May 28, 2019

Improving Education Through the Power of Teachers!

PLC Workshop
PLC Workshop

It's an exciting time for education in Kenya.  The Ministry of Education recently adopted a Comptency Based Curriculum (CBC) to be implemented in all schools over the next decade.  The framework has at its core the following tenets to be incorporated by teachers:  critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and imagination, digital literacy, learning to learn, communication and collaboration, citizenship, and self-eficacy.  This is a major shift in how students have been instructed and have learned in the past and teachers have been reticent and unprepared to incorporate these modes of teaching into their classroom.

Fortunately over the last five years, Kenya Connect has been the leader in providing teacher professional development programs incorporating many of these ideas into teacher workshops.  Active learning and engaging students in meaningful ways is at the heart of our work.  Encouraging teachers to use drama, hands-on learning, movement, and open-ended questions in lessons is critical.  Instead of looking for "right" answers, teachers are learning ways to encourage critical thinking among their pupils and designing lessons that are centered around collaboration.  Last year we formed our first Professional Learning Community (PLC) with 18 teachers meeting on a regular basis to design lessons using best practices and incorporating components of the CBC.  These teachers continue to connect through "WhatsApp" sharing lessons they have conducted in the classroom and they are now mentoring a new group of PLC teachers.

The Kenya Connect staff has been instrumental in helping students and teachers at our 55 partner schools become Digital Literate since the opening of our Learning Resource Center in 2012.  Students and teachers are learning basic computer as well as upper level STEAM classes through our partner Level-Up Village (LUV).   The LUV classes like Global Inventors and Global Doctors not only expose the students to technology in a hands-on and fun way, they incorporate collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and learning to learn.  Teachers have commented that after students have taken Level Up Village classes that they are more engaged and willing to answer questions in their home classroom.  In March this year, we hosted a group of teachers from British Columbia, Canada, who met with secondary school teachers to help them incorporate digital literacy into their classrooms using the content-rich Rachel Plus device.  Not only did this team help the teachers understand technology, they incorporated best practices of teaching into the classrooms.

Many visiting teams of talented teachers and professionals have also modeled interactive and hands-on lessons and brought school supplies, manipulatives, and educatonal materials to help foster more engaged teaching and learning.  This, coupled with our Library Card and School Library Day program, is strengthening education with 21st century teaching and learning.

Your support as a donor to Kenya Connect provides the needed financial support to allow these programs to thrive.  When you look back on your own education we are sure there was a teacher or many teachers who engaged you in a way that sparked your own learning and brought the subject matter alive.  Thanks for helping us to provide new tools to our dedicated teachers in Wamunyu and to spark our students' learning.

21st Century Learning!
21st Century Learning!
Teaching Digital Literacy
Teaching Digital Literacy
Global Doctors: DNA Level UP Village Class
Global Doctors: DNA Level UP Village Class
May 14, 2019

KC's Making an Impact-- final report

Wings Poa at Muthetheni!
Wings Poa at Muthetheni!

We are transforming lives of girls in rural Kenya.    Our Wings Poa Resuable Sanitary Pad Kids continue to be distributed with 48 girls at Muthetheni School receiving kits this week.  This menstrual solution means that girls are not missing days of school during their monthly menstrual cycle.  Along with distributing kits, our staff talks with the girls about menstrual and reproductive health, how to manage periods, and how to have confidence and strength through the puberty years.

In addition, we continue to stock our library with books about inspirational women and girls and we encourage girls to read, especially in our community that has not had a culture of reading.  Girls in Wamunyu are excited to read these stories in preparation for their own futures.

We continue to work to strengthen education for girls living in rural Kenya.  We are deeply appreciative of our donors.  Future donations will be linked to our main project.

Esther Provides Kits!
Esther Provides Kits!
Apr 22, 2019

Every Day is Earth Day in Wamunyu!

Composting System
Composting System

Picture this:  you are 8 years old in 2nd grade and you need to use the toilet during school.  You don't own shoes (nor do any of your friends) so you run over to the pit latrine.  You open the creaky door and the inside is dark. You hear the buzzing of flies, you smell the stench, and you realize the person who used the toilet before you missed.  But you really have to go, so you step in and do your business.  This is the scenario for the 17,000 students in Kenya Connect's 55 partner schools.

However, this scenario is changing.  Thanks to our new partnership with GiveLove, composting toilets have come to Wamunyu.  The technology behind the composting toilets is simple and elegant.  These low-cost decentralized sanitation systems use container based dry toilets and humanure composting approaches.  Thanks to the training by GiveLove and a generous grant from the Gupta Family Foundation, Kenya Connect is installing composting toilets and bins and training teachers and students at two of our partner schools on how to use them.  In addition, we are providing composting toilets and the accompanying composting systems to teachers, parents, and community leaders for them to pilot this environmentally sound program.  In March we were thrilled to welcome a team from GiveLove including Founder and award-winning actress, Patricia Arquette, who came to film training and promotion videos.  Patricia commented, "Kenya Connect is a dream partner due to the can-do staff and the amazing teachers and students willing to embrace the composting system."

Composting toilets means that harmful bacteria will no longer seep into waterways, waste will be created into rich nutrients for farming, and school children will learn the importance of clean sanitation to assist in environmental health.  It also means that toilets do not smell, there are no flies and human waste is not on the floors.

Solar has also been a key component in Kenya Connect's programs.  Our solar powered Learning Resource Center, opened in 2012, means that we are using clean and reliable energy to power the 30 computers in our lab.  This results in students never missing our enrichment classes when the power grid is down in Wamunyu.  The LRC also serves as a solar model for others in the community. 

The power of solar also helps fuel our literacy program.  Thanks to our rent-to-own SunKing Pico lights, students can read at their homesteads using the clean solar powered light.  Surveys of students have showed that they are reading at a higher rate and using less dirty kerosene at their homestead.

Celebrating Earth Day isn't just one day a year in Wamunyu.  Every Day is Earth Day and we continue to work towards making our programs environmentally sound and sustainable.  More importantly, we are preparing students in Wamunyu to be future environmental heroes and stewards of the earth.

As a donor to Kenya Connect, we thank you for your continued support in helping us to expand and to bring new initiatives to break down barriers to education while providing enrichment programs to students and teachers.  Your support means our community can become an environmental leader through thoughtful implementation of our many programs.

KC Staff and Ms. Arquette at Kituiu PS
KC Staff and Ms. Arquette at Kituiu PS
Training Students on Using Composting Toilets
Training Students on Using Composting Toilets
SunKing Pico Light
SunKing Pico Light
Solar Learning Resource Center
Solar Learning Resource Center
 
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