Most of APHRC’s research activities are conducted in poor slum settlements in Nairobi. As a responsible corporate citizen, the Center conducts several activities in these communities to improve the wellbeing of residents. These activities include:
Bursaries for bright students who wish to go to high school
With the help of various donors, APHRC supports bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access secondary education. Many bright students who do well in their primary school exams cannot afford the high schools fees for secondary education. Even with the advent of free primary education, many children do not transition to secondary schools due to financial constraints.
Investing in Education for the Urban Poor: Jubilee Education Fund
Since 2007, APHRC has supported bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access secondary education. This has been in partnership with APHRC staff and organizations such as The Hindu Religious and Service Center among others. So far, APHRC has awarded bursaries to 12 students, three of whom have already completed their secondary education. 9 are in their third year in different secondary schools within Kenya through scholarships funded by The Hindu Religious and Service Center.
An addition to the Center’s social responsibility is the Jubilee Education Fund, established in 2012 to facilitate the transition of students from poor families to secondary school. The program seeks to fund 25 day and 25 boarding students, a goal that requires up to KES 9.25 million ($115,625) over the next 5 years. So far, the fund has raised Kshs.1.3 million and 8 students have been identified for the awarding of scholarships (3 in Korogocho, 3 in Viwandani (Nairobi County) and 2 in Cheleta primary school (Kiambu County). To be selected, the students must attain a minimum of 310 marks at the Kenya Certificate of Primary School Education (KCPE) and must be from low-income family backgrounds.
APHRC continues to investigate education challenges in sub-Saharan Africa through its Education Research Program with the aim of informing policy. As part of its research, the program is focusing on barriers to accessing quality basic education under universal basic education policies, including transition to secondary schooling among marginalized populations in urban contexts.
The Jubilee Education Fund was established in honor of APHRC’s Executive Director Dr. Alex Ezeh, on his 50thBirthday.
Needs: Each scholarship aims to cover tuition fees, lodging costs, uniforms, and other necessities. On average each scholarship would be worth 120,000 KES (1,500 USD) for a day school and 250,000 KES (3,125 USD) – to cover tuition costs for four years.
“…When I sat for my Standard 8 examinations and passed, I had already resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to join secondary school. My dream of becoming a doctor in future was just to be that, a dream. But this dream is slowly becoming a reality with the provision of a scholarship by APHRC. Now I am sure I will finish my secondary school education, join the university and realize my dream.’’
(George Ann Mmbale, 16, Form 3 student and beneficiary of the scholarship scheme).
Free medical camps
These are held biannually in two settlements namely Viwandani and Korogocho. During these camps:
- Residents get free consultations for common ailments and get free drugs to treat the ailments
- All children below five years are weighed to detect those with malnutrition and referred to health centers when necessary
- Vaccinations are given to those children with uncompleted vaccination schedules
- Pregnant women are examined and counseled on proper nutrition and child care
- Family planning counseling and commodities are offered
- Patients suspected to have tuberculosis are screened for the disease
- Voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for HIV is provided for those who need it
- All adults above the age of 18 years are screened for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Impact: Every year, close to 5000 consultations are done, 1200 children weighed, 150 children vaccinated, 80 women given family planning services, 60 patients screened for TB (with 5 new cases detected), 300 adults offered VCT, 1200 adults screened (with 20 new diabetics detected)
Needs: The annual direct costs for the four medical camps are 1.6m KES (20,000 USD
School Feeding Programme
Available evidence indicates that school feeding programmes:
- Motivate better school attendance by the school children
- Reduce absenteeism by the school children which improves their academic performance.
- Alleviates short term hunger for the school children and helps improve cognition function and learning
- Provide micro-nutrients like iron and iodine which affect cognition thus improving school performance
- Increase school enrollment
APHRC, in partnership with Hindu Religious and Service Centre, supports the school feeding programme in Grogan ‘A’ Non Formal Education (NFE) School. This programme started in June 2011 and is ongoing.
Impact: 250 school children of Grogan ‘A’ Non Formal Education (NFE) are currently benefitting from the programme.
Needs: It costs KShs.1,575,000 (US$19,687.5) to run a successful, all inclusive, feeding programme in a school of 250 children in one school year.
Provision of water and sanitation facilities
These have been provided in the framework of promoting health in schools. In addition, facilities have been constructed through various initiatives by the Center:
- 14 toilets have been constructed or renovated in 10 primary schools
- 13 water tanks have been installed, of which 6 have been connected to rain water harvesting facilities.
- 4 ablution blocks with 20 toilets and 8 showers have been constructed in two villages. 5 water tanks have also been installed in the ablution blocks.
- A waste recycling plant has been constructed in one village
Impact: 6300 school children and 150 teachers have benefited from the improved water and sanitation facilities, 2000 community members have benefitted from the ablution blocks, 5 community based groups have generated income through running the ablution blocks and waste recycling center.
Needs: We need to improve the water and sanitation facilities in another 10 schools and to construct 10 ablution blocks in another 5 villages. The average cost per school toilet block is 800,000 KES (10,000 USD); for the sanitation block it is 1.2M KES (15,000 USD).
Working with the Disabled Children at Light and Hope Centre for Disabled Children (LHDC) in Korogocho.
Disability has long been seen as a silent quagmire which causes untold misery in the community. Children born with physical and mental disabilities end up been hidden from view by their families with the larger community barely acknowledging their existence. Stigmatisation and denial of fundamental rights, including the right to education are common experiences visited upon these children.These experiences are worse in communities where a majority of the inhabitantslive below the poverty line.
In 2009, APHRC partnered with the Embassy of the State of Israel and the Jewish Community of Kenya to construct and equip Light and Hope Centre for Disabled Children (LHDC) in Korogocho, Nairobi. LHDC is a day care centre catering for the needs of children with all types of disabilities. These include cerebral palsy; Down syndrome; delayed milestone; physical handicap; autism and visual and hearing impairment.LHDC provides food, education, and rehabilitation services/therapy among other support services critical for the full enjoyment of lives by these children.
Impact: 65 children are enrolled in LHDC. Through rehabilitation services/therapy sessions, 6 children have managed to walk. Through LHDC and Ministry of Education, one of the two public primary schools in Korogocho, Daniel Comboni Primary School, incorporated a special unit for children with disabilities as part of inclusive education for children with disabilities. This was in the year 2012. 15 children are currently enrolled in the special unit.
Needs: Equipping of therapy room, building the capacity of the four volunteers through trainings, awareness campaigns in the community and surrounding areas, provision of food and clothing and supply of assistive devices.