Plan International is supporting primary school communities in Kilifi County, Kenya through a holistic four-year program to significantly improve five key areas for students and their families: education; clean water and sanitation; food and nutrition; healthcare; and income training and economic empowerment. Working through local governments and community stakeholders, Plan is creating sustainable change from the ground up, building the capacity of students, parents, teachers and community leaders to maintain and strengthen project interventions.
Plan believes that schools are a central vehicle for change within the community. Therefore, the Ezakaso Community Comprehensive Education Project focuses on improving the school environment, with additional activities focused on strengthening the economic resilience of families and connecting them to existing health services to ensure their long-term health.
With the support of the Unstoppable Foundation, children in Kilifi will be able to stay in school and thrive in a revitalized academic environment. The Ezakaso Community Comprehensive Education Project will benefit approximately 800 households, 1,000 students in grades 1-8 and up to 2,000 parents and caregivers.
Kenya has the largest, most diversified economy and the second largest population in East Africa. While the percentage of people living in poverty has reduced over the past decade, 35.6% of the population still live below the poverty line. This is particularly true in areas dominated by subsistence farming, such as Kilifi county. These communities struggle under hardships caused by climate change, experiencing frequent droughts and water scarcity, a degraded farming environment, food insecurity, water-borne diseases due to poor sanitation and malnutrition. For children and youth living in these communities, schools can serve as an escape from these challenges, providing a safe and engaging environment where they can learn, play and receive a healthy meal.
Unfortunately, school communities in Kilifi struggle to provide this environment for their students. Due to insufficient infrastructure, many students are forced to learn in makeshift classrooms or outside, under a tree. The classrooms that do exist lack adequate chairs, desks and student learning materials. Many students face persistent hunger as their families are unable to provide three healthy meals a day. Most government-sponsored school feeding programs ended in 2016, and schools struggle to continue them with their own resources.
Adolescent girls at these schools face unique challenges, forced to use bathrooms that lack privacy and access to water. Many girls experience harassment commuting to and from school, as well as inequity in the classroom where most teachers are men. They also are at higher risk of dropping out due to early pregnancy, forced marriage and a need to contribute to the family’s income or childcare.
Research shows that the longer a child can stay in school, the more prosperous their families and community become. This project brings together students, families, schools and local governments to improve the school environment and ensure a quality education for all.
- Unstoppable Foundation
- Project Start Date
- January 2021
- Project End Date
- December 2024
- Technical Areas Covered
- Primary Education, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), school-based agriculture and feeding programs, school-based health, community engagement/development