Educating street children in the Mathare slums


2014, The Year that it was…

Dear Friends

This year, MCFp celebrated 15 years of incredible outcomes, each generated by addressing the cognitive, emotional and educational needs of over 400 children from Mathare Slums and its environs. Like many other organizations, we experienced increased demand for our services while we navigated rapid changes in state regulations, public policy, and private funding sources.

The economic downturn experienced in many Western countries brought with it new challenges in our efforts to meet the needs of children and other clients we serve, but we continue to face these challenges head on. More children need our critical support than ever before, and so we must double our efforts to give voice to the needs of young Mathare children.

We are so pleased to have partnered with many supportive and generous individuals and organizations throughout the world. With your help, we have impacted hundreds of at-risk children.

Whether you are a friend, a donor, or a private individual, we invite you to join us in our work. Together we can unleash the potential of young children – ensuring a brighter future for them and for us all! We are profoundly grateful for your generosity, and we will continue to work hard to inspire your confidence and support in the future.

Please enjoy reviewing our successes year, 2014.

Sponsorship Programme
We had 106 children under the School Sponsorship Programme this year - at all levels of education, from Nurseries/kindergarten to University/college/vocational training; these have been placed in over 70 schools and institutions of higher learning all over the country. This year we had 14 students sitting for their National Exams, both in Primary and Secondary levels.
The program is hugely successful. Over 40 kids have been able to go to colleges/universities – a seemingly impossible feat from where they started out. They have degrees in Mathematics & Physics, Horticulture and Economics, Software Engineering, Disaster Management and International Diplomacy, Pharmacy, Geo Mapping, Education, Actuarial Science among others, while we have a student doing his MBA!
MCFpanairobi will continue to scale and reach out to more children, providing educational access and opportunity thanks to your support which will allow us to plan with confidence that 120 children will gain access to education next year. Your commitment to help create world change through education makes this possible.

Teenage Mothers Programme
An Early Care and Childhood Development program targeting teenage mothers (aged between 12 and 19 years). Many children under 5 years are often left to their own devices; no one takes care of them. Their fathers in most cases shun away from their parental responsibility, and the mothers, are overwrought by their work to sustain a living for their small family. Children of teenage mothers in the slums have been known to grow up with less affection and love, less attention, often suffer from malnutrition and live in poor hygiene conditions. A number of them will not start schooling and if they do, tend to drop out even before they finish school and the circle continue.

In helping the children of teenage mothers, it is crucial to assist and support young mothers and give them a new perspective in life. Teenage mothers who are empowered social-economically are in a position to provide an additional and reliable income for their households through the proceeds realised from their projects, to enable them to meet the costs of basic needs such as; household utilities, food, and fuel for lighting, clothing, and costs of their children’s schooling such as uniforms, books and fees.

MCFp intervention envisions the teenage mothers acquiring expertise in hairdressing and tailoring. On hairdressing, MCFp has been able to partner with Mathare Youth Polytechnic where more than 40 teenage mothers with their under-five year old train for 6 months every year for the next 4 years while 10 girls are trained in tailoring every year. Currently we have 25 teenage mothers in the programme who will be graduating at the end of the year, 2014. MCFpanairobi has successfully negotiated with an organization this will provide them with loans in groups to set up businesses after 6 weeks of entrepreneurship training.

Livelihood Support Programme
We have two livelihood programmes; mainly Nairobi Walking Tours where 5 young people from the sponsorship programme have been trained in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya on the History of Nairobi. We offer these tours to anybody interested and they act as a source of income to the young people and the project. We have had more than 120 tours this year.
The other livelihood project is for the mothers of children that MCFp serves in the sponsorship programme. These women are involved in the making of handbags from used tetra packs and other local materials plus bead making. MCFp does the buying of the products required and markets them on the women’s behalf. There are some teenage mothers also involved in these businesses especially those that are training to be tailors. More than 350 bags have been sold this year!
MCFpanairobi intends to increase the livelihood programmes from two to four in 2015 that would cater for more vunerable groups.

Reusable Sanitary Towels Programme
There have been campaigns in both poor rural and poor informal urban settlements to provide adolescent girls with sanitary protection allowing girls to attend school uninterrupted, which is key to bridging disparities between adolescent girls and boys both in primary and secondary education in Kenya. Although these campaigns still go on, the impact has been minimal and this is mostly due to the expenses incurred by the organizations – which mostly rely on donor funding - to buy disposable sanitary towels.

Reusable Sanitary Pads are a sustainable and easily renewable resource that allows girls to wash and reuse them rather than having to buy disposable pads every month. In addition, they are comparatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly. The social benefit of the implementation of this concept greatly mitigates the disadvantages and challenges many disempowered girls endure during their process of maturing. So far MCFp has distributed re-usable sanitary towels worth Euros 4,000 to over 895 girls in more than 40 different schools as a pilot project. MCFp is currently looking for donors that will help set-up way of manufacturing the sanitary towels with the women/teenage mothers in our project. The project will be a livelihood project that will not only employ women/teenage mothers and ensure they meet their basic needs through the income they get, but also provide a very basic commodity at a cheap price that is durable that will ensure girls continue with their education uninterrupted.

Computer Lab
MCFp has been able to overcome the digital divide through the opening of its computer lab. The main focus has been the youths, women and local entrepreneurs. The lab is ideal for students as it provides a good environment for research and learning. The lab has also benefited some of the local entrepreneurs through the creation of a platform for them to market their goods and services online. It has also provided services such as printing and photocopying among others which are currently rare and located far apart. The trainer is a former beneficiary of the sponsorship project.

More than 20 students have been trained this year and we hope this number will increase to between 150-300 students next year following the negotiations we are having with NairoBits, an ICT Trust that equips the youth with knowledge in Web Design, IT skills, Creative Multimedia, and Entrepreneurship to improve their opportunities in employment and/or entrepreneurship from Urban informal settlements.

Holiday Programme
This entails community service and clean-up exercises; tutoring and mentoring - peer mentoring and older children mentoring younger ones; educational and recreational trips; holding sessions of Children’s Parliament, computer lessons for preschool children over lunch hour; facilitation of workshops on various issues affecting children; and skills development, especially in arts. This year saw the kids in the project; teenage mothers and their parents undergo skills training on different areas that will improve their current situations. Working with different organizations and partners, the holiday programme next year will have more activities that are both fun and engaging to children. Volunteers/Interns are more than invited to engage with MCFpanairobi on this.

Community Library
MCFp recently partnered with Challenge Aid through Pamoja Trust to establish a community library. The objective of the project is to avail space within the informal settlements where children undertake extra studies in an environment that is conducive to learning in the evenings after school. MCFp provides a study room, volunteer supervisors (2 former beneficiaries of the project), books and other basic amenities found in a library. It will start with serving 30/40 children from the neighborhoods. This number is expected to grow to 70/80 children by the end of the year. We also envision providing opportunities for boys and girls to undertake sporting activities, life skills and extra curriculum activities. The project in addition supports the enhancement of leadership skills for committees managing the library. The committee is made up of community members and MCFp. We await the bookshelves to be finished for the library to start!

Students Councils/Parliament
MCFp is in talks with CHS – (Christiane Herzog Shule) to secure funding for this programme and have these councils established in schools. This is a programme that will enable students to grow up as responsible citizens who are aware of their rights, their influence and their responsibility within communities and their schools. Furthermore, it will strengthen their ability to participate in decision making processes which will lead to better improved relationships between the school administration, teachers and the students through creating a platform of dialogue and learning on issues. This programme has been informed from MCFp’s own children’s parliament held every holiday for the last 8 years. This has helped MCFp come up with policies that are children friendly that has seen a great reduction of drop-outs from schools or the project itself.

Other notable highlights

  • 14 students have finished their National exams; High school education/Primary education while 4 joined the universities to undertake different courses while 3 will be reporting to different colleges at the beginning of the new year, 2015
  • There was not a single drop out of any child within the sponsorship programme while 3 dropped out from the teenage mothers programme after getting married
  • At the beginning of the year MCFp came up with 2014-2017 strategic plan
  • This year MCFp will let go off 16 beneficiaries from the sponsorship programme. They all have finished their studies and we wish them luck in their new lives
  • 9 teenage mothers are either employed or self-employed even before they finish their hair dressing course in December
  • Over 50 former beneficiaries of the sponsorship programme will be meeting this December holidays as a come together party
  • Over 230 young women and teenage mothers and 340 youths and children have been trained on safe motherhood, family planning, fertility awareness, gender based violence, nutrition and HIV AIDS prevention and control
  • 4 new staff members joined the project as we continued to expand, namely 2 social workers, tailoring trainer and an accountant while Susi left back for Austria after a stint with us of more than two and a half years
  • MCFp joined new networks and is playing a big role in them; Nairobi Child Protection Team, Kasarani Gender Based Violence Network, Street Children and Families Network and Children Charitable Institutions. All these are networks that propagate for better lives for children and women in informal settlements
  • MCFp has new partners this year; namely DKA Austria, NairoBits, Challenge AID and Pamoja Trust with whom MCFp will be implementing new programmes
  • A community Library has been opened to children in Mathare to study in the evening and Saturdays – over 40 students are expected to use the library. It will employ two young men from Mathare
  • More than 895 girls from different schools within the country were provided with Re-usable Sanitary towels, an evaluation done and a decision made that beginning next year, MCFp will engage a trainer to help the young mothers and women produce the Re-usable Sanitary towels for sale at minimum costs. It is hoped will generate income for the project and the parents/teen mothers involved
  • In partnership with WRAP, 25 teenage mothers were able to receive food baskets for 8 months
  • MCFp has been able to follow-up on cases of defilement and rape for 12 children where 3 of the perpetrators have been jailed while the rest are on-going. This has been possible in partnership with different organizations, namely the German doctors, WRAP and World Friends
  • More than 120 children received hot lunches during the school holidays; April, August and 50/60 are expected during the December holidays as part of the feeding programme
  • Through the assistance of the German doctors, MCFp was able to meet the medical needs of more than 60 children with 4 being admitted in various hospitals where MCFp spend more than Ksh 80,000 for the medical bills

We will continue to scale and reach out to more children/teenage mothers and other vulnerable groups of people. We at MCFpanairobi will do this by providing educational access and other opportunities thanks to your support. Your commitment to help create world change education makes this possible.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2015!

Asante sana!!!
(Thank you)

Dear MCFpanairobi friends..

My report this time around is on the challenges we faced in the establishment of the teenage mother’s programme and the learning lessons gained from it. This has been brought forth by the GlobalGiving newest initiative where projects are asked to share their experiences in a project called #FailFoward Stories.

Like we mentioned before in our reports, one and a half years ago, we started a teenage mother’s programme where we targeted girls below 18 years with children below five years. This was informed from a baseline survey on children below five years who loiter within the slums during the day.

The initial recruitment was done during the electioneering period in Kenya after the post-election violence of 2007. During this period, a lot of international and local NGO’s had lots of seminars/workshops and activities that were on- going especially on peace initiatives. These NGOs would provide money for those who attended and there was the first mistake. 4 weeks after recruitment, it dawn on us that the girls were not really attending the vocational training as agreed, the reason; we were not paying them! We had to go back and review our recruitment policy once again that would come up with some guidelines on how we engage the teenage mothers.

The second batch of teenage mother’s that we recruited were mostly sourced from partner organizations that we work with. We got a total of 25 girls of whom half had been referred to us by Community Health Workers (CHWs) who live and work amongst the Mathare slum community. Basically we trusted the CHWs to genuinely refer clients who met the criteria we were looking for but alas, it was not the case. 13 teenage mothers referred to us ended up being not really teenage mothers but women/wives/girlfriends/relatives of the CHWs that had been coached on what to say when we made enquiries. Our capacity then was limited in regard to human resource but luckily we got DKA (an Austrian NGO) that agreed to support the programme and we were able to get an extra social worker to handle the programme. We have been able to find the truth about some of the teenage mothers we recruited. Out of the 13, five have remained while the rest dropped out in the training processes because they had joined for various reasons; because either they had been coerced to do so or because it was free and yet it was not something they were interested in. Of the 5 remaining we agreed they would finish their vocational training although they did not meet the criteria.

Lessons learned
Recruitment process; It was realised when recruiting of the previous group of teenage mothers that certain processes were not keenly followed. This has been rectified with the introduction of a recruitment process after brainstorming that involved both MCFp staff and the teenage mothers themselves.

Counselling; Counselling is the key to success of the program and special attention should be given to any issues raised. Failure to provide time and space to listen to issues raised by the teenage mothers may lead to drop – out. To reduce this, MCFp will embark on provision of counselling, one on one and group counselling every two weeks while the office has an open door policy and teenage mothers can come in anytime for any issue to be addressed.

Family Planning Services; Within the last 6 months, some of the teenage mothers have gone ahead and become pregnant again although they still have young ones below 3 years. To avoid this kind of situations, MCFp has embarked on providing these services through a network of government dispensaries, German Doctors in Mathare and one of MCFp staff members is currently training on reproductive health and family planning issues. The staff member will provide insights to the teenage mothers on ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies amongst the teenage mothers through workshops or seminars.

Refferals; Although we appreciate our networks and partner organizations, there is great need to follow-up the cases and ensure that whatever information we have is factual before the potential client is admitted in the programme.

The teenage mother’s programme continues and we are in the process of recruiting new teenage mother’s for next year phase but this time around. Our experiences will inform the process. Lets see how 2015 will go with the new group of teen mums.

Asante sana for being there for us.

Dear Friends

Asanteni Sana (big thank you) for your support during the just concluded Partner Rewards Bonus Day
It means the world to us.

Because of you, we can continue to serve at-risk children, and provide them with an education for the remainder of this term.

We are so lucky to have you as a donor. Thank you for investing in our organization and in the children we serve. Your generous gift will go to good use, and we’ll update you throughout the year with reports, program announcements and special events.

Thank you again for your investment in Mathare Children Fund and your belief that the children deserve to have a brighter future through education



Dear Friends,

Thank you for your generous support in the past. We don’t take lightly the fact that you have set aside some of your hard earned money, even harder in times like these to support our project.

"Poverty sentences you to lack of education and even an early death! Am indebted to Mathare Children's Fund panairobi and to an extension to you (donor) for i see a light at the end of the channel, when i finish my studies," Ken* says of his sponsorship. That's the kind of impact you are having on children within Mathare slums.

My dear friends, rarely does an opportunity to do good come along when we're well-prepared for it. There is some good news, though. Right now, GlobalGiving is offering what they call Partner Rewards Bonus Day which kicks off today at 9:00 am EDT on July 16th, 2014 and ends at 11:59 pm EDT on July 16th, 2014. As leaders in GlobalGiving fund raising website - - we will receive 40% in matching funds. We are also excited to announce that for this Partner Rewards Bonus Day that we may receive a $1,000 bonus award as a project that raises the most funds and a $500 bonus award if we come in second place. There’s more! They will also be offering another $1,000 bonus award for most individual donors and a $500 award for the project that comes in second place.

That means that with your gift of $100, you have the chance to make a $140 impact! And cliché though it may be, the truth is that opportunities like this don't last long. We have only 12 hours to make the most of this chance!

Please note that it is only online donations (credit card or PayPal) that will be receiving this bonuses and also note too that donations made on or any GlobalGiving corporate sites is not eligible for matching.

So the question for you today my dear friends is: Can you give again? The need is great, the cause is worthy, and the battle is raging. And our cause here at MCFpanairobi has not changed. We are more focused than ever. The need is greater than ever, and the chance to make an impact even greater still.

These donations will go a long way to meet the fees for the 106 children who are in school for the remainder of this year who require more than $10,000

Thank you for supporting us in the past, we would not have done it without your support and kindly request you to continue doing so.

Asanteni Sana.

Regards Titus

PS; $100 will go a long way in meeting school fees for secondary school students for the remainder of the year...

Hamjambo Wenzangu...
(Swahili for Hi dear friends)

In April, we bid one of our colleagues, friend, donor, board member bye bye after being with us for more than two years. Susi has been very instrumental and played a key role in initiating new programmes within our project. She came in as Technical advisor although she has been in the project since its foundation. To Susi we say Asante Sana (Thank you) and we know you will always be there for the project and wish you the best in your new endeavors. We also got a new social worker who will be working closely with the teenage mothers programme. Ann was initially working in a project in the adjacent slum, Korogocho and we hope she will have a good time here with us in Mathare.

All the kids are back to school after their April holidays. During this holiday, we had several projects that we undertook with the kids, these include; clean-up campaign that had more than 300 community members participate, life skills training on areas that the children felt they needed more inputs on, a visit by a Buddhist teacher who had a very active session with the children and members of the community in regard to the Buddhism religion and what it stands for. Niamh, a board member came visiting to see how we were fairing on. We had several meetings on the new changes and the way forward with all the new initiatives we had started with Susi. We were also lucky to have the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Kasarani pay fees for two of our secondary students out of the 3 that we had applied for. We hope this is the first step towards a long collaboration between us and our local CDF. WE have also been able to receive two scholarships for 2 of our high school graduates to train in Media Related Studies through the Street Families Trust Fund, a government agency.

In August, 2013, 3 students from Austria visited our project and produced a movie – 17 minutes on Mathare and our role as a project in responding to the various issues affecting Mathare. Please visit the link below and have a view of the Mathare as narrated by us although it’s translated into German.
The International Day for Street Children is a platform for the millions of street children around the world – and their champions – to speak out so that their rights cannot be ignored. As a network of organizations working with Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) around the world, we want the UN to adopt the Day – when the UN adopts a Day it gives the issue greater global exposure and increases pressure on governments to act. We kindly ask that you join MCFpanairobi to Demand a Day by signing the petition in the link below. In Nairobi, the day was celebrated by street children, NGOs, policy makers, businesses and individuals around Nairobi. The celebrations were diverse and included a football tournament, street parade, medical check-up, dance competitions, poems, skits and local level advocacy with the guest of honour being one of the richest men in Africa and the county Children’s officer.

MCFpanairobi with 6 other organizations working with OVCs are currently working on a petition to the government after a stakeholders meeting sought to petition the National government to take responsibility of rehabilitation and reintegration of street children. This was brought about after an article was written in the Nation newspaper dated 26th March 2014 where the cabinet minister/secretary in charge of children affairs amongst others things denounced that he was in charge of children issues;
When it is ready, we will kindly ask you to sign the petition and inform your friends to do the same.

Population Services International (PSI) Kenya through Kenya Women and Children Welfare Center – Jordan Foundation, an organization within our GBV network has agreed to train our 22 teenage mothers for the next 6 weeks on various issues from parenting to Nutrition. The training is based on the needs analysis that we conducted with the teenage mothers sometime back. This training will also have them trained as Trainer of Trainers and issued certificates to go cascade what they learned to others.

In April, the founder of Challenge Aid, Mr. Iestyn and Pamoja Trust visited our project and from this visit we are going to partner and establish a public library for children in both primary and high schools within Mathare to use in the evenings and half day on Saturdays. This will be an initiative that will also involve establishing a committee from the community to oversee the library together with MCFpanairobi. This initiative will be up and running by end of August and hope to serve a population of around 500-1000 children in Mathare. It will also employ two of our high school graduates and see the formation of a rugby team with two trained coaches.

So dear friends, these among other day to day activities have been what we have been up to the last 3 months. We want to thank you for your continous support and pray that you continue to be with us.

Regards from a cold Mathare,


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Project Leader

Cathal Conaty

Berlin, Germany

Where is this project located?

Map of Educating street children in the Mathare slums