Our LEAP Story
Our story begins with a collaboration between high school students in affluent New Canaan, Connecticut and a group of peers from the Boys and Girls Club in nearby Stamford. As leaders, our LEAP TEAM worked to:
- Build empathy and respect
- Address stereotypes
- Discuss relevant chronic issues
Through the weeks of LEAP coaching, our team became more confident and committed to making a difference.
Our local LEAP TEAM in Connecticut soon partnered with FAFU, a Kenya-based child development network to think of ways to improve the lives of children in Kibera, an impoverished area in Nairobi, Kenya. Utilizing modern technology to communicate, we worked together on leadership skills and brainstormed ideas to address one of the most pressing issues in Kibera: waste management and sanitation.
After a lot of research, FAFU students decided to partner with Peepoople, a Swedish-Kenyan NGO that provides single-use, self-sanitizing toilets. Peepoople toilets biodegrade waste into usable, sustainable fertilizer, increasing food security as well as sanitation.
But we quickly realized that we needed to approach the issue from a more holistic standpoint. We had to create education solutions as well as material solutions. We formed a second partnership with Africa AHEAD (Applied Health Education and Development), a non-profit that works to improve health in African communities.
Our Partnership with Africa AHEAD
Our LEAP team determined that Africa AHEAD was the most comprehensive and reputable solution for our issue. We connected with Dr. Juliet Waterkyn to inquire as to whether or not she and her staff would be willing to train FAFU, Peepoople and Uganda staff. She agreed to include our team in her upcoming training in Rwanda if we could cover the cost of transportation and materials. Our team agreed to be trained. They also agreed to train community members upon their return. In this way, the cost of initial training would be offset by the scalable impact on the health of both Kiberan and Ugandan communities.
Through a pie drive at home in Connecticut, we raised funds to fly Ugandan and Kiberan LEAP facilitators, Rahab, Simeon, and Stephencanon to Africa AHEAD training session in Rusizi, Rwanda from Nov 25-29, 2013. Through this effort we were able to help Kiberan staff and teachers have the skills needed to train teachers and students in over 60 schools in sanitation and health awareness. Read more about our partnership with Africa AHEAD.
Other Health Initiatives in Kibera
Garbage Clean-Up Day
A Garbage Clean-Up Day was organized, followed by an ongoing, sustainable clean-up program that let FAFU students clean up garbage in their area, earning credit that could be put toward a trip to Mount Kenya or food for their families. Read more about Garbage Clean-Up Day.
Garbage 2 Energy
Our international partnership worked to find ongoing solutions to problems of overcrowding and waste in Kibera. Programs were set up to offer financial incentives for collecting and distributing Peepoople bags. Collection of reusable waste products like plastics for recycling was also a priority, with the overall mission of enhancing financial independence and fostering an ongoing passion for garbage collection. Read more about Garbage 2 Energy.
Community Healthcare 4 ALL
In addition to working to improve sanitation, the LEAP TEAM was also dedicated to educating the community on basic first aid and health issues to continue to inspire and educate a healthier community. This meant writing a training and curriculum programs, in addition to travelling to Kibera to work together to train the community leaders, teachers and professionals so that the students and families could benefit. Read more about Community Healthcare 4 ALL.
Our LEAP story is about more than just sanitation. We also identified an issue that affected students in both Kenya and Connecticut: bullying. We learned about the causes and effects of bullying, such as poverty and fear, and used our leadership training to think of ways to combat it in our communities.
To reduce bullying in both Kibera and Fairfield County, CT, our LEAP team decided to write and perform anti bullying skits that represent middle and high school realities in our disparate communities. Read more about our Anti-Bullying Campaign.