Obambo Community Action Group (OCAG) is located in Siaya District of western Kenya not far from the shores of Lake Victoria. The Group is run by inspirational and highly committed local people and is rooted in the community. They understand the local culture, people and problems, and are fully committed to sustainable development in their own villages. OCAG have five core staff members and a team of six regular volunteers and numerous other local supporters who provide voluntary help when it is needed. Although the number of core staff is fairly small, with the volunteers they serve an area of about 700 square kilometres with a rural population of approximately 23,000 people. Their positive effect is therefore significant.
This is a particularly poor part of Kenya where 58% of the population are living in absolute poverty and there are exceptionally high rates of HIV & AIDS infection. Most people live in simple mud homes and work hard to survive by cultivating their own land. This situation inevitably increases the challenge that the community has to work its way out of poverty. However with the support of Advantage Africa, OCAG have developed a holistic approach to tackling the many issues facing the most disadvantaged people in their community. OCAG are directly assisting 80 orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS by providing a nutritious lunch each school day. The group also runs a pre-school nursery and community health projects, together with a home based care project for 25 of the most disadvantaged households in the location.
Malaria project team with OCAG Co-ordinator Andrew Otieno on the far right
Advantage Africa builds long term partnerships with community organisations and has worked with OGAG since 2003. We have helped them to work towards becoming more self-reliant in the future, (for example by buying land for them to grow food for the orphan feeding project) and are proud to say that the technical and organisational skills of OGAG have developed significantly during the partnership. There are no quick fixes for the poorest communities in Africa, but by working directly with strong community organisations Advantage Africa is providing pathways out of poverty.