Sustainable Development Goal number 4 (SDG4) - Quality Education is the foundation of all other SDGs and critical to the better future of the world. Access to quality education should be the basic right of everybody. However, Students could learn well only when they are physically and mentally prepared. Although there are children enrolled in primary schools within slums in Kenya, due to the trauma they experience on a day-to-day basis they are unable to have good learning outcomes, yet their teachers are not equipped with the psycho-social knowledge and skill to ensure they can handle students going through such experiences because they lack the training and know-how. We want to ensure they are equipped with these skills so that they can improve the learning outcomes of their students so that they can survive and push themselves forward to have a well-being life in the future.
The global challenge is to prepare kids living in extreme conditions with mental safety, dignity, and hope. As of 2016, there are over 66 million displaced people around the world and around 1 billion people living in slums. Out of these people, 20% are kids (over 210 million) and they live in environments very much different from other kids of the rest of world. Violence, drugs, and sexual abuse are common and many of them suffer from psychological trauma, which prevents them from learning effectively in schools.
Insight 1: Kids living in extreme conditions need psychological help before they can learn effectively in school, but their teachers do not have skills to provide this help.
Insight 2: Current NGOs and government programs focus on nutrition, curriculum etc., but no one is providing psychological help. Providing psychological help is first very much needed, and secondly could be a lever that helps maximize the impact of other programs.
We are starting with the slums in Kenya but once the pilot program works out, we can extend it to slums and displaced families in other parts of the world.
Equipping primary school teachers within slums in Nairobi with the psycho-social training, preparing a toolkit and creating a professional development network for them for community networks. With these skills, the teachers can help their students with mental safety to learn effectively. The program is co-created with local community from the slums in the last 7 days and also based on the strengths of our team. We are currently working on setting up the program and could accelerate it once we get initial funding.
After evaluating existing programs, we identified that they are training teachers within this context, but none is focusing on developing psychosocial skills for teachers to be able to handle students coming from such traumatic backgrounds. Ultimately, we want to focus on this so that we ensure they are helping students achieve their learning outcomes.
We are also using a Collective Impact Model in which we connect organization and people together, pooling and utilizing resources from various parts for the world to tackle a critical problem. We will create a platform for collaboration that can be used to solve other problems in the future.
We want to improve the learning outcomes of students from slums, we will evaluate our program’s effectiveness through tracking dropout rates and performance on exams. We are starting to focus on 8 schools within Mathare slum in Kenya with 40 teachers and their 800 students. However, we aim to make an impact to all children in slum in the world so one billion students will be our potential impact.
We have so far been in touch with 8 schools within Mathare slums and are part of a network known as Mpito school networks who have access to 65 teachers and we want to run a pilot program with at least 40 teachers to test our pilot program, get the improvement points and learn how to refine the program moving forward.
We have already signed up advisors from organizations including UNESCO, Finnish Ministry of Education, USAID, etc. Next week, our team members will meet with Gates Foundation and Facebook to pitch our ideas.
We need funding of 47 370 USD to run our pilot project (please email [email protected] for budget details).
We would also need the support in developing the toolkit so that it is effective and accessible for all the teachers.