Work with COTRR

COTRR is a women-founded, women-led grassroots National Non-Government Organisation (NGO) registered in Kenya in 2007. The organization works directly with communities and families, and is committed to bridging community development gaps through its integrated approach by supporting household activities for resilience building, resource and livelihood enhancement for families of the last mile. COTRR Website


Vision: Resilient Communities with Sustainable Livelihoods.

Mission: To support community strengths and potentials to initiate innovative and sustainable programmes for long term livelihood security.

Core values:

Activity #10: Film Making, Part Two, Murang'a

31. May Film Making for COTRR Clip

Film Making – Part Two. After the first part in the end of February was held in Suswa, now the second part brought us to the area of Murang'a. Here, the focus was led on interviewing our Field Officer Joram and furthermore 4 beneficiaries in order to gather information about COTRR's work and the actual impact on the ground.

That day, the visit at the gym was included for free, keeping in mind the work out of holding the camera upright for quite some time... Anyways, the day was a success and we were able to gather a lot of data for the overall COTRR clip, which will, most probably, remain on my "To do"-list until my last day at COTRR ;-) (Hi Deadline!)...


And last but not least i was also able to inaugurate my newly acquired rubber boots – so i didn't buy them for nothing after all...

Activity #9: Suswa

21. March Evaluation of LEAP (Livelihood Enhancement and Access to Water Project)

This project is all about Livelihood enhancement. The two main aspects hereby are the water tanks on one side and the shoats on the other side. The main goal of the activity was to get further insights in the implementation of the project. Beneficiaries therefore worked together in groups and came up with positive aspects of COTRR's intervention but also challenges were brought up. The workshop was then round off by talks given by the County Livestock Officer and the County Chief.

Hearing beneficiaries talking about the positive changes they were able to make in their lives through the interventions of COTRR was extremely fruitful and motivating. The woman in the picture on the left-hand side mentioned that she is only dressed that nicely because she has now access to clean water at her home.

Activity #8: Research on Water Pan, Suswa

14. February Research Water Pan, Empaash Primary School, Suswa

Luckily, even during the stay of my parents here in Kenya we were able to conduct a day of field work in Suswa. The aim of this trip was to investigate and gather deeper information about the malfunction of the Water Pan at the Empaash Primary School just outside of Suswa town.

For all of us, it was a special day indeed. For the school's representatives, because they could tell us about their background knowledge of the Water Pan. For my parents, because it is a truly different experience going to the field than joining a sightseeing tour in Nairobi. For the students, because they were excited to have guests coming from far away. And for me, because I was able to conduct research in a geography-related topic, which I am really interested in.

Activity #7: Film Making, Part One, Suswa

29./30. February Film Making for COTRR Clip

This two-day trip to Suswa was all about gathering material for the overall COTRR clip we are about to produce. The clip shall provide information about the organization itself, making it easier to display people what we stand for and what the projects are all about. In Suswa, the most pressing factor is the dryness of the place, making it difficult to do farming and keeping livestock. That's why the focus of this project area was led on that dryness.

This field visit was enormously interesting because of the broad variety of scopes covered. Besides visits of beneficiaries' homes, water holes and a weekly market, we also went to the school of one of our students in the COTRR Education Program. One of the highlights was truly the delicious tee we were served at one of the beneficiaries' homes. I am looking forward working on the film making and, finally, having a clip about COTRR as an organization.

Activity #6: Nairobi

06. Dec. 2018 Student's Mentorship Day

This year's annual Mentorship Day for the students of COTRR's Education Program was held at the Oak Place Conference Centre in Nairobi. The main message of the meeting was clear: COTRR first of all wants to thank and congratulate the children for their hard work over the past school year, being aware of their challenging conditions at home. Additionally, it was also emphasized several times that the seriousness and academic achievements of the children are of paramount importance for a brighter future. Nothing comes by itself but with the right attitude and the knowldege of COTRR's support the children can fulfill their dreams and become pilots, doctors and engineers...


The entire day was enormously interesting and inspiring: seing these motivated and young children working extremely hard to enable a brighter future made me think a lot about life and opportunities. 

Field Visit #5: Nyanduma, Kiambu County

25. Sept. 2018 Nyanduma, Evaluation of finished goat upgrading project with group of beneficiaries.

This, for the time being last, field trip had the aim to evaluate a recently finished project. The evaluation took place in various steps: first there was a group discussion, followed by an individual survey. Finally, two groups were formed to describe the project in general, their personal situation before and after the introduction of the project, and possible improvements.

Since the evaluation took place in a church near Alice's home, we once again enjoyed the great hospitality of her family. Although I had just made a big purchase the day before, I couldn't resist and took home 2 liters of fresh cow's milk, strawberries and 20 potatoes. At least now I have no longer an excuse to prepare a Rösti in the next few days. I'm definitely looking forward to the next field trip to Nyanduma ;-)


NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking

Field Visit #4: Suswa/Naarkurto Communities, Narok

20. Sept. 2018 Suswa, gathering information about focus groups including PMC's, beneficiaries and a possible new beneficiary group.

After going to Murang'a the day before, on the 20th of September another trip to Suswa was scheduled. The purpose of the visit was still the same - based on the prepared questionnaire, more detailed information on COTRR's work in this region should be collected. This will not only help with current projects but will also provide new and important insight information on COTRR's long-term working strategy.

In addition to the exciting work, a pleasant side effect was that at least the members of the PMC already knew me from my last visit and, hence, I was no longer just the unknown "mzungu"... ;-)



NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking

Field Visit #3: Murang'a, Murang'a County

19. Sept. 2018 Murang'a, gathering information about focus groups including PMC's, beneficiaries and possible new beneficiary group.

This was the first time I had the chance to get to visit our third working area - Murang'a in the Murang'a County. This field visit was conducted by Reuben, Hellen and me and the aim of the day was to gather information about COTRR's work in this area, people's needs and possible opportunities for improvement in the future. Therefore, the three focus groups, namely the project management comittee (PMC), the beneficiaries as well as a group of possible beneficiaries were interviewed in individual groups on various topics. In addition to receiving deeper information for future projects, the goal is to create a short clip about COTRR's work in this area. This will be partly my field of work as well in the upcoming weeks - so be curious...


NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking

Field Visit #2: Nyanduma, Kiambu County

13. Sept. 2018 Nyanduma in Kiambu County, Monitoring of the ongoing Goat upgrading project.

In my second field trip with COTRR we went to Nyanduma in Kiambu County. It's the home area of Alice, one of the COTRR's founders. This is a beautiful side effect since we were able to stay at her place for a moment after the project work. Including eating delicious local food, enjoying real kenyan tea as well as make friends with interesting people.

The monitored project is about the goat upgrading process. Beneficiaries are supported by getting two goats which they have to take care about. After they give birth to a kid the beneficiaries are supposed to give one goat away, so that a bigger number of people in the community can benefit from the project. Also, through introducing the race of the Swiss Alpine goat the process of upgrading the Kenyan alpine takes place. Thanks to this process after a couple of years the goats produce a bigger amount of milk a day, which the families can use for themselves and for other purposes such as selling at the market. Also, thanks to the great nutritional advantages of goat milk families with children with special needs can profit in multiple ways.


NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking

Field Visit #1: Suswa/Naarkurto Communities, Narok

13./14. Aug. 2018 Livelihood enhancement with rainwater harvesting by the use of water tanks. Also, family visits to check background information concerning possible financial support for education.

This project aims to support families, mostly abandoned and/or single mothers with multiple children living in extremely poor conditions. Due to the prevailing drought over the majority of the year, the use of agriculture is difficult in this area. The financial situation of the families is so bad that children are often unable to go to school, or only temporarily. With the help of the water tanks, the water that falls during the rainy season for at least 3 months can be collected and then used ration by ration. The tanks are intended as start-up aid so that families can improve their living situation.


NB: The pictures below can be enlarged by clicking

After the distribution of the water tanks we were invited to attend a lunch party of a Maasai family. The traditional meal was served in the clay hut while outside get ready people to dance the local rhytmic moves. It was great to see all these colorful dresses and to get the explanations about cultre and habits.

In the afternoon a number of home visits of the new beneficiaries was on the program. On the one hand, the first-hand experience of the precarious family situation was extremely intense for me. What you hear in media reports or see in pictures touches you very much. But if you look directly into the eyes of the small children it is somehow different. On the other hand, these visits also gave me additional motivation. To see that the help is really needed here and will arrive to 100%, that made me think in a very positive manner. And when we, later on, visited families who had already received a water tank some years ago, one could really recognize great progress. For example, instead of sleeping in a small one-room hut, families were able to build an additional one by selling self-grown vegetables at the local market.

As has been known for a long time, I don't like to be in the spotlight that much. Now, take a lot of small children, let's make it a group of 13, and let them see a white man, a Mzungu, for the first time. For better or for worse, I was the main attraction that day. When Reuben asked me how it felt, I encouraged myself and replied: I will get used to it.


Last but not least, I would like to show you some photos of the beautiful landscape. Since the last heavy rain was not too long ago and it is also very locally humid, in some parts there are enormous fields in breathtaking colours.