FRIENDS PIONEER NEWSLETTER
The major challenge this year for Friends Pioneer has been the cost of living which has risen tremendously and therefore most of the sponsored children’s families only have one meal in a day or no meal at all. The East African drought has affected us in Kenya and we have taken responsibility by providing a school lunch to all the siblings of the sponsored children so that they may feel treated equally. This will also lessen the amount of children who drop out of school due to lack of food as they prefer to go to the streets and look for food than being in school and be hungry.
Home and school visits is recommended to be made to monitor the progress of the children both in school and at home. The sanitary towels should be provided to the girls for reducing cases of absenteeism of girls from school.
The student’s performance is usually influenced by their home background. The majority of students come from very poor backgrounds, no food for supper, breakfast, no electricity/light to do home studies, sleeping on the floor without anything to cover themselves over the cold night and abandonment by their parents and they end up losing hope for life and go to live in the streets. We are grateful to the sponsors since they have assisted to cope with some of these problems.
We had a number of students who sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and their results will be out in early on the 28 of December. They will join secondary schools late January 2012 where the school will be determined by their performance. We have high hopes that majority of them will emerge successful and join the best secondary schools.
REPORT CARDS/LETTERS AND PROBLEMS FACED IN THE FIELD
It usually takes time to get the documents from the sponsored students. The students come from different schools and different backgrounds. Some students keep on changing their residence due to increment of house rent or rather abandonment of guardians/parents. The situation leads to the struggle of the children until they get somewhere to reside and by the time the student gets somewhere to settle. This makes it hard for us to locate them during the holidays which make us not to send you this documents. We may also fail to know where they moved to if they don’t return to us until the schools re opens. With such a situation; we normally wait for a whole school term, where if the child does return we get stories that may lead someone into tears. Friends Pioneer will need a Field officer to do this kind of work in the future.
FRIENDS PIONEER NEWSLETTER – FOOD SECURITY PROJECT
As has been widely reported around the world, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is ravaging East Africa.
This year is one of the hardest years that Kenyans have gone through because of drought.
The rains had been below the expected levels and as a result the harvests have been very poor. Kenya is a country which depends on agriculture meaning that if the harvests are poor, then there is starvation. 3.5 million people face extreme hunger. According to recent data, 385,000 children and 90,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in Kenya are acutely malnourished
The result of this is that many people are going hungry, in the arid and semi-arid parts of the country, deaths have been reported. Most schools are closed frequently due to lack of food and water. A lot of child labour is also seen in those areas because children are involved in domestic works so as to get food in their mouth. Most of the people in those areas feed on wild fruits of which some are poisonous worsening the situation.
According to the World Bank’s “Food Price Watch” cereal prices have now reached record high levels in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, and the supply of staple grains in these areas is very low. The most severe drought in six decades ? combined with these alarming increases in basic food and fuel costs ? have created a “triangle of hunger” that has left more than 12 million people without adequate resources to feed themselves.
However, relief food is taken to such areas by the government, but it is not enough compared to the number of people affected by the drought. For the past few months the number affected has doubled. This is because our neighboring country Somalia is also affected by drought and political instability causing the citizens of Somalia to flee to Kenya.
Prices of commodities have gone up tremendously e.g. of maize flour, cooking and sugar and they may keep increasing if the trend keeps on.
There is also the factor of inflation. The shilling has been loosing value against the dollar steadily in the recent past. This has also contributed to the rising of cost of living for most. Most people in the country live below the poverty line of a dollar per day which is approximately 92 ksh / 70p per day. This cannot buy a packet of maize flour, which is the basic food commodity for the poor and has now resulted to most people staying without food or getting meals just twice in a week.
Friends Pioneer is raising funds to cater for the increased cost of food to feed the sponsored children. All schools and colleges face hard economic times due to the high cost of living they have had to revise their budgets to cope with increasing inflation triggered by high fuel prices.
To solve the long term problem of food insecurity we plan to construct a chicken coop, That will Provide 300 Chicken after every 6 weeks and a Garden to provide food stuffs yearly using irrigation methods as well as keep livestock GOATS and COWS in order to produce our own food to be able to feed the sponsored children and the students at the Secondary School. Surplus food will be sold, thus generating income as well as sustainability and we will run courses in agriculture and animal husbandry at the school so people can learn how to grow their own food.
We urge all our sponsors and supporters to help us fundraising.
Proposed Chicken Project Proposed Goat Bank Project
Proposed Agri business Project
FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION IN KENYA
FPE now an avenue for corruption as parents continue to pay fees
Schools in Nyanza have imposed extra fees as inflation rises. Consequently, parents want the Government to cushion them against these levies at a time they are also battling high cost of living.
The Standard On Saturday established that several schools, especially those within Kisumu Municipality, are charging parents heavily for tuition. The teachers claim some parents had allowed remedial lessons to be paid despite the State ban on extra coaching classes.
This follows good results posted by schools in Kisumu that saw a big percentage of pupils who sat for KCPE last year join national schools.
But findings revealed that some levies were unofficial, while District Education Boards following pleas by the school administrations sanctioned others.
With the cost of living is rising, some parents argue that the decisions consented by some of their colleagues was not unilateral and so tuition fees must be reviewed. Further investigations established that some schools charged as high as Sh15, 000 for admission alone of new pupils defeating the purpose of free education. After the admission fee is paid, parents have to part with about Sh450 to Sh500 per month disguised as tuition fee. But the charges vary from school, according to a survey carried out within Kisumu Municipality public institutions.
For instance, early childhood education (ECD) costs were exorbitant and not negotiable. The schools charged from Sh8,000 on admission, and subsequently Sh4,500 per term.Parents who spoke to us said they had no alternative. Teachers argued that this was happening because ECD programmes were not catered for when the State introduced free primary education programmes (FPE). While at our School TIP TOP Community School. We are now charging parent who can afford 300 Ksh this includes tution money, porridge and teachers salaries.
Even though, FPE has scored a number of successes by ensuring increased access to schools, The Standard NEW PAPER On Saturday learnt that most parents were yet to feel its impact.
This is because of the extra costs they are still forced to meet to keep their children in school.
The parents’ woes can be traced to increased enrolment standing at over 8.2 million children nationwide, greatly outweighing number of teachers.
A closer examination of the concrete experiences within the Kisumu municipality reveals that FPE has fallen far short of its stated goals.
Parents continue to complain that they still have to pay despite Government’s provision to meet fees requirements. Some parents have gone further to claim that when they pay fees, no official school receipts are issued, an indication that money is being collected illegally. Given their economic hardships, parents agonise the fate of their children if they are sent home due to failure to pay. This is why even when they know that some of the levies are unofficial they still end up paying to keep their children in school.
Kenya National Parents Association (Knap) Nyanza branch Chairman, Jackson Ogweno, claimed that this had resulted in high drop out of pupils in some schools.
A recent rapid survey carried out by Community Initiative Action Group – Kenya (CIAG – K) and Elimu Yetu Coalition exposed the levies rot.
The report shows the need to address negative impacts of FPE if it is to ensure its smooth implementation and ultimate success.
According to CIAG-K director Chris Owalla, focus group discussions were also held with over 1,000 parents. The studies resonated with findings carried out by The Standard.
For instance, in Central Primary School, all new pupils were to be admitted upon paying Sh300 to cater for interview and test papers. In addition, all pupils were required to pay Sh200 per year as parents’ obligation to teachers’ welfare.
In class One, they were required to part with Sh1000 for tuition per term, while the pupils bought their own books, which are supposed to be provided by Government.
Similarly, at Highway Primary School, all new pupils are admitted after paying admission fee of Sh2,000 beside Sh 200 for interview. Then pupils were also charged Sh1500 for tuition per term and Sh25 for examinations, with accrued levies totaling to about Sh680.
For Class Six and Eight they charge Sh50 for internal exams and Sh100 for and external exams and all pupils are charged Sh20 for sports in a term basis.
In Union Primary School, all new pupils were to be admitted upon paying Sh1500 for tuition and other services. Victoria Primary School, which has a population of 1500 pupils, admission is an uphill task and a new parent has to part with about Sh15, 000 among other charges. They also charged a remedial fee of Sh1,000 for classes Six to Eight per month and Sh500 in the lower classes and Sh100 mock exam fee.
Similarly, Xavierian Primary School new pupils paid a uniform fee of Sh700, mock exam (Sh100) and remedial tuition (Sh500) per pupil. Maisha, Lake, Ragumo, Nyalunya, Oyola Primary School and Ofunyu Primary School also charge.
According to Owalla, they found that in some schools it was mandatory that each pupil has to pay what is adopted as the school norm.
For instance, at Union every pupil must pay Sh50 for report forms with school logo.
In Kibuye Primary School, all new pupils were to be admitted upon paying Sh2,000, Sh200 for new pupils and same amount for interview fees.
In Shauri Moyo, Bara, Okok and Kianja primary in Kajulu, Lwala Kadewa, Dwale Nyakune, and Oluowa it was the same song.
Similarly, Otonglo, Kotetni Primary School, Dr Robert Ouko, Okore Ogonda, Nawa, also charged hefty levies. In Ojolla, Chulaimbo and Nyahera the payment is divided in three sections, Sh100 for Term 1 exams, and Sh30 for second and third term. In Arya Primary School, admission fees was Sh500 and assessment and remedial fee Sh400, while mock fee is Sh100.
The survey carried out through one on one interviews as well as focus group discussions revealed damning avenues for corruption in the education sector.
Nyanza provincial director of education Geoffrey Cherongis however said some of the decision to pay extra levies emanated from the parents themselves.
He said charges also emanated from wide consultations within various DEBs and asked us to cross check further with the boards.
But interviews with a number of teachers revealed that since FPE was introduced in 2003 the Sh1,020 allocated per child remained static to date. This is even as the rising cost of living.
Several heads of schools claimed that the levies were legal because the DEBs sanctioned them. Therefore if the parents feel heavily burdened they are free to review the levies downward to ensure smooth running of the schools.
A head teacher confided to us that they were issuing valid receipts for all charges imposed, which is subject to audit, the woes notwithstanding.
Education Assistant Minister Ayiecho Olweny said they were contemplating raising the amount.
“We know that a lot of developments have taken place since 2003 and the Sh1,020 per child needs to be doubled now but we are still constrained by lack of resources,” he said.
He promised to investigate why some schools charged exorbitant levies, which were unofficial.