Circle_our programmes

Girls’ Education Challenge, Kenya

In Kenya, we have been working to ensure that girls can go to school, stay in school and receive a good quality education as part of the UK-funded Girls’ Education Challenge since 2013. Our holistic, long-term approach is based on practical interventions that are fundamentally changing behaviours. 

    

Our recent work in Kenya with marginalised girls has been in two phases. Firstly we designed and delivered Wasichana Wote Wasome ('let all girls learn' in Swahili), that practically addressed the issues of low levels of enrolment and retention as well as poor learning outcomes for marginalised girls. As a natural continuation, we are currently delivering Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu ('let all girls succeed') whereby we are working to remove cultural and socio-economic barriers that have prevented these same marginalised girls from transitioning to secondary school.
 
Both programmes focus their activity in arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) – typically populated by nomadic, pastoral communities – and in urban slums targeting more than 500 schools and some 80,000 girls.
 

How we work


For long-term, sustainable impact, we need to effect a fundamental shift in behaviours. We therefore designed a programme that takes the girls on a journey both of personal development supported by their family and the community and of positive transitions through an education system better equipped to fulfil the potential of these marginalised girls.

Our programme is holistic and focusses on four dimensions:

  • The girl herself
  • The girl at home
  • The girl in the community
  • The girl in education

What we do



We provided back-to-school kits to counter the economic barriers to girls' access to education; we distributed some 15,770 kits comprising school uniforms, shoes and stationery to marginalised girls and reported a 92% attendance rate among the beneficiaries

School clubs, or health clubs, have been particularly effective in changing behaviours of students – both boys and girls. The clubs are a forum to talk about what are essentially life skills that improve student health, self-confidence and aspirations to learn. We have successfully used the clubs as a platform to communicate accurate and appropriate behaviour change messages about girls' education and the wider implications. To maximise engagement, we have adopted a peer education model where student champions are identified and trained; as a result, some 17,000 students attend 480 clubs across 500 schools.  

An innovative aspect of our programme has been shaping and informing community conversations. We bring together elders and other key members of the local community and ensure that topics ranging from gender discrimination, girls' rights and the benefits of girls' education to updates on education reform, availability of devolved funding, child protection policies and teacher code of conduct are all on the agenda for discussion.

We have delivered a programme of teacher training designed specifically for teachers in project schools. Our coaching and training model focuses on developing teachers’ pedagogical skills in literacy and addressing gender inequality in the classroom and curriculum, supported by specialist lesson plans and materials. Coaches visit schools on a regular basis to mentor them through the lesson plans, observe lessons, give constructive feedback and to organise regular reading competitions to motivate learners. Schools then come together in monthly cluster meetings to share reflections on their teaching.

Phase two of our work in encouraging and supporting marginalised girls to continue onto secondary education continues to use these practical approaches that we have already embedded and also incorporates additional tailored support:

Our catch-up classes and centres offer targeted support to girls to help them re-enrol in school or pursue other pathways.

The mentorship programme we have put in place encourages positive behaviours and partnerships, enhances networking skills and provides academic support.

The purpose of our income-generating activities component of Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu is to help families financially support girls, keep them in school and help them transition to higher education levels.  

Our pioneering system leadership model is designed to harness the expertise of successful school principals and deploy it to increase the leadership and teaching capacity of all schools in order to raise standards across the board. Our model is in line with and reinforces the ministry of education's development of a national policy on mentorship.