Classes began on 18th February with 18 students at the Good Kenyan center until the COVID 19 pandemic hit Kenya in March 2020 where we moved classes online. We closed this cohort at the end of May with 16 students sadly discontinuing two due to absenteeism.
Quick Response: When the government gave the directive to close all schools, we instructed our students to stay at home and practice the precautionary measures. We then began planning for online classes via Zoom, trained the students on how to use Zoom for classes as well as Moodle. It took a while to catch on, but by the 2nd week, we had 100% attendance and participation. In time, the students were so enthusiastic about classes that they lamented in their journals if they did not have a class.
Empowerment sessions: The Entrepreneurship and Life Skills classes empowered the students to seize business opportunities around them as well as deal effectively with the various challenges they were facing at the home front and/or personal level. Such practical lessons, filled with sharing personal experiences and tips helped the students maintain a positive attitude through the season. Counseling sessions were also available to the students, and a number received assistance via online counseling.
The Life Skills class is one of the most interactive classes. Often the students are required to do an ice-breaker or game outside and also work in discussion groups. Lessons faced a challenge as soon as the lock-down began. The facilitator then engaged the students in topics and discussions they could hold with their family members as well as discuss topics that would help the students deal with the challenges they were facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The weekly journals kept the facilitator informed on what the students were learning, the home front, and the challenges thereof and even enabled her to isolate non-responsive students and provide assistance(counseling or otherwise) to alleviate the challenges.
Various Guest speakers came to speak to the students on various matters as per the syllabus on both platforms, face-to-face at the center or online via Zoom. The Life Skills Facilitator planned and prepared both the students and Guest Speakers for these sessions.
The Computer classes were of benefit to many students who came with the interest to learn the computer. Class attendance and concentration were good as the students involved their teacher. However, with the closure of schools, a couple of challenges emerged. Few students had access to a computer and therefore struggled to follow in the online lessons. This also led to a challenge in submitting their assignments. The Computer facilitator also cited challenges in switching to Moodle Learning. All in all, the students showed commendable interest despite their challenges and the facilitator was available to coach the students outside of Zoom class sessions in order to help them grasp the concept or work on their assignments.
The art class is mostly practical. It is the class that yields the beautiful boxes, cards, and other crafts that students learn to make as they interact first hand with the Art facilitator. Best results are achieved when the facilitator and student are in the same room. This way, the facilitator can guide and correct the student and the student can access materials provided by Good Kenyan, ask questions, work, and receive instant feedback. As such, this class suffered greatly as soon as the closure of schools was enforced. The students could only learn so much from the Zoom Sessions, and after a few sessions, the classes stopped with the hope of the country opening up soon. The plan is to have the students come in batches as soon as schools are opened, so they can complete the syllabus.
The Entrepreneurship class has made a great impact on the students, with some starting small businesses while they were still in the program. The class is designed both to teach the students the theory of business and practice the lessons learned. With the pandemic, the class took a more pragmatic approach as the facilitator encouraged the students to seize and make the best of the business opportunities around them. This led to a more enriching Entrepreneurship experience that we hope the students continue to use as they go on in life.
Financial Help: Owing to the various financial challenges the students and their families face, it quickly became apparent that airtime to enable an hour of Zoom was quite a burden for many parents. Good Kenyan then stepped in. Friends and sponsors gave to ensure that each student received sh. 50 every day at 10 is, ahead of the 11 am class. This ensured that no student was unable to attend class. This continued all through the June Zoom classes.
In April, Good Kenyan shared a care package with the needy students, especially those from Kibera which included basic household items to help the families our students (current and former) come from.
MISSED PROGRAM MILESTONES
Book-club: Due to various challenges, the book club sessions were not able to continue online.
Mentorship-The students were not able to meet and have Mentorship sessions as the program requires due to the pandemic. However, we have picked out the mentors and are preparing for an Online Mentors’ Zoom session on the 10th of July, 9 am-11 am.
Work-placement: The students were not able to do their work placement due to the pandemic. Management is scouting for organizations to place the students as soon as the country opens up to achieve this milestone.
We held the graduation ceremony for Cohort 5 and 6 in early March. Our guest speaker Margaret from the FORD foundation encouraged the students to use her personal story growing up in rural Kenya and working extra hard to be where she is. She advised them to keep working on their goals and use the experience in Good Kenyan to impact their communities.