The Shonda Project
The Shonda Project is a small independent charity which has helped provide Kenyan children with affordable primary education for 20 years.
The Shonda Project offers a better future to the local children
Situated a few miles south of Kenya's second city, Mombasa, Shonda village has developed out of a shanty settlement, after displaced peoples settled there in the 1990's. Shonda is located between the coast and the main road south which carries on to Tanzania, and is the nearest commercial focus for the village.
With no original infrastructure, situated on a layer of coral stone, the people who began to settle the area were very poor, and the dwellings were made out of readily available scavenged materials. In the beginning there was no local school and so the project developed to meet this need. As the years have gone by, the needs of the community have not changed that much, and despite the Kenyan government introducing universal primary education, the quality of the Shonda school and its reasonable class sizes mean that it is still valued by the parents today.
Over the years, and through the generosity of people from the UK, the school has grown in size with classrooms being built entirely funded by UK donation. Schools are nothing without teachers and so the focus from early on has been providing regular payments to support teachers’ salaries. Currently 18 members of staff are supported in this way, with a monthly payment of over £1600.
Based in a mixed community made up of both Christians and Muslims, the school has a Christian ethos, and respects and welcomes all faiths.
The Project thrives because there is a high degree of trust between the school, Shonda UK, and the local community, based upon good governance and clear accountability. In the UK we are a group of volunteers that run the charity, working with the Kenyan Caretaker Board, who have the day to day responsibility for the school. The Board draws people from all walks of life, from parents to retired government officials, to Baptist ministers to other people of note from the community. We are very clear that local management is paramount, and we work hard to strengthen the capacity of the community to run their own affairs.
With standards improving over the years, and with developments such as electricity, the community can look forward to benefiting from the opportunities that this affords, with a generation of children educated at the school now moving into adulthood, and contributing to the local economy.