The Importance of Teamwork

There have been delays in getting children back into school because of the continuing teachers’ strike. Even so, we are delighted that many schools were able to provide some access during this time to iMlango learning tools, with school clubs having access to the PCs and Internet.

The iMlango consortium members came together in Mombasa for a training session and to build further on our team effort. Following the two days, the field teams came away with better understanding of the various technologies being deployed and how to troubleshoot if there are problems.

We have now reached the important transition in iMlango, from installation to intervention management as the teacher training is largely complete, and the sQuid Kenya field team are focusing on ensuring all aspects of the programme are making good progress, supported by Whizz field officers providing the specialist support for Maths tutoring. There are some exciting new developments in the learning content with more stories from African Storybook and we expect some further releases in October and November.

In September we have also been investigating how we can twin the iMlango schools UK Primary Schools, and we are grateful to some of Kajiado county Schools for working with us and giving helpful inputs. More of this later in the year.

Lastly, we were delighted to be able to introduce our Girls’ Education Challenge colleagues from Discovery to one of the iMlango schools in Kajiado. On our visit it was inspiring to see the Maths Whizz whole class tutoring being taught to the class, and the enthusiastic way this school, like so many others, is embracing all the technology - including the attendance system - which is helping to encourage better attendance at school with the help of the community and the teachers. The motto of the school is ‘Strive to excel’.

 Until next time,
The iMlango team

School holidays, community feedback and ToT’s

Although August is a month marked by the schools breaking up for the holidays, the iMlango team were still working hard on the ground to ensure the programme didn’t lose momentum. This month was all about teacher training and receiving community feedback on the programme, and in particular, how it has helped families and their children.

As community engagement is so important to the success of iMlango, we couldn’t wait to hear the views of the teachers, parents and the pupils. So, we decided to hit the ground and find out if it had a positive impact on the families of the pupils. Some of the responses we received from the parents were extremely positive; they couldn’t be more grateful for the impact that it is having on their children, as the programme has helped motivate them to attend school every day. Some even stated that their children’s school performance had dramatically improved since the inception of the iMlango program, which is extremely pleasing to hear. You can read some of the messages sent in from the teachers, families and the wider community here.

August was also important as it was the month in which the ToT’s (Training of Trainers) could now impart the knowledge and experience gained from the programme in the previous school term, back to the teachers in their respective schools. We believe the teachers are now well equipped with the required ICT skills necessary in building their capacity to improve learning outcomes for the pupils. The teachers are also now in a better position to not only gain access to online learning resources through the iMlango portal, but also incorporate a wide range of resources from the portal for their day to day teaching lessons.

Finally, make sure to look out for our ‘Summary of Baseline study’ report which we’ll be releasing soon…

The Girls’ Education Challenge comes to visit

We were visited by the team from the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) last month - which is part of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) - for the formal review of the programme. Accompanied by the field team, they visited a number of iMlango schools located in the Kajaido area, to see the progress and impact the programme’s had on the schools, teachers, and of course, students. It was really great to have the GEC team on the ground in Kenya, and we welcomed their recommendations, which were all very constructive and positively received from the entire team.

The GEC team were able to view first-hand the completed school implementations, attendance monitoring in action and the students accessing the iMlango learning platform in class. Chris Wallace, the GEC programme lead, stated that the “iMlango project has successfully managed to put in place the three Cs of Connectivity, Content and Capacity.” Chris has also written a very informative blog post on her time in Kenya: iMlango Connecting Students in Rural Kenya, which gives further insight into the programme. Many thanks to Chris, her team and the GEC - their insight and guidance will allow us to improve the programme’s impact on the many girls in our schools.

So, as the dust settles on their visit, we now have an opportunity to reflect and act to improve the programme, which is now impacting over 130,000 schoolchildren in Kenya.

But, as always, there’s still a lot of work to do. Ensuring that the schools remain engaged is no easy task. We have a number of regional coordinators that are in constant communication with the schools to stay on top of any issues that may arise.

Moving into July, the field team held a number of insightful meetings with communities across the Kajaido region. The meetings were arranged to discuss a potential enhancement to the programme that involves providing financial incentives, and measuring their impact on the students’ educational outcomes.

Community engagement is extremely important to us – without their help, it would be a near impossible task to make a significant, sustainable change in the schools.

Until next time,

The iMlango team