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
Front of the new school at Mkamenyi