Funding Dreams and Empowering the Impoverished in Kenya’s Capital City

by | Sep 6, 2019 | Seeds: Our Blog

A part of the East Africa Leadership Program Series

This year, TPP entered a new stage of its East Africa programming. Focusing specifically on grantmaking to burgeoning community leaders in Kenya and Uganda who have the potential to make real, lasting change, TPP and its East African Leadership team—all TPP grantees themselves—mentor and support these early-stage changemakers to help ensure their success.

Here are four grantees of the program who are working in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. With just over 4 million residents occupying less than 300 square miles, Nairobi is plagued by poor housing and sanitation conditions, waste management challenges, and lack of opportunity for the impoverished members of its society, many of whom are women and children.

The following grantees’ inventive and meaningful projects to better the environment, empower youth and women, and create jobs in Nairobi showcase their amazing passion for and commitment to a better East Africa. TPP thanks them for their vision!

Annie Ngugi
Sweet Potato Drying

The Sweet Potato Drying project is a dream come true for Annie Ngugi. After watching crops go to waste in her rural home in Maragwa, north of Nairobi, Kenya, Annie was inspired to do something about it.

Though the Maragwa region produces a lot of sweet potatoes, Annie recognized that since the crop is seasonal, challenges of storage arise when the supplies surpass the demand. Her solution was to purchase a drying machine that will help increase the output of the sweet potatoes. TPP supplied the funds to purchase the machine.

Annie’s vision supports the local community as it serves both as increased income for the farmers and addresses the communal nutritional need for sweet potato flour.


Theresa Okumu
Sikinga Women and Youth Empowerment Project

Sikinga Women and Youth Empowerment Project establishes a training model in business- and environmental-based activities to engage the local community in two areas: climate change/environmental management and social entrepreneurship.

Through TPP’s grant, forty women and youth mentors will be trained to mentor others in entrepreneurship, small business development, environmental conservation, and tree reforestation, including planting and processing Moringa oleifera (an antioxidant-rich plant). Additionally, the project will train youth in mushroom production.

In total, the work will support about 200 people directly with either information or resources


Selvine Nyabuti
Milestones Learning Center – Mukuru

Milestones Learning Center – Mukuru is a community-based organization in Mukuru Kayaba, one of Nairobi’s largest slum areas, that is comprised of people living below the poverty line.

The team leader and founder of Milestones, Selvine Nyabuti, is very passionate about education and the general well-being of children, especially those who have limited opportunities. The organization was started to provide underprivileged children with quality education at a foundational level through the use of technology (e-learning) and social skills training in subjects like art and music.

The project’s goal is to help children who can’t afford private tutoring to learn the use of computers and other social skills. Milestones Learning Center – Mukuru will also focus on the older children by offering them a platform to express themselves, talk about their challenges, and teach them about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, the consequences of premarital sex, and how to cope with societal pressures.
Through TPP’s grant, two classes for the children will be constructed.


Sylvester Oketch
Ropeit Recycling Machine

Ropeit Recycling Machine is used to recycle plastic bottles into threads, which are then converted into ropes that are used to make furniture. This project aims at reducing plastic waste that has clogged various drainage systems during the rainy seasons. As a result of this work, the environment around Nairobi is cleaner and helpful by-products are created from the waste that people dispose of. Furthermore, this project creates job opportunities for the individuals living in the area.

Sylvester Oketch, who leads this work, was inspired by cleaning the space he lives in and making it habitable for human use. Funds from The Pollination Project will help make sample machines that his team will sell to women and youth groups that are equally as conscious about the environment.


Written by Carolyn Ashworth