Mbita ECD Chanuka! 2.0
ENHANCING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, DEVELOPMENT AND CARE IN THE RURAL AND SEMI-ARID AREAS OF MBITA CONSTITUENCY
Implementation period: 2015
Government expenditure on the care and education of Kenya’s youngest citizens is quite low. The introduction of free primary education in 2003, and the ongoing struggle to maintain it, consume the lion’s share of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology budget. ECD centers are left with less than 0.01 percent, even though the quality of education at this stage determines a person’s future to a much higher degree than in primary school. The government offers no assistance in the task of raising awareness of the crucial role of preschool care and education, the development of infrastructure adapted to the needs of children or improving the skills of teachers.
While primary school students receive their education in solid, brick buildings, often overcrowded but nonetheless separate classes equipped with school desks and chairs (although in insufficient numbers), preschoolers take their first steps into education in deplorable conditions. Most ECD centers in Kasgunga location in Suba North are housed in makeshift structures of old corrugated iron sheets. The shortage of appropriate furniture means that children often sit on bare ground. In one of the schools, there is no ECD building – children learn under a tree. During the rainy season, leaky roofs let water pour through. Such an environment leads to the deterioration of health, poor education results, and diminished chances of escaping poverty for children living in the semi-arid villages of Mbita.
Poor infrastructure is coupled with a low skill level among preschool teachers. Very often, ECD centers are staffed with the least qualified teachers, despite their influence over the children being far greater than their counterparts in primary schools. Furthermore, ECD teachers in the area tend to focus their efforts on the teaching of counting and writing skills. thereby executing a curriculum fit for the early years of primary education, as opposed to employing creative playtime as their main tool when working with children under the age of five. This is a result of both a lack of preschool education competence and a lack of appropriate play items and teaching materials tailored for the developmental needs of preschoolers.
The main objective of the project is to increase the access of children of marginalized communities living in rural and semi-arid areas of Kasgunga sub-location of Suba North (Mbita) constituency to high-quality early childhood education that stimulates their physical, emotional, and psychosocial development. The project objective is also to provide holistic care and a school environment that is adjusted to the age and needs of these children.
To increase the access to high-quality early childhood education that stimulates the physical, emotional, and psycho-social development and holistic care of children living in the rural and semi-arid areas of Kasgunga sub-location of Mbita Constituency.
The purpose of the project is:
- To ensure access to basic ECD infrastructure to children living in Kasgunga sub location.
- To create an environment that will stimulate the physical, emotional, and psycho-social development of children in 7 ECD centers in Kasgunga Sub-location.
- To increase the access to high quality early childhood education that is adjusted to the age and needs of young children living in Kasgunga Sublocation.
- To increase the knowledge and initiate changes in attitudes and practices of care givers towards early childhood development and education, protection of children rights and health of children aged 3-8.
- To mobilize the support of local authorities towards provision of high quality ECD in Homa Bay County.
- Construction of 3 ECD centers comprising of a total of 9 classrooms adjusted to the needs of children between the ages 3-8.
- Improving the existing infrastructure of four ECD centers in Kasgunga Sub-location – renovations and provision of furniture.
- Equipping 7 ECD centers with education materials and toys that will stimulate the development of children.
- Training of ECD teachers and primary school head teachers on early childhood development and education, holistic care and cooperation with care givers and local authorities.
- Regular coaching sessions and reflective meetings for trained teachers and head teachers by experts.
- Seminars about early childhood development, education and holistic care for care givers. The Seminars are facilitated by the ECD teachers and experts involved in the project. .
- Promotion of early childhood development, education and holistic care among the community members through household visits.
- Distribution of information, education and communication materials on the key role of early childhood development, education and holistic care among community members, local authorities and parents.
- Advocacy meetings with representatives of local authorities.