Making a difference in Kenya

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Hi everyone! This is Haley Mackenzie, a 2019 nutrition intern working with Farmers Helping Farmers and funded through the Queen Elizabeth Scholar program.

I’ll start by telling you a little bit about me. I was born and raised on a vegetable farm in Prince Edward Island, where I live with two lovely parents, a younger sister and older brother, and two Yorkshire terriers. I enjoy spending my summers in the field with my parents, whether it be transplanting cabbage, delivering string beans, or manning the corn maze at our roadside stand. Last summer I worked for the City of Charlottetown as a ‘Sustainable Horticulture Intern’, where I fell deeper in love with agriculture and horticulture.

Come October, I visited Dr. Jennifer Taylor’s office for an advisory meeting and saw the ‘Want to Make a Difference?’ handout on her door. Although I had heard about this trip many times (you know what I mean if you’ve taken any course with Jen), the sign struck me differently that day. I had an Aha-moment where I realized that I could combine the things that I love most—nutrition and horticulture! Of course, I sent in an application.

haley 1

The handout that brought me to Kenya

Seven months later, we landed in Africa. We would be spending the next 90 days working on nutrition projects such as working with women’s groups using the train the trainer model, visiting schools to complete nutritional assessments of the school meals, and visiting homes of the women’s group members to complete interviews. In this blog, I will focus on the school assessments.

Last week, the nutrition team visited Rugetene, a Naari school with a cookhouse, water tank, screenhouse, and grow bag. The cookhouse was large and beautiful, with a chimney, two large cookers/pots, two sets of stainless-steel cups and bowls, and an extension of the building for storage space.

It was wonderful to see happy students and staff as a result of Farmers Helping Farmer’s and the Souris Village Feast’s hard work! The school parents and staff were inspired by the cookhouse and are now also building a new dining hall for the students; they had just started working on the foundation. The staff and children were very excited, appreciative, and inquisitive.

haley 5Nursery children lining up for uji at Rugetene

We began our first assessment by measuring the height, diameter, and distance from the top of the pot down to the uji. We then weighed five cups and bowls in each of the two sizes to determine the portion sizes. We were happy to see that Rugetene had implemented some of the nutrition messages taught by previous nutrition interns: they were adding two grains to uji, and were using soaked mpempe (whole grain maize) and were adding kale to the githeri (maize and bean stew). When the uji was ready, we weighed five cups and took the average. While the children received their uji, I took this chance to try a cup myself. I did note that it was extremely hot in the stainless-steel mug and I burnt my tongue on my first sip. After 10 minutes of sitting in a cold bowl of water, I got a taste of my very first Kenyan uji! It was very similar to cream of wheat porridge that I’d had at home and aside from my burnt tongue, I enjoyed it.

haley 2Here I am measuring the height of the uji pot

haley 3

Julia and I weighing uji at Rugetene to determine average portion size

After the uji, we left the cookhouse to greet the children since we had to wait for the githeri to finish cooking. Many of the students asked us if we knew the Canadian teachers who had been working at the school earlier in the year which was quite cute. We were invited into the Headmaster’s office for tea, arrowroot, bread, and watermelon. Julia & I then returned to the cookhouse to complete our githeri assessment.

haley 4

Rugetene’s cook hard at work stirring the githeri

The next day, we visited Kiborione, a Buuri school that had not received any nutritional messages or FHF support as yet. The school had many water tanks and a garden with white sweet potatoes and some fruit trees. However, they had no screen house and their old cookhouse was very smoky. Julia and I ran in and out of the smoke to take measurements and ask questions, holding our breath and tearing up.

haley 6

Julia handing out githeri at Kiborione

Only three weeks in to our Kenyan experience, I have learned so much and have adjusted to a completely different lifestyle than what I’m used to on our gentle island.

We just returned from an amazing weekend at Sweetwaters resort on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

When we were leaving, we told our server that we are returning ‘home’. Of course, he asked about our flight time and we realized, we had just referred to Kenya as our home for the first time.

Advertisements

Vet blog #1 – A successful first week

Update #1 from Chantal Doyle and Hannah Hone, DVM students and Dr. John VanLeeuwen, Atlantic Veterinary College

Pic3 IMG_0855

      Hanna and Chantel with ‘ole faithful’: The Gypsy

What a first week in Kenya! We arrived after a long day of travel and spent the first two nights at the ACK (Anglican Church of Kenya) which introduced us to our first few tastes of Kenyan food. To say the least, it did not disappoint. Despite the jet lag, we made our way to Sheldrick’s Elephant and Rhino Sanctuary as well as the Giraffe Manner for an up close and personal experience with a couple of Africa’s wild animals.

In doing so, we learned about the amazing conservation efforts for these species. Being drenched by the African rains gave us an excuse (not that we needed it) to go check out the local shops and purchase some handmade authentic garments in addition to working on our non-existent bartering skills. Spending time in Nairobi was the perfect transition into our soon-to-be Kenyan lifestyle.

Pic2 IMG_0869

Chantel finishing a successful antibiotic intravenous infusion

The next day we set off for our final destination, Meru County, where we will be staying for the duration of the summer. On the way “home”, we stopped by the Wakulima Dairy to tour their modernized facility which was developed through extensive collaboration with Farmers Helping Farmers over the past twenty years. It gave us a good reference point for the potential of smaller dairies for further development under the guidance of this foundation. For example, Wakulima began  processing 300 litres of milk/day, improving to a whopping 50 000 litres/day! They have extensive training, diverse employment strategies, and offer incentives to their cooperative farmers in an ongoing effort to produce high quality milk for consumers.

After the impressive tour, we finally arrived at our home for the summer and were eager to get unpacked and settled. Late that evening we were joined by our final team member, PhD student Daniel Muasya, whom we will be assisting with a BVDV- Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus- immunization study, along with training farmers on best management practices.

Pic1 IMG_0895

Dr. John and Hanna taking the heart rate of a calf 

Over the next three months, farmers of the Naari or Buuri Dairy Cooperatives will enable us to study the impact of vaccinating against BVDV. To achieve this, the farmers will be answering questionnaires and allowing us to examine their herd, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. During the first two days in Meru County, we were warmly welcomed by the chairmen of each Dairy. We discussed project details with them and their associates before heading out to the farms. And that is where we come in.

We are gaining valuable hands-on experience through the implementation of physical exams of the local cows.  This week alone, we did multiple CMT tests aiding in the diagnosis of our first case of systemic mastitis treated with intravenous antibiotics. We also did multiple rectal exams to confirm various stages of pregnancy or lack thereof, as well as overall health status and management assessments. We saw a case of sciatic nerve damage as well as a mold toxicosis likely due to poor feed management.

Overall, the Kenyan farmers have been very accommodating and have shown their gratitude with gifts from their gardens. If this week is any indication, we have much to look forward to.

 

Sawa sawa: lessons from Kenya

Hello!

My name is Julia Heckbert and I am one of the nutrition interns working in Kenya this summer! I am going into my fourth year in the Foods & Nutrition program at UPEI. I transferred into UPEI this past year using my previous Biochemistry Nutrition degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

After graduating, I worked in China for two years as a teacher and travelled to parts of Asia. During that time, I realized I wanted to get back to nutrition and become a registered dietitian.

I am originally from Summerside, PEI and was excited to be able to go to school in my home province. I was even more excited to find out that I could combine my love of travel and nutrition to discover a new culture in Kenya within my degree. I jumped on the opportunity to work with Farmers Helping Farmers and come to Kenya with funding from the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program. Although it has only been a week, I am so glad that I did.

picture #1

Visiting the Giraffe Sanctuary in Nairobi

After visiting the Giraffe sanctuary, the elephant orphanage and the Kazuri bead factory in Nairobi, we travelled to Meru to settle into our new home. Since then, we have started our home interviews and did our first CHAMPS informational session!

CHAMPS stand for champions, or women leaders in the community. For this session, we met at the house of the chairlady of the Gatima women’s group, Margaret. Upon arrival, we were greeted with (rather loud) Kenyan music on the radio and smiling faces. Even though we scheduled the session to start at 10 am, the women trickled in one by one and we started later than anticipated. Given that the women have to take care of their family and farm every morning, it is understandable why they may be later than planned. While we waited, we tested out our newly learned Swahili and Kimeru words and phrases on the women. They laughed at our attempts and seemed to appreciate the effort.

As we finally settled in to teach our nutritional messages to the women, they were engaged and receptive. I started by teaching them about the importance of soaking maize and beans and adding orange vegetables to githeri. We were slightly distracted by chickens and cats who were attempting to look for crumbs in the house. The women did not understand why we wanted to pet the cats and kept shoo-ing them away.

There were lots of questions and discussion about how the tips should be implemented and I was glad to see that the women were invested in the work that we are doing. The women asked about what food they could eat with tea and how tea may impact iron absorption. Understanding the reasons behind the nutritional tips was an important motivator for the women to consider applying the changes.

pic number 2

Haley and I with our translator Dorcus going through the nutritional messages

After the educational part of our session, we organized the amount of ingredients we would need for our seminar with help from our CHAMPs. They knew exactly how much we would need and the cost of each item. Our translator Dorcas did a great job collecting the numbers and relaying them back to us!

Much to our surprise, the women had prepared a full lunch for us and we were given huge amounts of food while there —beef stew, rice and tea. So far, Kenyan food has been some of my favourite that I have tried and I am excited to have my first taste of Githeri tonight!

We spent hours at the chairlady’s house and worked out many of the details that needed to be organized for our educational seminar with the rest of the group. We are extremely fortunate to have help from the executive members of the Gatima women’s group. They have helped us schedule the home interviews and have taken us around the community to show us the locations of the different farms. We are grateful for their assistance and I do not think we would be able to do much of anything without them! Salome, who works with Farmers Helping Farmers (some of you may have met her when she came to Canada) was a fabulous help in contacting the women.

pic number 3

Standing with the Gatima CHAMPS and executive members 

It is has only been ten days since we landed in Nairobi and I have learned a lot and been exposed to many new things already. As a very organized person, one of the most important things I have learned is to go with the flow a.k.a. “Sawa Sawa” (no worries/no problem).

Of welcomes and work: an update from Jennifer Taylor

jennifer taylor top photo

Jambo Everyone,

This is Jennifer Taylor, a foods and nutrition professor at UPEI, and a proud Farmers Helping Farmers (FHF) member!

I have been travelling to Kenya with Foods & Nutrition students/dietetic interns since 2010- this is my eighth trip, which is hard to believe.  I was reluctant to come since I felt I would have nothing to offer, but started coming thanks to current FHF President Colleen Walton.

I normally do not have time to write a post in the day time. However, today I was visiting schools with our friend and lifetime FHF member Jennifer Murogocho.  Michogomene school was beginning construction on a new cookhouse, and Jennifer asked me to come with her. My Foods & Nutrition students Haley MacKenzie and Julia Heckbert went to nearby Kibirichia to interview some members of the Gatima women’s group concerning their food and their shamba (farm). They were accompanied by Salome, an amazing FHF employee, and our new translator Dorcas, so they were in very good hands (They completed four interviews in one day, which is our target!).  We finished by 2, so I am able to catch up on writing. AND the internet is working on my laptop! Woo hoo!

jen 2019 7 the team

I will leave it up to my nutrition students (funded through the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program) to tell you the details about our nutrition work. For this blog, I will tell you about our home, and my visits to schools this week.

We have a clean, safe house which is very fancy by rural Kenya standards (hot water, electricity, beds with mattresses, etc).  We considered looking for another place closer to Kibirichia (where we are working this year) but I am so glad we stayed with the Rose house, as we call it. It is owned by Mrs. Rose who also owns a restaurant and hotel in nearby Meru town.  Our cooks Boni and Alfred are both from her restaurant, so they cook off the menu. We are being fed like kings!  Last night, we had delicious butternut squash soup and amazing pizza with pineapple, julienned vegs and ground beef. So good! The vegetarians will eat fish so they had tuna on theirs. The other night we had FRIED bananas with our dinner. They were so good no one spoke for some time. We just looked at each other and shook our head. We have a huge platter of fresh fruit every day- in the morning and evening.  And silky avocado at most meals. THAT is one thing I miss when I go home!  While I was sitting here writing this post at 3 p.m., Alfred set a plate of fried potatoes and a sandwich on the table for me. I said “You eat it, Alfred! I have already had something.”    Jennifer and I talked today about how perfect this house is for us. Mrs. Rose who owns the house is so very kind to us. We saw her at lunch on Monday (we were there with Salome planning our work) and she hugged me so tight. And told the girls “I am your Mum while you are here”.  Last year, she treated the students to a free night and a swim in the pool.

The showers are also nice and hot this year, which is a real blessing.  I remind myself that we are very spoiled compared to so many here that don’t have a latrine let alone a hot shower. Outhouses are the most common things we see with pit toilets.  And, we have barnyard friends: yesterday we all were howling laughing at the little black lamb in our yard who was chasing the chickens. The rooster came along and chased the lamb back to his parents. It was adorable.  The vet students (whom you will soon meet) Hanna and Chantal have been trying to get close to the sheep, but they are very shy. Those students love, love animals.

jen 2019 8

We have visited three schools this week which is unusual for me.  We are usually focusing on getting interviews done with the women to assess their baseline nutrition and knowledge of good farming practices. This year, I delivered the letters to schools from PEI kids early so we can get them back in time for John and I to return with them in two weeks.  The two schools we visited were Mitoone Primary, twinned with West Kent school  and Michogomone Primary (twinned with Mt Stewart School).    We also visited a fourth school today (Thurs) (Muruguma) and delivered letters from Three Oaks Senior High.   Another school, Ndunyu, also had letters but these were delivered by Stephen Mwenda, one of the amazing FHF staff.The students and staff love to see the letters coming and very much appreciate the fund raising that the PEI schools do on their behalf.  When we visited Mitoone Primary and Michogomone Primary schools on Monday, we were welcomed as if we were royalty! Head teachers assembled the children, who sang for us. And we took pictures with representatives from each grade.

jen 2019 4

Celebrating letters from West Kent School at Mitoone Primary

jen 2019 2

Celebrating letters from Mount Stewart School at Michogomone Primary 

Of course, when we visit schools, we are welcomed like royalty. Jennifer is kind of royalty here anyway: she is the one that does the arrangements for every school cookhouse and that is a huge job. She has to convince parents to bring large stones to the school, to dig the hole for the foundation by hand AND donate maize and beans from their home so the kids can eat.  So I helped her with that today. I told them I had seen the benefits of the cookhouses and the school meals since I first came in 2010. They seem interested when I tell them that I have worked in Kiirua, Naari and now Kibirichia (all within 30 min of each other). I told them that teachers and head teachers (principals) tell us that school attendance increases when a school meal is offered. Some kids don’t get another meal in the day which is hard to think about.  I also told them that children have more energy and learn better when they eat a good meal which is true. The deputy head teacher, a woman, said she has seen that herself.  Educational achievement is huge here- schools compete with each other to get the highest achievement on standard tests.

Jennifer murogocho cookhouseJennifer did a great job explaining to the 67 parents why they need to help build the cookhouse, supply the large stones and contribute maize and beans for the children’s meals. And there are cows at most schoolyards so there is cow pie there too!

This morning, there were over 65 parents at Michogomone school, with some trickling near the end. When Jennifer and I arrived, the parents were digging the foundation of the school cookhouse by hand. Backbreaking work, and both men and women were taking turns.

jen 2019 5

As always, everyone sitting in chairs at the front speaks to the crowd (all are sitting on the grass, many with babies or toddlers).  First, the Chairman of the School Board spoke. He was great- he is a retired teacher and is clearly quite passionate about helping kids. He told me that he used to teach biology and he really understood why nutrition matters!  Then the head teacher Frederik (not sure of spelling) talked for quite a while about the importance of parents committing to the cookhouse.  He is so gracious- invited my students to come anytime and participate in sports day or the music festival

They were genuinely appreciative of FHF’s efforts at their school- that is so clear.  When I went earlier this week to Michogomone Primary to drop off the letters from Mt Stewart school kids, I saw that they were adding kale and carrots to the githeri, which my students Hannah and Madi had recommended last year. That was very satisfying to see and I am going to send them a pic!  When it was my turn to speak, Jennifer translated for me and I had to stop a few times and say “What are you saying?” because they were laughing.

jen 2019 3

She was telling the parents that I love to cook. That isn’t a bad thing here as all the women have to learn to cook at a very early age.  I told them I have to leave in 2 weeks (1 week gone already!), or my husband would divorce me. Gales of laughter ensued, especially from the women. It always amazes me how much we have in common. They love nothing more than a humorous comment about husbands!  Finally, a young mother got up and spoke as well, telling the parents they all needed to work together and be on the same page in order to make this big project work.  She was very bright and also quite passionate. Jennifer was pleased.

We finished with banana, Kenyan tea and mandazi (a fried dough) in the teacher’s room.  The bananas are just incredible- tangy and so fresh. One young male teacher was grading workbooks and we shared that marking is the most miserable part of teaching. He was grinning when I told him I often fall asleep marking (which my husband can attest to!).  That was a great moment where we both realized that, in the end, we are just teachers trying our best.

jen 2019 1

This week reminded me of how importance the FHF school programming is, and how amazing it is to have the partnerships we have between Farmers Helping Farmers and the Souris Village Feast.  These cookhouses are not “handouts”, however.  Our Kenyan partners engage with the parents and the school administrators to make sure these cookhouses are put in place and are effective.  To make sure the meals make the most of vegetables from the school garden, nutrition interns Haley and Julia will, like past nutrition interns, be assessing the quality of the meals being offered at Kibirichia school this year and making recommendations for when they get their water tanks and cookhouses.

Stay tuned for posts from the nutrition team!

Jen

 

 

Experience of a lifetime

krystal 6 2

By Krystal Woodside

March 27, 2019

All good things must come to an end! Today marks our last day in beautiful Kenya. After finishing teaching and the projects in the Meru area we travelled to Nairobi for a few days. It was amazing to play tourist for a while and see a different area. While in Nairobi we visited lots of areas including an elephant orphanage, the Kazuri bead factory and the national museum. I love getting to see more of the culture and amazing wildlife that this country has to offer.

The Kazuri bead factory was especially interesting as it employs over 300 single women and provides them with consistent work and also medical care. These women make the gorgeous beads and pottery that is shipped all around the world. It was interesting to hear more about the factory and speak to the women who benefit from this place.

krystal 6 1

One of the women at the Kazuri bead factory hand rolling the beads for their jewellery

Today has been a day of reminiscing. I am so lucky that I was able to complete my six week teaching placement here in Kenya. Working with Farmers Helping Farmers and their projects has made the experience that much more special. While here I was able to see first hand the impact that Farmers Helping Farmers projects have on the people of Kenya and also on the people of P.E.I. I feel as though I have learned just as much from my time here as I was able to teach others. I have grown not only as an educator but also as an individual. This practicum has taught me more about patience, compassion, flexibility and also about the importance of respecting others. All of these lessons have come from Kenyan people and their culture and for that I will be forever grateful.

krystal 6 3

From left to right Brent, Maude, Jennifer, Hailey, Erica, and me. Jennifer was our Kenyan mother for the time we were here in Kenya.

Although this blog feels so final I know that it is not the end. When I am back in Canada I am looking forward to finding more ways to become involved with Farmers Helping Farmers and their projects. I have already expressed interest in finding ways to make the days for girls project more sustainable here in Kenya.

Another aspect of Farmers Helping Farmers I would like to get more involved in is their school twinning program. Currently there are no schools in their western end of the Island where I am from and I would like to see if I can change that. I am not sure where the rest of my life will take me but I hope that at some point I will have the opportunity to return to Kenya.

Until then Kenya asante sana for everything. This has been an experience of a lifetime and I will not forget the amazing friends I have made along the way.

 

Farewell photo

By Hailey Hennessey

FHF hailey final blog

My fellow classmates and I have completed our teaching practicums. This week we have been participating in various workshops. Since I have finished teaching there are so many things that I am missing about teaching at Rugetene. I miss arriving to the school every morning and seeing all the smiling faces of the students and staff. I miss the excitement of the students and their ambition to participate very actively in class. Most of all I miss being able to talk with the students and staff at lunch time and learning more about their culture and also teaching them about ours. I hope that someday I can return to Kenya and cross paths with those who have made this experience so memorable and positive. Kenya will always hold a special place in my heart and so will Rugetene.

Saying goodbye

maude 3


With some of the students of Michogomone Primary special class. They gave us nice necklaces. They were also very proud of their Canada stickers!!

By Maude Bertrand

This week’s blog entry is pretty simple, but at the same time, very complex. It is about saying goodbye. Indeed, last week was a lot of goodbyes. It started with the schools- we had to say goodbye to the staff and students. It was very difficult to express how grateful I was for the experience in their school. It was hard to find the right words to thank our colleagues for their warm welcome, thank you for having so kindly rearranged their teaching schedule for us, thank you for their trust, thank you for their cheerful hellos in the morning. I feel that I have learnt immensely from them, and they have certainly given me a lot of food for thoughts- thoughts that will make me grow and hopefully help me become a better educator. But how do you find the way to thank people for something that precious…

maude 2 (2)

Bye Michogomone Secondary!

Saying bye to the students was also difficult. During our time in their school, they had been amazing : always curious, engaged and motivated in the classroom. Every morning, they had welcomed us warmly, had discussed with us during the break, asking lots of questions about Canada and answering many of ours about Kenya. It had been such a joy to discuss with such intelligent young adults. I really hope I was able to bring a little something into their lives.

And so we said goodbye to the students on Wednesday, after our Days for Girls workshop, but we still had many friends to see: Mwenda, Tonie, David our driver, Jennifer, and so on… Sunday was a very sad day. Brent, Brett, Krystal and Hailey had already left for Nairobi in the morning, but Erica and I wanted to stay an extra day at the house to enjoy Naari with Alfred and Boniface, our cooks, who had became very close friends. We shared stories, met Boniface’s family, had a lovely walk and a nice meal together: it was the perfect way to say goodbye. But again… To these two amazing people who have given us so much, who have always gone above and beyond to make us feel at home, who had become friends and running partners… how do you say goodbye…

maude 1 (2)

Boni and Alfred

I don’t know if I’ll be back in Kenya. I would love too, but it is always a matter of timing and opportunities. Therefore, I don’t know if I will ever see these people again. But what I know is that all the memories are forever tattooed on my heart. I will never forget Kenya. I will never forget the amazing friends that I have meet in that beautiful country.

maude 4

Last run with Boni. Joined by our little neighbours, Alex and Munene

 

Receiving Mosquito Bed Nets

Update from the FHF Safe Inclusive Schools team in Kenya

Carolyn Francis, Carolyn Thorne, and Liz Townsend are in Kenya from March 6 to 26 to lead workshops and school visits on Positive Learning for All, the third stage in the SIS Project.

 

rugetene blog 1

Wonderful celebrations took place with the distribution of 250 mosquito bed nets at Rugetene Primary School.

On Saturday March 23rd, pupils, teachers, parents and Board of Management gathered with great enthusiasm. Jennifer Murogocho, Carolyn Francis, Liz Townsend & Carolyn Thorne were joined by 6 practice teachers to distribute the nets. Hailey Hennessey and Krystal Woodside had taught at the school.

How joyous it was to be greeted with dancing, singing, and innovative drama on the school compound!

rugetene blog 2

 

A wonderful visit at Nkando Primary

Update from the FHF Safe Inclusive Schools team in Kenya

Carolyn Francis, Carolyn Thorne, and Liz Townsend are in Kenya from March 6 to 26 to lead workshops and school visits on Positive Learning for All, the third stage in the SIS Project.

nkando blog 1b

One of the most outlying, dusty, and needy schools is Nkando Primary, twinned with Margate Pastoral Charge.

After driving for more than an hour from Meru, we were greeted with marching and dancing by the school’s Scout troop. We went for a Celebration to announce a significant donation from Margate Pastoral Charge. We joined pupils, parents, and teachers in a large circle under an acacia tree. Everyone including the SIS team was included in the traditional singing and dancing.

There was great excitement due to the improvements to the school that could be made with the donation. The head master made an impassioned speech to acknowledge the contributions that have been made by Farmers Helping Farmers through the twinning program.

nkando blog 2

Planned improvements include an additional water tank, gutters linking to the new tank, payment for water line maintenance fees, and an extension to the screen house for the garden.

Perhaps the most significant assistance with this donation will be the provision of maize and beans to sustain the pupils during this time of severe drought.

The hospitality of Kenyans is ever present, and we were provided a wonderful meal before our departure.

To read more about the great work of the Margate Pastoral Charge, visit our website. They are one of the groups celebrated during the 2019 International Development Week on P.E.I.

http://www.farmershelpingfarmers.ca/2019/02/celebrating-international-development-week-2019-monday/

 

Successful Workshops on Positive Learning for All in Meru

Update from the FHF Safe Inclusive Schools team in Kenya

Carolyn Francis, Carolyn Thorne, and Liz Townsend are in Kenya from March 6 to 26 to lead workshops and school visits on Positive Learning for All, the third stage in the SIS Project.

sis blog 5 1

The Safe Inclusive Schools Project seems to excite everyone we encounter. Our two-day workshop in Meru sparked deep discussions with 37 head teachers and others including Jennifer Makena Murogocho, our Meru host and key local organizer.

Jennifer, an important Farmers Helping Farmers Kenyan partner in Meru, had invited participants from primary and secondary schools twinned past and present. From 9 AM to 4 PM each of the two days Carolyn Francis, Liz Townsend and Carolyn Thorne explored positive discipline and creating more inclusive schools in keeping with Kenyan laws and policies.

The days were filled with many experiential learning activities. An added bonus for participants was the introduction of a 25 page draft ‘Positive Discipline and Learning for All’ guide created by the SIS team.

sis blog 5 2

Participants gave lots of feedback for developing the four chapters, positive discipline and learning, inclusion and differentiated instruction, instructional strategies, and accessibility in schools.

If you’re wondering how the workshops were received, evaluations were all positive.

Here are a few comments: “If we completely implement all that we have learned in the workshop our schools will improve”; “The same workshop should continue to all teachers so that positive change can be experienced by all – to all Kenyan schools”; and, “Very useful guide to be able to digest the workshop after reflection and flashing back..”

Thanks to Farmers Helping Farmers for supporting the SIS Project since 2017!

To read more about Safe Inclusive Schools, visit our Farmers Helping Farmers website.

http://www.farmershelpingfarmers.ca/projects/safe-inclusive-schools-project/