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Helping Kenyan Children Stay in School

Kenya has one of the richest cultures in Eastern Africa, but the country faces many challenges. With approximately half the country's population of 38 million people living in poverty, access to basic health care and nutritious food is out of reach for many families. Also of particular need in Kenya is access to school. ChildFund has worked in Kenya since 1960, and we have made education one of our top priorities.

Supply and Demand

Poverty impacts many crucial resources, including education, health care and the availability of healthy food. With so many people in need, demand for resources often significantly outpaces supply, and this is particularly true of education.

According to UNICEF, pre-primary school enrollment among boys and girls stood at around 52 percent between 2008 and 2011. Although this is an improvement over educational access statistics of previous years, there is much to be done.

Another challenge the Kenyan government dealt with in the past was the lack of clearly defined policies regarding access to school. Fortunately, after committing to make education one of its most urgent priorities, the government has worked with ChildFund and other child development organizations to draft legislation that is currently pending in parliament. In rural areas, where children often live many miles from the nearest school, mobile schools and newly built dormitories have allowed more children, and girls in particular, to attend school and receive the education they need.

Supporting Common Goals

The Kenyan government has made access to education one of the cornerstones of its domestic policies. Without adequate schooling, children face an uncertain future, and are far less likely to be able to emerge from poverty and find jobs. To accomplish this, ChildFund Kenya has worked to ensure that greater numbers of children can enroll in pre-primary education. One of our strategic goals is to increase not only access to quality learning environments for children under the age of 5, but to ensure this instruction is of a higher quality to give children in need the best possible start in life and the benefits that come with it.

Another way we have worked toward improving the quality of education in Kenya is by training teachers to deliver instruction that aligns with the Aflatoun principles of teaching. This participatory framework — used in countries all over the world — encourages educators to allow children and youth to explore their creativity, become more actively involved in discussions and activities with their classmates, and engage in entrepreneurial activities and financial literacy classes. Aflatoun officials recently gathered in Nairobi to discuss how the program has had an impact in Kenya and explore how the program can be expanded to benefit more children.

Making Room

In many Kenyan schools, inadequate infrastructure means that either children do not receive the individualized instruction they need because of classroom overcrowding or cannot attend school at all. To address these problems, ChildFund Kenya has invested in the construction of additional classrooms and dormitories to expand educational opportunities for children, as well as the building of latrines and other facilities to improve the school experience.

Together, we are working toward a brighter future for millions of Kenyan schoolchildren, but to maintain the momentum we have established, we need your help. To make a lasting difference in the lives of children in need, please consider making a donation to our Children's Greatest Needs fund. Your support will enable us to provide vulnerable children with the food, health care and education they need to emerge from poverty and live happier lives.

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