When Esther Munene and Lilian Kamigwi founded Destiny Shapers, a community-based-organization working to provide literacy training to young children in the Korogocho slum in eastern Nairobi, Kenya, they had to work hard to convince the families of the 23 children to allow them to attend the daily classes. Five years later, the organization has 150 children aged 3 to 9 enrolled and 60 of their parents or guardians participating in its programme – and a website, brand identity, social media presence, new partnerships with local NGOs and a micro-grant to teach math and computer skills to the young Korogocho residents.
Bordering the city’s largest dumping site, Korogocho is crowded, poor and has a reputation for violence and crime. “We started the project after seeing so many children out of school, and set up an initiative offering basic education, a warm meal, guidance and more,” Esther says. “The project is important because it not only offers training to the children, but also changed the mindset of their family members. Many have changed their negative lifestyles and have re-gained feelings of self-worth through the programme and exposure it offers to life outside Korogocho.”
Using mostly WhatsApp and video calls, Esther first set up a team of UN Online Volunteers to develop a communication strategy for the organization, followed by a new logo, website, Facebook page and brochure. Online volunteers also researched funding opportunities and drafted proposals. “The contribution has been great because it has increased our organization’s visibility, and this has led to more partners and donors. We have worked with amazing volunteers, and our communication and friendship continues beyond the task.”
Aditi Varma is one of Destiny Shaper’s online volunteers and has drafted website content on the organization’s work and its beneficiaries for promotion and fundraising. “I liked that Destiny Shapers not only works with children but also with their parents and guardians, and takes a holistic approach in working on the issues of the community. They were good in helping me understand their needs, the situation of their community and providing me with adequate information to be able to work on the discussed goals.”