Education
 Kenya
Project #13015

Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya!

by Kenya Connect (KC)
Vetted
New Sketchup Class Begins!
New Sketchup Class Begins!

Students in Kenya began their new school year in January.  For some of our students, it was their first year in secondary school, while others continued their education at their current primary school.  And as schools opened their doors for a new year, Kenya Connect has begun a new year of technology classes including specially designed classes by Level Up Village!  We have 55 students from the Mbaikini and Makaalu Schools taking a 3D Printer Class using Sketchup through Level Up Village.  It is an amazing and engaging opportunity for these students!

Meanwhile, we continue to grow our library with books authored and published in Kenya.  More students are reading at the LRC and at their homesteads.  Thanks to the "rent-to-own" light program, over 1,300 lights are now being used by students in Wamunyu.  Students are reporting a 20-30% increase in reading and studying as a result of these lights.  We will continue to expand this program to boost literacy and education in the community.

Our newest program, the reusuable sanitary pad project is being piloted with our ACCESS program girls and girls at Nunga Primary School and the Wamunyu Special School.  As part of the pilot, we are asking girls basic information about how they manage their monthly menstrual cycle and whether they would be willing to try the reusable kit.  In pre-survey questions, 20-25% of the girls reported missing school due to their monthly period. Although many of the girls are using disposable sanitary pads, they cite the cost as an on-going problem.  We will be piloting our reusable product with 70 girls to see if it is more cost effective, comfortable and reliable than what they are currently using.  One of the teachers from participating schools commented, "Can increase retention, transition, completion among our girls." and another said, "that is good, it will help our girls very much. Please issue them as soon as possible, we will appreciate very much.

All of our programs would not be possible without donors like you!  We continue to be able to break down barriers to education and provide innovative and best practices in learing because of the financial support we receive from our friends and donors.  

And we are thrilled to announce our Kenya Connect "Magic School Bus" will arrive at the end of February!  It is currently being built in Nairobi by Isuzu. This bus will bring students from distant schools to the LRC and bring much needed resource materials like books to the teachers.  We will be posting more on this project once the bus arrives!

The entire Kenya Connect team and the thousands of students and teachers we serve continue to be deeply appreciative to you for your financial support.  We look forward to sharing our progress in this new year.

Reading Before Technology Class
Reading Before Technology Class
Fun with our Partners in the US
Fun with our Partners in the US
Lights Make a Difference for Studying and Reading!
Lights Make a Difference for Studying and Reading!
Making the Reusable Sanitary Pads
Making the Reusable Sanitary Pads
The Kenya Connect Bus Being Built!
The Kenya Connect Bus Being Built!

Links:

James Musyoka Sharing Information on the Lights
James Musyoka Sharing Information on the Lights

Since August Kenya Connect has distributed 900 Pico SunKing Lights to students in eleven different schools in Wamunyu in our "rent-to-own" program.  As the students eagerly receive their light, Field Director James Musyoka explains how to flip the light over so the solar panel can charge during the day and how to use the three different light settings.  Sometimes under a broad tree in the dusty school yard or in a dark cement classroom, James then explains the importance of reading and doing homework and how this small lamp can help accomplish these goals.  It's an opportunity to encourage a community with a very high illiteracy rate to read.  James then distributes a log sheet to each student so that they can record how many minutes are spent on reading and how many minutes are spent on homework. 

Kenya Connect analyzed the log sheets for three schools: Iiana, Kyamatula, and Kisinzini and the results are exciting.  Prior to receiving the light, students reported that the combined time spent reading and doing homework was 32 minutes per day.  After receiving their Pico light, students are reporting that they are spending 59 minutes on homework and 56 minutes reading for a combined total of 115 minutes per day versus  the 32 minutes they averaged before receiving the lights.  We are thrilled!  

As we introduce new programs, Kenya Connect finds it essential to work closely with our community to garner feedback and ideas.   At the end of November James met with 25 teachers from Wamunyu Zone schools about our NEW Reusable Sanitary Pad Program.  In addition to giving us ideas on how to properly clean the pads and how to make them so the girls can easily bring them to school, we received the following comments from the teachers:

That is good.  It will help our girls very much.  Please issue them as soon as possible!

I so much support the benefit of empowering the girl child.

Wow! What an invention!  One of our own!  (Board Member Faith Doucette who introduced the project was born and raised in Wamunyu)

Your donation to Empower, Engage, Educate in Rural Kenya is helping to provide more lights and reusable sanitary pads to the community in 2017.  Our GivingTuesday Campaign garned 36 gifts for a combined total of over $5,000 and we now have 16 recurring gifts! If you haven't made a gift yet, it's not too late!  Our campaign will continue through December 31 and gifts will help support our Light Program, the Reusable Sanitary Pad Project AND our on-going classes at the Learning Resource Center to empower students with technology and literacy.  And recurring gifts will be matched 200% by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through December 31 (see terms and details).

As we come to the final weeks of 2016, the entire Kenya Connect team and the 17,000 students and 500 teachers are grateful for the support you have provided to help lift our students and their families out of poverty through the power of education.

Students testing their new lights
Students testing their new lights
Faith Doucette instructs how to make pads
Faith Doucette instructs how to make pads
James Meeting with Teachers about Pad Project
James Meeting with Teachers about Pad Project
Students Learning Robotics on School Break at LRC
Students Learning Robotics on School Break at LRC
Tutoring in Math and Chemistry
Tutoring in Math and Chemistry
SunKing Pico Light
SunKing Pico Light

Just imagine every night in your home it's dark at 6:00 p.m.  Your may have homework and reading to do, but there is no electricity.  The only solution is a tin can filled with kerosene which is lit, but it's dirty, smelly, and not the safest.  As mentioned in our last project report, Kenya Connect began a solar light program using SunKing Pico lights.  This "rent-to-own" project provides families the opportunity to purchase a light for $1.00 per month for 8 months so their students can have a light to study and read with in their homestead.  We are thrilled to announce that since July, 900 SunKing Pico lights have been distributed in the community with only a handful of parents missing a payment!  When the students receive their light and instruction on how to use it, they also receive a log sheet so Kenya Connect can monitor how they are using the light-- perhaps it's for a school assignment, or reading, or to do a chore.  We will be analyzing this information in the next couple of months.

Along with the advent of light, Kenya Connect had another successful year of computer classes at the Learning Resource Center with 287 students taking STEAM classes in partnership with Level Up Village including Global Inventors and 3D Printing.  Another 102 student learned basic computer skills including turning on the computer, wordprocessing, and internet searches.  For students who have never seen a computer or used any sort of technology, this is HUGE.

As we are making 21st Century Connections with our computer training, we are also continuing our work to strengthen literacy skills through our library book borrowing program and professional development workshops.  This year 665 books were borrowed from the Learning Resource Center (a new record) and 47 teachers attended professional development workshops and 22 participated in on-line webinar training.  

All of these programs are a direct result of donors like you.  Kenya Connect is able to offer computer classes, book borrowing, and professional development programs because of the many generous people who helped to build and equip the Learning Resource Center, who provide operational support for our ALL KENYAN staff, and who help us to continue to develop innovative ways to break down barriers to education for students in Kenya--- like our SunKing Light program.

We hope you have marked November 29, GivingTuesday on your calendar.  On that day, donations will be matched at 50% for one-time donations and 200% on recurring donations, all until funds last, beginning at midnight thanks to a generous donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Your donation will help us to build on our many successes and assist us in making 2017 even BIGGER AND BOLDER year for Kenya Connect!

Again, our heartfelt thanks for your continued support.

The Thrill of Light!
The Thrill of Light!
Professional Development Workshops
Professional Development Workshops
Cataloging Books for the LRC Library
Cataloging Books for the LRC Library
Learning about the Pico Lights!
Learning about the Pico Lights!
Global Inventor Class
Global Inventor Class

Links:

Makaalu Students work on solar box designs
Makaalu Students work on solar box designs

It's exciting to see students in Kenya connecting with students in the U.S. to discuss global problems and to work together to design, print, and test an invention! This month, Mbaikini, Makaalu, and Kituiu Primary Schools are partnering with schools in Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Arizona through Level Up Village (LUV) in their Global Inventors Class.  Students in this class will learn about one of the most innovative technologies of our time - 3D Printing - and how to use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to create and print (and take home) a series of awesome designs! Through this course, students will exchange video messages and together, they will come to identify and learn about a global issue, and will then collaboratively design, print and test an invention to help solve that issue!  

This enrichment program enhances the education of our students in Wamunyu and helps them to think critically about an issue, to work collaboratively with a peer, and to design a product.  Now in our second year of working with LUV classes, teachers in Wamunyu have reported that students participating in these classes are more engaged in their regular classes and school work, and looking at problems and questions in a new way.  

This program WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE without the support of donors like you, who helped us build the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center and have continued to provide operational support for programs like this.  Our LRC remains the only center of its kind for 100km and our staff continues to provide enrichment programs in basic and advanced computer classes, reading and literacy programs,  professional development workshops and leadership training for students.

We are also thrilled to announce that this summer Kenya Connect initiated a "rent to own" solar light program so that students can read books borrowed from the LRC in their homesteads at night.  Barriers like the lack of electricity in homesteads and the limited access to books hold students back from reaching their full potential.  

Kenya Connect remains committed to breaking down barriers to education for children living in rural Kenya (many in extreme poverty) and to providing enriching and engaging programs to support them in being students of the 21st Century.   We encourage you to visit our website and to "like us" on facebook to learn the latest on our work.  We are deeply grateful to you for your continued support in making these programs possible for the students at our 55 partner schools.

Student from Kituiu enjoy coding
Student from Kituiu enjoy coding
Makaalu student watches a video from their partner
Makaalu student watches a video from their partner
Clean solar energy means more time for study
Clean solar energy means more time for study
The love for books is beginning to take root!
The love for books is beginning to take root!
The LRC Opened in 2013 is the Hub of education!
The LRC Opened in 2013 is the Hub of education!

Links:

Alexis guides a student in The Giver class
Alexis guides a student in The Giver class

We are excited to report that we have introduced more STEAM lessons from Level Up Village (LUV) to include Global Conversations courses on various books between students in Kenya and abroad. In this past month of May, a group of 21 students from three local secondary schools; Mbaikini, Nyaani and Mwaasua secondary schools have been reading and exchanging reflective ideas on "The Giver” a book authored by Lois Lowry with their counterparts in Eastern Middle school in Connecticut, USA. Through the LUV platform, the students were able to exchange four video letters related to the book. The course culminated with a Skyped call where students from both schools asked and answered questions from each other. The excitement of the students from both sides was beyond measure when the skype call connected and they were finally able to see each other! The virtual connection brought a more personal connection among the students than ever before!

 “Although I kept watching the videos that my partner Prathit shared with me through the LUV website, the skype call was the highlight of my experience of The Giver course. I never imagined in my life that it could be possible to talk to someone through the computer one on one!”

Evans – Mwaasua Secondary school

 “It was wonderful seeing my students transform from shy and soft-spoken in front of the camera to confident, self-possessed speakers. I was thrilled with the international exposure incorporated into the class, as well. It was so cool they were able to form relationships with students two continents and an ocean away!”

Alexis – Kenya Connect Teacher (Fulbright Funded)

Our partnership with Level Up Village continue to open doors for more students to engage in STEAM. During this summer a group of students from New Canaan County School in the USA are currently exchanging ideas about creating their own video games through video letters with students from Wamunyu Junior Academy. The students are learning to develop the video games using the Scratch Program. Through this program, the students are being introduced to creative thinking while horning their analytical and innovation skills.

When I played video games on my father’s mobile phone, I never thought I could make my own game one-day! I am so excited to learn how to create a video game of my own!

Rahma - Student Wamunyu Junior Academy

At the same time, a group of 72 new students from Kituiu and Mbaikini primary schools have started learning basic computer literacy classes at the LRC.

It is as a result of all these innovative learning experiences happening at the LRC that this center has become a resource of admiration by leaders from other rural areas of the country. A few weeks ago, we hosted a team of leaders from Kuria West led by Ambassador Wambura, the Principal Secretary in the Office of the Deputy President who visited Wamunyu to learn about the programs being implemented at the LRC with a view to begin a similar center in their rural village. At the same time, Karibu Center in Thika has expressed admiration of the programs offered at the LRC.

We remain forever grateful to all donors who have been supportive of these innovations that keep fuelling the next generation with the best skills and practices necessary to be successful in the 21st century.

Students engaged in a skyped call discusion
Students engaged in a skyped call discusion
Irene working with students on computer skills
Irene working with students on computer skills
Teachers share with visitors about lrc resources
Teachers share with visitors about lrc resources
Ambassador Wambura at the LRC
Ambassador Wambura at the LRC
Luke from Karibu Center with students at the lrc
Luke from Karibu Center with students at the lrc
 

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Organization Information

Kenya Connect (KC)

Location: Wamunyu, Machakos - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​kenyaconnect.org
Project Leader:
James Musyoka
Wamunyu, Kenya
$34,998 raised of $40,000 goal
 
576 donations
$5,002 to go
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