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!
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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Wings Poa
Wings Poa

Last week we celebrated Women’s International Day and as we did so, we reflected on the work we are doing to break down barriers to school for girls in Wamunyu. One way we do this is through our Wings Poa Reusable Sanitary Pad program. Several years ago, the Head Teachers alerted us to the fact that girls were missing school during their monthly menstrual cycle and asked if we would help. Even though the Kenyan government had promised to send sanitary napkins, they often did not arrive in Wamunyu, and if they did, they were locked in the Head Teacher’s office, often a male.

Our staff and board came together, and thanks to Board Member Faith Doucette who was born and raised in Wamunyu and now living in the U.S., we developed a plan and a product. Researching other programs and designs, Faith and friends developed a product that consisted of a shield, liners and method for washing the pads. Women in Wamunyu and students in Wamunyu are now making the kits that we named Wings Poa. Since the program launched, we have distributed 315 kits to students at 9 schools. As we introduce the program, our staff has also provided education on menstrual health and hygiene and talked to the girls about empowerment and self-care. One of our summer interns created a video about the program that you can watch HERE.

We have also been thoughtful in selecting books for our libraries that include stories and biographies about strong girls and women including Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai and Malala Yousafzai. Our team has also worked with girls in our ACCESS and TSF programs about using their voice and breaking traditional gender roles as they prepare for future careers.

Up next? We are exploring girls coding programs, sexual health and reproduction workshops and girl empowerment programs. Your generous support helped provide funding for the Wings Poa program and allows us to explore more programming for our girls. Thank you for being a champion for our students.

Wings Poa at Lema Primary School
Wings Poa at Lema Primary School
Keeping Girls in Schools!
Keeping Girls in Schools!
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Creating DNA
Creating DNA

What do DNA and Gumdrops have in common....... a FABULOUS learning opportunity!  Students at Kituui Primary School are participating in Global Doctors: DNA Genetics and World Health hosted by Kenya Connect partner Level Up Village.  

What better way to learn about DNA than creating your own strand with gumdrops, toothpicks and cardboard. These students are learning about genetics and world health. Students and their US partners learn about genetics, while discovering how environmental and social conditions around the world can influence those things for better or worse. Patrick Munguti, Director of Technology and Educational Programs and teacher of the course commented, "The students are excited to learn new things about health and genetics. It is one of the wonderful classes in LUV as it resonates with day to day life."  These enrichment programs provide new modes of learning for our students allowing them with hands-on experiences that promote critical thinking, creativity and conceptual learning.
This is part of our comprehensive strategy to introduce technology to students in creative ways while nurturing critical and conceptual thinking.  This class, along with Global Inventors and Global Conversations, has been very popular with our students.  We have also hosted several skype sessions this year with students who participate in our Pen Pal program.  These skype sessions expand our students' world and helps build friendships across the globe.
We are able to host these classes, skype sessions and basic technology classes thanks to donors like you.  Donations help ensure we can pay for reliable internet, technology upgrades and our teaching staff.  We are grateful for your support and the difference it's making in the lives of our students.
As we are off and running in 2019, we will also have friends in Maryland running and walking to support our work at the Kenya Connect 5K:  Running for Education on Two Continents being held on Saturday, March 30 at 9:00 am in Ellicott City.  We are especially excited that Patrick Munguti, Kenya Connect's Director of Technology and Education Programs, will be running the race and sharing more information about Kenya Connect with the participants.  We would love to have you join us at the race or as a virtual runner.  You can learn more about the race and register HERE!
We don't know about you, but we have a new appreciation for gumdrops after seeing how our students have creatively used them.  We are sure you are also happy to hear that after  the class and discussions, our students enjoyed a tasty treat!  
Thanks for making these dynamic learning opportunities a reality!
Learning about Global Health
Learning about Global Health
Learning is Fun when it's Hands-On!
Learning is Fun when it's Hands-On!
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Back to School and Ready to Check Out Books!
Back to School and Ready to Check Out Books!

Happy 2019!  We are grateful to our GlobalGiving donors for supporting our work so generously.  As a result of your donations, we are positioned to expand our comprehensive initiatives to break down barriers to education while providing enriching and empowering education programs.

Each month we will be highlighting a specific program to let you know how your support is making a difference and how we are working to lift our students out of extreme poverty through the power of education.  

Last week, as students began their new school year, Kenya Connect's "Magic School Bus" began its rounds bringing books to the schools for students to check out during Library Days.  Last year we issued 1400 library cards to students at 14 schools.  We are striving to double that number so more students will have access to the knowledge, joy and wonder of books.  All studies show that daily reading helps improve student success and helps increase fluency and comprehension while nurturing creativity and critical thinking.  As we issue more library cards, we are building our library collection and hope to reach 10,000 books by the end of the year!

We know that  parents are instrumental in nurturing a reader.  Librarian Primma Kioko has been meeting with parent groups demonstrating effective strategies of reading a book, encouraging a “reading safari" through suggesting that parents have their children read books to them, and asking about pictures and posing, “What If” questions. A Parent Guide was created in consultation with parents and written in both English and Kiswahili, giving pointers and ideas on how to nurture reading (see attached).

One of the barriers to reading for many of our students is the lack of light at their homestead.  As a result of our rent-to-own solar light program, more students are reading at home through safe and clean light.

James Musyoka, Executive Director, Kenya, has stated, "the reading program is one of the most important initiatives to truly improve education and to help our students be successful.  We are striving to be TheVillageThatReads as we work to enrich our students through the power of books."

As we are off and running in 2019, we will also have friends in Maryland running and walking to support our work at the Kenya Connect 5K:  Running for Education on Two Continents being held on Saturday, March 30 at 9:00 am in Ellicott City.  We are especially excited that Patrick Munguti, Kenya Connect's Director of Technology and Education Programs, will be running the race and sharing more information about Kenya Connect with the participants.  We would love to have you join us at the race or as a virtual runner.  You can learn more about the race and register HERE!

Thank you for being a Kenya Connect champion!  We encourage you to follow us on social media for daily updates and stay tuned for next month's update!

Time to Read!
Time to Read!
Librarian Primma is checking out books
Librarian Primma is checking out books
Solar lights issued to students
Solar lights issued to students

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School Book Day
School Book Day

Library Cards, Digital Teacher Training, Wings Poa, Deworming, Global Inventors STEAM class, Eyeglasses, Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Pen Pal letters and Books:  It's been a record breaking year in Wamunyu thanks to donors like you!

Launching the Kenya Connect Library Card and School Book Days program was one of our most exciting initiatives with 1,396 students and 45 adults receiving library cards at 14 partner schools.  Our Magic School bus traveled over 384 km delivering books for the 128 School Book Days held.   Our growing print collection has over 5,800 books with another 600 books on the way to Kenya.  A Parent's Literacy Council was formed and our staff is working to become #TheVillageThatReads!

"I love School Book Days and borrowing books from Kenya Connect!" --Mueni

This could be a very long report if we listed everything with narrative so we thought we would include some highlights.  In addtion to our library program, your support helped us with the following programs:

Technology Classes

  • 103 students completed the Basic Computer Training Course
  • 8 Level Up Village classes were held reaching a total of 152 students
  • 222 Teachers were trained on how to use the Government Issued Tablets
  • Over 100 of the trained teachers are using the Government Issued Tablets
  • 708 tablets in 25 schools were installed with A-academy from Avalain Foundation

Teacher Professional Development

  • 17 teachers participated in the new Professional Learning Community (PLC) program
  • 17 teachers participated in Professional Development workshops         
  • 222 teachers trained on using the Gov’t issued tablets
  • 1 teacher participated in U.S. Embassy sponsored programs MOOCS
  • 17 PLC teachers and over 100 teachers trained in Digital Learning Program are sharing what they learn with their peers in school
  • 14 teachers participated in Cascading Knowledge professional development workshop

Leadership Programs

  • 21 students completed the ACCESS Program
  • 104 students participated in the Peace Ambassador Program
  • 34 students participated in The School Fund programs

Breaking Down Barriers

  • 81 Wings Poa Kits were distributed bringing our total to 263
  • 6452 students and teachers were dewormed
  • 38 schools making soap to continue use of hand washing stations
  • 1 water tank was installed bringing our total to 50
  • 9 eye screening sessions were held with 85 eyeglasses being distributed
  • 1639 solar lights were distributed bringing our total to 5162
  • 3,780 hours of studying and reading occurred due to solar lights for each of the 5,162 students with solar lamps

Cross Cultural

  • 3740 Pen Pal letters exchanged
  • 3 teams visited Wamunyu including students from Simmons University in March, teachers from Connecticut in June and a mixed team of professionals in October
  • The Kenya Connect 5K was held in Wamunyu in October and Ellicott City in March
  • James Musyoka presented at the Gupta Family Foundation Symposium

We are deeply grateful to you for helping to expand our students' horizons and for helping us to break down barriers to education while providing enrichment and empowerment programs to students and teachers at our 55 partner schools.

If you haven't made a gift this year, we invite you to make one now-- every dollar donated makes an impact.

On behalf of the entire Kenya Connect staff and Board, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.

Wings Poa
Wings Poa
STEAM classes
STEAM classes
Reading is fun!
Reading is fun!
Deworming
Deworming
Teacher Training
Teacher Training
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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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