Mbaitu Foundation is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization that was incorporated in the state of Texas on June 25, 2020. We are a philanthropic entity, with a focus on mobilizing resources and ensuring the strategic allocation of these resources at the grassroots level, in order to bridge the poverty gap amongst the Kamba community in Ukambani.
Mbaitu Foundation is the only organization of its kind that is exclusively focused on the South East Region of Kenya encompassing the three counties of Machakos, Kitui, and Makueni (Ukambani). This is a region that has lagged behind the rest of the Kenyan Republic with respect to most social economic indicators including education, water security, and food security.
In response to the grim reality of poverty and underdevelopment in Ukambani, Kenyans in the diaspora formed Mbaitu Foundation as a philanthropic entity to primarily provide resources to boost the poverty alleviation efforts of self-help groups in Ukambani.
Driven by the philanthropy of ‘by the Kamba Nation, for the Kamba Nation,’ we are uniquely positioned to help direct much needed resources towards homegrown self-help groups in the Kamba Nation.
Towards that end, Mbaitu Foundation focuses on engaging with different stakeholders and building strategic partnerships that will enhance our work. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring improved service delivery, transparency, accountability, and realizing measurable outcomes related to hunger and poverty alleviation.
Why Mbaitu Foundation was Started
- The high rates of poverty in Ukambani
The main aim of the Foundation is to support and celebrate homegrown poverty alleviation efforts by residents to re-write the narrative of Ukambani. For years, the counties of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos (Ukambani) have been characterized by biting poverty rates, gender inequality, inadequate infrastructure, high food insecurity, an inadequate supply of clean drinking water, and under developed social services.
According to the Kenya Integrated Budget Survey report 2015/6, the poverty head count rate for Machakos stood at 42.6%, for Kitui at 39.4%, and for Makueni at 34.8% compared to the national average of 36.1%. Furthermore, at least 80% of the households across Ukambani live in rural remote areas where the absolute poverty rate is way above the national average. As a result of poverty, a majority of residents of Ukambani, particularly women in the rural remote areas, are characterized by high levels of illiteracy, income poverty, gender inequality, low accumulation of productive assets including land, and reduced decision-making powers. Mbaitu Foundation therefore seeks to make a tangible difference by lowering poverty rates in Ukambani.
- To help actualize the benefits of devolution
For the past seven years Kenya has been implementing devolution as enshrined in the 2010 Constitution. The aim of the devolution was to create a new system of leadership by creating 47 counties that would bring public services closer to the citizens. Although there have been some success stories where counties like Machakos and Makueni have been lauded for successes in service delivery mainly in the health sectors, there is still more that needs to be done for the citizens to fully benefit. Worryingly, the poverty gap has gradually been growing, with a significant percentage of citizens sinking below the poverty line. This can be reversed through the proper implementation of devolution.
- To help channel remittances and investments into Ukambani in an organized manner
The founders of Mbaitu Foundation reside in the United States of America, with firm roots in Ukambani. We are fully aware of the potential and opportunities available for providing the much-needed support and resources to Ukambani (including financial, technical, material and manpower resources) that can be mobilized and tapped into by self-help groups) due to Kenyan diaspora remittances.
In 2019, diaspora remittances to Kenya were US$2.55 billion (Kshs. 255 billion), making it the leading source of forex ahead of tourism, agricultural exports like coffee, tea and horticulture. These remittances are however done in a haphazard manner. An umbrella organization through which funds can be channeled to projects in Ukambani in an organized, united, focused, and transparent manner has long been necessary, hence the creation of Mbaitu Foundation.
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
Mbaitu Foundation is alive to the fact that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will have an adverse and lasting impact on the people of Ukambani. At the macro level, Kenya’s economic growth is expected to contract from 6.2% to 3.4% for the Financial Year 2020. At the micro level, the projected impact includes: reduced income; reduced household consumption expenditure; disrupted livelihood; and mental and psychological health challenges. Currently, the Government of Kenya is struggling with a contracting economy, bloated foreign debt, and a shrinking national budget to address its most pressing and competing obligations. This means that citizens in the rural remote areas will suffer the full brunt of post-Covid effect with very limited safety net support. Mbaitu Foundation is therefore a necessary and timely entity to help alleviate the challenges arising from the pandemic.
The Mission Statement
To be a recognized and trusted philanthropic foundation that bridges the poverty gap in Ukambani through collaborative resource mobilization and allocation at the grassroots.
To bridge the poverty gap in Ukambani through effective and sustainable philanthropic resource mobilization and allocation at the grassroots level.
- To proactively engage with stakeholders in mobilizing resources for Mbaitu Foundation.
- To build strategic partnerships and networks for enhancing our work.
- To provide timely and relevant grant support to viable projects by homegrown self help groups.
- To act as an advocacy platform for addressing issues on poverty affecting residents of Ukambani.
- To instill a culture of continuous improvement in standards of public service delivery that enhances citizens’ satisfaction in Ukambani.
- To highlight human-interest stories of challenges and impact of Mbaitu Foundation’s intervention.
- To ensure accountability, transparency and value for money in use of resources.
Our Core Values
- Collaboration ~ we work with like-minded individuals and organizations
- Transparency ~ we ensure that all our undertakings are transparent and above board
- Innovation ~ we constantly seek new, modern, and creative ways to tackle the issues of Ukambani
- Results-orientation ~ we are laser-focused on achieving our set targets and goals effectively and cost-efficiently
Our Areas of Focus
Our primary areas of focus are Water, Education and Food Security. The role of Mbaitu Foundation is to identify promising homegrown initiatives in these three areas and shine a spotlight on them to attract the financial and technical resources needed to take them to the next level using the tools of advocacy, governance, and storytelling.
Currently, we have two ongoing projects, namely:
- Kasue Girls Academy
- Kenya American Community Organization
Projects Under Consideration
- Christian Impact Mission
- Women’s self-help groups
What sets Mbaitu Foundation Apart
Mbaitu Foundation is unique from other organizations in Ukambani in that we possess:
- A rich mix of high-quality technical skills drawn from members throughout the world from a wide range of professions necessary for fundraising, investments, capacity building, and documenting and sharing real human-interest stories of residents of Ukambani that can be shared to their advantage.
- Good will and a genuine love for Ukambani and the Kamba Nation;
- An in-depth grasp of the issues affecting Ukambani;
- Well established networks of Kamba’s in the diaspora and Ukambani; and
- Access to financial resources.
Our Board of Trustees
An initial committee comprised of Mr. Ben Kasue, Eng. Charles Mutunga and Mr. Charles Kasing’a is to be formed in order to lay the groundwork of establishing Mbaitu Foundation. This will include hammering out details of the founding chart, terms of references, formation, assembling a board of directors, an advisory board of subject matter experts, developing an initial budget, establishing the Foundation’s administrative operations, and writing a one-year and five-year Strategic Plan.
Ben Kasue – Founding Trustee and Treasurer
Ben is an Entrepreneur, and the owner of Big D Finance, a financial consulting company based in Texas. He had worked in Corporate America for twenty years before starting Big D Finance. He has had progressive careers at FMC Corporation, Hewlett Packard, Dell Computers, IBM, and United Technologies. He held almost every accounting and financial position in Corporate America, in the process gaining tremendous experience in running successful organizations and improving human productivity. He has developed strong skills in financial management, cost accounting, planning and reporting, driving cost out of manufacturing, lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, taxation, auditing, strong communications skills, team building, project management, and business operations.
Ben is a graduate of Brigham Young University–Marriott School of Management with a BS in accounting, and the University of Utah David Eccles Business School with an MBA in Finance.
In April 2019, the Africa Union Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao appointed Ben to chair the region’s six (Eight States) Africa Union Diaspora Initiative. The mission of this initiative is to mobilize the African diaspora with a purpose of developing the continent.
Ben is also the Founder of the East Africa Chamber of Commerce, an organization that is dedicated to facilitating trade and investment between East Africa and the rest of the world (with a special focus on the USA). Benson is also the Founder of the Kenya Diaspora Advisory Council of Texas, an organization that looks after the needs of Kenyans in Texas.
A humanitarian, Ben has led resource-mobilizing efforts to save lives in East Africa. After mobilizing food and medical supplies in the USA, he flew to Kenya where he supervised the distribution and delivery of the same to the poor. He has also supervised the construction of water reservoirs in Kenya.
Eng. Charles Mutunga- Founding Trustee and Chairman
Engineer Charles is a results-driven Analog and Digital Design Engineer with proven experience in Microprocessor, Microcontroller, DSP system level, Metrology, Optical-communication, Linecard, common equipment, and power supply designs. He has been recognized for his expertise in design and scope which encompasses filtering product requirements, component selection, board level design, bench testing, validation support, design documentation, manufacturing support and product support activity. Charles has achieved success in reliability analysis, with a focus on product lifecycle. His expertise mainly lies in mitigating surge, ESD, Lightning, Power-cross, RF interference, and immunity. He is also vastly experienced in designing and implementing printed circuit board assemblies for Telecom, IP telephony, Automotive, and Power Energy (Metering) industry.
Mr. Charles Kasing’a – Founding Trustee and Secretary
Charles is a goal-oriented Executive with deep experience in leading several successful enterprises in the fields of Tourism and Marketing. He brings keen insight and critical analysis to Strategic Planning.
Charles has served on the boards of various privately held corporations and philanthropic organizations. He is also a member of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA), the Africa Travel Association (ATA), the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa (APTA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in addition to a host of other professional and academic groups.
His past directorships include: the American Marketing Association (AMA); 100 Black Men of Orange County; East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS); and the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK).