This month we had a proposal to Wereldkinderen approved to expand our community capacity building programme. The programme will over a 5-year-period build the capacity of 16 communities from 4 districts in Kenya and benefit 1400 orphaned children and their households. The programme will strengthen the capacity of community groups to provide care and support for orphaned children. The programme will also mobilise and strengthen children protection services in the Bondo District. We look forward to report on the progress of this programme.
Between May 20 and June 3, WVP Kenya, together with the International Network for Caregiving Children and the London School of Economics, exhibited a selection of pictures taken by some of the caregiving children participating in our programmes in Kenya. Through writing, the children explained what the pictures meant to them and the exhibition gave the children an opportunity to share with others what it means to be a caregiving child in Kenya. The exhibition coincided with a number of meetings held at the LSE where academics, practitioners and policy makers got together to discuss how best to bring caregiving children on the policy agenda. WVP Kenya is at the forefront guiding this agenda. WVP Kenya and the exhibition received press in news outlets such as the British Medical Journal and The Guardian Newspaper. The article featured in the Guardian can be accessed here and pictures from the exhibition can be viewed here.
Over the April school term break, the WVP Kenya Bondo office held five community forums with scholars and their parents and guardians. The aim of these community forums was to develop a united plan of action for scholars, parents/guardians and WVP Kenya to ensure that scholars will make the most of their education opportunities.
At each community forum, the parents/guardians and scholars were engaged to openly discuss the challenges scholars face at school and at home. From these challenges identified, the participants were further encouraged to examine how they impact a scholar’s academic performance. Challenges noted included the lack of textbooks available at school; scholar illness or the scholar having to care for an ailing family member, resulting in school absenteeism; inadequate moral support from parents; lack of food at home; and low school standards on teaching quality, among others. All these factors contribute to underperformance at school by scholars. WVP Kenya then facilitated a brainstorming session on what actions scholars and parents/guardians could take to help resolve these challenges. Two key pledges made at the community forums were for the scholars to place greater effort and focus in school to improve their academic performance and for parents and guardians to become more involved in their child’s education (e.g. daily monitoring of homework, attending school events etc).
In seeking community input and consensus on what measures to take, WVP Kenya hopes to foster a greater sense of scholar ownership and pride in the Scholarship Programme, strengthened by the care of their family and other community members. Regular community meetings with parents and guardians will be held by both the Bondo and Lugari offices to ensure continued strong communication and support for the scholars.