Ace’s clear vision is to strengthen communities, helping them help themselves in health, education, livelihoods and rights. It is almost ten years to the day since Ace began working in the community of Kabuchai – and the legacy of Ace’s programmes will continue for many generations. While Ace is still very much involved with the community of Kabuchai, our presence is, thankfully, needed less and less, and the community has moved from crisis living to independence over the years.
In 2003, when Ace had just started, Kabuchai was one of the first communities in which Ace’s pioneering operations began. The aim then was to develop cooperative support groups for youth, women and people living with HIV and AIDS. Training was provided in nutritious food production and enterprises. As the benefits of the training became obvious, many new groups in the area began to form and our help was urgently sought by the wider community to provide training in resource mobilisation and proposal writing in order to sustain an expanding support programme. In late 2005 the community-based organisation RUCEBO was established in Kabuchai. At this initial stage 60 members from 4 groups were involved in conducting enterprise activities and directly supporting 40 orphans, with training provided in income generation and how to provide food, care and support to households and the community. In addition to training in organic kitchen gardening, members were trained in proposal writing, resource mobilisation and child rights. The group’s new proposal writing skills led directly to the award of funding from KCDTF for Ksh 250,000 to establish a model drip irrigation garden and have had repeated success ever since. In 2009 groups from RUCEBO were provided with Ace training in business management, marketing and project cycle management.
10 years on from the establishment of RUCEBO there are now 14 groups established and operating under this umbrella programme with 370 women and 232 men passing on their knowledge and skills to more community members. Activities within the groups range from dairy goat and poultry rearing to soya cultivation and general horticulture. These enterprises earn each group a monthly profit of Ksh 150,000 per month. Ace works with 10 schools in the project area through Ace Child-to-Child Clubs providing vulnerable children and orphans with the skills and knowledge they need to develop into healthy adults. Ace has run a number of health campaigns with the Ace Club schools in Kabuchai covering dental hygiene, hand washing practices and jiggers eradication. Formal Area Advisory and Community Rights Committees have been established to identify cases of rights abuse and neglect against children, women and the community at large. These committees cease to solve the problem, refer them to Ace where necessary and other service providers such as health facilities and local judiciary. Kabuchai is just one of many compelling examples of the impact Ace Africa programmes have had on communities in rural East Africa. There are many other examples.