Helping children back to school in rural Kenya

Thousands of children in rural Kenya miss out on school every year due to a decline in funding. Resources, infrastructure and teachers are now in short supply. However, a new teacher training programme is set to reverse this trend, bringing education and hope to children in some of the poorest parts of the country.

Teachers are fundamental to every community in the world and inspire the lives of millions of young people every day.

Despite the positive impact teachers have on Kenyan communities, funding in poverty-stricken parts of the country is in steep decline.

Rising needs, declining funds

Humanitarian funding in Kenya has dropped by 71 per cent from the 2017 level. Even then, only three per cent of available funding was allocated to education.

The Garissa and Turkana regions are particularly affected by the lack of teachers and have some of the highest rates of children not attending school in the entire country.

The two regions are also the sites of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps respectively, home to thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries like Somalia and South Sudan. The education needs are thus even greater than elsewhere, due to the high populations.

Read caption Eunice Musau is a teacher at Garissa Teacher Training College. Through NRC, she is able to train the next generation of Kenyan teachers. Photo: Catriona Loughran/NRC

Training new teachers: the Educate A Child programme

To ensure children in these regions get the same access to education as others in the country, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has facilitated the training of 300 teachers, with the help of donor funding.

By June 2019, 14,000 boys and girls who are not currently attending school will have access to quality education, thanks to funding from the Educate A Child programme. The funding was facilitated by UNICEF and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A total of 37 schools are being supported with education supplies, latrine facilities and interactive teaching methods to ensure a high-quality learning and teaching environment.

Uniting diverse communities through education

Eunice Musau is a teacher at Garissa Teacher Training College. Through NRC, she is able to train the next generation of Kenyan teachers.

“I have been a teacher for over 34 years, and I love it. I believe in the interactive learning teaching method, whereby we demonstrate activities to the children and they learn about science, maths and English in a fun and interactive way,” she said.

“Garissa is home to so many diverse communities. Children are from Uganda, Somalia, some are Sudanese. We want the young people of this community to be united together through the power of education, enjoy their time together and grow up to be the next leaders of our community.”

Read caption NRC is running teacher training programmes in the Garissa and Turkana regions of Kenya

Inspiring the next generation of teachers

A good teacher will remain in the heart of a student for life, and this was certainly the case for Ahmed, one of NRC’s trainee teachers.

“I used to get a lift from my teacher who was my mentor. He had very good handwriting and I used to love the way he taught us. He inspired me to be a teacher and I want to work hard at my training so that I can inspire my students the way my teacher taught me.”

Winnizuela Tatooli initially wanted to study art but felt compelled to give something back to her community. So, she became a teacher.

“It is an honour being able to give something back. The teacher training we have received allows me to go back into the community with confidence that I can teach children using the best interactive teaching methods. To see the smiles on the faces of the children once they get results, there is no better feeling in the world,” she said.

Dakane Bare, Education Project Coordinator with NRC in Garissa county added: “Educate A Child made it possible for teachers to receive training for three years, and they generously allowed us to expand the project until May 2019. In Garissa county, we are supporting 21 schools within the catchment area by renovating a number of classrooms, building latrines and providing high quality teaching materials. This funding allowed us to reach a lot of people in a short space of time and for that we are grateful to those partners who supported the initiative.”

About the donor

Educate A Child, a programme of Education Above All, is a global initiative launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, which aims to significantly reduce the numbers of children worldwide who are missing out on their right to education.