Background Newlife home trust is an organization that primarily does three things. It rescues babies, babies of between zero and six months, they also care for and place these babies into forever families/foster families and also try to reintegrate babies with their biological families when they come forward. Newlife home trust has existed since 1994, it was founded by Rev Clive and his wife Mary Beckham when she realised that HIV positive babies were being abandoned in hospitals. After seeing the positive change that resulted from their Nairobi home, Newlife home trust went on to expand its reach by establishing homes in Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa in addition to its original home in Kilimani, Nairobi.
Newlife home trust is unlike any home that I have been to. The compound is clean and well taken care of and the staff seemed happy and fulfilled with their job judging on the interaction I had with them on arrival and the way they interact with the children.
The home is not crowded with children, but they are definitely at capacity as it were. The children seem happy, or at least as happy and well adjusted as can be expected considering the circumstance in which they are growing up.
The children have been group based on their age. There are the ones who have just been rescued who are between age zero/new-born and six months, then there is six months to a year, then one year to a year and six months, then a year and six months to about three years who are in the toddler group.
On arrival one gets a tour and is able to see all that has been described above, the children seem to be brought up in above average standards, all the babies have individual cribs and are well dressed, and they seem to have all that they need. They have three meals a day with snacks in between. The little ones get time to sun bathe and the toddlers and crawlers go out and play for about two hours.
The children also seem to interact well with the visitors who come and volunteer of their time, they seemed to be accepting and welcoming although there was report of some children who are hostile and for such there is counselling as needed. the first impression of Newlife home Kilimani after the tour was that Reverend and Mrs Clive have done a great job of running this home. The care that goes into it is real and genuine otherwise the state of the home and the state of the children would be very different. After the tour one can see that the children are in safe hands otherwise their emotional state would be different, and this would be evident by how they interact with the volunteers.
The swot analysis is a framework used to evaluate an organizations competitive position by identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This helps identify and evaluate the internal and external factors and how they can impact the organization. The end game being that the organization is able to make adjustments and improvements where necessary.
Newlife has a lot of things working for them. The first being Qualified staff. They have trained nurses who work in shifts to ensure that the babies have around the clock medical care and attention in case of anything. They also have trained nannies who have been trained to care for babies and are aware of the babies needs and the milestones to look out for and such. They also have the administrative staff who have their own qualifications for the same.
The second thing would be Ample space. Newlife home has enough space to do what it does. It has enough space to cater for the babies needs. It has a shed where the laundry is done, a back-patio space where the infants sun bathe in the morning and the front lawn where the toddlers and crawlers play and interact with their environment and plenty of rooms for the babies feeding and learning, for those who do.
The third thing would be that Newlife has adequate resources thanks to their brilliant fund-raising team who fund raise aggressively and who create meaningful relationships with both deep pocketed individuals and businesses. As the lead fundraiser explained, babies need a lot of things to survive, they need formula, diapers, food, nurses, nannies, clothes, bibs among other things which all costs money and ofcourse the overhead costs and the salaries of the administrative staff on top of it all. This calls for a fundraising team who are really good at their job because the costs really add up.
The fourth thing would be their Great management team. Any organization from a family to the largest organizations in the world are only as good as their management team. This year Newlife home will be celebrating its 25th year, that is no small fit, it can firstly be accredited to its management team and the founders who are at Newlife every day. The management team has managed to keep their eyes on the priority which is the babies and thus Newlife is still in operation to date.
The fifth thing would be the walk in Volunteers. Of what I have witnessed in the last few weeks people come to Newlife and fall in love with the place, they fall in love with the children and they fall in love with the integrity with which this organization is being run and they become Newlifes ambassadors everywhere they go, and every volunteer forum we see both familiar and new faces. The volunteers act as a strength for Newlife because they create awareness of this organization and also encourage others to come and volunteer of their time and this is needed because even though the organization has staff, they still need all the help they can get because the staff can do the manual work but they cant also provide that emotional aspect at the same time and thats where volunteers come in.
The six strength that Newlife has as a strength is increased awareness. The awareness is propelled by the volunteers by word of mouth and is also done through the events that Newlife has spread across the year. It has three major events to celebrate with their adoptive parents and to pool together both local and international sponsors in one space, this helps Newlife spread their message and inspire both the sponsors and anyone else to donate and find some way to support the home.
The seventh strength would be that Newlife home has an established mission, vision and values. This is felt from the minute you enter the gate. Its felt from the interaction with the watchman, to the receptionist to the interaction with the founder. They all share the mission, vision and values that were established in 1994 by Reverend and Mrs. Clive. Values such as integrity, kindness, compassion, all can be felt when one interacts with the children. The established mission and vision help volunteers commit because they know they are in a place where the children are the main priority. This sets the standards for all people who walk into the home, for whatever reason, it fine tunes their motives to a point.
Not only are the staff qualified but they are also committed. Some of the staff that Newlife home has have been working there for as long as Newlife home has been in existence, which is 25 years. This shows that its a fulfilling place to work otherwise the staff turnover would be very high. The staff at Newlife home dont just take care of the children, they also love them and raise them and care for them with care and compassion which reflects on the conditions within which the staff work, that its a good/fair work environment otherwise it would reflect differently in how they treat and interact with the children.
The final strength I observed is that Newlife has Proper Equipment. They have commercial washing machines to do the babies laundry, they have proper nurseries and isolated/quarantine nursery for children who have just been rescued and proper cribs for each child, feeding bottles, baby walkers and a rescue car all to facilitate the rescue and care of the infants.
Although Newlife home has well trained staff, they are Insufficient. They are not enough to have a one to one ratio. The nannies still need help. They cant do it all on their own, that is why volunteers are needed and welcomed to fill that gap. This last weekend my friend and I visited Newlife in the afternoon and there were five volunteers in the home, my friend and I fed the babies who were all crying and screaming to be held and there were only two nannies in the baby unit my friend and I were in [the crawlers unit]. This was a clear representation of the staff situation, they are qualified, and they do a great job but there isnt enough of them. This is due to budgetary constraints.
The second weakness would be the Resources. It is not an easy thing for people to part with their money, people and businesses alike. They may do it as corporate social responsibility, but it is not an obligation that businesses do smiling, most need convincing and persuading and may still decide to go with another organization or because that has a sort of quid pro quo situation, unlike Newlife which is a home for babies. There is nothing to gain from donating to them other than knowing that the money will help change a childs life. Therefore, fundraising is a difficult task because the team has to constantly convince people to buy into their cause, to see what they are doing and make them want to be a part of it by donating their money and their resources.
The third would be the attendance of volunteers. The attendance of volunteers is very unpredictable and it isnt something that the organization can rely on. One of the staff members I interacted with told me they hadnt had community service students in almost a year. The community service programs that some schools have is what ensures that they have continuous help and so without it they have the scenario that my friend and I encountered when we visited on Saturday afternoon.
One of the greatest opportunities thats coming in with the 21st century is the internet which allows Newlife home to have a wider reach and increased awareness. Increase awareness is important in order to motivate people to foster children and to want to adopt, to tell people that it is okay to adopt considering that the goal is to place the babies into forever homes, either by reintegrating them with their biological families or with foster ones. That is the goal, once the baby has been rescued. Also, to encourage people to just come and volunteer of their time or of their skills like marketing, IT, graphic design and the like which most people arent aware of.
One of the threats is Government restrictions and regulations. One of the staff members mentioned that the government wants to do away with organizations such as Newlife and return the responsibility of caring for abandoned children back to the society which makes it difficult for the organization to focus on the good they are doing with the axe hanging over the organizations head.
The second threat is Predatory individuals. There are people who want to adopt babies to sell hem or to do other malicious things which is a terrible threat. It is not often that Newlife home has had to re-rescue a baby from a neglectful or abusive home, but it has happened a few times which poses a threat to the organization.
Newlife home asks of our time. My expected contribution is to positively change the lives of as many of the children as possible by caring for them and giving of my love and compassion by playing with them and singing with them and giving as much of myself as I can, so the children feel loved and cared for. My minimum contribution will be the ninety hours of my time that is required of me by the course, everything else will be just me serving at the home where I am needed. As it were, they dont seem to have any administrative needs where my marketing training can be used and in regard to other baby units, they seem to have established schedules that work smoothly and effectively for the babies and the nannies.
The only other thing I would hope to contribute to the home is create even more awareness, I am part of a church which in this instance presents itself as a resource that I can use to raise awareness of Newlife home trust. The goal being to get people to volunteer and donate both items and money and to create awareness of the foster and adoption opportunities by getting the director of Newlife to come and speak at my church about what it means to foster a baby and to adopt a baby and the processes therein. This is critically important because we are not a society that is used to adoption and blended and foster families and foster children. This is something that despite Newlife having been around for the past twenty-four years and eleven and a half months is still relatively new and not something that people can comfortably discuss. Which is why more awareness is needed.
This is a unique institution and Reverend and Mrs. Clive are doing a great job along with all the staff who support the institution and care for the babies who are there. However, it is not an easy task, they explained to us the needs of the children per day, per week and per month and it raises concern, it makes one realise just how much need there is for aggressive fund raising for the healthy upkeep of the babies and why they need volunteers and why they need to work with deep pocketed partners with equally deep hearts. A lot is needed.
It also makes one have a new-found respect and appreciation for their mother specifically because she chose to stay instead of running away and abandoning their baby and these mothers did. It also made me realise that there is something that comes from service that one cant get from anything else. I find myself being more excited for the days I go to Newlife home and see the babies and serve than the days I have school. Even when I go and there is much to be done and I get home extremely tired, I feel fulfilled, service is a beautiful and honourable thing. Lastly, it made me realize that deciding to keep a child is a brave thing, children are a massive 24hours a day, 7 days a week responsibility and that all mothers who decided to keep their babies regardless of their circumstances are brave and that not all heroes wear capes.