Girl Child Network’s education programmes seek to complement government initiatives towards achieving inclusive quality basic education as articulated in Kenya’s Vision 2030, EFA Goals, and Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education as a strategy, is viewed as a tool for empowerment, self-realization and critical in reducing violence and exposure to risks. GCN recognizes school as a safe place with the understanding that a single day that a girl, a boy or any youth spends in school reduces exposure and vulnerability to risks. The education program focuses on education for children with disabilities, education for hard to reach children in marginalized ASALs regions of Kenya, education for vulnerable adolescent girls and young women from resource poor rural and urban slums, promoting equity in basic education and enrolling out of school children among others.

The Education Program has projects such as No One Out (NOO), Our Right to Learn – Reaching the Unreached, Kenya Equity in Education (KEEP), DREAMS IC, Champions for Change Project (C4C) among others.

Programmes & Projects

Girl Child Network recognizes that girls and children with disabilities in ASAL regions (Kajiado and Turkana Counties) in Kenya face barriers in access to education. The KEEP project seeks to reduce/eliminate the barriers in three levels; the individual level, the school level and the community level through strategies such as social mobilization, sensitization and awareness creation, advocacy, direct support, capacity building and community conversations. The Project is implemented in partnership with Aidlink and with support from Irish Aid. The interventions are designed and implemented to provide thousands of children in ASAL regions with access to clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene as well as knowledge on their rights and responsibilities as a means to protect them from abuse. We work with the national government, county governments, schools, families and communities to create safe spaces for children to learn, be protected and nurtured to thrive, irrespective of their age, gender or disability. We also partner with schools, families and communities to train teachers, school boards of management, children and the youth to ensure we leave no one out. In addition to this, we also conduct extensive awareness exercises to emphasis the importance of education with a view of changing the community attitudes on girls and children with disabilities participation in education. ASAL region is prone to droughts due to negative effects of climate change. Provision of feeding programme in the project schools not only retains children in school but also ensures the drought does not negate the impact of the project on empowerment of girls and women.

Girl Child Network with support from Educate A Child (EAC), a global program of the Education Above All Foundation is implementing ‘Our Right to Learn – Reaching the Unreached’ Project in Kwale, Garissa and Kajiado counties. The aim of the project is to increase access to quality primary education for 47,515 Out Of School Children (OOSC) from resource poor households in the three counties. The project works with a total of 120 public primary schools; 45 in Kajiado (25 in Kajiado North and 20 in Mashru sub-counties), 45 in Kwale (20 in Matuga and 25 in Msambweni sub-counties) and 30 in Garissa (Balambala sub-county) counties.

The project is guided by five broad strategies that include; firstly awareness creation to the communities by convening community conversations and dialogues to challenge the entrenched social norms and cultural practices that substantially contributes to children not being enrolled or dropping out. Key areas of focus would include but not limited to; negative attitudes and perceptions on the benefit of education particularly for the girl child, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), forced/child marriages, child labour among others. The desired outcome at this level is change of attitude and perceptions by communities and increased communities support towards education of their children.

Secondly, the project aims at enhancing the capacity of duty bearers with a view of training them on their duties and responsibilities to enable them meet their legal obligations of enforcing implementation and monitoring of laws and policies that support enrollment and retention of OOSC as well as child protection. Thirdly, the project aims at engendering friendliness of the school learning environment with the aim of making it friendlier and gender sensitive and attractive for girls and boys to enroll and participate in education. Through rehabilitation of sanitation facilities, training of teachers on leaner centered methodologies, training of School Boards of Managements on gender responsive school development planning, reduced gender based violence and stereotypes, then schools would become more safe, secure and friendly for all children.

Fourthly, the project will empower boys and girls with information on rights and life skills to enable them acquire confidence and aspiration to learn and lastly conduct policy advocacy with a view of developing policy briefs and advocacy strategies to influence policy change and actions on legal policy and frameworks that support education for OOSC.

Girl child Network with the support from Rise Up – Champions for Change (C4C) has been implementing Afya kwa Elimu project in Kenya. The project worked with policy makers from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) to review the National School Health Policy of 2009 whose time had lapsed and also ensure drug and substance abuse that contributes to incidences of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) among adolescent and youth in schools are addressed. The National School Health Policy and its Guidelines has since been reviewed and approved but currently awaiting its official launch. The policy provides a legal framework that regulates prevalence of drug and substance abuse, especially alcohol and cigarettes among adolescents; access to healthy foods mainly at the schools and household level; exercise; and change of behavior towards healthy living practices. This will in turn lead to a decrease in the reported cases of NCDs among adolescents and youth; the drop-out cases in schools; and deaths of the youth from NCD related causes; above all reduced poverty.

The No One Out project targets to improve access to education by children with disabilities in informal settlements in Nairobi. The project is implemented with support from Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and is implemented in the urban informal settlements in the Eastlands region of Nairobi County. The project works with Education Assessment and Resource Centre (EARC) Curriculum Support Officers – Special Needs Education (CSO-SNE) to identify, assess, refer and place children with disabilities. The assessment is done to identify children with disabilities and inform early interventions that include; referral for medical interventions and follow up to ensure they enroll later in schools, placement in schools for education, linkages for psychosocial support and registration with social protection schemes.

We partner with the school administration to address barriers that hinder children with disabilities from accessing education and achieving full inclusion. The support to schools include awareness creation about disabilities and inclusive education, enhancing access by improving the facilities to be accommodative and accessible by learners with disabilities, and provision of resource materials for learning to children with disabilities.

We work with community members to create awareness about disabilities and the concept of inclusive education with the aim of achieving full inclusion in schools and communities. The result is that the communities ultimately acquire positive values, attitudes and skills fundamental to the support of inclusive education.

Children with disabilities have a fundamental right to education just like any other children, as outlined in several International and National legislative and policy instruments. Some of these instruments include the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2006) and the Basic Education Act, 2013 among others.

The 2018 Sector Policy for learners and trainees with disabilities emphasizes the need to increase access, enhance retention, and improve quality and relevance of education to all. It also stresses on strengthening early identification and assessment to ensure equal opportunities in provision of education. In line with Kenya Vision 2030, in particular this social pillar envisions attainment of globally competitive quality education for all children including those with disabilities. In addition, the Basic Education Act, (2013) provides for free and compulsory basic education for all, promotion of quality and relevant education. It also provides for the right to equal standards of education. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 requires member states like Kenya to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

PROJECT INTERVENTIONS

Provision of specialist medical services through mobile clinics targeting children with disabilities with no access to treatment and surgical interventions

Mobile clinics for diagnosis and provision of related services to patients

Carrying out specialized pediatric orthopedic surgical interventions

Providing mobility devices to children with disabilities

Conducting orthopedic rehabilitation on children with disabilities

Providing post-operative care to children who have received treatment

Strengthen appropriate placement, retention and transition of learners with disabilities in inclusive education as per the 2018 Sector Policy for learners and trainees with disabilities:

Accessibility audit of identified schools to determine readiness for inclusive education.

Providing safe, accessible and learner-friendly environment for children with disabilities.

Direct support to learners with disabilities and schools through provision of dignity kit and specialized teaching/learning resources to learners with disabilities.

Facilitating EARCs to conduct functional assessments, referrals and placement of children with disabilities.

Sensitization of teachers and members of boards of management on disabilities and the concept of inclusive education.

Increasing awareness level among target schools, families and communities on the rights of children with disabilities:

Sensitization forums in the targeted school communities to create awareness on the rights of children with disabilities.

Awareness creation sessions in schools on disabilities and inclusive education.

Provision of psychosocial support to patients and parents after undergoing surgery

PROJECT REGIONS INCLUDE: Homa Bay County, Kisumu County, Baringo County, Nairobi County and Mombasa County.