WEMIHS is a registered charitable organization (Reg:OP-218/051/0041/1472) established in 1998 to support community to effectively respond to health and development needs.
The organization is now well acknowledged for its high impact community based programs that have reached over 15,000 beneficiaries through empowering child focused, family and community centred interventions. Children and women are the largest beneficiaries of WEMIHS programs. They include; HIV positive children in vulnerable households, orphans under the care of aged grandmothers, vulnerable adolescent girls in urban areas and young children struggling to survive with limited access to essential services and opportunities.
Comprehensive Early Childhood Development Initiative (CECDI) was developed to help address key concerns identified by community and key actors through a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) conducted by WEMIHS in four Sub-Counties of North Mwingi, Kitui County (PRA, 2008). Young children were identified to be among the largest population struggling daily for survival with limited access to essential services, opportunities or facilities most crucial to support early childhood development. It was also apparent that community support systems were overwhelmed by the demand for care and support of children.
Other identified competing needs experienced by communities living in the marginalized semi-arid areas include; unpredictable climate change leading to loss of livelihoods, famine and an uncertain future with limited linkages to a range of services and opportunities.
WEMIHS adapted an empowering approach that engaged communities as partners not only in identifying critical needs affecting early childhood development of boys and girls, but also in mobilizing locally available resources to achieve their desired outcome for children.
By the end of the 5 years in 2014, CECDI program had made remarkable achievements by strengthening community support systems for early childhood development. WEMIHS engaged the beneficiary community to established community managed ECD centres that became the only accessible structures providing safe environment and a package of services most critical for early childhood development (stimulated learning and play, feeding and health care services) to a large population of marginalized children. This ECD centres became the 'Structures of Hope', that gave children a right start to a brighter future.
Realizing the complex needs of children, WEMIHS adapted a partnership approach and collaborated with key actors to complement her efforts. The organization appreciate the valuable contributions from; donor, County Government departments ie; Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Children’s department.
While the County Government have made efforts to address early childhood development needs, the overwhelming demand for comprehensive early childhood intervention calls for adequate funding and longer term partnerships.