Article by Linn Asbury
I’m not an educator; I’ve never even had kids. So what am I doing volunteering
with a non-profit in rural (remote) Kenya as Global Education Partner for Jubilee
Village Project (JVP) attempting to improve hundreds of village youngsters’
chances not only at survival, but at becoming self-sustaining? Turns out my 35+
years as a businesswoman leveraged by barely two years of learning about lean
tools were the only qualifications I needed.
JVP addresses eight areas called ‘Millennium Development Goals’ which the
United Nations has identified as critical to alleviating global poverty. Education,
Water & Sanitation, Health & Nutrition and Economic Development are four of
these sectors which have been impacted by some really basic holistic work I’ve
been doing in the school system in Kager, Kenya.
So one of the first school initiatives completed was a week-long healthy student
initiative, using Training Within Industry Job Instruction (a technique that was
introduced to Japan after the war and was an early contributor to Lean practice at
Toyota and others) to instruct every child on the proper way to wash (and dry,
which is even more important) their hands and 2) how to purify their drinking
water and keep daily logs on water treatment. We took it even one more step:
we taught the three school cooks (using TWI Job Instruction) how to prepare
their food in a sanitary way, keep cooking utensils clean and healthy, store food
and, of course, the importance of washing their hands after latrine use.