Polska pomoc


Enhancing high quality early childhood development and holistic care of children in semi-arid areas of Mbita constituency in Kenya

Neurobiologists agree: the first years are most important in everyone’s life. The quality of adult life: mental and physical health, well-being, education, and inclination to crime or its lack largely depend on the quality of care and development stimuli we receive in early childhood.

It has been proven that a child aged 0-8 has a very malleable brain that gives the child extraordinary development possibilities. At that age we acquire most of universal skills that we will use for the rest of our lives. It is also an age when we are at our most vulnerable; and it carries the risk that a child may never outgrow deficits caused by the lack of proper care. It is particularly vital that children from destitute communities are provided with high quality pre-school education. Such children do not have access to things at their homes that would stimulate their all-round development – books, creative plays, as well as healthcare and a balanced diet.

Children living in poverty and deprived of high-quality care develop more slowly, often have health issues, and perform worse at school. Children who have received proper care and education suited to their age statistically earn more in grown-up life, and are better educated (they also invest more in their own children’s education) and healthier. High-quality pre-school care helps tackle poverty and hunger, improve access to primary education, increase equality of life opportunities for girls, and improve health. Development agencies have called for including early childhood development in global develop development cooperation priorities after 2015.

Despite this vital role of pre-school care and education, Kenyan authorities virtually do not invest in the early stage of child development. Most public education spending goes on the free primary education programme. Despite tremendous challenges still facing primary schools, pupils usually attend brick-stone schools and usually have access to desks, chairs and blackboards. Their younger fellow pupils, whose lives and health are likely to be more affected by their environment, take their first kindergarten steps in sheds made of corrugated iron or mud, with no furniture, on the mud floor. Many children are forced to learn outdoors. Classrooms, teaching aids, and toys are not financed by the authorities. Kasgunga Sublocation in Mbita district, where this project was implemented, is one of Kenya’s poorest areas. Such semi-desert rural areas are on the government’s list of hardship areas.

The initiative follows up on activities pursued in 2014 (project 232/2014 “Nursery school pupil with class – increasing the access to high quality nursery school education  and care on half-desert rural areas of Mbita district in Kenya”), which resulted in the construction of 4 nursery school buildings for 300 of the poorest children from Mbita district. The project also covered teachers and parents with activities that have improved the quality of education and mobilized local inhabitants to provide children with better care.

Enhancing high quality early childhood development and holistic care of children in semi-arid areas of Mbita constituency in Kenya

The project was directed to the youngest children living in semi-desert rural areas of Kasgunga Sub-location in Mbita district in west Kenya. It's main purpose was to improve conditions in wchich pre-school children learn and to enhance quality of care and education which is being offerd to them.

In the framework of the project, which was a continuation of a 2014 initiative of Partners Poland Foundation to construct four pre-school centres in Mbita, three new pre-school centres were build and four existing institutions were renovated.

Originally the pre-school centres had been set up in buildings made of corrugated tin sheets and wood planks, often without any furniture or other equipment so children had to seat on bare ground. There was lack of toys and other teaching aids that could stimulate children's development. Vocational training of most of the teachers that were employed in kindergartens was limited to a six months course. Some of them have caompleated only primary education themselves. For the lack of knowledge and teaching aids they followed the curriculum of early stages of primary education teaching the children to write and count. The project helped to solve these problems by three following actions:

  • constructing three pre-school buildings and renovating four existing kindergartens and furnishing them with toys and other teaching aids stimulating the multidimensional development of children;
  • improving competence of teachers and parents in the field of pre-school education and holistic child care;
  • an advocacy campaign aimed at Kenyan local authorities to convince them to increase support for high-quality education and child care.

The above mentioned operations, which were carried out from 1 February to 31 December 2015 in Mbita district (region Nyanza, west Kenya) by the implementer of the project - Partners Poland Foundation in cooperation with its local partner, Kenyan NGO Education Effect Africa, involved 7 nursery schools, to which approximately 450 children attend. In consideration of health and safety of those children, project served to assure proper conditions for their education and playtime. Thanks to project’s implementation, they will be able to stay in nursery school buildings, which meet the basic standards, will have the access to essential equipment (furniture, toys, educational materials) as well as to the care from teachers and tutors who are better prepared for work.

The indirect beneficiaries of the project are all the inhabitants of rural area of Mbita. Assuring the access to nursery schools will let the children’s guardians take paid work, not worrying about the safety and health of their pupils. Moreover, increasing the competences of teachers will facilitate a better start for nursery school pupils, both in the matter of future learning at school and in the versatile development.

Project served the implementation of the priority Education and vocational and social stimulation, established in the Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme 2012-2015. In particular, it will serve the achievement of the aims regarding evening out the educational chances through improving the access to education and increasing the quality of teaching, especially dissemination of stimulating teaching methods.

Enhancing high quality early childhood development and holistic care of children in semi-arid areas of Mbita constituency in Kenya

Three new nursery centres were built in Kasgunga Sublocation rural areas, each composed of three classrooms. They are attended by 276 children.

  • Four existing nursery centres in Kasgunga Sub-location were renovated and furnished with additional equipment. They are attended by 278 children.
  • Seven nurseries were equipped with sets of teaching materials and educational toys that stimulate nursery school pupils’ comprehensive development.
  • 24 nursery teachers and 7 headmasters completed training in pedagogy for young children’s needs and holistic care. The trained teachers took part in three post-training consultation sessions run by experts and in three reflection meetings.
  • 741 parents and carers took part in one-day education seminars on proper care of young children and the role of pre-school education.
  • 194 households were visited as part of a campaign to promote access to pre-school education in rural areas of Kasgunga.
  • 1,000 leaflets on early child development and pre-school education were printed in English and Dholuo. The material was distributed among approximately 1,000 people.
  • Attendance at seven nurseries covered by the project rose by 59%.
  • The number of pupils attending the seven nurseries covered by the project increased sevenfold.
  • Administrative districts of the nurseries covered by the project saw a rise in the number of children vaccinated against polio and tetanus (by 153% and 83% respectively).
  • The number of births delivered at hospitals grew by 32%.