we were treated as honoured (and unusual) guests.

When I returned to England, I was determined to do as much as I could for the Sagallan people, and by September, the Kileva Foundation (the name was derived by combining the first three letters of Kilele’s name with the first three letters of my surname – Evans) was formally registered with the Charity Commission of England & Wales.

Since then, the charity has initiated and run the following projects:

  • Education: Building and running the Kileva Foundation Primary School in the village of Mwakoma. So far, a pre-school, four classrooms, two toilet blocks and a school house have been completed.
  • Health: Building the Kileva Foundation Medical Dispensary and Community Centre in the village of Kirumbi.
  • Farming:
    • Bees: In cooperation with the Save The Elephants organization, the Kileva Foundation has built two test bee hive fences to deter crop-raiding elephants.
    • Plantation: The Kileva Plantation Nursery (managed by the Kileva Scout Group) has grown many thousands of seedlings for re-planting throughout the region.
    • Poultry: The Kileva Poultry Business currently has 600 broilers and 50 layers.
    • Dairy: The Kileva Dairy Farm consists of two cows and one bull. A number of calves have been reared along with many goats.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the charity (and thank you to Comptel for recently making a donation instead of buying and sending printed Christmas cards), please visit www.kilevafoundation.com.


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