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Project information

Bags and Solar Lights to Boost School Performance

We would like to provide 400 children at Msambweni Primary School with a school bag, filled with school supplies & a solar light. A school bag brings a smile to its owner and makes a child's school day much easier. A solar light is transformative and is key to improving performance.

January 2019 - April 2019

Charity information: Etatu

Etatu logo
  • Need


    The children of Msambweni Primary School are characterised by exuberance & a desire to learn. The majority can barely afford the basics for school, such as shoes & pencils. Class sizes average about 70 children. Many walk long distances to school, carrying a clutter of school items. Most live in homes without electricity. The obstacles to success, namely to go to secondary school or vocational training, are enormous. We aim to boost achievement and improve the chances of success.


    A school bag filled with supplies helps children and their families, practically and financially. It is an object which a child is proud to own. Teachers say it gives a sense of identity & purpose, and means the poorest child has the same as other children. A solar light is transformative, enabling a child to do homework in an unlit home - as well as provide a host of advantages to a family: safer cooking on an open fire, (you can see!) cheaper fuel costs & an end to unhealthy paraffin fumes

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Enable a child to access education.


    » To provide a school bag to a child, giving a sense of purpose as well as a practical way to carry belongings to & around school & to keep these safe.
    » To fill the bag with a with a pencil case, pencil, ruler and sharpener. This will allow each child to take part in basic classroom activities.

    What success will look like

    Assessment will largely be qualitative, through the response and comments of children, teachers and parents. We intend to track school records to show how motivational a bag is.

    Aim 2

    Boost performance at school, by enabling a child to do homework.


    » To give each child a solar light, which has been proven to improve school performance considerably. Several aspects of home life are also eased.

    What success will look like

    We will track school performance before & after receiving a solar light. We did this previously (2013 & 2015); the role of solar lights in improvements was deemed significant.

  • Impact


    The long term changes are both profound & also subtle. Improved primary school performance opens doors to secondary education & vocational training. This leads to improved life chances for each child and their family. The impact of a bag and light can be enormous for all children: a bag &supplies will add to their general school experience & can improve attitude to & enjoyment of learning. A solar light significantly boosts the day to day life of their family.


    There is a risk that older children who do not receive a school bag,will feel 'left out.' Most of these children receive other help from Etatu and have a solar light already. Many of them will already have received a bag when they were lower down in the school.
    There has been a recent change of headmaster at the school, who may not have been receptive to an outside, foreign agency looking at individual school records, to monitor progress. He has assured us of his continued cooperation.


    We will report in our supporters' e-mail newsletter and send dedicated news about the project to those who donate specifically to The Big Give Challenge. This may be in printed form, something last year's donors appreciated.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £6,280

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,260 School Bags The manufacture of 400 zipped backpacks, in Mombasa, Kenya
      £3,290 Solar lights 400 Sollatek solar lights, sourced in Mombasa, guaranteed for 10 years
      £280 Pencil cases 400 pencil cases, made in Kenya
      £375 Pencils plus 400 of each of a pencil, rubber, sharpener and ruler
      £75 Transport Delivery from Mombasa to Msambweni
  • Background


    Msambweni Primary School is the largest government primary school within the villages of Msambweni District of southern Kenya. The community is composed mainly of farming and fishing families.


    The bags and lights will immediately benefit the 400 children, including many orphans, who receive them. Their families will also benefit, including any school aged siblings who will be able to share the solar light. The general boost to school morale is also very real - to see education and their school being valued and supported helps both teachers and children believe in what they are doing. The school bags are indeed a motivational symbol.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Etatu has worked formally as a charity in the community for over five years. Its work is embedded around the school. The chair of Trustees has known the area for over 30 years. Etatu's staff in Kenya come from the villages around Msambweni Primary School. Etatu supports two teachers at the school, one of whom will be a contact person. Etatu has a good working relationship with the school body. We have robust record keeping and monitoring systems. Our progress has been steady and reliable.l

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ms. Jacquie Lindgren

    Founder and Chair of Trustees of Etatu in the UK and the focal point for fundraising and ultimate responsibility for the success of the project.

    Mr. Alfan Mwazani

    Etatu's day to day project administrator in Msambweni; frequently visits the school & is developing a good working relationship with the new head.

    Mr. Ramadan Mlonda

    A teacher whom Etatu has worked with for five years. He knows the children & Etatu well. Mr. Mlonda be the main link to the new head, Mr. Mwazito.


£8 will buy a high quality, durable, easy-to-use Sollatek solar light, guaranteed for ten years.

'Etatu's Redi bags are Mzuri Kabisa! They are red and get every child ready for school. We love the Redi bags - the poorest and the fortunate all look like serious students, prepared to learn.'

Mr. Chimwaga, Headmaster 2012 - 2017