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.
May 27, 2016

The Gifts that Keep on Giving!

Communnal hand washing at Sofia PS
Communnal hand washing at Sofia PS

Three hand washing stations, 11 packages of new books, 4 packages of sporting equipment and one composter were all donated during the Holiday Season for the Kenya Connect's 'What's Under the Tree in Wamunyu' campaign.  In addition, funds were donated for six seats on the LRC Bus and three technology classes.

We are happy to report that these projects have been implemented. So how do these projects impact our community?

The new hand washing stations built at Kaliambeu, Ngangani and Sofia Primary Schools means that over 1,000 students will now have access to wash their hands before they eat and after they use the toilet.  The mere act of washing hands with soap and clean water helps keep students healthy and able to attend school regularly.   All the students in the three schools were trained on effective hand washing process using soap and water as a sure way of maintaining hygiene by keeping away germs. In addition to the trainings, each of the three beneficiary schools received a month's supply of antiseptic soap.

"Our school is very grateful to have a hand-washing station. This will help to boost behavior change on hand washing practice and ensure improved standards of hygiene in my school."

(Ann M. - Head teacher Kaliambeu PS)

Three Primary Schools (Kambiti, Mbaikini and Makaalu) with a total of 120 students have taken technology classes at the Kenya Connect LRC since the start of the year. So far we have successfully trained about 1,200 students since the LRC opened its doors in November 2012. Information Technology skills are crucial in preparing young students to the modern work place.

Many students in our enrolled schools are challenged to learn English language, as it is their second and sometimes third language to learn. In order to improve on their mastery of English language, students need to practice reading. As a result of the books donation, we were able to order over 200 copies of 50 different titles for young reader books from phoenix publishers. These additional books are for both English and Kiswahili and are authored by Kenyan writers. Our teachers are finding them useful as a supplementary reading resource for helping their students in understanding English.

"The early reader books at the LRC are ideal for our young students as they are short and exciting and so our students find a sense of fulfillment as they can read and finish a book in an hour"

(Judith - Teacher Wamunyu Junior School)

We have also been able to build a composter at Makaalu Primary School to recycle organic waste.  The students at this school were trained on how to make good compost and have had the opportunity to practically carry out composting. Recycling organic materials will produce compost for crops and flowers in the school while maintaining the environment clean.  Many of the parents from Kenya Connect enrolled schools are subsistence farmers.  In teaching composting, we are encouraging students to share what they have learned with their parents to help their crops flourish.

In addition, four schools (Wamunyu special school, Kambiti, Kilaatu and Kituiu) have benefited from games equipment. The equipment will help the students to develop their extra curriculum skills and allow them to play during recess while they enjoy life in school just as young kids.

One of Kenya Connect's challenges is providing access to our Learning Resource Center for students at distant schools.  Some of our students' schools are over 20km away - way too far to walk to and back in a day.  Kenya Connect is in the process of raising money for a bus that will transport students to the Learning Resource Center for technology classes including coding, robotics, and 3D printing while also serving as a mobile book library.  This project is a high priority for our Principals especially those whose schools are so far away.  

We are grateful to all the donors for contributing to these projects to make life in school much better for the 17,000 children and 500 teachers we work with in Wamunyu, Kenya. Your donation will go along way in improving and strengthening the quality of education in our local schools.

We are ending this campaign, but stay tuned for our next big exciting project. Hint; do you love the Magic School Bus?

Makaalu PS Students check out books from the LRC
Makaalu PS Students check out books from the LRC
Kilaatu PS expressing thanks for balls donation
Kilaatu PS expressing thanks for balls donation
Students at Makaalu PS preparing a compost
Students at Makaalu PS preparing a compost
New hand wash station and soap for Kaliambeu PS
New hand wash station and soap for Kaliambeu PS
Techlonology class at the LRC
Techlonology class at the LRC

Links:

Mar 24, 2016

Final Solar Up-grade Makes the Learning Resource Center Fully Green!

Kambiti student designs a solar box using CAD
Kambiti student designs a solar box using CAD

The last phase of installing solar panels at the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center (LRC) has finally been completed! This final upgrade included an additional four panels, two batteries and a charge controller. For the past two years, we have been upgrading the solar power by installing additional pannels and batterries to reduce the dependency on electricity from the village which has been quite unreliable due to frequent power outages. This last upgrade has realized our dream to make the LRC  completely energy independent.  We are now excited that technology classes and other proffesional development programs at the LRC can continue without any worries of disruption by power failure. With the LRC being fully green, we are happy to highlighlight the following ongoing training programs.

Level up Village  (LUV ) STEAM program: Since the beginning of the year, 30 students from Kambiti Primary School have been learning cutting-edge 3D printing technology alongside partner school, New Canaan, in Connecticut, USA.  By using Computer Aided Design software (CAD) both classes of students have been creating designs and printing them using a 3D printer. During the course, students get the opportunity to share their designs with their partners and collaborate in making changes to their designs through an online CAD platform. Along with the course work, they have been sharing their class experiences and culture through video journals. At the same time,  60 more students  from Mbaikini and Makaalu Primary Schools have also been involved in a different LUV program on coding. They are learning how to create their own games. The exposure of these students to the LUV courses has opened up new learning perspectives for them. They are developing strong analytical, innovation and problem solving skills that they will need in tackling 21st century challenges.

“Learning to create my own games using scratch has been so exciting. I never knew it was possible to create and make changes to a sprite to do exactly what I wanted!” Somba - student from Mbaikini Primary School.

The teachers for these students have reported an increased level of confidence as well as a higher level of engagement in regular classes at school.

“Since my students started taking LUV classes, I have seen a great improvement in terms of their engagement in class and their creativity. The students are bold to ask questions and want to know more on what they are learning in class”. Damaris -Teacher from Kambiti Primary School

Technology  and Proffesional Development classes: The number of students learning computer literacy skills has kept on growing. Currently, 30 students from Makaalu and another 200 students from Wamunyu Junior Academy are  taking computer  literacy classes at the LRC.  The students are learning basic computer operations, word processing and  how to use the Internet. At the same time, teachers have been attending webinar classes on proffesional development after a fortnight.

Access Program. Since the start of the year, a group of 20 students have been participating in English Access program at the LRC offered by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobit. The program aims to empower students with English language as well as leadership and computer literacy skills.These students visit the LRC every Sunday for Acess classes.

We remain grateful to all donors for making all the above programs run smoothly at the LRC. Your support is helping to build a new generation of students with a strong educational foundation to help them be more adaptive to the 21st century. We could not do it without you. Again, thanks.

Installing additional pannels at the LRC
Installing additional pannels at the LRC
Wamunyu Junior Academy students at the LRC
Wamunyu Junior Academy students at the LRC
The pannels and batteries for final solar upgrade
The pannels and batteries for final solar upgrade
Kambiti student designs a solar box using CAD
Kambiti student designs a solar box using CAD
Installing additional pannels at the LRC
Installing additional pannels at the LRC
Feb 29, 2016

3D printing gets underway in Wamunyu, Kenya

The excitement of 3D printing class
The excitement of 3D printing class

2016 has had a busy start at Kenya Connect! Students from Kambiti and Mbaikini Primary schools have been taking STEAM lessons on 3D printing and creating video games at the Learning Resource Center (LRC). These classes have been implemented through a partnership between Kenya Connect and Level Up Village (LUV), a U.S. educational non-profit that aims to build relationships between students in the U.S. with their peers in other countries through STEAM-related projects.

In the 3D printing classes, our students have been busy utilizing a computer-aided design software; Tinkacard, to design and print their own creations on our new Polar 3D printer. Kenya Connect is very excited to have our new 3D printer. 3D printing is the future of manufacturing and engineering, according to many, and designs printed on 3D printers are already solving problems in fields as diverse as medicine and fashion design. With our 3D printing initiative, we hope our students will be inspired to one day contribute to the burgeoning 3D printing movement especially in a country like Kenya that have been lacking manufacturing equipment.

Together with Level Up Village, Kenya Connect staff is facilitating meaningful exchanges between Mbaikini and Kambiti students and students in U.S. Our students are always very excited to write to and read letters from their American pen pals and learn more about life across the Atlantic. They also record video diaries in which they pose questions for their American peers and provide updates on their 3D printed designs.   This is truly a unique experience for our students, and most are thrilled to be able to partake in the video diary sessions.

The American and Kenyan students are able to collaborate on real-world problems via the 3D printing class. For our Kenyan students, one of the most pressing day-to-day problems is the lack of access to electricity. The class has helped foster a problem-solving mentality in the students, and the students were able to design a solar light kit  which will be able to offer light at night. Now, the students will be able to do their homework and read books at night with the help of their 3D printed solar light!

 "I am so excited to design my own solar light to do my homework during the night. I wish I could make many to share with students in my school." Mataka, Student at Kambiti Primary school

At the same time, Kenya Connect also begun hosting a new school, Makaalu Primary, whose students have started learning basic computer operations under Mr. Patrick’s patient guidance. Over the next few months, the students will be able to perform word processing as well as navigate the Internet. Since this is the first time these students have ever touched a computer, we must start small, but we are excited to be able to introduce Makaalu students to the world of technology.

We will continue to provide updates as the other projects funded by our 2015 “What’s Under the Tree” campaign get underway. We are grateful to you all for supporting the children of Wamunyu as they learn to be creative with cutting edge technology while sharing their ideas with their peers around the world. Thank your support!

 


 

3D printing in progress
3D printing in progress
A student admires his key chain design
A student admires his key chain design
Working on the designs
Working on the designs
Listening to their partner vedios
Listening to their partner vedios
 

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