The Malezi Community Digital Hub is a program led by our Computer Aid Kenya office with a view to establishing one of the only hubs in one of the most vulnerable communities in Kenya.
Less than a handful of NGOs work in Kitui Ndogo slum due to its hazardous sanitation problems, security issues, and its relatively small size (compared with Kibera slum). It's been neglected by the local government administration, which does not have the resources or willpower to address the numerous, complex challenges facing residents of this community. It’s home to an estimated 50,000 residents many of who survive on less than $1 USD/day. This means that despite the fact that 20% of the residents are children, most of their families cannot afford to pay for adequate education for their children. It’s situated on the east side, 15 minutes away from Nairobi’s city centre in the Majengo locality.
In 1998, Grace Kavoi, a teacher, decided to move into Kitui Ndogo with her husband and start a free daycare program which she would end up calling Malezi, meaning "to care for/nurture" in Kiswahili. Being the first school in the community's history to offer affordable education, creating sustainable, grassroots change through education. Malezi began as a school but has grown into a thriving centre for community transformation, which is changing lives and gradually improving conditions in the slum. At the core, Malezi is a platform for inspiring residents to change their lives despite their real and significant poverty issues.
Malezi School is a private institution with a population of 230 students from class 1 to class 8 paying a monthly fee of 350 KES (3,5USD), 20% of the students are sponsored by the school paying no fees including 3 kids with special needs.
However, due to new government regulations, the minister of education is requiring schools to implement mandatory IT training and to follow a digital curriculum. Schools are not supplied with the necessary technology to implement the new curriculum, and low-income schools in informal settlements are neglected. Teachers are not offered the necessary training, even though some of them have never used a computer before. The government has only offered a few teachers 3 days of training which doesn’t achieve enough; technology can still seem frightening and computers are an unreachable tool.
By developing the digital hub at the school ground, we are going to enrol 11 teachers from 5 schools and 4 members of the local community into ICDL training, getting them certified in IT skills which will enable them to, in turn, train their students and be able to implement the digital curriculum in their courses. The digital hub will serve the teachers and students in Malezi school as well as other 5 neighbouring schools with an average student population between 80 to 150 students each.
The program aims to provide more than 2,784 hours of access to technology per year and impact more than 590 people among teachers, students, school leavers and adults from this underprivileged community.
The benefits expected for teachers include:
- Achieving ICDL certification, European standard training and certification for ICT skill.
- A more diverse, contemporary and innovative range of teaching materials used in the classroom.
- Inter-institutional knowledge transfer of modern teaching techniques using ICT; this will help educators to develop their professional skills even at traditionally resource-poor schools.
- Reduction of teacher isolation by enabling them to connect with other education experts and improvement of teacher retention.
- Improved access to a wider range of resources, which helps teachers to enhance their lesson content and helps keep their knowledge up-to-date.
- Improve efficiency of teaching conceptual subjects by enabling the use of computers and projector over chalk and a blackboard, reducing the time it takes to cover the content of the academic syllabus (this has been an invariable observation in almost all our ICT for education projects).
The benefits expected for students include:
- Promoting interactive learning for students and the ability to apply their computer skills in other academic subjects.
- Supporting students to understand both complex and intangible subjects; particularly related to physics and mathematics.
- Encouraging independent and explorative learning through the use of ICT - supporting more interactive student-teacher engagement.
- Improving student motivation, improving student retention with a hope to impact achievement levels.
- Improving student confidence to continue in further education.
The Malezi community centre will also select 5 community leaders to get certified in ICDL as trainers, so they can train community members, especially school leavers and adults during after school hours, charging a small fee to be able to receive a salary; this combined with the Cyber Cafe services will help the financial sustainability of the centre after the end of the program.