How Macheo is conquering the pandemic
Following the government directive to close learning institutions in mid-March due to Covid-19, Macheo suspended all on-site activities. However, the Community Service Centre (CSC) sought alternative options to conquer the pandemic since students of Macheo encountered the challenge of access to digital devices, internet and online platforms, which could otherwise serve as an alternative to continue learning from home. Apart from follow-up calls to the Macheo mentees, they shifted gears and enrolled in “Shupavu 291”, a learning platform by Eneza Education that uses USSD and SMS to enable students study all the subjects.
In Kiswahili, the word “Macheo” means sunrise or dawn. The Macheo Achievement Program is an education and empowerment program under the CSC. Macheo was started in 2012 to educate and empower needy secondary school students from slums achieve the dream of joining University. The students come from eight partner schools which are located in urban informal settlements of Nairobi. Five of the schools are in Kibera, two in Mukuru and one in Kangemi. Each year, Macheo is committed to reducing the curve of school drop-out rates and ameliorating the rates of transition to post high school institutions.
To enable the mentees tell their story during the pandemic an Essay competition dubbed “What I have learnt about myself and others during the lockdown” has picked up a notch. As the CSC team envisage possible roadblocks, they are jointly working on acquiring resources that will offer support during lockdown and in the future. Another option explored was the first brainstorming webinar organized by a team composed of CSC and SUITSA to explore ways of supporting Macheo students continue learning.
Victoria Mwema, Macheo’s Program Coordinator, notes that there are 150 students currently under the wings of mentors. Each year, 50 Form 2 students are recruited and embark on the journey to achieve the dream of joining a university. Once students complete secondary school and based on the availability of scholarships, students who perform well get scholarships to study at Strathmore while others join other universities and colleges. To date, Macheo students have achieved 100% qualification to transition to tertiary level with 50% qualifying to transition to University in 2019. Jeff Obonyo (Bachelor of Arts in Communications) at Strathmore and a former Macheo student uses poetry, acting and photography to mentor other students. Through the Macheo program, Jeff is now a game changer for the many lads he interacts with.
Macheo’s initiatives include character development, one-on-one mentoring, academic revision classes, monthly excursions, sports and medical support for students. Strathmore runs the engagements on Saturday afternoons during the school term and for two weeks during the school holidays. Victoria further expounded that each session encompasses one-hour character talk, followed by two lessons. In an effort to embrace greater outcome the subjects are taught by contracted professional teachers. Subjects tutored include Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Add value to this great call and join the over 60 volunteers and mentors.
The article was compiled by Annete Karanja.
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