OUR PROGRAMS

DIRECT TO SCHOOL

Kiwimbi Prep for Success Program

Kenya has recently changed its policy and now requires all students continue on to secondary (high) school. The mandatory Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam is now used to determine which school a student will attend. This test, given only in English rather than Swahili or the local ethnic language of the children’s homes, determines if students can advance to secondary school and the quality of school they may attend. The secondary school system is divided into levels: Sub-county, County, Extra-county and National. National schools compare favorably with excellent schools here in the US. Conversely, Sub-county schools may not even have the space to put all of their classes inside and when they do, they may have a teacher, a piece of chalk and a board with little else to accommodate 50, 100 or more students at a given grade level. A child’s placement on the national exam determines whether they are assigned to a National School, a Sub-county School or some school in-between.

Prep for Success is a direct-to-school program that combines school-time, after-school and camp programs to strengthen the academic skills of Grade 8 students with a focus on English and math. Kiwimbi utilizes teacher assistants and provides materials for students. Without teaching assistants, Kenyan teachers can face classes with 80 or more students. With Kiwimbi teaching assistants the classes can be broken into smaller, ability-based learning groups. The lunches we provide are another very important component of Kiwimbi’s Prep for Success Program. Besides insuring that these children have access to at least one nutritious meal a day, a key to learning, the lunch program eliminates the need for students to walk home, sometimes miles, midday for food. This ensures that the children have the time and energy needed to focus on their education.

COMMUNITY CENTRE & LIBRARY

In the spring of 2013, Kiwimbi established a physical presence in a building made available by Busia County. The Kiwimbi Community Center and Library is the first free public library in the county and has become a hub for the community. It welcomes between 200 and 500 visitors each day, both school children and adults, seeking educational tools and broader knowledge. Access to the Library is free, critical in this low-income area.

Many of Kiwimbi’s programs, such as the Prep for Success camps, operate here. The Library also contains over 20 e-readers with the texts of the Kenyan curriculum for Grade 8 students. With e-readers, internet access, magazines, over 20,000 volumes, a museum and art exhibits, the Community Center and Library provides an enriched environment for both students and townspeople – another key to learning.

ARTS

Kiwimbi has placed a high level importance on the preservation of cultural arts including weaving, storytelling, beading and dance; as well as the fine arts including painting, drawing and pottery. At place of importance within our Community Center in Amagoro are both a museum featuring many Teso cultural artifacts and a wonderful art room, a space filled with the art created by local community members.

VOCATIONAL

Even given the improved academic success rate of young people in Kiwimbi’s KCPE-Prep program, the large majority of youth will not have the opportunity to attend secondary school. To meet the needs of these children, Kiwimbi has developed a variety of vocational training programs including art, carpentry and tailoring. The tailoring program provides students with the skills needed to pass a national practical exam. In 2016, all of Kiwimbi’s tailoring students were certified and passed the exam, and members of the current class who have been working on their skills for a few years will be taking their certification exam in 2022! They can do piece work, repairs and, significantly, make complete school uniforms. This means that when they leave Kiwimbi they are in a position to make uniforms for surrounding schools. This steady market provides an opportunity for these young adults to establish a livelihood.

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