After taking the ReachUp! program over one year ago, about 20 participants from Sosiot in Eldoret are still held together by the desire to make use of information obtained from the program to develop socially and economically. Under the coaching of their then facilitator, Ben Maiyo, the participants met to strengthen their youth group by forming a merry go round.
On Sunday 27th May, 2012 about 20 individuals converged for a meeting at St. Francis Catholic Church in Sosiot village, Eldoret Kenya. These individuals had one unifying factor; they are all former ReachUp! participants who took the program in April/May 2011. After their training, the participants had formed a youth group currently registered with the Ministry of Gender and Social Services; Koibeiyot Xavier Youth Group and were seeking to take their association a step further by forming a merry go round. They were joined by another 20 individuals who had a similar interest and recognized the benefits of forming a youth group.
Under the guidance of their former DOT facilitator Ben Maiyo, the group successfully managed to agree on modalities of forming a merry go round with 16 individuals registering the same day. The first agenda of the new group was to assist one of the members, Elizabeth Rop to upgrade her salon at Chepkanga center in Eldoret. With the other participants chipping in, they raised funds to enable her buy a dryer and a blow-dryer. Ben, currently DOT Field Officer in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, took the opportunity to stress on the importance of ReachUp! and encouraged those who are yet to participate to register at the nearby Sergoek Youth Polytechnic.
Present was the group's mentor, David Keitany from National Bank of Kenya, Faith Rop from AMPATH, the area Forest Officer Mr. Joseph Aiyabey and Peter Buluma from Junior Achievement who emphasized on the importance of youths starting their businesses. Mr. Keitany encouraged the group to form a SACCO (Savings and Credit Corporative Society) and to be committed to the group's activity to enhance sustainability. He also took notice of the ReachUp! bond that had created a family of sorts and encouraged others to join the program to benefit from the entrepreneurial training.
To mark the event, the group planted 500 tree seedlings and set a target of 1000 tree seedlings to be planted by August 2012. This was also done in-part, to celebrate the world Environmental day recognized on the 5th of June every year. The Forest Officer Mr. Aiyabey, was impressed by the initiative and promised to support activities of the group.
The participants were indeed grateful for the opportunities that DOT has created for them; the coaching and the networking that has enabled them achieve various goals in life. They were also impressed with the dedication of the team and encouraged those still facilitating to continue with the commitment to community empowerment.