Education  Kenya Project #52611

Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya

by Elimu
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Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya
Training girls in digital skills boosts confidence
Training girls in digital skills boosts confidence

Elimu’s Cisco Networking Academy is housed inside Elimu Resource Centre. For the last three years, it has trained the youth of Malindi in various IT courses. So far, 76 youth have graduated with various certified Cisco courses. We put extra effort in encouraging girls’ enrollment in the academy because of local negative stigmas. Few girls in the Coast region of Kenya, where Elimu is based, see themselves in future technical careers.

Our recent Youth Info Forum brought together more than 400 youth from across Kilifi and Tana River counties and offered a perfect platform to get this message to young women. With expert guests in the technical and scientific fields , we discussed why it is time for girls to embrace STEM-related career paths.

The Cisco graduation ceremony for our recent cohort was held on April 21st and was a great motivation to the many participants present. One of our graduates noted:

“At first, I did not think it would be possible for me to pursue a career in IT. But now I see clearly that this is the best time for me to build on my career dream.”

Of the 30 youth who showed interest in registering for our Cisco classes, 19 were girls, most of whom had just graduated from high school. The inspiration is evident in the new batch of 15 students enrolled for Cisco so far. It is exciting to see for the first time, the number of girls higher than that of boys; 9 out of the 15 students are girls. In three to four months’ time, these IT enthusiasts will learn all about computer hardware and software. By the time they set out for college and university, they will be fully knowledgeable in computer matters; and as we have witnessed in previous years, some will go on to pursue IT courses at an advanced stage.

It is our dream to empower more young people, both women and men. We envision a time when girls here in coastal Kenya will be at par with their peers globally in IT competency. At the same time, however, we face a challenge where most of the young girls from this community who show interest cannot afford the reasonable fees. Even with discounted tuition fees, many girls are still unable to pay. These girls need our support to acquire the IT skills they need to thrive in the 21st century world. With CAD $160, you can sponsor a young person to acquire a Cisco certification in the IT Essentials course. To cover tuition fees for at least one student to complete Elimu’s Cisco Networking Academy, please click here.

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Smiling girl at Elimu's DigiTech Lab in Kenya
Smiling girl at Elimu's DigiTech Lab in Kenya

Providing access to education and training is the core mission of Elimu. Our projects empower vulnerable learners of all kinds, especially youth and women, in achieving their educational and work-related goals. We collaborate with the community to increase academic and digital literacy, improve primary and secondary school retention rates and encourage self-sustainability among young graduates through employment planning and entrepreneurship. Our Elimu Resource Centre uses technology to provide scarce educational resources for students of all kinds.

Globally, less than 3 out of 10 young women study technology subjects in higher education. Recent reports on students taking STEM-based careers in both public and private universities in Kenya shows females at only 25%. This gender gap, as explained in studies done by UNESCO, is influenced by discrimination, biases, social norms and negative expectations imposed on the Kenyan girl.

Elimu has embarked on a new training program for teachers to help them address the negative stigmas in the community that discourage girls from achieving in sciences, math and technology subjects. Convincing girls that they can also aim for further studies and careers in STEM starts at an early age. That is why Elimu is developing a new training approach for teachers in Kenya, as well as new girl-inclusive content for our Offline eLearning Solution, which is based on the Kolibri learning management platform. Content uploaded to the Kolibri server at Elimu Resource Centre is available to students throughout the four-storey building via tablets, desktops and Smartphones.

The Elimu server is also accessible at a pilot school 3 km away over a "boosted" Wifi signal. The teachers at the pilot school will be among the first to receive the new training. The programme will not focus solely on girls but seeks to level the playing field by addressing prohibitive and enabling factors to both boys' and girls' enrolment in STEM subjects.

Elimu has been focusing for years on building digital literacy and proficiency in the community where we are based. We also employ technology to empower girls with solutions for their future career or business paths. We are now formalizing how we deliver digital training through teaching strategies that help reduce the gender gap in STEM achievement. Our programs will help to empower teachers to encourage equal participation and involvement of boys and girls in the learning process.

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Elimu alumni Hosea beams about his future!
Elimu alumni Hosea beams about his future!

Despite the global pandemic, Elimu’s Cisco Networking Academy, housed inside Elimu Resource Centre in Malindi, assisted 50 youth (15 females / 35 males) during 2020 and into 2021 to gain digital skills they would otherwise never have achieved. Established in September 2019, the first graduation included only 15 graduates. The  event held in May 2021 under strict COVID-19 protocols was for 2020 students who struggled over 15 months to be able to complete the normally 3-4 month course. Eight months of lockdowns last year and another sudden lockdown in April 2021 caused major delays. But the students persevered and completed their programs. It was a simple and small but very joy-filled celebration when it finally took place in May.

Elimu's Cisco instructor, Anthony, is working hard to encourage more girls and women to participate. In June, he hosted a Cisco Girls in IT – CyberSecurity training event with 18 young women participating. Currently there are 24 students being trained (11 females / 13 males). For many of these young people it is there first experience with computers. The Cisco IT Essentials course brings them up to par with others who have had much more opportunity to explore and work with technology in school and at home. Elimu's goal is to give these vulnerable youth access to the skills and experience they need to succeed in today's digital era.

Of the 50 graduates, 52% used their new digital skills for work related outcomes including finding jobs, improving their own professional skills and one started his own graphics business; another 36% continued on to further studies in IT-related fields.

Hear from an Elimu Alumni

Hosea Kamau started attending Elimu Resource Center in Grade 9 to access the digital resources he needed to improve in his studies. He has been an active volunteer of Elimu’s since 2016 and still returns to help out when his university is on break. He was initially interested in engineering but after taking the Cisco IT Essentials course with Elimu he changed his mind and applied for a Bachelor of Computer Science which he is currently pursuing. The Elimu team assisted him with all he needed to successfully apply for a government bursary and student loan so that he could follow his dream career. He plans to come back to Elimu Resource Center to study a higher level Cisco course which he believes will be vital to his professional development. Click the link below to hear Hosea's enthusiasm for the future in a brief video clip on Elimu’s YouTube Channel.

 

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Lockdown didn't shut down her learning!
Lockdown didn't shut down her learning!

Elimu Resource Centre was officially closed to the public for 8 months last year. But we still found innovative ways to remain relevant in the community.

We provided food assistance to the families of children we sponsor for school fees. We kept our Cisco Networking Academy students going with support at home, eventually getting permission to bring them back to the Centre. We just hosted their graduation in April with a great deal of joy!

We are open again in 2021 – yes, with occasional lockdowns. But this June’s half term break had us receiving students again. They came to access the digital resources we offer to help them with their homework projects or to work at their own pace on improving their weaker areas.

We also receive university and college students who have been forced to do their learning from home but don’t have access to computers or internet. The Centre is a God-send for these learners. Click the link below to watch one young college student share how she feels about getting access to our digital resources.

After 8 months of closure, we need to clean the place up. Over the years, paint has been peeling, stains are darkening the walls. Our outdoor signs are barely visible due to the sun’s tropical intensity. We had planned to embark on a re-painting project last year but when COVID-19 arrived, it didn’t make sense. Now that we have children coming to us again, it’s important to get back in shape!

It is a big project. Our Centre is a four storey building with five different rooms plus the reception area and the stairwells, and the outdoor building walls and perimeter walls. It’s all concrete and they all need new coverage. So we are reaching out for help to make this happen. We have already received $1,000 which will go towards re-painting the outdoor signage. We are left with raising $8,457 to complete the project.

Below is a breakdown of our costs:

Outside building walls (top to bottom; four sides):                         $2,564

Cisco Lab and Digitech Lab (2nd floor):                                         $1,123

High school section, admin offices (3rd floor):                                $1,123

Reception, charging station, kitchen, storage, offices (1st floor):   $1,105

Conference Hall, EduTech Server Office (4th floor):                       $   994

Inside perimeter of outdoor compound wall:                                   $   752

Spiral Staircases (1st – 4th floor)                                                     $   449

Balconies (2 floors)                                                                          $   349

 Our Technology and Education for Kids in Kenya campaign is aimed to raise the funds we need so that we can keep on giving children the best experience for their learning needs. We use technology to provide these kids with resources they don’t get at home or at school. Along the way, they are gaining digital skills, building their digital literacy and getting exposure to technical careers and business ideas for their life after high school.

The walls are being measured as we prepare for the painting. Will you help us get the first coat on? The children of Malindi, Kenya will be so grateful!

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Organization Information

Elimu

Location: Ottawa, ON - Canada
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ElimuCanada
Project Leader:
Nina Chung
Ottawa, ON Canada
$93 raised of $7,000 goal
 
2 donations
$6,907 to go
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