Deworming: What’s That and Why Does Kenya Connect Do It?

Most of students at Kenya Connect’s partner schools live in homesteads without running water and electricity. Some families have water tanks that harvest water during the rainy season, but most collect water at streams, ponds, and bore holes. Most of the water is not treated and that coupled with the lack of hand washing results in children with parasitic worms that compromise their immune system and make them more susceptible to other diseases. In 2011, Kenya Connect began deworming programs at three of our partner schools with the assistance of a visiting team and local health professionals. Since that date, with the support of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Thomas Wootton High School’s NHS, The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Johnson and Johnson Caring Crowd program and individual donors we are now deworming students at 28 of our 55 partner schools.

Deworming in underdeveloped countries has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective means for keeping children healthy and in school. In addition to the deworming, which entails administering a pill to each child at 3 month intervals, 4 times a year, the medical doctor in Kenya provides hygiene information for the children and encourages them to use the installed hand washing stations (funded through Kenya Connect) and liquid soap to stay healthy.   Kenya Connect’s sustainable liquid soap program, initiated in March 2017 with the help of the Johnson and Johnson CaringCrowd program, is providing soap to school hand washing stations, and the student health teams are also selling the soap to families for use at their homesteads. The combination of deworming medications and hand washing at home and at school is helping us to keep Kenyan students healthier so they do not miss school.

Students are currently being dewormed at the 28 partner schools before their August school break. We are thrilled that this initiative continues to keep kids healthy and in-school.

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Tablets Delivered, But Are They Used?

Here’s the picture of a typical Wamunyu classroom: cement walls with a few handmade posters of learning concepts, worn wooden bench desks that seat 2 to 3 students, a blackboard and a cracked cement floor. The classrooms are typically dark, but filled with the radiance of pupils, eager to learn.

In 2017, the Kenyan government issued a laptop computer and tablets to the primary schools in Kenya including Wamunyu in an effort to provide 21st century learning.   One would think, finally….technology had come to the classroom, but….. and this is a big but…..most teachers did not know how to use the technology and kept the tablets and computer locked away for safe keeping. Most of these teachers had never used a computer, tablet or even smart phone and the brief training that was provided 8 months prior to the dissemination of the equipment wasn’t adequate. Not only did they not know how to integrate technology into the Kenyan curriculum, they were petrified to use the equipment in fear that it might break.

As Kenya Connect staff learned of this challenge, they consulted with the local Curriculum Development Officer to see if training at our Learning Resource Center would be helpful. As a result, Patrick Munguti, Director of Technology Education and ICT at Kenya Connect, met with experts on how to use the tablets and computer and developed a training for local teachers and teachers from the nearby Kyaithani Cluster. This Digital Literacy class teaches basic ICT skills, how to use the teacher and student devices, and the Netscape manager control.

In addition to providing the basics to the teachers on how to use the computer and tablets, Patrick has worked with the teachers on how to integrate the technology into the curriculum. He also demonstrated the use of the World Possible Rachel Plus, a content-rich device that can be used as a “server” to the instructional computer. The Rachel Plus has e-books, interactive components of the Kenyan curriculum, Wikipedia, Ted Talks, and much more. Kenya Connect has Rachel Plus devices that teachers can check out of our lending library to use in the classroom. One of our goals is to eventually have enough Rachel Plus devices for each school.

I never knew that these gadgets had so much to learn and teach my students. I will now incorporate technology in my class. –Mr. Kyuu from Ngului PS

The teachers attending these classes are invited to join a “WhatsApp” group so they can share questions, ideas and how they have used the technology with each other. In an effort to make sure the devices are being used and to support the teachers, Patrick will be visiting the classrooms during the remainder of the academic year and serves as “tech” support to them.

I am quite impressed by the follow-up calls the teachers are making to ask for help in case they get stuck while at school. This is an indicator that they are using the technology in their classrooms. Patrick Munguti

This is just one of the many initiatives that Kenya Connect is providing to our 55 partner schools to help transform education in our village. We are striving to have our students become 21st century learners fully utilizing the resources provided.

Training has been conducted for 172 teachers from KC partner schools and 24 teachers from Kyaithani cluster for a total of 196 teachers. By July we expect to have a total of 216 teachers trained. We are grateful to the Sunshine Coast-Sechelt Rotary Club of British Columbia, Canada who provided a generous grant to support this technology training.

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The Poems of Book Day!

As part of the first Book Day celebration at the Learning Resource Center, three secondary students were selected to recite poems they had written. We invite you to enjoy these poems.

Reading Is The Key

Reading is the key to understanding
It is the doctor to grammatical errors
Reading aids in creativity
Reading, reading is the key

Let us enhance reading skills
Let us build our grammar
Let us dig into reading
Reading, reading is the key

A book is a dream that you can hold in your hand,
It is a device to ignite imagination
A room without books is like a body without a soul
There are many ways to enlarge a child’s world; the love of books is the best of all,
Reading, reading is the Key

By: Janet Mwende Wambua

Books Are Best Friends

Books buzz in the bus
Just take a book and read
What a good encounter with books
Full of beautiful animals
Books are best friends indeed

Success lies in books
Where leaders are energized
And the future synergized today
Tomorrow is an other day another book
Books are best friends indeed

Books never look for you
Their companionship is warm
Yet you never suffer from fever
Adventures to keep you aware in the night
Books are best friends indeed

Books will never grow old
And keep you young
They take you places never you`ve never been
From uptown to upcountry,
Book is a best friend indeed,

By Evans Mwendwa

A DARK SPOT

It started at a dark corner,
Just somewhere in the hideouts,
Full of themselves they whispered,
Beckoning my appetite to join,

Without hesitation I began,
More and more I took,
In the name of experimentation,
I became a slave of doom,

Too sweet they murmured,
Boss you became if you sniff it,
Mathematics to handle with ease,
And the burdens of life will ease,

In class with no concentration,
Every exam report was a curse,
Parents and teachers in great pain,
For the loss that is theirs and mine,

Year in, Year out,
The results evidence they were,
Poor grades and insults from all,
As I lost, all to pregnancy,

Now I live a wretched creature,
With no education and health,
In pursuit for inner passion,
Lost all, the apples of my life,

I stand to sing a song of recollection,
To tell it to those who hear me,
Never harken to the voice of deceive,
And lean not to the abuse of drugs,

I recollect for the sell of humanity
And to the youth rekindle sanity
Taming the drug demon
For the better society.
By Abigail Mwelu

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900 Library Cards and Counting!

Do you remember your first library card?  Since January, 900 students have enrolled in Kenya Connect’s new Library Card program!  (the first ever library cards in this part of Kenya) We currently have seven primary schools enrolled with the Kenya Connect Bookmobile rolling into schools with boxes of books every other week! The students are excited to select new books and are seen reading all over the school yard. We are also thrilled that we have begun to implement our new LibraryWorld electronic check-out system. This system allows the staff to more quickly check out books and it will help us keep better records on the collection. This Library Card program builds on our work to develop a culture of reading through a multi-pronged approach. We want to be known as The Village that Reads!

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The Kenya Connect 5K was a Success!

What a wonderful Day!  The 2018 Kenya Connect 5K was a huge success netting over $9,000 for Kenya Connect’s work to empower and engage students and teachers to be successful in the 21st century!

 

RACE RESULTS

We would like to take a moment to thank our Sponsors

 Inside and Out DesignsCompass Capital ManagementSwahili Village, Matt Bowman and Sarah Converse, WegmansAmmon Heisler Sachs ArchitectsPittsfield Veterinary Clinic, Enda the Ilkey Moor Running Club, The Blair Family, A(g)x  Marketing  S&K Meyer DentistMitchell Dental and St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Our Water Station is being sponsored by The Rotary Club of Ellicott City .

Special thanks to Race Director and Kenya Connect Board Member, Steve “Musyoka” Sharpe and to all the volunteers who helped as course marshals, registration volunteers and crafts market and food helpers.   A huge shout out to the Howard County Police for their wonderful assistance!

Click HERE to see more photos of the race thanks to students from Centennial High School’s Helping Hands Club!

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2018 Kenya Connect 5K!


2018 Kenya Connect 5K Register HERE

Looking for a unique spring run/walk?  Please register for Kenya Connect’s 4th annual race being held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 9:00 am.  This year the race will be held in Howard County beginning at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City and will run through the beautiful Dunloggin neighborhood.

A special feature is that the winners 1st through 3rd place male/female in the following age groups: Under 12, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 and 80+ will receive hand-carved medallions made specifically for this race by our friends in Wamunyu, Kenya.

Participants are also invited to garner pledges/donations for their run. Depending on the amount you raise, you will be presented with special hand made gifts from our friends in Wamunyu, Kenya to say Thank You for your extra efforts.

  • Raise $100 – Receive a special carved wooden race medallion
  • Raise $250 – Receive a carved wooden race medallion AND a beautiful hand woven basket
  • Raise $500+ – Receive a carved wooden race medallion AND a beautiful woven basket AND a hand carved wooden Hakuna Matata sign.

Click HERE if you want to sign up to raise extra funds for Kenya Connect and  receive unique Hand Made Kenyan gifts listed above. Every dollar goes a long way.

Since this is half of an intercontinental race series, anyone entering the race in Maryland, USA will automatically receive a free entry into the sister 6.6k race in Wamunyu, Kenya in October 2018 and would receive a medallion for completing both races.

All proceeds benefit the work of Kenya Connect to empower and engage students and teachers in rural Kenya.  For additional information contact Steve Sharpe: steve@kenyaconnect.org

Interesting in being a sponsor? Contact Sharon Runge: sharon@kenyaconnect.org

Join us for some Kenya Connect fun by registering for the 2018 5K

Click HERE to Register

Click HERE for RACE MAP

 

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The “R” in the LRC!

Resource: to provide (a person or organization) with materials, money, staff, and other assets necessary for effective operation

Kenya Connect’s Learning Resource Center (LRC) has become the hub of enrichment activity in Wamunyu for the students and teachers at 44 primary and 11 secondary schools and has provided material and enrichment resources for the community and beyond.

During this past year, most of the primary schools in Kenya received computer tablets from the Kenyan government. Although this was a positive step for rural schools that lack even the most basic school supplies, it was implemented with mixed results since most of the teachers were not comfortable or trained on how to use the technology. When visiting the schools, the Kenya Connect team saw tablets locked in cabinets. When inquiring about the tablets, many of the teachers reluctantly replied they were not comfortable using the technology.

As a result, the Kenya Connect staff researched and found a master teacher on the tablets technology. The master teacher has worked hand in hand with our technology specialist Patrick Munguti to develop a three-days training session to help teachers in Wamunyu to effectively use the tablets.. Kenya Connect has also reached out to partner teachers in six other primary schools in Kyaithani Cluster in Kitui county to offer joint training on the new technology along with KC teachers. The master teacher and Patrick will jointly conduct 6 training sessions. Kenya Connect has been partnering with Kyaithani as a result of our partnership with the Sunshine coast-Sechelt Rotary Club of British Columbia Canada.

We are very pleased to announce that the Sunshine Coast-Sechelt Rotary Club’s grant proposal was funded by The Rotary Foundation for $14,800 to provide training for 216 teachers from both Wamunyu and Kyaithani cluster on how to effectively use the technology as well as to provide Rachael plus devices and additional educational content to 6 primary schools. The grant will also fund two projectors in two secondary schools. This dynamic training will begin in January and continue through June, 2018. One of the goals of the training is to have at least 4 teachers from each school successfully learn how to use the technology in order to share it with other teachers in their community.

As we prepare for 2018, Kenya Connect continues to look at creative and innovative ways to be a RESOURCE for teachers and students in rural Kenya. Launching our teacher tablet training will be an exciting way to commence the new academic year.

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Will You Support a Super Hero? #GivingTuesday

It’s that wonderful time of the year filled with Giving!  One special way to give this season is to make a donation that supports our Super Hero students in Kenya.  Did you know that most of our students are children of subsistence farmers, wood carvers or basket weavers?  Staying in school and achieving is very challenging for these children and they overcome many odds to learn.  You can help make the difference in the life of students like Helen.  She is the third daughter of a wood carver and farmer and dreams of being a nurse.  Thanks to past donations, Helen learned how to use a computer at the Kenya Connect Learning Resource Center and used computer assisted design and a 3D printer to make a small solar flashlight.  Participating in deworming, hand washing and our other health initiatives has also helped keep Helen healthy and in school.

We invite you to make a donation on #GivingTuesday, November 28 or through the month of December.  You can make a donation  HERE or on Global Giving and if you do a recurring gift on Global Giving, your gift will be matched!  We also have a special deworming fundraiser occurring thanks to Johnson and Johnson’s Caring Crowd program.  Each of those donations will be matched 100% so if you make a $50 gift it is worth $100 to KC!

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Calling All Educators: Looking for an Adventure?

Kenya Connect is offering our third Volunteer and Travel Opportunity for Educators at our Learning Resource Center in Wamunyu. The trip, designed to provide teachers a rich cultural experience in rural Kenya, is being offered in June 2018. Kenya Connect Board Member and retired teacher, Laura Carter, will lead the trip in conjunction with the Kenya Connect staff in Wamunyu. Participants will have the opportunity to teach in Kenya Connect partner schools and assist in a professional development workshop for Wamunyu teachers. Participants will also visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center and visit the Tuesday Wamunyu Market, The Woodcarvers coop and a homestead. For more information contact Sharon Runge, Executive Director.

teacherbrochure       KC General Trip Application

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Kenya Connect 5K: Running for Education on Two Continents

It was a glorious day for the 3rd annual Kenya Connect 5K in Wamunyu. Running on the red earth roads through the market and up into the hills of Wamunyu, over 200 students, teachers, and community members ran the 5k race on a beautiful sunny day. A celebration of education, this event recognized Kenya Connect programs and the top runners received backpacks, books, and prizes from SunKing . In addition six students were awarded for their prize winning essays and poems in honor of Global Hand Washing Day.

The next Kenya Connect 5K: Running on Two Continents will be held on Saturday, March 24 in Ellicott City, Maryland. Details will be posted in January, but save the date. Click HERE to register for the race in Ellicott City, Maryland, USA.

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