Education  Kenya Project #13015

Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!

by Kenya Connect (KC)
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Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!
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
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Monicah Reads to Sofia's Lionness LitClub
Monicah Reads to Sofia's Lionness LitClub

LitClubs have been launched!  We are thrilled to announce that Kenya Connect is an official partner of LitWorldLitWorld works with a broad coalition of national and international partners to ensure that young people worldwide can experience the joy and transformation of reading, writing, and storytelling.  Staff members Cyrus Wambua, Monicah Kyalo, Cornelius Muma Willy, Margaret Mutune and Esther Muinde are leading this dynamic and fun-filled program that meets weekly over a two-year period.

LitClubs are being piloted at Sofia and Maanzoni Primary Schools.  LitWorld's model recommends separate clubs for Boys and Girls.  At Sofia we have the Simba and Lioness LitClubs and at Maanzoni we have the Tiger and Beautiful LitClubs.  All clubs were launched with storytelling and word games.  The students were shy at first, not being used to this type of learning or activity.  However by the second week, Executive James Musyoka shared, "Our mentors this week reported quite a remarkable improvement on the part of students. Last week the students were quite reserved and shy to speak. This week the LitClub members were jovial, excited and very eager to learn."

The students have been very engaged with the read aloud stories.  Nzesi commented, "Reading aloud is the most enjoyable thing in the Litclub."  Our Mentors select beautifully illustrated and engaging stories to read to the students which have been donated by friends of Kenya Connect.

Decorating journals was another activity for the students.  These journals will be used for student writing in future club sessions.  As you cans see from the pictures, students are having a blast creating their own special journal.  Mentor Monicah glowingly commented, "Students in LitClubs are creating communities that use the power of reading books and writing to be agents of change in the world!”

Sadly, due to the spread of Covid-19, the Kenyan government has closed schools for 30 days.  Students can still come to our Learning Resource Center to borrow books, but we have suspended all activities that brings groups of students together.  During this period, our staff is planning, learning, and preparing for the re-opening of schools and monitoring the construction of GiveLove Compost Toilets and the growth of the Moringa Tree groves.

Back in the US, the Kenya Connect 5K is being held as a virtual race on Saturday, March 28th.  You are invited to sign up to run, walk, hop, skip or couch surf between 9 am and 2pm EDT and then send your times and a picture to Kenya Connect.  We are still awarding hand-carved medallions to the top three winners in all age groups!  Sign up HERE!

As always, we are deeply grateful to donors like you who propel our programs forward.  It's always with great joy that we share information on our work.  Stay safe friends.

Word Games with Mentor Cornelius
Word Games with Mentor Cornelius
Creating LitClub Journals!
Creating LitClub Journals!
Joyful Journals at Maanzoni PS
Joyful Journals at Maanzoni PS
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Global Ed with Level Up Village!
Global Ed with Level Up Village!

2019 was another banner year for Kenya Connect! So you're probably wondering, what does 9422 mean?  It's the number of books in our library (which has grown from 5800 in 2018).  Our bus drove 3082 kilometers delivering books and a total of 2557 students and adults hold library cards.  We've been keeping track of numbers and our impact, and we invite you to learn more by reading our Highlights 2019 Report.

The new Kenyan School year commenced earlier this month, and our students are already engaged in 21st century learning.  They are participating in LevelUp Village Global Inventors and Global Storybook Classes.  Our clever inventors are building solar lights using computer assisted design (CAD) while our youngest pupils are building castles and bridges with recycled materials.  These well designed classes incorporate technology and hands-on learning and are a whole lot of FUN!  Their classroom teachers ask our Director of Technology, Patrick Munguti, what he does with the students since they come back even more excited and eager to learn!

Meanwhile our library is almost at 10,000 books!  Since the beginning of January, our Magic School Bus and Reading Rover Truck have been making the rounds to the twenty schools participating in our library program.  The students are thrilled to have access to books once again including those written and published in Kenya.  Our staff is preparing for World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) with our newest partner LitWorld.  Along with participating in WRAD, we will be launching LItClubs at two schools and will beginning a LitMom program (if you're on social media, check out our posts on Feb.5th to see WRAD Wamunyu-Style.)

We've hired two new staff members, Cornelius Mumba and Monicah Kyalo.  One of Cornelius' projects is to support the GiveLove Compost Toilet program.  When asked what he is looking forward to this year Cornelius mentioned, "I am happy to see how students at Miondoni SS are using the compost toilet.  I am looking forward to seeing how students at Maanzoni PS and other schools will enjoy using the new banks of toilets once the construction is done"

Mercy Mutua, Program Assistant,  has big plans for our rent-to-own solar lights.  Mercy commented, "It would be my great joy to see1000 more  lights issued to Kenya Connect partner school students by the end of this year.The students will use the lights to study and read at home at night since most of the homesteads don't have electricity. This will help to improve the students' performance."

All of these programs are as a result of donors like you.  We couldn't do these well-designed initiatives without our friends.  Throughout 2020, we will be keeping you in the loop on how your support is making an impact for the 18,000 students and 500 teachers in our community.

Our deepest thanks!

 

 

Book Days are the Best
Book Days are the Best
Solar Lights = Reading at Night!
Solar Lights = Reading at Night!
Clean Sanitation with GiveLove
Clean Sanitation with GiveLove
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PanAfrican Award
PanAfrican Award
We are thrilled to announce that Kenya Connect is a Runner Up Prizewinner of the 2019 Pan-African Award for Entrepreneurship in Education. With an emphasis on sustainability, the awards offer monetary prizes as an investment in organisations whose inspirational work is transforming the futures of African Youth.
Supported by The Saville Foundation and managed by Teach A Man To Fish, the Pan-African Awards combine the aims and expertise of both organisations. Kenya Connect was selected out of 340 organizations and the only NGO in Kenya to win this prestigious award. Read more about the award and other winners HERE
As a Runner Up, Kenya Connect will receive $5,000 plus Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kenya James Musyoka will travel to London in March to accept the award and participate in engaging seminars and programs. The award prize will help us launch the Mighty Moringa Tree project at six partner schools. "We are honored and humbled by this award," commented James Musyoka. "This distinction recognizes the work of Kenya Connect as a leader in innovative programs to strengthen education in rural Kenya."
The Mighty Moringa Tree will be launched in January as a project that incorporates environmental stewardship and micro enterprise through planting the drought resistant moringa tree that produces a highly nutritious leaves and seeds that can be brewed as a drink or added to soups and stews.  Students will follow in the tradition of Wangari Maathai by planting the trees to help mitigate climate change while creating a highly nutrious food source.
As a donor to Kenya Connect we thought you'd be excited to hear our news.  Your support means that we can continue to provide dynamic programs that prepare our students to be engaged citizens and learners.
We will keep you posted as this project gets underway.  Thanks for being a part of our Kenya Connect family!
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Running to Read
Running to Read
"I am a Reading Champion!" Over 240 students completed our first ever Reading Challenge program. In June, library card holders at five schools were issued colorful Space Reading Challenge guides which were created by students at the Garrison Forest School in Maryland. Filled with word games and space facts, students wrote the names of read books in the Challenge guide. Students were charged to read at least 25 books. The top girl and boy readers were dubbed "Queen and King" and awarded special prizes at the Running to Read festival. Congratulations to King Reader Kyalo from Maanzoni and Queen reader Elizabeth from Kisola PS.  Teachers commented that they've seen a big improvement in Elizabeth's writing skills as she began reading more books.  She was the top reader with 48 books in the three months!
All students who completed the Reading Challenge were awarded a "Reading Champion" String bag and either crayons, colored pencils and a pen/pencil set depending on grade levels as well as NASA book marks and stickers. . We're building a culture of reading through these creative initiatives!
We also celebrated reading at our annual 5K Race.  Students, teachers and friends adorned with Red, Green, White and Black T-shirts (the colors of the Kenyan flag) marched through Wamunyu to the beat of the Mathunthini Battalion marching band with Big Story Books, Reading Signs, and Smiles on their way to the start of "Running to Read," Kenya Connect's annual 5K race, through the hills of Wamunyu. The Run celebrates our work to be #TheVillageThatReads with students from 30 partner schools participating.  Poet Moses Gold provided an inpiring talk and poem recitation to the gathered students and volunteers from the U.S. shared stories of their love of reading.
Even though the Kenyan school year just ended, our staff will still be bringing out our Magic School Bus and Reading Rover Truck to schools so that students can borrow books over the break.  Fun Book Enrichment Days and other programs will be held to continue our quest to be #TheVillageThatReads!
GlobalGiving donors like you have been instrumental in helping us to build and nurture a culture of reading!  The next time you pick up a book or read to your child or grandchild, know that a student in Kenya is reading thanks to you!
Warmly,
I Love Reading!
I Love Reading!
And they're off!
And they're off!
Reading Champions!
Reading Champions!
Word Games and Fun Book Enrichment Days!
Word Games and Fun Book Enrichment Days!
The Power of Gorgeous Books!
The Power of Gorgeous Books!
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Organization Information

Kenya Connect (KC)

Location: Wamunyu, Machakos - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KenyaConnect
Project Leader:
James Musyoka
Wamunyu, Kenya
$205,174 raised of $250,000 goal
 
3,122 donations
$44,826 to go
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