In 2003, the Kenyan government introduced universal free primary education as part of its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, primary schools have begun to charge 'school fees' to make up for budget shortfalls. Where some middle income families can afford the fees, the poorest and most vulnerable families in the country are effectively locked out of a primary education. We are stepping in to ensure the poorest families in our community can access basic education.
Our project works in a very straight forward fashion: Needy families register at the office their children who do not attend school. Through a vetting process, we identify the most needy and provide funds directly to the school, which provides a receipt for school fees paid or school uniform purchased. The parent/guardian is then notified by SMS that their child has been enrolled in school.
The United Nations has identified universal primary education as a key to promoting economic development and reducing gender inequality. In addition, education has the ability to create a well-informed citizenry that can participate meaningfully in political life. In the Kenyan context, this last point is especially important given the political violence in the country in 2007-2008. We believe that by giving even one person the gift of education, the future of this country will be brighter.