Tools for home science training in OLV Girls School in Meru – Eastern Kenya
Meru – Eastern Kenya
The OLV Girls School in Meru – Kenya gives access to secondary education to the most underprivileged girls in the region. Theoretically, these girls have an opportunity to continue their education, but the costs for higher education are too high and scholarships are limited. Most of the girls drop out after high school, have nothing to do and are disappointed. The school has therefore decided to provide additional classes in home science so that those who do not pursue higher education can acquire skills and thus generate an income.

For this, the school must purchase the training equipment (such as sewing machines) for which an amount of € 3,200 is required. The Van Doorn Foundation is looking for sponsors to support this project!

Amount required: € 3,200.-

Amount collected: € 3,200,-

Project information
The situation
In 2003, Kenya introduced what is known as free primary education. Since then, primary school enrolment rates have increased as much as 84 percent in some regions. The increase in enrolment in primary school level has led to the demand for secondary education. The secondary school is the second phase of the 8-4-4 education system and runs for 4 years.

Although the primary school enrolment has increased dramatically, access to secondary school remains low, especially for girls. The gender gap increases in secondary education.

The proportion of girls’ enrolment declines as they move up the educational ladder. As a result, female students make up only about 30 percent of total enrolments in the public universities.

The importance of the project
UNESCO (2012) identifies one of the main reasons for the low enrolment of girls in secondary education as the persistent high level of poverty, especially in urban slums and rural areas. Most families are unable to cover the cost of their children’s education. Furthermore, as socio-cultural norms based on patriarchy prevail, families tend to give priority to boys’ education when faced with financial constraints. In addition, factors such as lack of girls’ schools, early pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, have prevented girls from accessing education.

Most of the girls at the OLV Girls School come from poor backgrounds, and it is only in school they get opportunities to broaden their outlook in life. But most of the girls will after their secondary education not proceed higher education, they become jobless, disappointed and risk to end up in prostitution, drug abuse and early pregnancies. Providing these girls extra training in specific skills will prevent them in falling in these traps. The home science courses will enable the poorest and most vulnerable girls to access an income source for basic needs of life.

The implementing organisation
OLV Girls School was established in 1978 and offers quality education to needy girls having underprivileged backgrounds drawn from different areas, including slums from Nairobi.  Apart from offering education to young girls the school also strives to impact morals and spiritual values that help the girls to overcome the barriers they face in their communities, include female genital mutilation, early marriages, and male chauvinism.

The OLV Girls School prepares girls for life in society. In addition to the standard secondary education curriculum, which gives the girls the opportunity to continue their studies, the school will also teach home science so that the girls can develop skills for their future household and income generating activities.

The envisaged project results
Lessons in home science is now mandatory and is one of the examinable subjects in the secondary school according to the curriculum of secondary education in Kenya. The OLV Girls School does not have yet de facilities (training equipment), so the girls are not able to pass that subject of their end of term examination. The home science lessons have also otherwise a positive impact on the girls especially since they come from poor backgrounds, and because of the acquired skills, become income earners and more respected by their families and community.

After completing the secondary school, the girls can become self-employed and thus generating an income. The number of educated girls, especially from the marginalized communities, will increase. The project will empower the girls to reach their full potential and prevent girls entering commercial sex and early marriages.

The chance of sustainability
The OLV Girls’ School has been operating for 40 years and has the necessary classrooms and teachers and the financial resources to provide quality education.

The planned classes in home science will become an integral part of the school’s curriculum and will therefore be sustainably continued by the school.

The tuition for the lessons in home science is part of the school fees. The OLV girls’ school only needs a one-off subsidy for the purchase of sewing machines and other teaching materials and start up the lessons in home science. The (extra) teachers and the materials for the home science lessons are financed from the school fees.

The result

After almost a year of delay due to the covid-19 pandemic, the container with machines and tools arrived in Kenya in early 2022 and the school could start the home science classes in the 2022-2023 school year.

The progress of the project

The training equipment (sewing machines) for home science classes have been ordered from the Tools To Work Foundation in the course of 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shipments to Kenya have been delayed and are not expected until spring 2022.