We have big dreams and we’re working to make them come true! Our vision is an empowered rural community that harnesses the benefits of education to drive sustainable development. With the mission of engaging and empowering students and teachers in rural Kenya to succeed in the 21st century we believe we can achieve our vision.
In order to effectively carry out our mission, Kenya Connect believes that:
- Local community leadership must drive and implement the organization’s actions
- Expanding into new communities requires identifying and fostering strong local leadership
- Buy-in and support within the communities where we work is essential
- Our actions must promote the economic sustainability and independence of local communities by working through local economies to provide resources. Specifically, whenever possible, we will use Kenya Connect funds to purchase necessary goods and services from within the communities we serve.
- We must focus on building connections between and among communities in Kenya and abroad
- The best practices of non-profit organizations – including fiscal responsibility and stewardship, board development and leadership, and assessment and monitoring – are essential tenets
Kenya Connect, Inc. is a 501 c-3 based in Maryland and Kenya Connect is a registered NGO in Kenya. Both entities have their own independent Board of Trustees and work in tandem to support the mission and philosophy.
Kenya Connect was created through a friendship formed by Kenyan James Musyoka and Marylander Tim Gregory. With the idea of connecting kids around the world and nurturing cross-cultural exchange, James and Tim created a Pen Pal program that is still at the heart of our work. Since our founding in 2002, Kenya Connect has expanded with robust programming to break down barriers to education while providing enrichment and empowerment activities for 18,000 students and 500 teachers at 50 primary and 12 secondary schools in the Mwala subcounty of Machakos. Our first milestone in accomplishing our educational goals was the building of our solar powered Learning Resource Center (LRC) in 2012. Our LRC was designed and built with local resources by local craftsmen. Within the center, we have 30 networked computers with Internet access via satellite, which are used for our technology programs. Our LRC has allowed us to provide technology programs for student success in the 21st century, as well as a large lending library to encourage reading and enhance literacy. Our second largest milestone was the purchase of our bus in 2017, which we fondly refer to as our “Magic School Bus.” With a large portion of our partner schools located in extremely remote areas, our bus provides equal access to our programs and serves as a bookmobile. In 2022, during our 20th anniversary, we opened the Library Learning Center with the first community library for the region, a Maker Space, recording studio, staff offices and rooftop meeting space! Watch THIS VIDEO on our history.
- Installation of water tanks
- Installation of hand washing stations, health and hygiene workshops, and liquid soap making program
- Provision of de-worming medications, working with local health professionals
- A reusable sanitary pad pilot program to encourage girls to stay in school during their menstrual cycle.
- Eye-screening and distribution of glasses in partnership with Global Vision 2020
- Installation of Compost Toilets with Give Love
Kenya Connect has focused on providing a variety of programs to enhance the education of the rural students and teachers. The ultimate goal is to provide access to educational and technology programs that might not be available to them because of where they live and that will allow them to succeed in the future. As a result we have implemented the following enrichment and empowerment programs:
- Basic technology classes and upper level STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) classes including coding, animation, CAD, robotics and 3D printing
- Library Card program, School Book Days (bringing books to schools for borrowing), and Enrichment Book Days (full day of reading and literacy activities) at the Library Learning Center (the only library for 100km and the first library card program)
- Professional Development Workshops for teachers on technology, including using the government-issued tablets; literacy and building a culture of reading; and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) encouraging teachers to use interactive teaching strategies including movement, arts integration, and student centered learning.
- Establishment of Empowered School Program
- Special Secondary School Leadership programs
- Pen Pal program and exchanges with schools around the globe
- Parent Workshops on how to support children for educational success
- Girl/Boy Empowerment Program to reduce unwanted teen pregnancy and gender-based violence
- Income generation projects including sewing, honey hives, and Moringa trees