Jul 6, 2020

Radio Read Aloud, Podcast and LRC Annex!

We're Excited!
We're Excited!

Schools may be closed, but the Kenya Connect Team is working hard to support learners during the pandemic.  In June we launched "Radio Read Alouds" on the Machakos Mbaitu FM station to engage students with books.  A staff member reads a delightful story which is followed by a lesson with our PLC Coordinator and Teacher, Judith Mutisya.  During the show, students can call in to win prizes and activities are recommended to do after the show.  One of our partner teachers, Mr. Masingi, wrote to us.  "I listened through the introduction, story itself, and the explanation/analysis.  Honestly, it was wonderful, marvelous, fascinating.   I lack the adjectives to describe.  I hope our learners follow it every Saturday.  Even teachers who follow it have an added value to their experience."  We plan to continue this program at least through July.  At the same time, our library is open for book check-out (following proper Covid Prevention procedures).  We are also launching our 2nd Annual Reading Challenge to encourage students to read over 25 books in an effort to strengthen fluency and comprehension while opening new worlds of books to them.  

At the same time, our Moringa Tree Project is growing thanks to the PanAfrican Award, 1Treellion Foundation, and individual donors.  The Moringa Trees are being planted at four partner schools as a way for students to learn about the life-cycle of trees first hand, as a means to improve the environment, and as a school enterprise project.   Once the trees mature, the leaves and seeds will be harvested to create Moringa powder for teas and to add to soups and stews as a nutrient.  This week Co-Founder and Executive Director James Musyoka was featured on the Butterfly Effect Trees Podcast with Tali Orad on Spotify.  You can listen to this beautiful piece HERE.

Finally, we are beyond thrilled to announce..... drum roll please..... the creation of the LRC Annex and Maker Space!

The LRC Annex will house a proper Library.  It will be a library with a kiddie story time corner, study carrels, reading seating, and plenty of shelves to house our growing collection of over 10,000 books.  The creation of the Library will allow students as well as community members to directly borrow books!

The building will have a small Sound Studio/Radio Station to create videos and radio content and to provide students with a hands-on learning experience by hosting radio shows.  This two-story building will also house staff workspace and a conference room in the upper floor.  Currently the staff is crowded in the LRC, and in order to grow and support our many programs, it’s essential to have more space.  The LRC Annex will be solar powered and connected to the Kenya Connect internet.  A front veranda will provide additional program space.

We will renovate the current LRC staff office space to create a Maker Space with a laptop cart, sewing machines, art materials, robotics kits, silk screening materials and other supplies for students and the community to create.  This creative space will allow for entrepreneurial activities and student enrichment.  The Campus will be flanked by newly planted trees and will include seating areas for reading and meeting.

We invite YOU to contribute to this project on GlobalGivings Summer Match Day on July 15th!  We've created a special page for this LRC Annex and Maker Space Capital Project.  Donors will have the option for naming and dedication opportunities too.

Our work continues to expand with a deeper impact reaching even more students thanks to you!  We hope you'll join us on July 15th!

Musyoka listens to the Read Aloud
Musyoka listens to the Read Aloud
Cornelius takes students on a Lion Hunt
Cornelius takes students on a Lion Hunt
Students Planting Moringa Seeds
Students Planting Moringa Seeds
1Treellion Moringa's growing
1Treellion Moringa's growing
LRC Annex
LRC Annex

Links:

Jun 2, 2020

The Gift of Reading during the Pandemic!

LitClub Students Receive Their Packets!
LitClub Students Receive Their Packets!

"I'm so happy to see the bus filled with boxes of books!" Mwende.  Schools are still closed in Kenya due to the Pandemic, but LitClubs and borrowing books has begun with social distancing, face masks, and special procedures.  

Most students in our village live in homes without electricity, internet or books.  Students help with farm chores and collect water, but most are bored and are missing school.  We consulted with teachers and parents and have slowly and carefully begun to reopen several of our programs including LitClubs.  The staff created "Lit" activity packets for the students and traveled to their schools to distribute them.  Prior to the "LitClub" activities, Kenya Connect provided information on Covid-19 to the students including how they can protect themsleves and the importance of hand washing, social distancing and the use of face masks.  In addition, each student was given a face mask made by local women and funded through Kenya Connect.

Cornelius, Cyrus, Monicah and Margaret, KC's Lit Mentors, met with the LitClubs sharing the activity packets and assisting with book check out.  The students were thrilled with the enrichment activities and excited to borrow books. Using sentences with adjectives, solving anagrams, and identifying nouns were all part of the packets.  With no public libraries or books at home, the students were ecstatic to see the Kenya Connect team and the collection of books.

Supporting our students and these enrichment programs would not be possible without donors like you.  The pandemic has been especially challenging for our rural village, and even though the Kenyan Ministry of Education is offering distant learning via the internet and television, almost all of our students are being left behind.  We are looking at ways to begin offering additional programs within the Kenyan Covid-guidelines and in a safe manner for students and our staff.  

Thank you for supporting Kenya Connect on GlobalGiving.  If you haven't done so already, please follow us on instagram, twitter and facebook to see our work on a daily basis.  We love sharing our stories!

Reading is a true gift.  Stay safe and know that you are expanding students' horizons in rural Kenya through the joy, wonder, and knowledge of books.

Teaching Students How and When to Wear a Face Mask
Teaching Students How and When to Wear a Face Mask
Checking Out Books!
Checking Out Books!
Cornelius Meets with LitClub Students
Cornelius Meets with LitClub Students
Apr 21, 2020

Get Masked! Supporting our Community!

Local Women Create the Masks
Local Women Create the Masks

As we reported in our March update, Kenyan Schools are currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our staff has used this time to develop Teacher Professional Development Programs, to prepare literacy activities and the 2020 Reading Challenge Program, to read (we have staff D.E.A.R time -- drop everything and READ), and to monitor the building of compost toilets and the growing Morninga Trees.

In addition, we are teaming up with the local Public Health Officer and officials to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.  As the leading NGO in our district, we believe it's our responsibility to help our students, their families, and neighbors as safe as possible.  Face masks are in short supply in Kenya, yet the Minister of Health is strongly recommending that all Kenyans wear them when going to the markets and other public places like gathering water.  Boda Boda (motorcyle) drivers, who provide essential transportation to those living in the hills of Wamunyu, are especially at risk and potentially could be spreading the virus.  We also know that some families in our rural community are not receiving the latest public health warnings and announcements.

As a result, Kenya Connect has been collaborating with the Public Health Officer on developing strategies and solutions to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our sub-county.  Due to our proximity to Nairobi, there is concern that if the virus spreads to our rural community, it would be devastating due to the lack of health care and other challenges related to the lack of clean water and extreme poverty.

In addition to leading the way with effective hand washing, Kenya Connect has commissioned women, who make our Wings Poa Reusable Sanitary Pad kits, to make face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  Using a WHO recommended pattern, the women are sewing the masks to provide the most vulnerable in the community including women in the market, community public health volunteers, and Boda Boda drivers.  Others will be able to purchase the masks at very affordable amounts.  Our goal is to distribute over 2500 masks.

The masks have begun to be distributed in the community.  We are providing training and have included a leaflet in Kiswahili, Kikamba, and English with information on proper usage and cleaning of the masks, the effectiveness of continuous hand washing and the importance of not gathering in large groups.  Along with assisting with the public health crisis, the women creating the masks receive much-needed income when the economy is collapsing due to the economic strains of the pandemic.  We are proud that our masks are 100% Kenyan made with Kenyan fabric by Kenyan sewers.

These are very challenging times.  We pray that you and your family are safe.  We will continue to update you on how we are responding to the the challenge of the pandemic and we look forward to updating you once our students are back in school!  As always, we are deeply grateful for our GlobalGiving supporters like you.

Sewing at their Homesteads
Sewing at their Homesteads
Training is Essential
Training is Essential
Washing hands is a front line defense
Washing hands is a front line defense
Providing Masks to Boda Boda Drivers
Providing Masks to Boda Boda Drivers
Our students are learning and being protected too
Our students are learning and being protected too
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.