On a board trip to Kenya

It is such an incredible experience for GEF's board members to visit the partners we support.

Recently, two GEF board members, along with our Executive Director Kathy Bartlett, had the opportunity to visit our partners in Kenya; PACEmaker and GEF-Kenya. Both board members have visited our partners in Kenya before. But this time they were able to see the progress and the impact the programs are having, on individuals over time and on the communities as a whole.

After GEF's years of experience and working with our partners on the ground, we're able to track success and experiences over time. One of our board members Meg wrote this reflection on her most recent visit to Kenya.

"Wow, Kenya is a different place these days. I have just returned from a trip to Nairobi, with fellow GEF board member, Liz Berry Gips and Executive Director, Kathy Bartlett. We all felt a palpable shift – happily finding a vibrant, developing eco-system of support for entrepreneurs and education, with enlightened youth “giving back” to better their worlds. Here are a few highlights of what and who we encountered.

  • “Spring Accelerator” – new accelerator for Africa-based social entrepeneurs
  • “Evolving local incubator” – potential “idea challenges” and “growth support” for social entrepreneurs in education sector
  • “Eneza” – fast growth ed tech Unreasonable Institute graduate company, with  mobile-based certifications and teacher support chat rooms
  • “Youth giving back” – PACE teacher aides in resource-poor primary schools
  • “Young leaders” – after school clubs, girls and boys facilitating and participating
  • “Early stage entrepreneurs” – teaching girls, living in the slums, to code
  • “Artists” – speakers, rappers and musicians – Young Leader graduates in their element and confident!

We were there to visit GEF’s current partners – GEF Kenya and its Young Leaders program and PACEmaker with its volunteer teacher aides in primary schools, both serving marginalized youth living in poverty. We also visited several new prospects for GEF’s funding pipeline. All are a part of this evolving environment focused on new ideas, entrepreneurs, education and youth. We were encouraged to stay focused on early stage efforts – an urgent unmet need in the eco-system.

Look at the energy of these young people – inspiring!