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Supporting children in Kenya to be agents of change

Special Interest Programme / Partner story

(C) Ace Africa

The Orongo school lies in Kisumu province, a rural area not far from the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. In the local school, there are 631 students, but only 10 teachers. More than a third of students in the school come from families that live on less than a dollar a day. Many of the children have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS or left behind by parents who have travelled for work. Conscious of the challenges his community faces, the local community chief wanted to do something to improve the wellbeing of his students.

He contacted Ace Africa about the possibility of establishing a Child-to-Child club in the school. Ace Child-to-Child (CtC) clubs help children achieve better health, wellbeing, and development – for themselves, their families, and their communities. CtC clubs support children to become influential agents for change in making health choices in schools and the community.

They do this through activities like singing, playing games, performing plays, engaging in debates, art, and writing. The subjects they cover include the following: water, sanitation and hygiene, where children learn hand-washing measures and how to prevent common water-borne diseases; school kitchen gardens, where children learn about nutrition and gardening; and discussion around sensitive but important topics such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, reproductive health, and child rights. Children then share their learning with parents and the community through outreach activities, such as advocacy campaigns, fun days, parents’ meetings, education days, and festivals, where music and drama are used to disseminate key messages. Ace Africa provided the staff at Orongo school with training and support to establish a successful CtC club in the school for more than 145 members.

The club facilitated trainings for students on child protection, handwashing, life skills, menstrual hygiene management, kitchen gardening, environmental conservation, reproductive health, and health promotion. “The children are always excited when it’s Wednesday, because they know it is CtC meeting day, they learn a lot,” said Mr Kuria, the CtC teacher.

Encouraged and inspired by what they have learnt through the CtC club, students are now bringing their learning home, creating kitchen gardens with their families, and making taps from used water bottles. Since establishing the CtC club, the school has seen significant improvement in school attendance and a drop in teenage pregnancy.

The CtC club at Orongo school is just one example of Ace Africa’s child development work. Ace Africa works with marginalised people in low-resource settings in Kenya and Tanzania. Employing local people, Ace Africa works with communities to support them in identifying their needs and developing appropriate, bespoke solutions.

More than 100,000 children in 500 schools have benefitted from Ace Africa’s collaborative projects to improve the health, nutritional welfare, and wellbeing of children and young people across Western Kenya.

Ace Africa is supported through our Special Interest Programme, you can read about the programme strategy here.