Having heard from Mbarara and Kisii, it is now time to drop in on Kakamega and find out how the EPAfrica project is going in Luhya country. This is EPAfrica’s third year in Kakamega, which can be best described as Kisii town’s smaller, more relaxed cousin. In contrast to the adjacent ancient rainforest, EPAfrica are a relative novelty in the town, having first stepped foot in the area during the summer of 2011. However, in this short time EPAfrica Kakamega have built strong roots to compete with that of the local equatorial forest. Once again, the preparation of this year’s project owes a fantastic debt to our helpful EPAfrica friends, without whom the project would not be able to run.This year Kakamega has thirteen Project Workers working in seven schools, including three schools entering the program in their first year of investment. The schools that EPAfrica invest in are carefully selected to maximise the impact that Project Workers can have on the quality of secondary education. Many are lacking in basic learning resources such as textbooks and lab equipment, but have the good management and sufficient infrastructure to make sure that investment will be maintained and best utilised. The aim is to find schools doing all they can to provide quality education and help them do more!
Since the Headteacher’s Conference held two weeks ago, Project Workers have been working in their schools and putting their minds towards how to best improve their school with the time and funds that they have at their disposal. When not contending with the initial challenge of the ugali and sukuma wiki diet, Project Workers have had to deal with the problem of labour disputes between teachers and the government, and the difficulties this has provided in the creation of a partnership between EPAfrica volunteers and the then-closed schools.
Things have since improved with the strike ending in the past week, allowing Project Workers to get fully involved with staff and students within school, and begin to decide how to best work for the improvement of their partner school. Owing to the flexibility of EPAfrica’s programme and the individual needs of each school, there are an array of potential investments to be made across all EPAfrica schools. While some Project Workers are in schools that greatly require textbooks, others are investing in lab equipment or even photocopiers. In addition to these essential educational resources, EPAfrica volunteers are also working with their schools to provide careers and health advice in areas where such topics are lost to the rigour of the academic syllabus and lack of adequate funding. Over the summer we will be updating the EPAfrica blog with details of the crucial work the charity will be doing in schools around Kakamega and elsewhere in East Africa. Until then, tuta onana!