Realizing the Dream of Education
Situation in Kilifi
In Kenya and in many other developing countries, secondary education is not provided for free by the government. While the costs associated with education in Kenya pale in comparison to our own, even the modest tuition fees can represent upwards of 66% of a family’s annual income. Costs in Kilifi are approximately $250 per year (2007), for a full cost of $1,000 over the life of the program, which is well beyond the means of families making, on average, $360 per year. In Kilifi, it is estimated that only 10 percent of eligible students attend high school. Can you imagine only 1 in 10 of your peers having an education above the eigth grade?
How It Was Designed
This program for secondary school students will be based upon a program by International Child Support (ICS) called Girls’ Scholarship Program. That program selects students based on test scores for full scholarships to secondary schools. The school receives full tuition payment and families receive payment for uniforms, textbooks, and other incidental costs required for attending secondary school in Kenya. Randomized studies of the ICS program show significant gains in primary school (when there is competition for the scholarships) and in secondary schools. Even populations who were not eligible for the project (e.g. boys) demonstrated an increase in test scores and in school participation.
In Kilifi, we are pairing with a small organization called KESHO (which means “Tomorrow” in Swahili) to run the program—disburse funds, collect grades and test scores—and help in student interviewing. Moving the Goalposts Kilifi, an organization that uses soccer to empower girls in Kilifi, also assisted in identifying high-achieving students who were in need of financial assistance.
KESHO, Kilifi Rotary Club, Moving the Goalposts Kilifi (MTG)
What We’re Doing
We sought to provide secondary school scholarships to students from the Ganze constituency (in the Kilifi District). These kids are academically gifted but likely drop out of school after primary education because their families are unable to pay their school fees. Scholarships cover all costs associated with secondary school, including tuition, textbooks, and uniforms. Our intent is to focus on girls, as gender inequality is a persistent roadblock to economic development in Kenya; also, a greater return on investment is seen in communities where girls are given more opportunities.
In February 2008, we interviewed 18 KCPE (The Certificate of Primary School Examination, a national test given to all Kenyan 8th graders) finalists and selected 13 high-achieving but indigent students—seven girls and six boys—for our inaugural class of scholarships recipients. One student, Christine Kahindi, who had the highest KCPE score in Kilifi, was sponsored to join a national school in Nairobi. In 2009, another set of students was interviewed and 13 exceptional students were selected for sponsorship to secondary school (a total of 26 as of 2010). Scholarship recipients are distributed across 13 secondary schools in the Kilifi District.
See our program is changing the life of Georgina Katana.
Twice a year KESHO hosts an “Open Day” to which all students are invited. One aim of the scholarship program is to mentor students and aid in career development. Individuals from various vocations across Kilifi are invited to speak to the students and advise them on what subjects they need to excel in order to succeed in particular careers. In addition, Open Day tackles some of the broader issues affecting children. Last year, the theme was “Making Choices for the Future” and there were many supporting activities organized by KESHO’s board and friends, which included games and discussions, creative writing, art and craft, and drama/role play.
Some of the Scholarship Recipients
Bahari Girls – Purity Kiponda, Christine Nguma, Dorcas Karema
Ribe Boys Secondary – Mole K Ali, Yaa Festus
Bura Girls Secondary – Mercyline Kuguta, Joyce Vidzo Charo
Kilifi Township Secondary – Mbarak Salim Chengo, Dennis Karisa
Sokoke Secondary – Samson Ndurya Yr1, Christine Riziki
Limuru Girls High School – Christine Kahindi
Chief Mwangeka Girls – Rachel Riziki Katana
Waa Secondary – Martha Kafundi FIkiri
St. Georges Girls Secondary – Georgina M Katana
Moi Kadzonzo Girls Secondary – Juliet Katana
Ribe Girls Secondary – Pili Hamisi
St. Georges Boys Secondary – Isaac Fikiri Ndoko
Godoma Secondary – Stephen Simba
Shimba Hills Secondary – Eunice Karisa