Trip to Kenya – Quick Brief

Hi, everyone!  As many of you know, I’ve spent the last 10 days in Kenya, arriving August 1st and departing this morning (Aug 10).  Tonight is the first I’ve had internet access in a week, so thought I’d write a quick post to give you a flavor of our trip.  It’s been an amazing time, and I’ve had little sleep so I’ll be brief now (time to head to bed :-)), and I’ll blog in more detail and include pictures over the coming days as I have internet access and a few moments (I’m still in Africa, Zambia tonight).

We’ve had an absolutely outstanding, fantastic, great, wonderful trip to Kenya.  Everyone who went has been touched so profoundly by the children we’ve met, the communities we’ve interacted with, and the hearts of the World Vision staff in country.  We’ve danced, sang, laughed and cried for joy, driven on MANY rough dirt roads, stayed up late, gotten up way too early and wouldn’t have changed a moment.  We brought many school supplies and solar-powered lanterns, were showered with gifts from communities when they could ill afford to do so, but the heart and generosity of the people of Kenya is so huge and they love to express their gratitude.  We participated in commissioning beautiful new classrooms in two different schools, commissioned the brand new science lab and computer lab at St. Elizabeth’s all with great celebration – and conversely in another location spent time with 78 children under 5 years old sitting on a floor smeared with a mixture of cow dung and dirt so that the jiggers couldn’t get through and burrow into their feet and legs.  This classroom was in a mud and branch walled school structure with a leaking roof made from used tin (this is one of the places we will construct a 2 modern classroom Early Childhood Development center in the next 6 months).   We’ve seen communities rejoice over new latrines and have heard of people walking over 5km to use them!  I have over 700 photos and a bunch of video, so will pull out the ‘best of the best’ and share those as well.

I also am so excited to also share my outstanding visit with the World Vision Kenya National Office on Thursday Aug 2nd in Nairobi.  the very best part of that day was the wonderful lunch meeting I had with the World Vision Kenya Deputy Country Director, Pauline. Pauline was sharing with me how personally excited she is about the Kenya Child Protection and Education program for two reasons: the first beause of how transformational it will be for 17,000 children in the North Rift Valley of Kenya. The second is the reason I couldn’t sleep that night and was up past 3am I was so excited … World Vision Kenya has a strategic goal to bring education to 2 million of the most vulnerable children in Kenya. This project will play an important role as World Vision Kenya seeks to partner with other commercial partners, other NGOs, and the government to fulfill that broad vision. This project gives World Vision something to bring to the table as a demonstration of their investment and seriousness of their goal, as they ask other partners for appropriate resources in order to achieve the 2 million vulnerable children education goal. I’m still just getting my mind wrapped around this one, but clearly this is a huge testimony for the work we’re part of funding!  Also on that day, I had a very productive conversation with the Kenyan National Child Rights Specialist and her supervisor, who also looks after education, health, nutrition, HIV/AIDs – it’s amazing how well integrated this program is with other work World Vision is doing – WV Kenya really has put some fantastic thought in to the child protection aspect as a great compliment to the school building/expansion.

So, much more to share about our experiences on the trip, where we went and what we experienced in more detail, but for now, i hope this brings you a bit of the joy we felt and encourages you that we are part of something quite wonderful that is so impactful and transformational for the children in the North Rift Valley of Kenya!

About margoday

I have been at Microsoft for 10 years and am currently on sabbatical and personal leave for a year. I am using this time to focus my passion and energy on raising funds and awareness for the Kenya Vulnerable Girls Education Project and Child Protection, partnering with World Vision. The education project will positively affect many hundreds of girls in 5-7 areas in the Western Rift Valley of Kenya by building schools and deepening community advocacy for the education of the girl child. World Vision’s Child Protection initiative will protect over 50,000 children from exploitation as child laborers or in the sex trade. I stepped away from my responsibilities as Vice President, West Region for Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) in the US after 5 years in September, 2011. In this role, I was responsible for the marketing and sale of Microsoft commercial products and services to corporate account and medium-sized business customers in the Western United States. In addition, I was responsible for ensuring the overall health of the Microsoft partner ecosystem, as well as deepening managed partner relationships in the region. I have been in the technology field for a long time, having more than 27 years of experience in high technology software sales, marketing, business development and partner/channel management. (I joke to many that I started working when I was two years old :-)). In my previous role at Microsoft, I served as Vice President of the U.S. Partner Group for five years, where I was responsible for partner strategy and program execution for Microsoft’s US partner ecosystem, managing the largest national System Integrators, ISVs, Distributors and Large Account Resellers. During my tenure I was recognized by CRN and VARBusiness as the #7 channel executive in the industry and was a frequent keynote speaker at industry channel conferences. Before joining Microsoft in 2001, I was Executive Vice President at SoftQuad Software, Ltd., and Vice President and Managing Director of Go2Net. I also spent seven years at Lotus Development Corporation in senior positions in the North American SMB Sales, Enterprise Sales, Field Marketing, and Business Partner Sales organizations. Making a difference in people’s lives is so important to me. I am a member of the Board of Advisors for the Renton/Skyway Boys and Girls Club (former board President), a Founding Board Member of SeeYourImpact (www.seeyourimpact.org) and current co-chair of the World Vision National Leadership Council for Child Protection. I am partnering with WorldVision to address issues related to girls’ education and child protection, recently completing construction of the St. Elizabeth's Secondary School for Girls in West Pokot, Kenya. I have been honored for my work on behalf of women at Microsoft, earning its 2006 Most Inspirational Woman award. I live in the Seattle, WA area and love being outdoors. I enjoys backpacking, boating, cycling, scuba diving, skiing, golf, adventure travel and, when it’s rainy outside, attending concerts and theater in addition to enjoying a great glass of wine.
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9 Responses to Trip to Kenya – Quick Brief

  1. I look forward to following your travels and project in Africa. Margo, you are an inspiration to all!

  2. God bless you and your efforts, Margo. I look forward to raising funds for Kenya CP. Paul D. / World Vision NJ Area Dir.

    • Diane O. says:

      What wonderful news! WV Kenya is going full bore. My heart sank when reading of the 78 children under 5 and the condition of their educational environment. Makes me want to hop a plane wearing my tool belt. God bless you Margo!

      • margoday says:

        Hi, Diane – the great news is World Vision has their ‘tool belts’ on … in fact, I had the immense honor of breaking ground at this location for the new Early Childhoood Development classrooms (ECD). 2 classrooms, fully equipped will be done in the next 4-5 months. It is a thrill to help fund this project because so much good is coming of it all! Thank you for your support!

    • margoday says:

      Thank you Paul – this is an amazingly transformational project. We learned so much about how the communities are already beginning to change their attitudes towards Female Genital Mutilzation in Sook and Marich Pass because of the work World Vision is doing (and we’re supporting). I SO appreciate your efforts and if I can help in any way, please let me know!

  3. Cherryl says:

    Thanks for posting the trip information! What a profound impact the work you are doing is having on the girls! Wow! Cherryl

  4. Lanette says:

    Margo – Great to hear about this leg of your journey and the plans for the future of all the kids in Kenya whose lives are being touched by you and the supporters of this great project. All the best!

  5. Pingback: Margo Day returns from Kenya « Women of Vision

  6. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

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