‘I was born in Tanzania and spent most of my childhood in Kenya. I have known Msambweni for over twenty five years and my family have grown to love the area. The region is changing and not all the changes are bringing benefits to the local communities.
Etatu is our effort to be involved in a way in which supports local people and helps them have some control over their own future, without compromising the environment in which they live and on which they depend.’
Msambweni is a coastal settlement in the southernmost part of Kenya. It consists of a group of villages, largely reliant on fishing and farming. It is within this collective community that Etatu works. The majority of our work is in the village of Mwaembe, which means ‘place of mangoes.’
Msambweni is rural and the lives of most of the residents are characterised by poverty. They are also characterised by generosity and resilience. Many people strive not only to survive but also to work for the good of others.
Msambweni is a community facing change: the region is developing but many of the newly available jobs are not going to local residents – their skills and levels of education are too limited. There is a chance that for current residents change will bring with it greater rather than less hardship.
‘Etatu’ literally means ‘Three ‘e’s. It is a name chosen by a group of twelve year olds, shouting out ‘Education, Education, Education’. It clearly indicated what children in the village of Mwaembe placed emphasis on. To us at the moment Etatu means ‘Education, Enterprise, Empowerment’.
Etatu is pronounced: ee-tar-too
We like the Chambers Dictionary definition. We would like to help build a community which is, “ingenious, capable and full of initiatives, especially in difficult circumstances.”
Jacquie Lindgren is a teacher with wide ranging experience in England, Kenya and other parts of the world. Her initial degree specialised in African history and she has an MA in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She holds qualifications in Training, in Project Management and in Teaching children with dyslexia.
Rupert Rumney is a sports television producer and is TV consultant to the International Hockey Federation. He has visited Msambweni regularly for almost two decades and is committed to helping those he has got to know. In 2006, when the Ramisi District of Msambweni was hit by flooding, he organised seed distribution to those smallholders who had lost all their crops.
Jan Pryer first visited Msambweni in 1993. She is a mother and vet. Jan believes ‘in a universal right to education and vocational opportunities allowing a community to develop and thrive’. Her particular interest lies in the medical issues which affect schooling: illness, malnutrition, disability and disease.
All the trustees live in Somerset, UK.
Etatu is a member of the Foundation for Social Improvement. Board Members hold membership of the Institute of Fundraising, the Institute of Learning and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Bakari, Halima and Alfan are the Etatu team in Msamwbeni. Bakari (pictured on the left) and Halima started with Etatu in April 2013. Halima took time out to work in Saudi Arabia for two and a half years to earn money to build a house. We are delighted to have her back. Alfan was one of Etatu’s earliest sponsored students. He joined Etatu soon after he left secondary school in 2016. Much of what we achieve is owed to their tireless dedication, even though each works only part time. They are all residents of Msambweni.
We strive to be open and factual in our dealings with the people and communities we work with, our donors, our partners, volunteers and the public at large. We demand of ourselves high standards of professional competence and financial accountability. The principle of respect lies behind our relationship with everyone we work with.