Mar 9, 2021

For the Good Programs Update: March 2021

Jackline fetching water after school
Jackline fetching water after school

"It has been said that something as small as a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon half way around the world." –– Chaos Theory

In December, 2020, you contributed to our Giving Tuesday Jump-For-The-Good campaign through GlobalGiving, supporting the efforts of over 90 young (and a couple of young-at-heart) people in Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Mexico and Kenya as they jumped rope to the point of exhaustion in the hopes of creating a typhoon of change. Thanks to you, they did so, raising over $28,000 in a single day. These funds are allowing us to return to our core programs, which work to enroll children in school, open affordable day secondary schools and activate local leaders to support Maasai girls' education. 

Specifically, during the first quarter of 2021, this money allowed us to:

• Hire two new local staff in Kenya:

We were incredibly excited to be able to expand our Kenyan staff early in 2021. Janet Tarakwai will collect, enter and clean data so we know where to focus our energy and resources. Nancy Nteyia will coordinate our growing Team Angaza, who are our interns that help us enroll out-of-school children. Both Nancy and Janet are from Maasai villages within the region we work and possess specific skill sets and talents that will allow us to be more effective in the Loita community. We are also proud to create well-paid professional jobs for Loita women.

• Onboard two new interns:

In January, we brought two additional interns, Beatrice Kishoyan and Evelyn Sanau Kipai, on to Team Angaza. Team Angaza interns are local high school graduates who support our Kenyan staff by doing community outreach and field research in exchange for the opportunity to acquire professional skills and higher education. Evelyn and Beatrice will be working to enroll children in school in the especially marginalized Oltarakwuai and Kitilkini villages.

• Re-engage with the community of Olmesutie to open a day secondary school

In 2020, we aided a village to open a secondary school in the community of Morijo-Loita. The village of Olmesutie was also working to open a day secondary school when COVID hit. We are working with them to pick up where they left off with the goal of opening what will become the third day secondary school across the 646-square-mile Loita Hills region in April, 2021. You can learn more about these new schools and the powerful impact they'll have in our 2020 Annual Report.

Asante (thank you) from the bottom of our hearts for the support you gave –– and continue to give –– to help relaunch and support these critical programs.

New staff hire Nancy Nteyia
New staff hire Nancy Nteyia
Jan 4, 2021

For the Good COVID-19 Program Update: January 2021

In June, 2020, you helped reconnect hundreds of students in remote Maasai communities to their education by funding the launch of an offline learning program, Kolibri, that allowed them to continue to study during COVID-necessitated school closures. We focused the program on Grade 8 students so that they could continue to prepare for the competitive national secondary school entrance exams they normally take at the end of the school year. The program became a lifeline that kept young Maasai students connected to school and learning.

Key Impacts of this Program over the summer and fall of 2020:

  • 363 students from 17 different schools were connected to remote digital lessons via intensive outreach efforts by our Kenyan staff. Our team worked 12-hour days crisscrossing the 646-square mile remote Loita Hills region by foot and motorbike on muddy roads to deliver tablets to teachers and students and instruct them in their use.

  • Once a month over the summer and continuing into October, our staff repeated this intensive outreach effort in order to load one month’s worth of new curriculum onto each student’s tablet. Content was curated with an emphasis on finding engaging, interactive and culturally relevant lessons that covered student’s traditional math, science, English and Kiswahili topics. In addition to standard curriculum, tablets were populated with health information on COVID, content from the Khan Academy and interactive arts and storytelling lessons that offered cultural affirmation to all students and gender empowerment to girls. Lessons on the Windows platform were also included to offer students opportunities to gain hard skills with the potential to increase their professional opportunities and earning potential within the formal economy.

  • Schools outside the Loita Hills region we work in began to inquire about the program as word spread. In August, our Kenyan team traveled over 100 kilometers on motorbikes through heavy rains to Mara Iretet Primary School in the Mara District to teach Kolibri to teachers there and reconnect 15 students to their lessons.

As students in Kenya return to their classrooms in January, 2021, we are returning to our core programs of enrolling children in primary schools, opening secondary school classrooms in partnership with parents and working with community leadership to advocate on behalf of education. While we grieve the lives, livelihoods and opportunities lost due to COVID, we are grateful for the opportunity it provided to work with communities in Kenya to explore paths we were too uncertain to explore before. Teachers in Loita now hope to continue using tablets in the classroom. Pre-COVID, their resources were often limited to a handful of dated textbooks. Through Kolibri, both teachers and students now have access to engaging, interactive, student-centered content for the first time in their lives. Our focus in 2021 is a return to our core programs while continuing to support this new digital learning opportunity for students and teachers. Our goal is to continue to curate content that will enhance and expand student learning while also empowering girls and affirming Maasai student’s cultural identities.

Asante (thank you) from the bottom of our hearts, for the support you’ve given, and continue to give, to support this work –– and the dreams of hundreds of hopeful young people in Kenya.

Links:

Oct 1, 2020

For the Good Programs Update: Summer 2020

First Tablet Distribution, Kenya
First Tablet Distribution, Kenya

“Thank you, For the Good organization, I can now learn at home using the tablet and Kolibri!”

Maria spoke those words to us through our Maasai Programs Coordinator, Josephat Ole Mashati, but they really belong to you. Students like Maria who live in remote Maasai communities without access to electricity or internet have been unable to benefit from the Kenyan government’s intensive effort to get lessons to them through radio, TV and internet. You helped reconnect them to education by funding the launch of an offline learning program that’s allowing them to continue to study during COVID-necessitated school closures. For Maria and over 300 other students, this program has been a lifeline keeping them connected to school. And it couldn’t have happened without your support.

COVID’s impact has been felt by us all. Globally, families in poor, rural communities have been hit particularly hard. In Kenya, the loss of tourism in these regions has devastated people’s means of livelihood. As is true in most humanitarian crisis, COVID has also heightened existent vulnerabilities for girls. Families faced with increased uncertainty and insecurity feel increasing pressure to marry off under-age daughters when they perceive that education is no longer a viable pathway for them. Pressures on girls to engage in transactional sex for necessities and economic survival increase. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that as schools have shuttered around the world, including in Kenya, teenage pregnancies are spiking. This results in significant risks to girls’ health: Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls globally. It also deeply impacts their education and futures: in a recent study, 98% of pregnant teenage girls from nine Kenyan counties were no longer in school.

Keeping girls in school during COVID is critical to their health and safety. As we write this, For the Good staff in Kenya are now heading out on foot and by motobike to load the third month of curriculum onto the tablets of hundreds of students. We are also working with teachers in neighboring districts to connect them to our offline learning program so that hundreds more students can stay engaged with school. Our goal is to prevent widening inequality gaps created by the pandemic and to do our best to keep girls safe and their future dreams alive.

Asante (thank you) from the bottom of our hearts, for the support you’ve given, and continue to give, to create a better world for girls. We'd like to end this update by sharing some words from Gedion Koiye, the Head District School Officer in the Loita Hills region of Kenya where we work. Like Maria's thank you, we feel they truly belong to you.

"I must sincerely thank you for coming up with this program allowing students to continue learning at home. From the start it must have looked like a dream –– but now it has become a reality in our villages. Your staff (Programs Coordinator Josephat Mashati) risked his life crisscrossing the whole of Loita instead of staying at home during this time to make sure that every child in Loita gets the content, traveling through odd hours to beat the curfews and through bad weather when it was raining across our bad roads. The entire Loita leadership and parents can proudly say we now have a caring partner helping us... for the Good".
Young girl studying at Home
Young girl studying at Home
Teenage girl studying at home
Teenage girl studying at home

Links:

 
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