Kenya Connect (KC)

Our mission is to connect youth globally through correspondence and service for the purpose of promoting deep cultural exchange and understanding. We hope to ignite youth worldwide through person-to-person connections to understand local community needs and practices in a first-hand, meaningful way. Kenya Connect is working to make significant and lasting changes that contribute to peaceful productive globalization. We believe that the experience Kenya Connect provides to children are precisely those that inspire them to be "world citizens." Our goal is to create peaceful and global citizens who have great respect for the lives of others around the world.
Nov 21, 2014

Satellite Dish Is Up And Running!

Students at Mwaasua PS exploring Internet
Students at Mwaasua PS exploring Internet

"We do not have a strong bandwidth to serve you with fast Internet". This has been the discouraging answer we were given from all the Internet service providers whom we approached for help with Internet issue for our remotely located Learning Resource Center (LRC)  in Wamunyu, Kenya for almost a year now.  We never gave up the search though; and finally we are very excited to announce that a company, Simba Net, was able to install a satellite dish to provide high speed Internet connection at LRC. Hooray!!!

All the 20 mac mini computers and  8 laptops are now connected to the Internet through cables (laid early this year) and linked to an ethernet switch and router which are connected to Internet via a satellite (thanks to our many donors). Most important, all the computers can access Internet through WIFI connection! This gives users much flexibility to access the Internet in the computer lab or LRC building or within the proximity of the LRC while enjoying its serene and beautiful environment! This is a huge milestone in our remote rural village where the only available Internet service is via cellphone line which is unreliable and quite intermittent and slow due to weak signal. For the first time, the satellite dish is providing the LRC with fast Internet and opening the community up to many opportunities! The education prospects for this fast Internet remain bountiful for students, teachers, schools and the community who have access to the LRC.

This is absolutely beautiful!

(Samuel N. - A student at Mwaasua PS admires watching an online educational video at the LRC)

Over a year now, Nyaani secondary school has been involved in a book club project with their partner school, Arundel High School in Maryland. Both schools have been quite frustrated with many unsuccessful attempts to do skyped book discussions due to low and intermittent Internet speed. We have already tested the skpe connection after the dish installation and it is working perfectly! We are looking forward for fruitful discussions for our book club in the new year. Besides, we are currently working to enhance education opportunities for our schools by partnering with the U.S. Embassy in Kenya to provide our teachers with access to Internet resources and webinars through E-library.  The resources in the E-library are enormous and will be of great help to teachers, and especially English language teachers who  work with minimal teaching resources yet are expected to prepare their students to gain mastery of English!

We remain most grateful for your generous support that continue to make our plans for a stronger education for Wamunyu students a reality. We are pleased to inform you that we will be participating in Global Giving challenge in this coming month of December. Kindly participate and support us to continue making huge strides towards improving the education standards in our area schools through the educational services we offer at the LRC.  The December Global Giving Project includes wonderful gift ideas like technology classes for 10 students, a hand washing station, or soccer balls.

Again, thank you for your continued support over this year. We take this early opportunity to wish you happy holidays.

Assembling the dish
Assembling the dish
Mounting the dish on a steady ground
Mounting the dish on a steady ground
Fastening the dish
Fastening the dish
Tilting to fine tune the dish
Tilting to fine tune the dish
Testing the Internet
Testing the Internet
A student surfs Internet outside the LRC
A student surfs Internet outside the LRC
Patrick surfing the Internet outside the LRC
Patrick surfing the Internet outside the LRC
The reclaimed space around the dish
The reclaimed space around the dish
Nunga students watch an online educational video
Nunga students watch an online educational video
Oct 10, 2014

Have We Connected?

cable installation in progress
cable installation in progress

It's exciting to have 28 computers in a rural village for the 18,000 school children in our 55 partner schools---It's not a ratio many would imagine in the U.S., but Kenya Connect has worked hard to provide access to computers and to offer introductory computer classes to students and teachers.  Students in the U.S. have created an international book group with the goal of having "skyped" book sessions with their friends in Kenya.  It all sounds great, but the Internet technology remains a major hurdle yet to cross.

Thanks to the support of so many donors, we were able to network 22 of the computers in the LRC through a cable.  This has greatly aided our instructional courses since all computers are connected and can work together in course instruction.  We believed this connection would also aid in all computers sharing internet from a single Internet connection. But alas, it didn't work due to the slow bandwidth currently available.  

Kenya Connect then contacted Safaricom, the biggest internet service provider in Kenya. They tried connecting the cable to their infrastructure on a trial basis.  Sadly, there is not enough bandwith in Wamunyu to allow a clear connection to the U.S.-- especially during peak usage periods.

However, we are not giving up!  Kenya Connect is committed to making the internet part of instructional learning.  We have reached out to the Governor of our district to see if he can help bring a stronger signal to Wamunyu.  If Kenya is to grow, all students and teachers need to have access to the immense resources available on the Internet.

Some may believe we have not achieved our initial goals.  However, we are persistent and are confident that we will eventually have our computers fully connected to the internet providing so many rich and varied resources to our community.

Networking the computers
Networking the computers
Using the shared network to administer a lesson
Using the shared network to administer a lesson
Ngangani PS  on partially successful skype session
Ngangani PS on partially successful skype session
Kituiu PS learning 21st century skills at the LRC
Kituiu PS learning 21st century skills at the LRC
Nyaani bookclub at a flopped skype session at LRC
Nyaani bookclub at a flopped skype session at LRC
Teachers learning computer skills at the LRC
Teachers learning computer skills at the LRC
Sep 22, 2014

High school students attend remedial classes over August holiday at the LRC

Remedial classes in progress
Remedial classes in progress

For most village schools in Kenya, holiday break is a time when many students spend many hours of their day performing a wide range of chores including herding cattle, gardening, gathering water and collecting firewood leaving them with little or no time at all to study. However, over this past month of August a group of 14 high school students drawn from 11 different schools had to take a little break from the norm by spending at least half a day of their vacation at the LRC for much needed remedial classes and library use. This group of students is part of Kenya Connect scholarship program that supports needy but very capable students through secondary education. With the help of a college student volunteer these students were given guidance through the challenges, which they identified in different subjects within their course work. Much emphasis was placed on science and math where most students needed help.  They were organized into small groups and were able to successfully discuss and improve many of their weak areas in different subjects.

Over and above the coursework, the opportunity of being at the LRC enabled these students to check out some books and magazines to read. With the recent purchase of a magazine rack at the LRC, the magazines are now prominently displayed and look quite appealing to read. Many of the students took the opportunity to read these magazines and the collection of books at the LRC library. It was a meaningful way for these high school students to spend their school holiday vacation.

"This holiday has been life changing! The remedial classes at the LRC have helped me a great deal in my weak areas while the discussion groups enabled us to identify our strengths and build on our weakness. I look forward to do well in my forthcoming final exams in high school."

Alex; A student at Miondoni secondary School

Meanwhile, our students from Nunga, Kituiu and Mwaasua Primary schools who begun computer literacy classes in June are now back after the August school break.  These students are busy doing word processing and keyboarding. Slowly but surely this group of students are gaining skills for the 21st century with each passing day.

We remain most grateful to you for supporting this big transformation that continues to happen among our area schools. Your support echos the words of Nelson Mandela that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’

Class in progress
Class in progress
Student group discusions
Student group discusions
Class in progress
Class in progress
Sampling books
Sampling books
Classes at the LRC
Classes at the LRC
Group discusions in progress
Group discusions in progress
Sampling magazines dispalyed on a magazine rack
Sampling magazines dispalyed on a magazine rack
Enjoying some good reading outside the LRC
Enjoying some good reading outside the LRC
Mwaasua PS students in class
Mwaasua PS students in class
Nunga PS students at the LRC
Nunga PS students at the LRC
Kituiu Primary School Students
Kituiu Primary School Students

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