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.