Kinyambu Primary School – building a library and fence and providing resources.
Location: Kinyambu, Makueni County, Kenya
Partner: Kinyambu Rural Education and Community Development
Friends of Kinyambu and the Kinyambu Primary School Library are two parts of a project intended to provide resources needed to improve learning outcomes for students including a library building. The library has been built and is being used by the school community.
Kinyambu is a village and surrounding area of about 9650 people, 650 people living in the village and almost 9000 in the surrounding area, about 200 kilometers east of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. The people of Kinyambu are mainly Kamba people, a large tribal group living east of Nairobi. Electricity has just reached the part of the village that is directly adjacent to the main highway from Nairobi to Mombasa, and has now been installed in some of the school buildings.
The school consists of a number of basic classrooms built in the typical manner in Kenya. There is a long row of cement-walled rooms with barred but unglazed windows and simple wooden doors that don’t seal well. Teachers have few resources to use in their teaching and little storage for any resources they do have. Their staff room is rudimentary and crowded and having a space to store supplies and resources would enable them to have a better workplace.
The library project is now complete. It is a separate structure in the school compound, which is now surrounded by a completed fence. The school is about a kilometer from the main village but there are many people living on small farm plots surrounding the school and village who would have easy access.
Parents, teachers and administration of Kinyambu Primary school have taken this project into their hearts and will maintain it through their ongoing efforts. The Friends of Kinyambu project, part of Rainbow of Hope at this time, is planned to be a way to keep the library and school supplied with resources for a long time into the future. Cardinal Leger School in Saskatoon has adopted this as a long term project as well and continues to provide support.
The fencing and school resources project began with a visit to Kinyambu Primary School in 2010 by Connie Gerwing, now on the board of directors of ROHFC. The initial request in 2010 from Mr. Stephen Kamenzi, the Headmaster of the school at that time, was for a school in Canada that would twin with them in order to enhance the English language learning of the children and give them a window on the larger world. Mr. Guy Werbicki of Cardinal Leger School in Saskatoon was looking for such a contact to give his students a view of the world outside of Canada and a way to give of themselves and learn about social justice issues. The two were able to talk on the phone and begin working together on these goals.
This is part of a note from Mr. Kamenzi to Mr. Werbicki:
“We are dedicated to uplift the academic standards in Kinyambu to match those of other modern schools in our country as well as opening up our children to the outside world using the exchange programme between our school and Cardinal Leger School.
I am pleased to inform you that my pupils and teachers were overwhelmed with joy yesterday (8-9-2010) when I announced to them that your school has accepted to partner with ours. Very soon you will hear from them in the form of writing.”
The school is situated in a semi arid region and people mainly depend on farming which does not do well due to poor climatic conditions. This has led to poverty which has negatively affected education, since parents can do very little to support education in the school.
The main objective of the project is to provide the school with learning and other resources that will enhance the academic and social functioning of the students. At the present time the Free Primary Education programme of the government of Kenya supplies textbooks and some stationary (not enough). There is a basic school building, which consists of classrooms with bars but no glass on the windows, blackboards in very poor condition and desks in very poor condition. Communities are responsible for building the schools – a poor community has poor buildings. The govern
The initial priorities are fencing, school uniforms for the most vulnerable children and materials for art, drama, music and gymnastics. New desks and other furnishings have been added. The students have won several awards for musical and drama productions in the past years but need funds to continue this. Fencing is important because local people use the school grounds as a shortcut with motorcycles doing the most harm to the playing fields. Cattle and goats often roam freely in the school grounds searching for food, particularly in the dry season. One of the projects the children have been doing is planting trees to improve their environment since deforestation is a big problem in Kenya. The fence has been finished and awaits only a gate to be complete.