NABU and h.ow.? Ministry develop innovative non-profit transition plan to break the cycle of poverty through the power of literacy

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Since its incorporation in 2012, h.o.w? Ministry has achieved incredible impact in its mission of empowering women, helping children, and fighting poverty across Kenya. This impact could not have been achieved without the support of the incredible donors and volunteers of the h.o.w? community. Today h.o.w? Is announcing an exciting new step in the organization’s journey as h.o.w? Ministry winds down, and transitions it’s focus to get behind the work of award-winning literacy non-profit NABU.

This carefully planned transition is happening after many years of dedicated service from h.o.w?  Founder and Executive Director, Michelle Outman, who is taking a step back from running the organization full time to focus on her family. In line with the Board’s succession plan, a unique opportunity has arisen that will allow h.o.w? supporters to continue to fight poverty in a new way through the power of literacy.

After much consideration, the Board of Directors has selected NABU, a 501c3 non profit with programs in Haiti, Rwanda, DRC and Kenya, to receive the remaining assets of h.o.w.? to invest in their literacy programs in Kenya. This will allow for the planned dissolution of h.o.w? as a 501c3, and suspension of independent activities in Kenya. At the same time, it provides vital resources to NABU as they take their work to the next level with the generous support of h.o.w.?

Although h.o.w.? is officially closing its doors in the coming months, plans are underway to bring the h.o.w? and NABU community together to continue to fight poverty in Africa. Michelle will join NABU as an Advisory Board Member, lending her wealth of experience to help NABU navigate partnerships in Kenya. In addition, NABU plans to establish a trust for the widows and children in Kinangop, and donors will be able to continue to support the community through a fund dedicated to that purpose.

“h.o.w? has the amazing opportunity to collaborate with NABU and leverage it’s resources to reach more children and families in developing countries.  Moving forward, together, h.o.w? can eradicate illiteracy and ultimately global poverty, bringing empowerment and justice for our world one child at a time,” says Michelle Outman, Founder and Executive Director, h.o.w? Ministry.

Michelle and Jamie Outman and two of their four children, with Tanyella Evans, Executive Director of NABU and her husband Hugh Evans, Alyson Hetzel and Janet Elliott.

NABU is an award-winning not-for-profit organization with a mission to solve the imbalance in the creation and distribution of children’s books globally, so all children can read and rise to their full potential. NABU has been known to members of the h.o.w? Ministry board for many years and their work has continually grown and increased its impact. 

The organization is currently reaching more than 75,000 children and their families in Rwanda through their low bandwidth reading app nabu.org. In Rwanda, NABU is a key resource for children, with free access to stories in Kinyarwanda, English, and Swahili critical to helping children maintain their reading. NABU has recently expanded operations into Kenya with the launch of its Children’s Book Fund for Swahili, a fund to reach 1 million children and families by 2024.

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Illana, age 6, a NABU reader in Rwanda.

h.o.w? Ministry and NABU were introduced by h.o.w.? Board Members, Cheryl Mothes and Rick Hetzel, who have been active supporters of NABU and saw a mutual alignment in mission and vision. Through mother tongue book creation, tech innovation, and community engagement, NABU is tackling global poverty at a scale never before achieved. 

h.o.w? Board Members welcome this next chapter, as Rick Hetzel. h.o.w? Board Member explains:  “In line with the values of both h.o.w? Ministry and NABU, h.o.w? are looking forward to increasing the impact to support children across Africa to access literacy and future lifelong learning opportunities.”

The power of NABU’s model is to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation. If all children left primary school with basic literacy skills, every year:

  • 430,000 fewer girls would be forced into child marriage
  • 900,000 fewer children would die before their 5th birthday
  • 113,400 fewer mothers would die during childbirth

In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, literacy fuels economic growth and development; literate communities create jobs to feed their families, seek medical care, and protect the rights of women and girls.

h.o.w? will be communicating more over the coming weeks and months about NABU’s progress in Kenya and East Africa, and invite h.o.w.? supporters to learn more and join Michelle and the h.o.w.? Board in getting behind this incredible organization. In light of COVID-19, millions of children are unable to attend school, and NABU is on the front lines delivering literacy materials to over 15,000 children and families at home every day.

h.o.w? ministry is excited to continue to grow this aligned impact with both the NABU and the h.o.w? community of dedicated supporters, and invite you to join us on this journey!