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.