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 Education  Kenya Project #22951

Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya

by African Promise
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
Improve education for 2,500 children in Kenya
School gates will remain closed until September.
School gates will remain closed until September.

It is now nearly three months that schools in Kenya have been closed in response to the Covid pandemic but following the latest government announcement over the weekend we know that children will not return to the classroom before September.

With school closures extended, our feeding programme will remain suspended for the time-being, however we continue to support our partner schools in other ways and over the next three months will work with them to help them prepare for the 'new normal' and to ensure they are as well-equipped as they can be to help control the spread of Covid, including through the installation of additional hand-washing facilities.

Our emergency support of staff salaries has now provided schools with nearly £8,000 in cash funding to ensure that around 70 teachers and support staff not on the government payroll continue to receive at least part of their salaries, where the absence of funds from parents which usually fund 50 of these posts would otherwise mean they would be going without pay. We are committed to providing this funding for as long as schools remain closed and, if necessary, to increasing our contribution further still to ensure that staff receive 100% of their pre-Covid salary as soon as they are back at work. 

Elsewhere, our building programme continues - albeit in a scaled back form - including on the redevelopment of our eighth partner school at Mkamenyi Primary. The first phase of this project, which includes the construction of four (of the eight) new classrooms, admin facilities including staffroom and offices, and some toilets and rainwater harvesting facilities, is nearing completion and we are looking at what work we can undertake next with the funds we have available and given the current Covid measures in place, including the ban on community work which is vital to the collection of locally available building aggregates. 

These are challenging times for us and for our partner schools, their staff, parents and pupils but we are grateful to those of you that continue to stand with us, and them, during this crisis.

Existing hand-washing facilities at a school
Existing hand-washing facilities at a school
Front of the new school at Mkamenyi
Front of the new school at Mkamenyi
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Children returned to our partner schools at the start of January for the new school year after the long Christmas break.

Some returned to find further improved learning environments after work we were able to undertake during the holidays but all returned to classrooms with teachers and the guarantee of a daily lunchtime meal for another year thanks to our continued support of a lunch programme and commitment to provide funding for the salaries of at least 17 additional teachers.

Our extensive, on-going project to rebuild our eighth partner school at Mkamenyi Primary will be our focus this year and for much of 2021 but simultaneously we will continue to invest heavily in our existing network of partner schools to further improve the learning environment for the thousands of disadvantaged children they serve.

We have plans to construct at least two dining halls (plus a new kitchen alongside one of them) and new toilets (as well as incinerators for disposal of sanitary pads) at a number of schools this year, and to upgrade a couple of playground spaces.

We also hope this might also be the year when we finally launch a pilot of a school kitchen garden/farming project as we explore ways our partner schools can become more self-sufficient and generate other streams of income.

We look forward to bringing you more updates as the year unfolds over the months to come!

Site for a proposed dining hall at Kiteghe Primary
Site for a proposed dining hall at Kiteghe Primary
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The seasonal rains arrived in our part of Kenya with a vengeance a few weeks ago, bringing mixed blessings for our building projects and for our partner schools.

Whilst rainwater harvesting tanks are full and overflowing, and the landscape has been transformed from a dusty brown to lush and verdant green, the sheer amount of rain, and subsequent flooding, has left a trail of destruction, particularly at Kisimenyi Primary, our largest partner school.

The school was already critically short of toilets but this problem has been exaccerbated by the collapse of one of the existing girls' latrines (not built by us). We had been planning to replace these toilets - which were not built to a high-standard in the first place - after we had completed some new boys' toilets but new toilets for both sexes are now required immediately to prevent the school being closed by the Public Health Officer.

We have resumed work on the boys' toilets, work on which had been suspended after they sustained damage during the rains, and is due to begin on the girls' toilets in the coming days but we still urgently need to raise funds to complete these vital projects. Read a full update on this project and support our Toilets4All campaign.

In between the rain showers we have also managed to begin work on the redevelopment of our eighth partner school at Mkamenyi Primary! It's a huge relief to finally have started delivering on another promise but we are just at the start of a long road and there is still at least two years of building work ahead of us, not to mention the small matter of another £150,000 still to raise! Read a full update on this project here.

Away from our building programme, in September we celebrated the six year anniversary of our 'Feeding Minds' school lunch programme by serving our 2.5 millionth meal since September 2013. It continues to be a vital lifeline for the 2,500 children across our partner schools, encouraging them to attend school in the first place, ensuring they remain there throughout the whole day and keeping their minds and bodies fuelled for successful learning. Read a full update on this project here.

With schools now closed until January for the long end-of-year holidays, we have an opportunity to undertake vital maintenance works that would otherwise cause disruption to activities at school. This includes the usual repairs but also more extensive works - this holiday that includes much-needed termite treatment at Kisimenyi Primary, where we will also be giving the classrooms a fresh lick of paint for the first time since they were completed in 2012.

Building work underway at Mkamenyi Primary.
Building work underway at Mkamenyi Primary.
Collapsed girls' toilet block at Kisimenyi Primary
Collapsed girls' toilet block at Kisimenyi Primary
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Mkamenyi parents collecting materials
Mkamenyi parents collecting materials

With fundraising for our next school redevelopment at Mkamenyi Primary nearing our initial target of 50%, we have begun initial preparations including clearing of the site and, with the help of the parents, collection of locally available building aggregates, with a view to commencing building work in the next few weeks. As you can imagine, we are very anxious and eager to get started and to begin fulfilling another promise – as too are the parents, teachers and pupils! 

To find out more about this ambitious and exciting project and to help make it a reality please visit www.globalgiving.org/projects/rebuild-a-primary-school-in-rural-kenya/

Elsewhere we have been putting to work some of the unrestricted funds that we raised over the final few months of 2018 and the first part of 2019. We have been particularly busy at Kiteghe Primary, one of our original cluster of five partner schools, where we have been continuing a phased remodelling and redevelopment of the school that has been on-going since 2015. Having lagged behind our other partner schools for some time in terms of the quality of its facilities, the school is now very much recognisable as an AP-supported school and the teachers, pupils and parents finally have a school to be proud of.

As funds allow, we will continue to make ad-hoc investments in further improving the quality and breadth of facilities at our existing partner schools, especially to bring the other four schools from our original network up to the same standards as our most recent ‘model’ schools. We have estimated this could cost as much as £270,000. Broadly, this includes the construction of a dining hall facility at five schools, staff/teacher housing at up to five schools, as well as a number of classrooms, toilets and various landscaping works.

Our ‘Feeding Minds’ lunch programme is now in its sixth full year and continues to provide a vital lifeline for the 2,300 pupils across our partner schools by ensuring they receive a daily term-time meal at school.

Financing the programme – which we have budgeted at £31,500 for 2019 – has not been without its challenges so far this year but we have recently received grant funding from a number of trusts and foundations that has secured the future of the programme until the end of the year (assuming there is no unexpected increase in the price of food.)

We are investigating the feasibility of establishing school farms to help with the production of pulses, vegetables and fruit that can be used to support the feeding programme. There are significant challenges to successfully implementing such a project in the area where we work, not least unreliable rainfall and crop-destroying wildlife (mainly elephants), but we hope to pilot a project on a small-scale at one of our smaller partner schools in the near future.

We continue to fund the salaries of much-needed extra teachers. This currently numbers 17 at an annual cost of about £1,200 per teacher, with at least two additional teachers employed at each of our partner schools thanks to our funding.

As far as possible we continue to support one-off requests from our partner schools - in recent months this has included the provision of printers/copiers, office furniture, and hosepipes to help with irrigating kitchen gardens. We also continue to provide funds for repairs and maintenance, or carry out such projects on the schools’ behalf, where they do not have the means to undertake these important works from their own resources and budgets.

We are pleased that our work is being complemented by other local and international NGOs, community organisations and charities also working in our project area, especially in the areas of health and sexual education and support of girls’ hygiene through provision of reusable sanitary pads. We had been in discussions with a Kenya NGO – Start a Library – about working in partnership to deliver a literacy programme across our partner schools (and others nearby) but these discussions are on-hold for the time being.

Pupils at Kiteghe celebrate their new toilets
Pupils at Kiteghe celebrate their new toilets
Our Director delivering a printer to Kiteghe.
Our Director delivering a printer to Kiteghe.
The new, improved Kiteghe Primary
The new, improved Kiteghe Primary
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The first few months of the year are always busy as they follow the festive period when we raise the majority of our income. This year has been no exception.

On the building project front, we are currently planning or implementing, or have recently completed, over 40 individual projects, many over the last month as our team took advantage of a three-week window whilst schools were closed for the holidays to crack on with work that would otherwise cause disruption to school life. This work includes renovations to and construction of classrooms and other key facilities, electrical and rainwater harvesting installations, and important landscaping works. At Kiteghe Primary School we have just undertaken the latest phase of upgrade works on the eight classrooms and staffroom/office block which made up the original school as we found it back in 2008. Although these parts had only been constructed in 2005/06 they were beginning to look tired and rough around the edges, so we are comprehensively upgrading them with new roofing sheets, new steel casement windows and doors and the addition of ceilings, to bring them up to the same standard as those we have built elsewhere. But we can only undertake these works in phases when children are not in school which gives us limited time and has necessitated the deployment of an enormous building team – at the peak of the works we have had nearly 40 builders and labourers on site. These works will resume in the next holidays in August and we expect to have the completed by the end of the year.In the meantime we have plans to undertake some major hard and soft landscaping works including the creation of an assembly ground area and pathways.

In line with our objective to ensure that our partner schools are fully equipped with power and lighting in all key facilities we have also recently invested £2,500 in works to extend power to 24 classrooms, including at Kisimenyi, where the recent extension of a grid power supply to the school and wider community has made this work possible.

Staying at Kisimenyi, we are in the closing stages of construction of a dining hall which, for now, is the final element of our redevelopment works at the school which began way back in 2010 and brings our total investment in infrastructure at the school to well beyond £250,000.

Elsewhere, we have started planning works for the extensive redevelopment of our eighth partner school at Mkamenyi Primary, which we aim to begin in early 2019. This will likely be our largest, single phase project to date and will involve the complete remodelling and expansion of the school – we will have to work around parts of the existing school which we will ultimately demolish. We have agreed a layout plan for the new school with the school administration and our engineer is now busy preparing the architectural drawings. Meanwhile, parents have already started clearing the site and collecting locally available building aggregates.

After an incredibly dry 2017, the current rainy season has not disappointed – a report from the Tsavo Trust conservation charity indicates that the wider Tsavo area (of which Kasigau is a part) received as much rain in March as in the whole of last year! Rainwater storage tanks are being regularly topped-up and in many cases have been overflowing. To avoid wasting this precious resource and to boost our partner schools’ resilience to future droughts we have been working to further increase storage capacity. By the end of this month we will have installed an additional 50,000 litres of storage across three schools so far this year. At Ngambenyi, our most recent partner school, there is now approximately 400 litres of storage capacity for each of the schools 120 pupils.

Even as the on-going rains bring the prospect of a good harvest for the community we continue to deliver our lunch programme, which is now entering its fourth year providing a daily meal to every pupil across our partner schools. Thankfully food prices have fallen back towards pre-drought levels in recent months and we anticipate a much less challenging year in 2018 than last.

For a full update on our ‘Feeding Minds’ lunch programme please read our latest project report on GlobalGiving here.

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Organization Information

African Promise

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Charles Coldman
London, London United Kingdom
$7,050 raised of $25,000 goal
 
76 donations
$17,950 to go
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