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Minister Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz visits East Africa

From 15th to 18th January 2013 the MFA’s Undersecretary of State for Development Cooperation, Minister Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz will be paying a visit to Kenya and Rwanda. The purpose of the visit is to evaluate the implementation and effects of Poland’s Development Cooperation in these states and discuss its future perspectives. Minister Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz will take part in a dialogue with representatives from Kenya and Rwanda responsible for foreign affairs, development planning and education. She will also meet the EU Embassies’ representatives accredited to these states and NGOs carrying out assistance projects.

Minister Pełczyńska-Nałęcz will visit selected projects implemented from the 2012 Polish Aid means, including:

a)      Enlargement of the primary school for blind of the Centre for Blind Children in Kibeho, Rwanda

The Centre for the Blind and Sand-Blind Children in Kibeho is the biggest development project financed from the MFA’s funds in East Africa. Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross are project’s partner and initiator. The Centre was established in 2009. Currently, it is supported by the Polish Aid in the field regarding its further activity and enlargement (the purchase and installation of water pump in 2011 and enlargement of the primary school in 2012 – building foundations, providing roof covering and electricity). The total sum of co-financing from the Polish Aid means for building and the activity of the Centre amounted to approximately PLN 4,5 million.

Due to the constantly increasing number of children in the Centre, it has been undergoing gradual enlargement  since 2012. This will allow to provide space for learning and future professional development of the pupils. The enlargement was financed not only from the means of the Polish Aid programme, but also from public contributions and private donors.

b)      Scientifically exciting lesson in the slum - incorporating active methods of science teaching and ICT technologies into the process of teaching in Mathare slum in Kenya

Pursuant to the government’s policy, primary education in Kenya is free of charge. This, however, does not translate into quantity and quality of available schools. It is particularly visible in the Mathare slums in Nairobi, where there are only 3 primary schools provided for  500 thousand residents. Because of that, parents are forced to send children to the so called informal schools (low-budget private schools). These institutions do not receive governmental support, there is also no control over the education quality. Consequently, these schools lack educational materials and their teachers have insufficient education level.

The Partners Poland Foundation together with their local partner, Dignitas Project, decided to face these challenges. The aforementioned organisations took actions aimed at including active teaching methods of natural sciences and the basics of Information and Communication Technologies in the teaching programme. The project encompassed 10 informal schools were 18 teachers were trained in methods and techniques of active teaching of exact sciences.  The institutions were equipped with education materials, including mobile laboratories for experiments in physics and biology. Additionally, a computer centre with access to the Internet was established.

Poland’s Development Co-operation for East Africa consists mainly in providing support in the field of improving the quality of life, health and better access to education of its residents. The projects co-financed by the MFA are implemented by Polish NGOs, public universities, research institutes and Polish foreign institutions co-operating  with local social partners (Small Grants System). When necessary, Poland also transfers funds for humanitarian actions in the regions.

In 2012, a total of PLN 6,5 million worth of assistance from the Polish Aid means was transferred to East African states.

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