This past June, three Peery Foundation staff members embarked on a new adventure with the Peery Foundation Board and their families. We spent 2 weeks in Kenya together, conducting site visits and expanding on their existing definition of philanthropy with the goal of increasing their exposure to our Global Portfolio and philanthropy in general. We were able to do this through site visits and specific curricula for current PF Board Members and 3rd generation family members. We sourced the 3rd gen’s curriculum from Project Wayfinder to help them pinpoint their personal values and what social issues they care about the most. The curriculum was designed to support their learnings at the site visits we went on in Nairobi.
To kick us off, we visited Copia Global, a for-profit venture, that markets themselves as a hybrid between Amazon and FedEx for rural and hard to reach areas around Nairobi. Individuals are able to look through a Copia catalog, choose items ranging from shovels to cooking stoves, place their order with a local vendor, and their products arrive within 48 hours. It is unheard of to have this kind of speed and consistency. Copia is single-handedly increasing the access of rural Kenyans to goods that they otherwise would not be able to acquire. We visited their distribution warehouse as well as two Copia vendors. It was incredible to meet the women who have increased their income (sometimes up to 150%) by working with Copia. It was also a great opportunity for the family to see what life is like outside the city of Nairobi. The photo above is Dave with one of Copia’s products, a shovel!
Later, we were fortunate enough to visit Sanergy headquarters and a “Fresh Life” toilet in a nearby slum. Sanergy has come up with a “Fresh Life” toilet that provides clean access to toilets in the slums of Nairobi while creating jobs for residents. The family learned about sanitation in urban areas, specifically around Nairobi, and how dignified solutions can transform an individual’s quality of life.
That same day, we were off to see the Educate! team! They were kind enough to host us at their office as well and to lead our group through an activity. Through a simple activity of wrapping colorful yarn around recycled glass bottles, Educate! was able to demonstrate the philosophy of their organization. Everyone has the ability to be an entrepreneur by looking for the utility and beauty in items that others would have thrown in the trash. By teaching the youth entrepreneurial skills, they will have the skills they need to earn a living and succeed. It was an incredible experience to hear from young entrepreneurs going through Educate’s program and how they’ve been able to use the income they’re generating to get another degree or follow their dreams.
Our final site visit was with One Acre Fund (OAF) in Kakamega. OAF serve smallholder farmers by offering a complete bundle of services including; loans, seed, training, and more. We spent the night at their compound and met with several staff members and smallholder farmers. We had a few people in our group spend the night with the farmers as well. What an amazing experience! I love that OAF requires all new staff to go on a homestay when they start as an employee. While walking around their offices, we saw that their values were clearly listed on the wall. It caught everyone’s attention and resonated deeply as we hold similar values at the Peery Foundation.