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!

We have big news! Kenya Connect is one of GlobalGiving’s Top 10 Nonprofits Committed to Impact! Look for us at number 4 on the list. This second annual list highlights 10 of GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners (and five honorable mentions) that have demonstrated a commitment to impact through learning. Winners have earned the most points in GG Rewards, GlobalGiving’s way of tracking how nonprofits Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat. GlobalGiving has found that nonprofits that listen to their stakeholders, act on what they hear, and learn from the results of their actions are more effective and have a greater impact in their communities. This is a great moment for us, and we’re proud to be recognized for our commitment to effectiveness and impact. Could you please help us celebrate by sharing on social media? Here’s a sample post: It’s great to see Kenya Connect named on @GlobalGiving’s Top 10 Nonprofits Committed To Impact list! https://www.globalgiving.org/learn/top-10-nonprofits.

We are also excited to announce the theme for this year's Giving Tuesday and End-of-the-Year campaign.  Expanding Horizons celebrates our commitment to provide enrichment and empowerment program for the 17,000 students and 500 teachers at our 55 partner schools.  We are expanding horizons through our new Library Card and Library Days Program, our expanded technology program and the work we do to break down barrier to students living in extreme poverty.  Will you help us continue to Expand our students horizons in 2019?

We've appreciated your vote of confidence by your past donations.  We invite you to make a donation on GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 27.  Your gift will be matched, and if you make a recurring gift, there will be additional matching funds.  Donors like you on GlobalGiving have been instrumental and are the reason we are able to expand our programs to students in our rural community that serve students like Mueni, Mary, and Kamene who are featured in our annual giving campaign.

We are thrilled to be sharing this information with you and we thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity.

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1. Teachers Working Together!
1. Teachers Working Together!

Here’s the picture of a typical Wamunyu classroom: cement walls with a few handmade posters of learning concepts, worn wooden bench desks that seat 2 to 3 students, a blackboard and a cracked cement floor. The classrooms are typically dark, but filled with the radiance of pupils, eager to learn.

In 2017, the Kenyan government issued a laptop computer and tablets to the primary schools in Kenya including Wamunyu in an effort to provide 21st century learning.   One would think, finally….technology had come to the classroom, but….. and this is a big but…..most teachers did not know how to use the technology and kept the tablets and computer locked away for safe keeping. Most of these teachers had never used a computer, tablet or even smart phone and the brief training that was provided 8 months prior to the dissemination of the equipment wasn’t adequate. Not only did they not know how to integrate technology into the Kenyan curriculum, they were petrified to use the equipment in fear that it might break.

As Kenya Connect staff learned of this challenge, they consulted with the local Curriculum Development Officer to see if training at our Learning Resource Center would be helpful. As a result, Patrick Munguti, Director of Technology Education and ICT at Kenya Connect, met with experts on how to use the tablets and computer and developed a training for local teachers and teachers from the nearby Kyaithani Cluster. This Digital Literacy class teaches basic ICT skills, how to use the teacher and student devices, and the Netscape manager control.

In addition to providing the basics to the teachers on how to use the computer and tablets, Patrick has worked with the teachers on how to integrate the technology into the curriculum. He also demonstrated the use of the World Possible Rachel Plus, a content-rich device that can be used as a “server” to the instructional computer. The Rachel Plus has e-books, interactive components of the Kenyan curriculum, Wikipedia, Ted Talks, and much more. Kenya Connect has Rachel Plus devices that teachers can check out of our lending library to use in the classroom. One of our goals is to eventually have enough Rachel Plus devices for each school.

I never knew that these gadgets had so much to learn and teach my students. I will now incorporate technology in my class. –Mr. Kyuu from Ngului PS

The 230 teachers attending these classes are invited to join a “WhatsApp” group so they can share questions, ideas and how they have used the technology with each other. In an effort to make sure the devices are being used and to support the teachers, Patrick will be visiting the classrooms during the remainder of the academic year and serves as “tech” support to them.

I am quite impressed by the follow-up calls the teachers are making to ask for help in case they get stuck while at school. This is an indicator that they are using the technology in their classrooms. Patrick Munguti

This is just one of the many initiatives that Kenya Connect is providing to our 55 partner schools to help transform education in our village. We are striving to have our students become 21st century learners fully utilizing the resources provided.  We still continue to offere LEVEL UP VILLAGE (LUV) classes and next week students will be participating in the Global Conversations class.

We area also VERY excited to share that we have a redesigned website.  If you haven't checked out our website, now is the time to do it!  More information about our robust programming, the latest in our social media feed, and new blogs are now included on the website.  Visit our WEBSITE and share with your friends.

And mostly, we would like to thank you for choosing Kenya Connect.  We appreciate your donation, continued support and well wishes.  You are helping us to make a profound difference in the lives of students living in extreme poverty.

2. When Teachers learn, students learn
2. When Teachers learn, students learn
3. Graduates of the Teacher Technology Class
3. Graduates of the Teacher Technology Class
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Catherine Performing Global Vision screening
Catherine Performing Global Vision screening

Do you wear glasses?  If so, do you remember the first time words on the board seemed fuzzy or when you couldn't read the book in front of you?  For some of the 17,000 students we serve in Wamunyu, poor vision is a reality.  The closest eye doctor is over an hour away in Machakos town, and for most of our families, the cost of travel to Machakos coupled with the expense of the eye doctors consultation fees is not a possibiity.  As a result, these students suffer academically and often do not advance in school.

As a result of Head Teachers sharing these stories of students not being able to see the board or read, Kenya Connect has begun partnering with award winning Global Vision 2020, a Maryland-based NGO, who has developed the USee innovative method of delivering corrective eyeglasses to impoverished communities.  The USee sytem enables virtually any villager to perform (refractive) vision diagnosis and snap together corrective glasses.  In March Global Vision 2020 Program Director, Catherine Baker, traveled to Wamunyu to train our staff on how to use the USee refractometer.  Our team is now conducting regular eye-screeing with students, teachers, and parents receiving eyeglasses they most desperately need for less than $3.00.  Imagine the lasting impact for a student who can now see in class?

'Since I got my  reading glasses, I has been able to do things on my own like reading newspapers and the Bible. I am glad I can load airtime  and read text measages from my phone. I am filled with joy and appreciation for getting a pair of eyeglasses from global vision 2020'.

Willy T. - A parent beneficiary.

The eyeglass initiative is the latest in breaking down barriers to education.  This, coupled with providing water tanks at our partner schools, installing hand washing stations with our liquid soap program, providing the reusable sanitary pad kits, and holding quarterly deworming and hygiene lessons, is aimed at keeping students healthy and in-school.  

All of these programs are possible because of donors like you!  Gifts made to Kenya Connect ensure that we can continue and expand our robust and well designed initiatives based on community needs.  In an effort to deliver these range of programs, we have grown our staff adding Primma Kioko as our Librarian and Esther Muinde as the Coordinator of Monitoring and Evaluation.  Both Primma and Esther have been trained to perform the vision diagnosis and have helped us move this and other projects forward.

Would you like to help further our work?  Please mark your calendars for July 18, GlobalGiving's next Matching Challenge Day.  Your gift on July 18 will not only provide much needed donations to help us keep program like vision screening going, but may result in matching gifts and bonus points to Kenya Connect.

On behalf of the entire Kenya Connect staff and the community of Wamunyu, we thank you for your past generous support and for helping empower and engage the students in Wamunyu!

Esther assisting with Eye Screening
Esther assisting with Eye Screening
Parents in the community need readers!
Parents in the community need readers!
A new water tank installed at Miondoni SS
A new water tank installed at Miondoni SS
KC dewormed students at 28 schools!
KC dewormed students at 28 schools!
Team Kenya Connect!
Team Kenya Connect!
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KC PLC groups discuss curriculum
KC PLC groups discuss curriculum

PLC: Kenya Connect's newest program is designed to support 21st century learning strategies in Wamunyu classrooms.  So you're probably wondering what is PLC?  PLC is the acronym for Professional Learning Communities.  Professional Learning Communities are small groups of like minded professionals who meet regularly with the goal of implementing best practices through collaborative planning and collegial accountability. Board member and volunteer, Laura Carter is leading this program to help teachers use best practices in teaching methodologies in delivering the Kenyan curriculum.  This pilot program was launched in March with teams of teachers from four cluster schools gathered to learn about the  program, to select teaching materials, and to brainstorm on how to use more effective teaching methods in their classrooms.  These teachers continue to meet and Laura will be visiting their classrooms to provide suggestions. The ultimate goal is for these teachers to spread their knowledge with other teachers in their schools and thus becoming the trainers while most importantly, helping their students to become critical thinkers integrating knowledge in order to be successful.

And why is this important?  Most teachers in Wamunyu lack basic school resources and have little access to professional development.  The Kenyan education system has been based on a rigorous testing program that led to teachers expecting students to memorize content rather than integrating it in a way that develops intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the desire for further learning.  This program, coupled with our past professional development workshops on literacy, kinesthetic learning, instructional technology/computer literacy and arts integration, are providing teachers with additional tools and information to help their students with 21st century skills.  

The professional development program is closely linked with our work to develop a culture of reading.  We are thrilled to report that we have distributed 900 Library Cards since January!  Our library team visits schools every other week bringing boxes of books for all age groups.  As the students see the bus coming, they run out exclaiming, "new books!"  We have also begun meeting with parent groups to share information about the importance of reading and providing them with ideas on how to support reading with their children.  With the support of a grant, Kenya Connect enrolled in Library World, a library database system, and our books and all library cards are receiving barcodes to speed-up the check out process and to help us better manage our growing collection. Currently we have 5,000 books in the collection for the 17,000 students we serve.  Donations are helping us to increase the collection so even more students can borrow books!

All of these initiatives to strengthen education in Wamunyu are thanks to donors like you.  Donations to Kenya Connect have allowed us to grow the work we are doing to provide resources and programs to support 21st Century Learning to a community of teachers and students eager to learn.  We are deeply appreciative of your support on GlobalGiving and we thank you for making a difference in so many lives.

Laura shares using math manipulatives
Laura shares using math manipulatives
Library Cards are cool!
Library Cards are cool!
It's fun selecting a book!
It's fun selecting a book!
A quiet place to read
A quiet place to read
Sharing tips on reading with parents
Sharing tips on reading with parents
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Cutting the Pattern
Cutting the Pattern

#GirlPower!  Kenya Connect celebrates girls at our 55 partner schools!  Did you know that on average girls in Kenya misses 4 days of school per month because they don't have products to use during their menstural cycle? In an effort to provide an affordable and sustainable product, Kenya Connect created Wings Poa. Wings Poa, our Reusable Sanitary Pad Program, are kits that are made by local women and students at the Wamunyu Special School.  This program provides education on mensturation, health and hygiene when reusable sanitary pad kits are distributed.  We also meet with the students' moms so they can support this initiative.  This program has been a game changer for many of our students, and teachers and families are very pleased.

We have distributed 150 kits so far, but many more are needed.  We will be running a special campaign for this program to purchase additional sewing machines and fabric so more kits can be made.  We are asking you, as a special friend of Kenya Connect, to make a donation on Thursday, March 8, International Women's Day!  Your donation will be matched AND  more importantly, you will help make the difference in the lives of our girl students.

We invite you to watch the video below on the Wings Poa program featuring some of the recipients of the kits!

Sewing the liners
Sewing the liners
Wings Poa Shield
Wings Poa Shield
Distributing Kits
Distributing Kits
Wings Poa Rocks!
Wings Poa Rocks!

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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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