PA-MOJA is a North American charitable organization that helps Kenyan children go to school while supporting the conservation efforts of the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in the Laikipia region of Kenya.
What makes us different?
1) We are volunteer driven. All directors and members of PA-MOJA are unpaid volunteers. Our partner in Kenya, The Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy, pays the salaries of two local community development officers as well as KPMG, a Kenyan accountancy firm that audits the finances of OPC and PA-MOJA in Kenya.
2) We are transparent and invite donors to see our projects. Financial summaries are updated monthly online. We encourage our donors to come to Kenya in July and August to see first hand the educational initiatives we have funded, meet the students and families we have impacted, and the wildlife we have supported. Donors are given the opportunity to use their skills to help us build and improve our organization.
3) We support wildlife as well as people. We are partnered with the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. Our financial and cultural support strengthens the goodwill between the conservancy and the community members resulting in stronger local support for wildlife. For example, locals are less likely to poach elephants when they see that the conservancy is building classrooms and their children are receiving bursaries to attend school.
4) We promote cultural exchanges. Kenyan and non-Kenyan students are given the opportunity to learn about one another’s cultures by engaging in our sister school program. We use our website to post photographs, videos and stories so that young people on different continents can learn about each other’s cultures. We also engage in regular skype calls as well as organic exchanges such as letter writing, scrap-books and hand-crafted gifts.
5) We honor Kenyan culture. We recognize that we have much to share, but also much to learn from Kenyan people. Therefore –
i) We use local labour exclusively. It is our policy that no volunteer will do a job that could be done by a salaried Kenyan worker and all construction projects are headed by a local foreman. We respect Kenyans’ knowledge and expertise and by employing local laborers and craftspeople, we support their economy. Kenya currently has a 40% unemployment rate so our projects provide much needed work.
ii) We ask first. We engage in community based, bottom-up decision making. Local Kenyan leaders inform the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy of the educational priorities for their area. Schools in North America do not raise funds specifically for their sister school. All funds raised are distributed throughout all the communities and schools around the conservancy based on requests and need. PA-MOJA then considers these projects before directing the Ol Pejeta Conservancy to implement these initiatives.
iii) All our projects use products bought in Kenya in order to support their economy.
iv) Although Kenyans have many challenges that come with poverty, we try to present Kenyan culture in a positive light. The majority of Kenyans inspire us with their resilience, positive attitude and desire to improve their lives. We focus on these attributes.