The CBTAF project provides an opportunity for local youth to contribute to both classroom-based and out-of-classroom educational needs of learners in under-resourced neighborhoods. To complement our activities in the schools and sustain impact, we bring in their families and the general community to support the learners’ educational ambitions. Delivered through a six-month youth service fellowship with a volunteer component; CBTAF equips young people with skills to initiate and run sustainable community impact projects.
We do annual recruitment of volunteers who go through an initial two weeks of pre-field training on fundamentals of classroom support, professional etiquette, dynamics of education, community mobilization into action, participatory resource mobilization, fundamentals of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), and storytelling. PACE places fellows in informal schools where they take up the role of volunteer teaching assistants and engage the community.
The Fellows participate in the following initiatives:
(i). Classroom-based support.
Much as the issue of poor learning outcomes in schools based in informal settlements of Kenya is a known phenomenon, the situation in informal primary schools remains dire. The acute shortage of learning resources and the low number of, or non-existence of trained teachers, has made the learners in these schools lack interest in learning generally, but specifically in numeracy based subjects which are perceived hard. PACE fellows assist with marking examinations, grading, making teaching aids, and providing after-class one on one tutorial support to weak learners.
(ii) Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL)
To support the numeracy and literacy needs of the students in our informal partner schools, PACE fellows implement the TaRL program. TaRL is a child-centered pedagogical approach to literacy and numeracy. TaRL was developed by Pratham in India, and tested via randomized control trials (RCT). Through the TaRL program, students are taught literacy and numeracy skills in a fun way using non-expensive materials like sticks and bottle top. TaRL has proven to produce significant gains in reading and numeracy ability.
(iii) Sports, games and peer mentorship
The fellows either initiate or re-invigorate clubs, sports, and games programs in the schools. Because PACE fellows come from the surrounding community, they understand and relate to the challenges the students are facing. They are poised to act as relatable mentors for the students. The age disparity between the fellows and the students is also not so vast; hence the students are likely to see them as relatable and understanding, further reinforcing their roles as peer mentors and their ability to teach the students relevant life skills.
(iv) Community Resource Mobilization
The fellows identify and mobilize local community resources to support the educational needs of the children in informal schools.
The Teacher Empowerment Network targets newly qualified teachers joining the pool of 300,000 unemployed teachers. It seeks to address the challenges new teachers face. The model provides motivated and adequately credentialed teachers to help improve student learning outcomes measurably and help resolve teacher attrition problems.
A typical Kenyan classroom size in the underprivileged communities has an average of 60 students. Our teachers support a minimum of 2 classes per school; therefore, a minimum of 2400 under-privileged learners annually benefit directly from a pool of highly motivated and well-exposed teachers, resulting in improved test scores. We track changes in classroom performance monthly and quarterly and compare between the different schools and with classes that do not have our teachers. We also collect monthly feedback from participants and school administrators on satisfaction with the model and areas of improvement.
This project is in line with and augments the TSC developmental model for Kenyan teachers. It creates an opportunity for synergy with and real partnership with the Kenyan government. Unlike other teacher development models, TEN gets the best out of teacher training schools and provides them with the best support.
SBS are entrepreneurial classes which teach women in underprivileged communities on how to initiate and sustain micro-enterprises. Specially trained PACE staff members take the lead in conducting SBS classes to pre-identified underprivileged women within our parents community. 89% of SBS graduates begin at least one business in two years upon finishing the classes. By empowering women financially, we increase their participation in and support their children’s academic endeavors. In specific instances, a few members of the community who are not part of our parents’ community but who meet the set criteria are eligible for enrollment into the SBS classes.