Africa SOMA Inc.

Africa SOMA sees education as a central tool in improving the lives of all people. In Kenya, progress has been made in expanding access to education, however large hurdles remain: quality is often low, secondary schools are prohibitively expensive, and often the most vulnerable groups, such as Maasai pastoralists, continue to be unable to access even primary education. Improving participation in schooling requires creative solutions that lower barriers to entry and improve the learning environment. Our programs aspire to contribute to such creative solutions. We work in partnership with local organizations and community members and promote community investment and involvement in all of our p...
Jan 7, 2016

Happy New Year from the EWRC Computer Lab!

Noah teaches two students at EWRC computer lab
Noah teaches two students at EWRC computer lab

In the last months of 2015 the Elangata Wuas computer lab continued to be used by many students, teachers, community members and our computer students. The lab that was set up through the generosity of our donors remains one of the only places in Elangata Wuas to access computers and the internet free of charge.

Our coordinator Noah is enjoying teaching computer lessons three days/week. Currently he has 4 students: three who are nearing the completion of their lessons, and one who will finish in February. Upon graduation from Noah's lessons, participants receive official certificates listing the programs that they are proficient in. Noah has been enjoying seeing the difference that computer training can make in people's lives. Three students finished their computer classes in December, and one of them, Ezekiel explained: "The computer classes I took at the EWRC allowed me to enter college with a good knowledge of computers. This meant that I was able to skip many of the first year computer classes, saving a lot of money in tuition, and moving through my program more quickly."

Noah and the EWRC committee (made up of volunteers from the community) have been working in the last months on marketing computer classes more broadly in urban centres such as Kajiado where Elangata Wuas residents pay large amounts of money for transportation and computer classes. Getting lessons at a good price at the EWRC without the added cost of transport to Kajiado is a real resource to community members here. We are also marketing the lessons to students who have recently completed high school, and are awaiting their exam results before applying to colleges and universities. We aim to greatly increase the number of students this year.

In the month of December the Africa SOMA scholarship winners had a meeting at the EWRC and had the chance to learn to use the computers as well.

The current fundraising priority for the computer lab is to have wireless internet installed. At the moment we have two usb keys that can provide internet, but this only works for 2 computers at a time. The EWRC committee is working on applying to funding from local sources to contribute to this aim, and we will be following up with more details about our own fundraising efforts. 

Happy New Year from the Africa SOMA team and the Elangata Wuas Resource Centre! We are so grateful to each and every one of our donors in 2015. You have all contributed to providing access to computers and computer skills training in an area that otherwise would not have any. 

Noah our fearless computer lab instructor
Noah our fearless computer lab instructor
Oct 27, 2015

Africa SOMA scholars prepare for examinations

Scholarship winners Felister, Matthew & Innocent
Scholarship winners Felister, Matthew & Innocent

It has been a year full of exciting achievements for Africa SOMA scholarship winners, new and old.

Noah, our Kenya coordinator holds meetings with all scholarship winners every term break to monitor their academic achievement and discuss their high school experience. Noah provides an invaluable mentorship to our winners, discussing their goals for the future, how to cope with their workload and balance it with family responsibilities, and how they can give back to other students in their communities. Some of our scholarship winners provide tutoring on their holidays, and afterwards many go on to work in schools as assistant or full teachers.

Noah is also hard at work laying the groundwork for the 2016 scholarship competition. He is liaising with the head teachers of the ten participating primary schools in Elangata Wuas zone to confirm the number of final-year students they have who will be eligible for an Africa SOMA scholarship and to get their signed declaration of participation. In late December/early January when the results are posted, Noah will convene a meeting of all of the headteachers to review students results and pick our next four winners. Both of these winners are thrilled that their scholarships have allowed them not to miss any school due to lack of fees.

In the scholarship winners meeting this August, we heard from our scholarship winners Alex (Form 2) and Damaris (Form 4) that they are enjoying their years thus far and are getting ready for exams. Alex explained that he was able to participte in a Maasai dance team at Nakeel Boys that proceeded all the way to the National level of competitions. Damaris has had a challenging year due to a family re-location but her grades have risen over the course of the year and she is set on passing her final KCPE exam in December with flying colours. 

Our scholars now have just over a month to prepare for their end of year exams. For those in form four (the final year of high school) this year, that exam will be the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam. The results from this exam will determine what colleges and/or universities our scholarship winners are offered places in. We are wishing all of our scholarship winners the best of luck in their exams this December.

New scholarship winner at the Mile 46 market
New scholarship winner at the Mile 46 market
New scholarship winner Felister at Mile 46 Market
New scholarship winner Felister at Mile 46 Market
Aug 18, 2015

Computer Classes in Full Swing...

Noah and his computer students
Noah and his computer students

Noah is pleased to welcome three new students to the EWRC computer lab: Patricia, Ezekiel, and Eddah.

Patricia, who is married, 39 years old, with 4 young children, and a primary education, is a livestock keeper and business woman. She sells used clothing and traditional fabrics at local markets. She has enrolled in the computer course to learn how to type, to send and receive emails, and to learn how to store data. She hopes these skills might help her secure a job as a secretary for a development organization and to communicate with friends afar. She is also looking forward to teaching these skills to her children. The classes, she states, are going well but it has been hard to find enough time due to other duties and the prevailing drought. 

Ezekiel is 42 years old, married to two wives, with 10 young children, and has studied up to two years of secondary school. He is a livestock keeper and has great expertise in nature and wildlife. He has worked as a nature guide in a local eco-tourism facility and has for many years worked as a research assistant on various programs. Like Patricia, he also is keen to learn how to use a computer and how to type efficiently. He would like to be able to use these skills to communicate through email and, consistent with his insatiable appetite for knowledge, he would like to learn to use the internet to search for information.

Eddah is 26 years old, married with 2 small children and has completed her secondary education. She is a livestock keeper, business lady and is currently working as a research assistant on a project exploring women's perspectives on land privatization in Elangata Wuas. She is keen to learn all aspects of computer work, including Excel and scanning. She hopes to use these skills for her own professional development and to be able to teach it to others. She finds the classes are progressing well but notes that the network connection can be weak and unreliable.

All three would like to extend their gratitude to those who have contributed to making these courses a reality. Noah hopes that his classes will continue to attract such devoted students! 

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