Globally and Kenya, in particular, the COVID 19 pandemic has presented challenges that were never anticipated. Data published by UNICEF indicates that more than 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures after the pandemic.
The shocks brought about by the pandemic have direct consequences to the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized households in Ukambani. As you are aware, the majority of families in Ukambani rely on informal employment and businesses to fend for their children. A majority of such families have enrolled their children in public schools, which are incapacitated to equip their kids with online learning materials.
Children from those households lack access to online learning kits (laptops, data to access online materials), learning aids (revision books, and other revision articles). During the pandemic, the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with strategic partners, adopted remote teaching to support distance learning and online education. Online education is being delivered through radio and television and the internet. Learners from poor, vulnerable, and marginalized households lack access to these mediums of learning, further worsening inequality in access and quality of education, in line with the (SDG 4).
Therefore, there is the need to navigate such challenges to ensure all children have equal opportunities to access quality, equitable, and inclusive education during and after the pandemic. To that end, the Akamba living in the Diaspora, have come together to rethink how they can help the region achieve advanced education systems.
Through Mbaitu Foundation, the diasporas will help to develop strategic interventions to ensure continuous learning in educational institutions within Ukambani. Such interventions shall include but not limited to:
- Establishment of “safe space” for learners: This is where small groups of students come together to ensure group members keep learning.
- Donate towards the purchase of digital learning kits, the establishment of online learning resources
- Establish a kitty to be used to purchase data bundles and pay for internet access so that learners in Ukambani remain digitally connected
- Promote online learning so that learners are connected to their instructors.
- Champion for the establishment of guidance and counseling platforms within the village levels to provide teens with coping skills and social support. The efforts will help in minimizing anxiety and stress, resulting from harmful situations at home or at the community level.
- Establishment of systems that help in nurturing learners talents and support brilliant ideas to develop into successful businesses
- Focus on addressing Gender Parity in school enrollment
- Support efforts to lower the student to teacher ratio
- The building of new primary schools, secondary schools, and Technical Industrial vocational and Enterprise Training (TIVET)
- Improving the state of the facilities within different learning institutions
At Mbaitu Foundation, we believe that the education sector plays a critical role in facilitating the process of inculcating knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to catapult the Kamba nation to a globally competitive county. However, with the limited resources that our people at the grassroots have, they cannot do this alone.
It is important for the Mbaitu Foundation to mobilize and channel resources towards the education sector in Ukambani. As a philanthropic entity, we have the responsibility of facilitating the process of attaining the goals listed above.