Education Beyond Borders

Kenya 2009

Laikipia East District
This region has been experiencing a drought for the last two years and this has exacerbated an already dire situation for the community as food is scarce and the livelihood made from agriculture has dwindle to almost nothing. We provided workshops for 70 teachers and had 42 signed up to be trained as facilitators for the following year. Besides educational best practices sessions in math, science and English using various methodologies we helped the participants create a professional learning community by region. They planned a way forward to meet and work together to reinforce the strategies they learned, adapt and apply them in their classrooms and share what they learned with their colleagues.

Naivasha District
This was our second year in Naivasha and Utumishi Academy in Gilgil was the host site. This partnership was developed through the teachers that worked there who attended our session in 2008. The hope is that we can develop the school into a teacher resource/training centre that can be used by the teachers in the district outside of school time.

This year we had twelve teachers from the previous year return to co-facilitate with us. They told us how they were able to incorporate the strategies they learned and the success they were excited to share with their peers. We spent three days prior to the workshops working with these twelve teachers to plan the facilitation of the sessions with activities and ideas adapted to local realities. The Kenyan facilitators were anxious at first because they had never facilitated workshops, but at the debrief after the first day they felt so empowered by the experience they could hardly wait to start again the next day. This was the big “a-ha” moment for us and showed us the power of inter-country collaboration.

Many Kenyan teachers identified the shortcomings of their teacher-centred approach and were quick to adopt the rationale for our workshops which are designed to promote active learning and learner-centred educational practices that will lead to authentic learning experiences and result in a higher level of literacy, understanding and achievement. The lack of teacher motivation is a big issue and the 180 degree change we saw in these teachers was infectious. This could only be contributed to their realization of the opportunities for improved learning that these workshops presented and the shared community that was created with their colleagues both local and international. This week saw 12 local teachers trained as facilitators, 83 teachers take part in the sessions and another 45 teachers sign up to volunteer for the facilitator training planned for 2010.

When all was said and done, in Kenya in August 2009, thirteen teachers facilitated workshops for 12 Kenyan facilitators and 190 primary/secondary participants. With new knowledge and skills, these 202 participants will be able to positively impact the learning of approximately 10,000 students and who will now start empowering their colleagues through the delivery of sessions based on the knowledge they gained.

Click here to see more pictures of our work in: Laikipia East and Naivasha


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