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 is partnering with Mexoxo, L’Oreal, and Google to empower young girls and women in aiding acceleration of digital inclusion for women and girls through the She is Digital program with the aim of offering the target audience the following:
• Enrich knowledge in Digital marketing to the beneficiaries so that they can have the capacity to sell their wares.
• Accelerate adaptation to the sudden digital transformation brought on by COVID-19 and beyond.
• Upskill and re-skill the target audience in Digital Marketing
• Achieve socio-economic growth
The project aims to make women and girls unleash their potential to reach socio-economic independence and growth with skill-building and education programs with a target of more than 15,000 participants from Kenya.
Girl Child Network in partnership with UNESCO, is working on the Global Education Coalition (GEC), a platform for collaboration to protect the right to education during COVID-19 and beyond.
As part of the Global Education Coalition and with funding from Prada, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa is supporting activities to catalyze local advocacy for girls’ education and empowerment through the creation of awareness on the value of girls’ education, and re-entry policy for pregnant girls through Youth-led/Girls-led advocacy campaigns to reinforce Back-to-School Campaigns. In 2022, UNESCO partnered with the Girl Child Network (GCN) to support locally driven advocacy for girls’ education and empowerment in two counties Kwale and Kajiado of Kenya as an extension of the Keeping girls in the picture campaign. We are working with 20 secondary schools in the counties of Kajiado and Kwale.
The Purpose of this project is to support over 4,000 children in primary education, targeting 13 public primary schools, to increase enrolment, retention, and performance, and to provide 20,000 people with access to safe, clean water in 2 of the poorest areas of Kenya, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Turkana and Kajiado. The particular focus is on the ‘girl child’ who tends to have low attendance rates due to gender discrimination, menstrual health management issues, and the fact that girls tend to have primary water collection duties. Their low attendance at primary school has resulted in poor outcomes for girls including child marriage, FGM, as well as reducing their participation and decision making influence in the family and community.
This initiative to bring girls back into primary education utilizes a proven approach; providing enhanced school facilities (including latrines, washing facilities, classrooms, and girls’ dormitories), improved access to water and support programmes for the community to increase buy-in for girls’ education.
The Project Aims to
- Increase school enrolment, retention, performance, and transition of students, especially girls and children with disabilities, in target communities
- Improve access to adequate and safe drinking water and improved hygiene and sanitation practices in target communities, and
- Increase community support for education and
- Improve livelihoods, food security and nutrition in target communities.
- Construction and furnishing of 8 classrooms, construction of 13 gender responsive and disability accessible latrine blocks and installation of 28 hand washing facilities to provide a conducive learning environment in the districts of Kapedo and Kenyewa.
- Construction and furnishing of 2 new dormitories to improve safety for girls.
- 1 borehole drilled and equipped to provide water to over 20,000 people in Kapedo.
- Monthly community conversations and peace dialogues will be held to help reduce both the harmful cultural practices and insecurity, resulting in more girls and children with disabilities enrolled in school.
- Diversification of livelihoods through the establishment of Village Loans and Savings Associations (VLSA) for 10 women’s groups, supporting families to meet the basic needs an rights of their children.
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.
Every Girl in School (EGIS) Project is a 3 year project aimed at increasing access to quality primary education for children, especially girls and children with disabilities from nomadic pastoralist communities in Turkana and Kajiado Counties in Kenya. The project will target the hardest to reach marginalised girls and children with disabilities from resource-poor households from the two project counties.
The project will leverage on the best practices and lessons learnt during implementation of the previous project, to implement time tested and proven interventions to unlock community level barriers, school level barriers, household level barriers, system level barriers and internal level barriers to girls and children with disabilities’ confidence and aspiration to access and meaningfully participate in education.
The project Theory of Change is premised on the belief that access to inclusive quality education is possible for all children, including those with disabilities, if communities can change their attitude in support of education; the schools are inclusive and gender responsive, children are protected and supported to build their self-esteem, legal and policy frameworks that supports quality and inclusive education are implemented; and lastly if the target communities are empowered to improve their livelihoods to support their children’s education.
The project is guided by 4 objectives;
- Objective 1: To increase access to inclusive, equitable and quality primary education for children, especially girls and children with disabilities, from the Maasai and Turkana communities.
- Objective 2: To ensure that target communities have a positive attitude towards education and are addressing negative social norms which limit (girls’ and children with disabilities’) participation.
- Objective 3: To ensure that government policies, programmes and legal frameworks are focused on upholding human rights and ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality basic education for all children, especially girls and children with disabilities.
- Objective 4: To ensure that target communities have improved livelihoods to support education of their children, especially girls and children with disabilities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 program seeks to build confidence and instill a perseverance attitude so that young women and girls stay in control of their success or failure. Besides that, the program aims to reduce negative perceptions of leadership and entrepreneurship among our young women and girls. We want them to stop the life of excuses or listing reasons and never point fingers, whether it is formal or informal, they are always in the position to Lead. We believe success simply requires skills and experience, so this is exactly what we are bringing to you.
Girl Child Network is partnering with L’Oréal Fund for Women, Mexoxo, and e-Cornell University to bring this program to the women in Kenya.
Basically, the learning Platform is provided by E-Cornell University.
To democratize education (remove barriers or make education available to all individuals regardless of their background) in Kenya.
Enroll over 10,000 young women and girls in Kenya aged 16 and above.
Visit https://www.mexoxo.com/e-cornell , sign up and start Learning.
Girl Child Network is implementing the ‘Improving Inclusive Education’ project supported by Christian Blind Mission-Kenya (CBM) and in collaboration with the Agency for Disability and Development in Africa (ADDA). This is a three (3) year project targeting children aged 4-14 years from resource poor households with a goal to improve the quality of Early Childhood Education and primary education for children with and without disabilities in Kajiado and Machakos Counties.
The Inclusive Education project is based on the understanding that children with disabilities have a right to participation which is facilitated by the early identification, intervention, referral and enrollment of children with disabilities in schools.
The project seeks to intervene by improving the accessibility of facilities in schools and EARCs and capacity building for all the stakeholders to build synergy.
Project key outcomes
- Outcome 1: 61 schools and 6 EARC’s are accessible and have qualified staff for inclusive education and early intervention
- Outcome 2: Local stakeholders cooperate in identifying and referring children with disabilities
- Outcome 3: Stakeholders in inclusive education are empowered to use synergies and be accountable for their work
THE “INJOB” PROJECT.
Pathways to inclusive education and promotion of employability for vulnerable youth in the public vocational training centers.
Girl Child Network (GCN) is an independent, non-political, non-religious and non-profit organization partnering with over 300 organizations working to improve the well being of children in Kenya with emphasis on the education of the girl child. The Network was established in 1995 as follow up of the Beijing Platform for Action and implementation of Article 12- The Girl Child. GCN came into being to primarily mainstream children, women and young people activities, and initiate interventions that focuses child protection, gender, democracy and governance, research, policy advocacy, education, health, capacity development, HIV/Aids and emergency response through Advocacy, action implementation, information sharing and strengthening of children programming in Kenya.
Girl Child Network (GCN) is implementing “Injob” project supported by Christain Blind Mission-Kenya (CBM) which is implemented through a Consortia of Partnering Organizations such as No One Out (NOO), Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority-TVETA, A Companionship at Work (COWA), Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Laboratory Action Research for CO-development (ARCO-PIN). This is a three (3) year Project, targeting vulnerable youth and young people of age between 15-35 whose main goal is to promote the educational, social and professional inclusion of vulnerable youth and young people with disabilities in Kenya. The Project anticipates to increase the number of youth with disabilities students with relevant skills, including technical and professional, and favor their participation in the labor market, both as employment and self-employment. The specific Objective of the Project is aimed at strengthening the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system for the educational inclusion and the job placement of vulnerable youth and young people with disabilities within Nairobi TVETs.
The project is based on the understanding that youth with disabilities have the potential to participate and access quality and equitable index in professional training by restructuring TVETs to be accessible to students with disabilities which will favor their involvement in industrial attachment and labor market.
To realize this goal, the project is guided by three broad results. Each seeks to increase support and participation of young people with disabilities in labor inclusion by targeting government systems and communities in informal settlements of Nairobi County in Kangemi, Waithaka, Dandora and Mathare
The Target TVETs institutions are Kiwanja, Kangemi, Mathare, Dandora Greenlight, Waithaka, Bahati, Ofafa Jericho, Mathare Special. Vocational Training centers. The Outcomes include; Strengthened Educational system for TVETs and promotion of inclusive professional Education, Improved Educational and Psycho-social support services for the Inclusion of vulnerable and disabled young people and Promote Job placement and self- employment of vulnerable and disabled students in Nairobi TVETs.
Main project activities
Development and dissemination of disability policy in public vocational training institutions.
- 1500 copies
Community awareness-raising on inclusion of persons with disabilities within the educational context
- CFs & CC-quarterly basis target 30pax
- Disability champions -16 of them (any one trained on inclusion and disability issues and voluntarily are willing to create awareness about disability within their workplace or elsewhere)
Provision of scholarships for students with special educational needs and removal of architectural barriers in public vocational training institutions
- Scholarships- 160 students with disabilities. (Grant will cover school fees, school uniform if required, transport, school learning materials, assistive devices and other tools required in the training course) note: the kit content will be different depending on the specific needs of each beneficiary
- Accessibility audit and infrastructure modification
Activation of labour inclusion paths for people with disabilities (aims to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities through digitization)
- Conduct market survey (30 days) in companies on perception on employment rate of persons with disabilities -promotes job placements
- Awareness creation of company staff on disability and labor inclusion.
- Provision of linkage for industrial attachment and placement of students in company facilities. Placement will last 3-5 months