Can one girl inspire a nation to action? Chela, an 10-year-old Kenyan girl, has identified a critical challenge in her country: access to reading materials. Like most Kenyan children, Chela grew up without access to books; only two percent of the country’s primary schools have libraries. Knowing the critical importance of literacy to education and life skills, she calls on Kenyans to share their stories and contribute to a campaign to start school libraries across Kenya. Through this call to action and video, Chela is the heroine of one of the first online campaigns for Kenyans to help Kenyans on local initiatives.
This is also the first online campaign of the Yetu Initiative, which aims to empower Kenyans to give voice to their concerns and create solutions with their own contributions. (Yetu is a Kiswahili word meaning ours.) Called A Story for Chela, the campaign (hashtag #StoryForChela) went live to the Kenyan public on October 6. The campaign supports a Kenyan initiative called Start A Library, owned and implemented by RAAW Trust, a Kenyan civil society organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for storytelling.
Start A Library aims to advance childhood literacy by starting libraries that will put a storybook in the hand of every child in Kenya. In the video introduced by Auma Obama, Chela leads the effort by inviting Kenyans to donate funds and contribute to crowd-sourcing a story for the nation’s children.
The Yetu Initiative is a partnership involving Kenyan civil society organizations and supported by the Aga Khan Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Yetu works with Kenyan civil society organizations to create community engagement efforts, such as fundraising or awareness-raising campaigns like Start A Library.
The Yetu Initiative provides local partners with organizational capacity assessments, highlighting areas where they can improve their skills, such as brand messaging, financial management and communications. Yetu then connects partners with capacity-building services, including online platforms and mentoring opportunities.
With this platform for strengthening civil society organizations, Yetu enables local partners to sustain their advocacy for the Kenyan people over the long term. Yetu is the first country-level project of the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy. This Alliance, which includes the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund along with USAID and AKF, provides a global platform to exchange best practices on strengthening civil society.
Chela’s campaign is a bright first step for Yetu and Kenyan civil society organizations. To learn more, visit Yetu.org.
In the video introduced by Auma Obama, Chela leads the effort by inviting Kenyans to donate funds and contribute to crowd-sourcing a story for the nation’s children.