When Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Christian Union (JKUATCU) went on an evangelical outreach mission in Ngomeni Division, Kyuso Sub County in Kitui County in 2009, they had no idea what was awaiting them in Kasiluni: dry and dusty, desolate, poverty stricken area that inspired little or no hope.
It was even grimmer for a handful of school children: their dreams for a better life through education, seemed dashed and interwoven with the appalling socio-economic circumstance of Kasiluni area. As the Ukambani winds blew the Kasiluni dust, so did the boys and girls’ prospects for a brighter future fade into obscurity.
Insecurity, lack of descent school, hunger and thirst for water were the hallmarks of life in Kasiluni, with school going children trekking 18 kilometers to the nearest school. Barring all odds and armed with the word of God, the JKUAT missionaries went to preach Christ to all at Kisaluni.
What was initially an evangelical mission about ten years ago, slowly took a holistic turn of transformation, giving a face-lift to the once nondescript Kasiluni primary school to become a robust flourishing centre of spiritual nourishment and a beacon of academic pursuit for the local community, courtesy of the JKUAT Christian Union’s evangelical mission.
Today, over 500 pupils and their parents at Kasiluni Primary School have every reason to thank God: through the efforts of the JKUAT Christian Union, the school has a new bloc of four sparkling modern classrooms – all constructed by the Christian Union with student-members drawn from various departments in JKUAT who applied their expertise during the implementation of the project: Architectural drawings, building and construction, electrical fittings, interiors, landscaping, project management among other tasks, were all done by the JKUAT students.
Speaking at the primary school during the opening ceremony, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, the JKUAT Dean of Students, Rev. Dr. James Wakaba who was represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, as the Chief Guest, described the school’s transformation as a manifestation of God’s good work and thanked the community for partnering with JKUAT students, thus making the construction of magnificent classrooms a reality.
“Through the work of the Christian Union, we have worked for the glory of God,” Rev. Wakaba exalted, and encouraged the Christian Union to continue with transformative work because they went to Kasiluni with a mission of God to benefit the community.
Rev. Wakaba said many people had invested in prayer and extolled the pupils to “grow in stature, wisdom and in favour with God and to socialize positively, and forge good friendships.”
The CU Chairperson, Isaac Mwaura praised the CU members for the their contribution and sacrifices made in many ways to actualize the project during his tenure in office and encouraged parents to support pupils and enable them to transform the region through education. “Look up to God in whatever you aspire to do,” he said.
The School Head Teacher, Mr. Lawrence Kimwele described the occasion as “a big day for Kasiluni Primary School” which he said, started in 2007 with only 17 pupils with the pioneer class sitting the KCPE in 2015, registering a mean score of 257 points.
Mr. Kimwele hailed the commendable work of the JKUAT CU members without whose partnership with the community, Kasiluni school would not be what it is today. “The students have been of great help to us even in construction of classrooms which has eased congestion, enhanced a conducive, hygienic learning and teaching environment for the pupils and teachers,” he stated.
“The Christian union has done a great job in this school. The contribution of JKUAT to the development of this school is 70% and we are very excited. The administration block we have was possible through the connection of the JKUAT students. We were using mud wall structure. Today, the situation is different,” stated the school head.
“The two Early Childhood Development classes we have was through the intervention of the Christian Union. They managed to reach out to other stakeholders including the ministry who helped us,” the Teacher described the area as prone to poverty and bandit attack from Tana River. The coming on board of JKUAT, he explained, has helped to stabilize the area.
Mr. Kimwele enumerated the contribution of JKUAT students which took various forms such as; volunteer teachers, mentorships, recruitment of teachers and payment of their salaries, annual evangelical missions, sponsorship of needy students, lighting the school through purchase and installation of solar power system worth Ksh. 500,000. The solar system, the head teacher said, rescued his school from total darkness.
Since then, the school has been performing well. It registered the best performance in 2016 when it led in Kyuso Sub County, with a mean score of 286. “We thank the JKUAT leadership whose support has been instrumental to the Christian union students’ activities in this school and we are very appreciative and we feel humbled,” said, Mr. Kimwele.
Area Curriculum Support Officer, Joseph Mbuvi acknowledged that the support to the school has given it “a friendly learning and teaching environment that has raised Kasiluni Primary School as one of the public schools in Ngomeni area that has upheld high academic standards” and urged parents to support learning by addressing the problem of pupils’ absenteeism.
Mr. Fredrick Kimanzi, the School Board Chairman, said, “JKUAT has transformed this school and the life of pupils. The challenges have been many and you came at the right time. May you prosper wherever you shall go.”
The JKUSA President, Clinton Osoro and former External Affairs Secretary and reigning Miss Kisumu County, Stella Ageya spoke at the function. Mr. Osoro hailed the Christian Union’s amazing work and pledged to rally JKUASA leadership to support such noble initiatives through the JKUSA subsidy to societies and associations at JKUAT, while Stella urged pupils particularly the girls to focus on their education.
While Kasiluni primary school still needs more support, the JKUAT Christian Union has already put the school on a path to “Becoming the Best,” in consonance with the school motto!