Wajibu Wetu—meaning ‘common responsibility’—is a children’s charity organisation based in Kenya that exists since 2005. Founded by Jane and George Kilonzo, Wajibu Wetu responds to the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in Nairobi and its suburb areas.
In the year of Wajibu Wetu’s erection (2005) the sum of orphans in Kenya was estimated at a staggering 2.4 million (on a population of 40 million). In Kenya, not only children with deceased parentages are in need of alternative childcare. In a multi-ethnic country with (in 2005) 43.4 per cent of the population living on less then $1.25 (PPP) a day2 ‘even greater number of children are made vulnerable due to poverty, harmful cultural practices, family breakdown, abandonment, natural disasters, ethnic and political conflict and poor care arrangements.’
It is with respect to these realities that the Kilonzos decided to establish a children’s home in Limuru, along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, 28 kilometres from Kenya’s capital Nairobi. The organisation began with only three children who were offered shelter, food and love. It has grown to be an organisation that has, until now, been able to take care of more than 100 children in its residential, outreach and exit programmes. In the last ten years, the organisation’s services have become more focused, more professional, more inclusive; offering a comprehensive and complex mix of activities, which aims at giving a child a dignified existence while growing up with a well and fair prospective for life.
2015 is, however, not the year wherein Wajibu Wetu is able to idly reflect on a decade worth of achievements. The organisation is currently facing challenges while it is going through some opportune changes. After being confronted with an untenable housing situation, Wajibu Wetu was fortunate to be provided with its own piece of land. The organisation will moved to a new location. Yet, this prosperity came hand in hand with misfortune. As a vigorous encouragement to become more self-reliant and less dependent, a donor who has supported Wajibu Wetu’s work for many years, decided to cut its financial contribution. Although the organisation was able to successfully address a new donor, Wajibu Wetu has been left with a deficit in its running costs budget.
While keeping its well functioning childcare programmes in operation, Wajibu Wetu will—in line with the recently adopted Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children in Kenya4—shift its focus from residential to outreach care. In addition, to strengthen its outreach and exit programmes, and to generate an income, Wajibu Wetu will further develop its agricultural and home design product training programmes.