Rafiki wa Maendeleo Trust is a charitable organization working in the rural area of Rarieda sub-County in Siaya County, Kenya. Our vision is people believing in themselves and working together to build a vibrant and progressive community. Our mission is to empower communities and build their capacities to create positive change for children and youth within their community. Our values guide our mission:
  • We promote sustainable environmental and socio-economic development to enhance future well being.
  • We encourage creativity and innovation for continuous adaptation, learning and growth.
  • We believe participatory approaches ensure communities own their development.
  • We advocate for human rights to promote dignity, diversity and respect.
  • We encourage accountability and transparency to assure integrity and credibility.

Rafiki started as a community development initiative founded by three friends: Monica and Soloman Ochieng and Michele Ostertag. Touched by the hardships faced by children and villagers, the founding friends began with health treatment and education to the villagers. During the first two years, it became increasingly clear that given the socio-economic hardships of the area, one could not focus on treatment of diseases alone.

In September 2003, the initiative was registered as a Community Based organization (CBO) called Lusi Community Orphans Project. The CBO emphasized self-help through income generating initiatives such as chicken and dairy farming, beekeeping and crafts. The profits from these ventures were used to support up to 83 orphaned children with breakfast, school uniforms and weekend psycho-social activities.

In 2006 the group decided that a stronger organizational structure and a more robust legal framework was required in order to grow the project into a professional organization. The Lusi Community Orphans Project was therefore reconstituted into Rafiki wa Maendeleo Trust (RWMT), which officially began operating in June 2006.