Our Work in Africa

Kenya – International Peace Initiatives

We have worked with our partner, International Peace Initiatives (IPI), since 2013, to improve the lives of local vulnerable children, young people and single young mothers around Meru County in Kenya.

About IPI

With the Kithoka Amani Community Home (KACH), we support 35 local children as their mothers are given the skills, training and resources they need to break their cycles of poverty for the long term. At KACH, the children can live safely and have access to a quality education. Children are supported through their education through sponsorships paid by our generous donors. We also provide free skills training courses to the local young people of Meru, Kenya. Over the years, we have supported over 300 young people to take part in community-led courses, learning skills that they think will best help them to break away from a life of poverty. Many of the young people who take part in our training haven’t completed Primary education, so these courses are key in helping them build brighter futures.

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Did you know?

Despite some economic progress, an estimated 46% of Kenyans live in poverty. Children, as is often the case in poor countries, are the most affected. The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Kenya is a shocking 6.3%, one of the highest figures in the world. Over a million children have been orphaned due to AIDS.

Here you can find our more about what we’ve been doing to help make a change to the lives of these children. From skills training for their parents, to sponsored school places and hot meals, you can find out everything we have been doing to help support the children and young mothers at International Peace Initiatives.

What We Are Doing

We have worked with our partner, International Peace Initiatives (IPI), since 2013. Together, we focus on improving the lives and futures of local vulnerable children, young people and single young mothers around Meru County in Kenya.

Skills Training at IPI

  • We provide free skills training for young people and vulnerable young mothers and help them to break their cycles of poverty. Many of the young mothers we work with are HIV positive or had commercial sex work as their only means of surviving.
  • We teach a range of accredited vocational skills such as hair and beauty, tailoring, weaving, jewellery making, soap making, catering and organic farming.
  • Our skills training is community led – we regularly consult with the people in and around Meru County to make sure we provide training which will benefit individuals and local communities in a sustainable way.
  • All our trainees are encouraged and supported to create their own small businesses so that they have everything they need to begin earning a good income after graduating with us.

What We Have Achieved

Since 2013 we made it possible for over 300 disadvantaged women to step away from poverty and build bright, sustainable futures for themselves and their children and we are currently supporting 105 Young mothers over three years to build strong, sustainable futures for themselves and their children in our Hair and Beauty skills training project.

We have provided school uniform, supplies and funding for school fees for more than 30 Resident KACH children.

In 2016/17

We helped 30 young sex workers to gain work experience and graduate with a diploma in Hair & Beauty, giving them a safe, sustainable livelihood.

In 2014/15

With funding from Evan Cornish, we supported 27 women from Kinoru Oasis to receive training in Shampoo and Bar Soap making, and 32 women from The Mwiruthi Women Group on a 3-day food processing course to create peanut butter, jams and yoghurts. Both groups continue tomake and sell their products to benefit their families and local communities.

In 2013/15

We ran a 2-year project funded by Marr Munning that enabled 30 women to gain skills in weaving, detergent/soap making, jewellery making and tailoring. All 30 women were supported to start their own small businesses from home, provide for their children, and share skills with other women in their communities.

In 2013

Syscap funded the installation of an internet tower at IPI, enabling IPI and the local community to access 3G internet in a rural area with limited internet access.

Case studies

Find out more about the individuals that have been supported by International Peace Initiatives and KACH.


Jackline joined the Hair and Beauty course at IPI in 2022. She has a dream of opening her own salon to give her the opportunity to employ others and transform not only her own future, but that of her family.


Edwin came to live at KACH at a very young age. His mother was a teenage girl, who was sexually assaulted at the age of 16. She dropped out of school, but found she was unable to take care of Edwin. Growing up at KACH has helped Edwin to thrive. He leads his classmates academically and loves to be creative.

Bessy and Patrick

Bessy, (17), currently lives at the Kithoka Amani Community Home at International Peace Initiatives with her older brother, Patrick. Dr Karambu Ringera, founder of International Peace Initiatives, took Bessy and Patrick to live at KACH after their mother had died. Their father was unable to care for them, and would spend his money on alcohol instead of food for the family.

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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.