Education

We believe in the transformative power of education –  we improve access, enhance quality and boost achievement. We support the educational aspirations of children and families in Msambweni.

Etatu’s current priorities are to:

  • Ensure that all children in the Msambweni Orphans’ Programme can go to school
  • Promote and provide for girls’ education
  • Ensure our Learning Banda in Mwaemebe is a valuable and effective community resource
  • Improve the experience and raise the achievement of all children keen to learn.

What we do

We sponsor childrens’ schooling

We sponsor children’s primary education by buying uniforms, shoes, essential school supplies and school lunch. We sponsor 32 secondary school children too: paying fees and providing the necessary help to achieve better: school meals, text books, access to a homework club and payments towards health care. Not everyone is suited to school; we sponsor vocational training places also: carpentry, tailoring, driving lessons.

Sponsored children, especially those who are orphans, appreciate the sense of being cared about and that someone is interested in sharing their experiences.  Sponsors build a relationship with a child during an important time in their educational development.  The girls in the picture (above right) are writing to their sponsors.

For further information, or to start sponsoring a child, please go to the ‘How you can help’ page of this website and look under the ‘Sponsor a Child’ heading. Alternatively, please contact us; we would be delighted to help.

We encourage girls

Etatu values and encourages girls’ education.  Over half of those we sponsor at secondary level are girls.  The significance of secondary education for a girl is profound. This document explains the importance of schooling to a girl, to her family and to her community:

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This piece presents the case clearly, moving and succinctly:

Many girls skip up to 20% of the school year because they cannot afford to buy mainstream sanitary products when they menstruate. This absenteeism and interruption to their education has significant consequences on their achievement.

To address this, we have piloted the use of ‘Afripads’, made in Uganda.  These are environmentally sustainable, reusable sanitary pads and were praised by everyone who tried them. We have trained women to distribute them to small groups of girls and over 120 girls have received them,  including all who need them at Msambweni Primary School.

Head teachers are trying to ensure that girls are not discouraged from attending school – for example by raising funds to build separate toilet facilities for girls and boys.

We support families

Etatu offers support for families, providing them with the means to ensure their children can go to school.  As well as providing uniforms and school supplies, we offer school lunches for the poorest, improving concentration through the school day.

Etatu arranges eye tests and buys glasses, treats jiggers and provides mosquito nets. These measures mean fewer days are lost through illness and also improve achievement.

When an income earner dies, when there is a medical emergency, when the stigma relating to a disability is preventing a child from going to school or simply when the costs of schooling are too much to bear, Etatu helps families in their desire to send their children to school.

We run homework and study groups

Etatu has set up homework and study groups, giving children the chance to get together to help each other and to study,  after school and in the holidays.  A simple book lending service is part of the study group system.

If there are no tables and chairs, a box of books is enough.  The drive for learning is immense.

We distribute solar lights and ‘School-in-a-Bag’

In the last two years we have distributed over 1050 bags, filled with school supplies and a solar light.  An additional 275 lights have been given to village families.

The bags were made in Mombasa, the pencil cases in Mwaembe; all the contents were sourced locally.

We assess the impact that our initiatives make on achievement.  We believe that the positive difference these donations made contributed significantly to the remarkable success of Msamwbeni Primary in the KCSE exams in 2014.  They were the most improved school in the area.

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We work closely with Msambweni Primary School

Etatu supports the work of the Headmaster, Mr. Chimwaga, and the staff.

Since January 2014, Etatu has sponsored five support teachers at Msambweni Primary.  Their influence has been marked.  We conducted a review with 150 children and the effect of the teachers was ranked highest of all the interventions aimed at improving quality and achievement (the other initiatives being bags, lights, meals, holiday classes, books, afripads, hope and motivation provided by the possibility of being able to progress to secondary school.)

Pupils love contact with overseas children.  If you are interested in establishing a similar link with Msambweni Primary, please get in touch.

We have built a Community Learning Banda

At the request of the community and with donated funds earmarked for this project, we have built a Community Learning Centre.   The banda is being used for meetings, homework groups and lessons in the holidays.  A LEAP grant from Better World Books has enabled us to equip it as a community library, the first in the area. Training in library procedures and management are ongoing: books for school and pleasure will be available to everyone. Every day we buy two daily papers for the banda, one in English and one in Swahili.  We have also started ‘Stories and Books’ sessions for the youngest children.

Future plans include the provision of basic computer facilities. The whole community will be able to learn the basics of computing.

Study groups, much needed supplementary Maths and English lessons and a children’s library were the first objectives.  Proposals for the future use of the classroom space are many: it would enable the primary school to think about art, music or library sessions and provide a venue for teacher training. Msambweni finds this an exciting idea and it is a much needed facility.

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The community provided the land for this. It is an honour to be gifted with land and trust in this way.  In addition to ongoing educational work, Etatu  made the Learning Banda its  first major campaign.  We are delighted to have made so much progress in just over two years. Please help us to maintain this site as a dynamic and effective resource for the community.

The reality of education in Msambweni; the reasons we are involved: 

Children value school; it represents hope and future opportunity.  Families strive relentlessly and make significant sacrifices to get their children into school.  The obstacles that remain are enormous however: classrooms of eighty children with one teacher, no text books and three to a desk.

Teaching is in English, the third language for most children. The primary school has no school meal facility; many children attempt a school day on breakfast alone, restricting their ability to concentrate and achieve.

Although primary school is free, school uniform is compulsory, as are various school levies, such as that for a night watchman.  Schools have a zero tolerance policy towards these things.   Even when fees are suddenly increased mid-year, children are sent home immediately if late with payments.

A greatly interrupted schooling is also common due to illness,  malaria, menstruation. Study at home is also impossible: no space, no floor, no tables, no light and still no books.

Msambweni Primary School was the worst performing school in Kwale Province in the final Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams in 2013.

In these circumstances, it is not surprising that people from outside wishing to help often set up their own schools. Etatu has chosen not to do this.  We support the efforts of local schools and offer help alongside them, in the community.  An inspirational new Headteacher and the initiatives Etatu has been involved in contributed significantly, we believe, to the success of Msambweni Primary in the 2014 KCPE exams; they were the third placed school and most improved in the Zone. We were delighted.

Who you have helped to support: an individual’s story

In 2012 Mwanajuma had to leave school as she was bitten by a snake. The hospital fees meant her mother would not be able to afford the rest of the year’s school fees.  We paid the hospital bill and Mwanajuma returned to school.  The grant may have seemed to be about a medical bill, but it was equally about getting Mwanajuma back to school.

We sponsored all of Mwanajuma’s final year at secondary school.  She took her KCSE public exams that December and now works in Mombasa.

How your donation can help

Education is seen as a route out of poverty and a tool against radicalisation.  Recent incidents in Kenya have had a negative impact on the tourist industry all along the coast, even in those areas far removed from the violence. More than ever, assistance towards a life with a secure income is important.

£5 a month sponsors a primary aged orphan for a year, providing them with school uniform, shoes, school supplies, a wholesome weekly meal, soap and toiletries.

£10 provides a pair of durable school shoes for a child

£15 provides a child with a sturdy school bag filled with stationery supplies & a solar light

£35 means a child can be accompanied to the eye clinic, for an eye test and glasses

£60 buys two large solar light devices so that a group of children can study together in the evenings

£100 provides all the books and stationery needed to set up a homework and study group

£320 sponsors a child’s secondary school fees for a year. A further £100 provides uniform, shoes, school lunches, stationery, medical costs, hygiene supplies and a solar light.