Education Findings on Client and Staff Levels Totals by Congregations
Early Childhood Education Gives Slum Children Hope
It is a sunny windy afternoon, at 12 pm at a school in Huruma estate, one of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Some children play with a ball made out of polythene papers while others swing on a see saw in the playground. Girls skip with ropes.
Huruma sits among one of the most overcrowded settlement areas in Nairobi City. Here, poor planning of buildings and poor sanitation are challenges that residents have learned to live with. Recently, a poorly planned building collapsed and left scores injured while others lost their lives in the unprecedented disaster.
Little George Bahati, a five-year-old boy who was orphaned at infancy, lives here with a relative. Before the Sisters of Missionaries of Charity came to his rescue, he was not getting adequate food and health care. Attending school was a pipe dream as it was not a priority to his guardians.
Bahati, Kiswahili for “one who is lucky” met his luck when one of the sister from Missionaries of Charity helped him enroll at one of the orphanages in Huruma. “We found Bahati in a very needy state. He faced many challenges encountered by hundreds of children living in slum areas. We took him in at our orphanage where he can now get food and is enrolled at an Early childhood Development (ECD) Program where he is able to learn. We are sure Bahati’s life will take a different turn and he will be able to achieve his full potential, “a sister at the orphanage narrates.
Cases of children in risky situation like Bahati’s are not new in many informal settlements in Kenya. Thanks to the noble intervention of the Catholic Sister’s congregations. Many ECD facilities run by Catholic sisters have seen many vulnerable children access basic care and early childhood education. Early childhood education is not as free as primary education and therefore many children especially those from poor and marginalized backgrounds miss out at a critical stage of their lives which has a big impact in their future lives.
The Kenya free primary education program has been cited as one of the interventions to universal access to education by the Kenyan government. With its own challenges, children enrolment has increased and therefore more needs to be done to ensure its effectiveness especially on areas transparency and accountability of funds and good governance.
The Association of Sisterhood of Kenya running ECD facilities and other social service institutions have received training through the Catholic Relief Services on proper management of resources and programs to ensure that their ECD facilities fully benefit the intended target groups.
Mr. Daniel Oloo, Manager, SCORE program explains: “We support the strengthening sisters’ managerial skills by training them on assessment components, mentorship and curriculum issues while assisting in ensuring continuous improvement of their management systems, developing sound policy guidelines and proper budgeting.”
Mr. Oloo adds that AOSK has taken a lead in some of these areas of training and this has helped in improvement of service delivery especially to the sisters that are serving in schools, hospitals and orphanages. “We have also realized that through this kind of training sisters are more accountable and able to run different funds effectively.”
The stewardship that has been demonstrated by sisters in serving in ECDs sector has brought great impact in the education sector. Education remains a multi sectoral engagement sector which without the intervention of partners like the sisters many children will not be able to access education.
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