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Advancing inclusive education for children with disabilities in non formal schools in Kenya’s urban slums

Supporting teacher preparedness and adapting teaching materials to provide quality education to children with disabilities

Photo of Maria Omare
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What problem does your idea solve?

Children with disabilities in urban slums such as Kibera are denied their right to inclusive education, and consequently development opportunities, which results in further impoverishment and vulnerability towards violence .They remain out of school due to lack of financial resources, lack of access to inclusive schools that are equipped to meet their needs and inadequate skilled personnel in schools to cater for them to learn.

Explain your idea

In 2003 the Government of Kenya introduced free primary education as part of a strategy to achieve Education for All by 2015. However, urban informal settlements’ demand for schooling is way above supply in the few public schools close to these areas. This led to sprouting of non formal schools in informal settlements. A baseline study in by The Action Foundation in Kibera Slum found that all the 13 non formal schools sampled had enrolled children with different types of disabilities. Teachers reported to have low confidence and inadequate skills to teach their students with disabilities. 12% of teachers are untrained and in some schools up to 6 children share a text book. Teacher training is a major challenge facing inclusion of children with disabilities in education . We will enhance teacher preparedness in teaching learners with disabilities through our low cost and participatory Inclusive Schools Training Program (ISTP) that is designed to support teacher preparedness to provide quality education to children with disabilities in low resource non formal schools . The program involves monthly workshops, community engagement, online and classroom support. Since 2015, we have worked with 13 non formal schools in Kibera and have trained 26 teachers who are teaching a total of 163 children with physical and intellectual disabilities. In the next 12 months we aim to train 52 additional teachers in 26 additional non formal schools in Kibera and Kawangware.

Who benefits?

Teachers and all students attending non formal schools benefit. A study by Allavida Kenya in 2012 found that in approximately 500,000 children in Nairobi, about 60% are enrolled in non formal schools. In school and out of school children with disabilities living in informal settlements will benefit from learning in an inclusive setting. Teachers will become more knowledgeable, skilled and innovative and all students will have improved academic performance, social interactions and friendships.

How is your idea unique?

A large body of academic literature is available on the theme on inclusive education but the implementation of inclusive educational strategies is still limited in Kenya. This is particularly the case in informal settlements which face several challenges including poorly resourced schools. Through this initiative, we aim to bridge the gap between theory and practice through our sustainable teacher to teacher training program. Our idea is unique because we are helping children with disabilities living in informal settlements access a school closer to them by growing the capacity of teachers in non formal schools to meet their learning needs and providing learning materials. There are major gaps in the knowledge and capacity in teaching children with disabilities in non formal schools. With the support of Open IDEO we aim to have a wider impact and by providing practical recommendations to create more inclusive and accessible learning environments in urban informal settlements.

Tell us more about you

We are a grassroots organization that has worked in Kibera and other low resource communities for 7 years. Our ED,Maria, is an ADA international fellow on inclusive education:- The team at TAF comprises 5 individuals working full time to implement and design our project activities, with grassroots and international experience in inclusive education.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Our unanswered questions about our idea include:- How can we provide specialized education materials, mobility and assistive with the limited resources available? How can we handle the high student to teacher ratio in the schools? We realize that this may result in reduced quality of learning? How do we keep the teachers and volunteers motivated during and after the project implementation period? How will we enable teachers to address unique psycho-social challenges among learners with disabilities? Among these challenges are lack of self-awareness, low self-esteem and coping with stress that need attention. How can we meet the educational needs of learners with multiple and severe disabilities within an inclusive school setting?

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Kenya

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

The feedback we received led us to recognize the need of incorporating community participation as a component in our program. We discovered that community participation is vital for the success of our program as it will help us advocate for change in perceptions about disability, build support and raise awareness on the benefits of inclusive education . By involving community members, we will build continuous support that will help us work towards ensuring that communities become places where all individuals including students with disabilities feel included, accepted and recognized. We have also included online training and support such as through webinars with experts to support teachers to gain a global perspective on inclusive education and other program components. Feedback from contributors and teachers helped us see the need of working with the parents as paraprofessionals in order to increase their involvement and facilitate education within the students' home setting

Who will implement this idea?

This idea will be implemented by The Action Foundation team that comprises of 5 individuals. We will be working on this full time at our office and partner schools in Kibera and Kawangware.We will work closely with teachers, parents and the community members. We will involve the Board of Management in the schools to offer guidance as well as seek expert advice from learning and training institutions,Ministry of Education, and individuals in the community who have experience in our focus area

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

We have a board of directors with a wide range of experience in non profit management, strategy, finance, and community development and a team of advisers with expertise in the field of disability. We consult our board of directors and advisors when we need make critical decisions. We have participatory approach to activity planning and implementation where we consult with the community by holding community meetings/ dialogues to help add value and give insights to any interventions we intend to carry out. Incase we need to make foundational changes we will seek the community's views through Focused Group discussions, household interviews and key informant interviews so that any changes to be undertaken will be accepted by the community and will address their most pressing needs.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

Amplify focuses on collective community and participation while the process during the traditional funding model occurs majorly between the applicant and funder. Amplify brings the most important person ( USER) on board which is critical in any development initiative. Open IDEO has given us an opportunity to reflect on, improve and refine our idea by creating a platform for us to involve the community in giving us critical feedback which is key in ensuring project success and sustainability

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

The challenges of working in an urban slum are vast due to limited resources. Most of residents are unemployed and face difficulties in meeting their day to day needs. A teacher working in a non formal school in a slum faces challenges in accessing adequate resources to educate a child with disabilities.Most residents feel that a child with disability is not a productive resource thus are reluctant to invest in their education due to the stigma associated with people with disabilities. The biggest systems challenge faced by the end users is that the schools they work in are low resourced, with poor infrastructure and challenges of accessibility. This leads them to lack appropriate teaching materials and professional skills to teaching students with disabilities.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

Impact : By 2022 we aim to contribute to attainment of quality education for 1500 children with disabilities in urban slums in Kenya who have the least chances of attaining an education through our inclusive schools training program and community participation. Question :How do we package and design our model to ensure quality education standards are achieved amidst the cultural attitudinal perceptions in the community that children with disabilities cannot learn with their peers.

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 1 and 2 years

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $50,000 and $100,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.


Join the conversation:

Photo of BobAchgill

Hello Maria,

You may consider using the free His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy videos able to run on low end user smart phones as your ICT.

It's synergistic strategy of Hearing helping Deaf for rural or informal schools where access to interpreting resources is not available will help to expand literacy reach to both Hearing and Deaf.

In a city where there are 30+ mother tongue radio stations, you will appreciate that HHR apps are localized to each student's mother tongue. So even if the teacher does not know the Hearing child's MT the HHR app does. And the student can continue to practice their reading practice at home on the cheap family smart phone.

Someday soon in the Kiberi slum two Deaf children will be walking down the path and every Hearing child will be looking at the two Deaf children as if they are rock stars. They will be trying to "listen in" to their hand sign conversation because they learned those same hand signs "accidentally" as they too learned to read using the HHR mother tongue literacy videos.

The kinematic stimulas of seeing hand signs with each word will also help the Hearing child to grab hold of the word meanings making reading practice less stressful.

Children who feel overage to come to their grade level or girls who need to miss school or children whose situations keep them at home can continue practice at home.

Volunteers have added mother tongues and hand signs for these literacy videos in Cameroon, Afghanistan, Jordon, China and Ethiopia.

In a matter of weeks ... As volunteers step forward (maybe even from among parents in Keberi?!)... Every language of Kenya and neighboring countries can be added.

Here is some detail about the growing His Hands Reader volunteer literacy initiative...

Imagine a time when every Hearing and Deaf child can learn to read from the smart phone in their village...hearing and seeing their mother tongue and hand sign on the app?

The time is now!

Do you know someone who would like to volunteer to add their mother tongue or hand signs to the free His Hands Reader literacy system?

The mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist opens a path for total inclusion of deaf children among hearing. As hearing children use the mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist they naturally learn the means to communicate with deaf playmates.

And don't over look that the mother tongue literacy videos help Hearing children in the Multi lingual Education classroom.

It takes only 30 hours to add your mother tongue. Here are the instructions to volunteer...

Here is an example of the result of volunteers in Jordan who added their local business and mother tongue languages and local hand signs...


Bob Achgill
Helping Deaf and Hearing learn to read so they can read His Word

Here is a little more detail...

Would you like to volunteer to add your hand signs or mother tongue to

These are the ONLY qualifications needed to add your Mother Tongue language or hand signs to the :
1) Native speaker of your mother tongue or hand signs.
2) Read and write your mother tongue (not needed for adding hand signs)
3) Know English well enough to translate the 1742 basic Words to your MT or hand signs
4) Access to Android phone to use the HHR app to add your language. (1.5GB RAM, 3 GB free space)
5) total 30 hours to add your text with voice or video your hand signs.

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you @BobAchgill ! It is great learning about His Hands Reader and how it can be helpful to learners who are deaf. It is great that this helps students who can hear help their peers who are deaf. We will take a keener look at this and see the possible ways we can engage.

Photo of BobAchgill

I look forward to hearing from you!

Photo of Christie Taylor

I think the idea of using teacher trainers to disseminate real-life teaching situations is a beautiful idea. I know this can be difficult. I wonder about connecting with local universities or being able to use internet to connect with international resources? Best of luck!

Photo of Maria Omare

Hi Christie, Thank you for the feedback. Working with local and international universities/ institutions is a great idea.
We will have this as part of the teacher training program where they will interact with experts in inclusive education and other valuable resource people on line through webinars and in person during the workshops we organize.

Photo of Azat

we're humbled that our idea based on the existing tool has inspired your idea/project. It's very interesting to learn that you have informal schools whereas this is impossible in Kyrgyzstan (well there are informal kindergartens but no schools definitely :). So this is much more challenging.
Wish you and your team all the best!

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Azat! Although the schools we work with face a myriad of challenges , there are opportunities for transformation especially in the inclusion of students with disabilities. For hundreds of children with disabilities living in urban slums these schools are the only opportunity they could ever have to receive an education. We are working to improve the quality of education for these children by supporting their teachers. The index for inclusion is a tool that we continue to learn from as we continue with our work.
I wish you and your team success!

Photo of Sheila Fesko


This is a really interesting idea and I know that you are the right person to implement it. I am impressed that the Action Foundation has already done research to inform your process. It would be interesting to look at universal design for learning approaches as part of your training to teachers. Rather than focusing exclusively on education for children with disabilities, UDL will help the teachers think about how to teach all students effectively. You may also want to look at potential resources to bring in technology. Dan Phillips at the technology Resource of Marin County has a lot of online resources. He also has done work in Africa where they were able to access earlier generations of tablets that were free or low costs. Good luck.

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Sheila! We have incorporated universal design of learning as a core component of our teacher training program.
Thank you so much for the link to Technology Resource of Marin County! We have found resources that we can use in our teacher training program as well as helpful information for our work with out of school children. I also love that many of these resources are free, thus we can make them available to our teachers at no extra cost.
The work that Dan Phillips does is very admirable, we definitely have a lot that we can learn from him. Thank you!

Photo of Kaitlyn

Dear Maria,

This is a really interesting concept and the work you and your organization is doing is really impressive and much needed. To address some of your challenged perhaps you could seek to partner/collaborate with other programs related to education, and the psycho-social concerns you mentioned. There could be opportunities for resource and knowledge sharing. In terms of additional teacher support perhaps there would be ways to engage other teachers-in-training who may need site experience; or community members who could get involved, depending on what makes sense given the context and what is available.

Looking forward to seeing how your efforts evolve and wishing you all the very best of luck!

-Kaitlyn Siner Cappas

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Kaitlin! We are seeking to collaborate with programs related to education, particularly in the provision of online training and support to the teachers. It is a great idea to engage teachers in training and community members in the program as a way to provide additional support. To begin with we are looking at working with parents as volunteer paraprofessionals as a strategy to not only provide classroom support but also to increase their involvement in the process. I look forward to updating you on our progress, Thank you!

Photo of Benedict Aboki

The idea of teacher training is great and will help overcome the issue of providing inclusive and appropriate education to those who have managed to break the barrier of accessing school/education centers. It is not clear how this will help the children who have been denied access to education facilities. Is the training of parents and/or caretakers as well as awareness included in this project? Have you explored enabling parents/caretakers to home school children who cannot be taken to school? I think this will help to deal with one of your unanswered question "How can we handle the high student to teacher ratio in the schools as this may result in reduced quality of learning?"
From the 52% of children of all children accessing primary education in Nairobi (Allavida 2012), how many are children-with-disabilities?
Please show the relationship between the idea (reaching 52 additional teachers) and the goal (reaching 480 children in 12 months). I would focus attention of the project to the teachers and align the goals to this.
In addition to comments from Ashley Tillman, please don’t forget to mention that The Action Foundation has a board, an advisory group and a community of parents who are also instrumental in delivering the vision and mission of the organisation.

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you for the feedback Benedict Aboki ! One of the major challenges that our program faces is that children with disabilities in our community are denied their right to education. Parents think that their children cannot learn and thus don’t see the need in investing in their education. Our program will help children who have been denied access to education facilities by through active involvement of parents/ caregivers and other community members. They will participate in the project during school open days where they will help identify ways to include out of school children with disabilities and will gain useful information on inclusive education and disability rights.

To help address the high student to teacher ratio we are exploring recruiting parents of children with disabilities to volunteer as paraprofessionals. The Action Foundation will also help the teachers to develop plans and actions for effective mechanisms to teach learners with disabilities, such as including play and art activities in the day to day learning. This strategies will be helpful to all students by making learning a less tasking and more enjoyable experience. It is a great idea to work with parents/caregivers to home school the children. This is a strategy that we can explore in the future when we have adequate resources and capacity to follow up with the children at home. The reality is there are many more children with disabilities kept at home than those in school. This is especially the case for those with multiple and severe disabilities. We are working towards encouraging parents/caregivers to enroll their children in school and building school environments that can meet the needs of diverse learners. In addition, The Action Foundation works with out of school children through our rehabilitation and day care program in Kibera, which has been fundamental in easing their transition to school.

We do not have data on the exact number of children with disabilities accessing primary education in Nairobi. A future goal for TAF can definitely be conducting a larger study to determine this! In our 2015 baseline survey in Kibera, we found out that enrollment of Children with disabilities was at a mere 2% of the overall school populations. Our program is working on changing this and so far the results are very promising with overall increased enrollment of more than 15% in less than two years of implementation.
We estimate that by reaching a total of 52 teachers, we will be able to reach at least 480 children with disabilities in Kibera and Kawangware. The estimation is based on the impact we have recorded so far by working with 26 teachers in non formal schools in Kibera.The number of children that we will reach by working with 52 teachers will definitely vary depending on how many are enrolled in the schools.

Indeed, The Action Foundation has an incredible team of 5 full time employees, board, an advisory group and a community of parents who are also instrumental in delivering the vision and mission of the organisation!

Photo of Noriko Ochiai

Dear Maria,
I as a parent has special needs child, always hope " children with disabilities living in informal settlements access a school closer to them by growing the capacity of teachers in non formal schools to meet their learning needs and providing learning materials. " I hope that every child in the world will be given a place of education and the quality of life will be improved. Good Luck, Maria!!       From Boston with Love, Noriko

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Noriko! We also believe that a world where every child is given an opportunity to receive an education and have improved quality of life is possible! We are doing what we can in our little corner of the world to make this a reality for children with disabilities in our community. We hope to develop actions that can be replicated so that we can have a ripple effect in other communities around the world. Thank you!!

Photo of Sightsavers

Interesting idea. Children with disabilities living in urban informal settlements experience enormous challenges in accessing education. Your initiative may provide useful insights on how to develop practical solutions in low-resource settings.

Do you have a mechanism in place to evaluate the impact of the training? And are you planning to provide ongoing support to the selected schools going forward?

You also mentioned children with disabilities currently out of school among your direct beneficiaries. What is your strategy to identify them and promote their inclusion within the education system?

Best of luck with your initiative!

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you for the feedback Sightsavers !
Yes, we have a mechanism to evaluate the impact of the training. We will do this through an index for inclusion that we have adapted from the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE) ( Booth.T, 2006) Through the index, we will be able to evaluate the classroom and non formal school settings and implement action plans for improved inclusive education practices during and after the program. We will also measure impact by seeking the views of teachers and parents through surveys.
We will seek community support for the identification and promotion of the education of out of school children with disabilities. We will do this through teacher organized open days where the schools’ neighbouring communities will be invited to learn about inclusive education and disability rights, and develop to include out of school children with disabilities

Photo of Maria

Hi Maria
This is such an important project. I think the photos of the children and the baseline report are particularly compelling and absolutely highlight the need for teacher training, especially given the number of untrained teachers who are supporting these students in these informal schools. One thing that stands out for me is that these teachers need a foundation for teaching, as well as understanding how to organize and make accessible instructional materials. Here at the Institute for Community Inclusion, all of us, no matter what our expertise, have a foundation in person centered planning and as I put myself in the shoes of these teachers, I think I would probably want to start there with each and every student and make sure that these teachers are involved in every one of these meetings. By doing so, you start individualizing each student's needs and you have a built-in way to invite parents and other community members into the educational planning. Essentially, through this planning process, if each student was afforded the experience, you would have individual learning plans for each student. The teachers would then be in a position to learn to tailor education in individual, small group and large group instruction so that each student's ( and families) goals were considered. I completely agree with all the comments about universal design and technology. Now the teachers need to learn how to put these methods in place for each student in a way that aligns with teaching and learning goals. The nice thing about person centered planning too is that it expects the group to consider the whole person- their needs in and out of school. It doesn't mean that every single goal needs to be addressed immediately but it does mean that the whole life is considered and that a child's network of support- in and out of school- is considered. Also, with individual learning plans, teachers can then be instructed on how to organize their classrooms so that all instruction and therapies are meaningful for students. Incredible work you are doing.
Maria Paiewonsky

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you for your insights Maria! I also believe that person centered planning approach will be incredibly valuable to the children. We realize that we haven’t been fully involving teachers and parents in the education of children. We recognize that this will be helpful to the student in the long term and increase parent and community involvement will make learning better for all students in our partner schools. For this reason, we have strengthened the parent involvement component in our program.
It is great that person centred planning will help build a network of support for the child in their school and home environment. Teachers in the non formal schools that we partner with find it tasking to meet the individual educational needs of each child because of the high student to teacher ratio. In our inclusive schools training program, we will provide in schools support by our team providing bi –weekly assistance to the teachers in their classrooms and through recruiting volunteer parent paraprofessionals to help in class activities. This, along with lessons on how to plan in our training program will help the teachers develop the individual learning plans to meet the needs of their students.

Photo of James

Hi Maria,

I think that this is such vital work, and that you are carrying it out in such an insightful way.

I agree with many of the other points here, but also wonder if you have looked at some kind of peer to peer support for your teacher trainees, perhaps virtually with educators who specialize in inclusive education from outside the community? It may help them to have an ongoing network of support.

Similarly, I wonder if you have plans to integrate family members into the process? Consistency between home and school environments in terms of expectations, goals, and methods seems to be important. Perhaps you may even end up with community members who wish to serve as para-professionals?

Thank you to you and everyone at The Action Foundation for your work. It is wonderful.


Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you for the feedback James! We recognize the great value of peer to peer support among the teachers participating in the program and also virtual professional development with educators we can connect with within and outside Kenya. We have incorporated webinars and online resources in the program to provide the teachers with the ongoing network of support.

We will integrate family members into the process by including parents in Individualize Education Plan (IEP) development for their children by inviting them for open days in the schools. We think that having community members serve as para professionals is a great idea! We have included this in our program by recommending that parents of children with disabilities to volunteer hours in a week to serve as paraprofessionals.

Thank you for your support James!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Maria Omare and Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

- We love that you have already ran a pilot and worked with numerous teachers and students. What are some insights and lessons learned along the way? Do you have specific hypotheses you want to test as you scale to 52 additional teachers in Kibera and Kawangware? For example: are there other stakeholders you want to involve in the development of your idea as you scale to more informal schools (children, families, community based organizations, etc)?
- Discrimination or stigma among teachers and the community may effect the willingness of teachers to teach those with disabilities. How will this be addressed? Are there other barriers that may face your user? For example: accessibility of classrooms, adaptability of curriculum for multiple and different disabilities, and quality assurance.
- We look forward to reading more about the feedback and insights you gathered from your beneficiaries! Be sure this is well incorporated into the articulation and refinement of your idea.

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you for the feedback OpenIDEO  team! During the two years that we have worked with non formal schools , we have identified barriers and opportunities that teachers experience while working towards inclusive education. Barriers include lack of skills , inadequate teaching materials, high student to teacher ratio and negative attitudes towards children with disabilities. Interest and willingness to learn and practice inclusive education among a large percent of the teachers and support from the schools’ administration are opportunities for the project. Working with children with disabilities in Kibera and other urban slums also has unique challenges because of inaccessibility of the pathways and low income levels of families, which also contribute to the lack of participation of children with disabilities in education.
We hypothesize that building the capacity of teachers and providing classroom support in non formal schools will lead to higher enrollment, participation and retention of children with disabilities in non formal schools. We intend to involve community members including parents, children, families, community based organizations, local leaders , education officials among others by supporting the teachers in our program to organize inclusive education open days in the schools. During the open days, stakeholders will learn about the project, disability rights, inclusive education strategies and benefits. They will also be involved through giving their views on ways to include children with disabilities in the school. The teacher organized open days will help address the discrimination among other teachers and community members as they will have a greater awareness about the importance of inclusion of children with disabilities and will also be involved in the project.
Additional barriers such as accessibility of the classroom, adaptability of the curriculum and quality assurance will be addressed by working with teachers to incorporate key components of our Inclusive Schools Training Program ( ISTP) in their classrooms. By imparting knowledge and practical skills such as Universal Design of Learning ( please see our logical model diagram), our program will support the teachers to provide quality education to all the children in their classrooms through creative ways and by involving the school community. Parents will be actively involved in decisions and actions related to the education of their children by volunteering as paraprofessionals. This will not only help them to gain confidence and high expectations for their children, but will also help solve the challenge of high student to teacher ratio, which has negative effects to the quality of education.
I have downloaded the Story Telling tool kit and have watched the Youtube video for the Story Telling Happy Hour. The insights are very helpful not only in this challenge but we will also apply the tips while designing our other projects and engaging our community. Thank you!

Photo of Tongi Mugoya

This is brilliant. Have you considered partnering with learning institutions and/or experts (not necessarily in Kenya) to help you increase the capacity of the teachers as far as working with children with disabilities in an inclusive setting. There's a potential of some universities offering some content virtually and actually the teachers who've gone through the program could get some form of recognition to motivate them.

Photo of Maria Omare

Tongi Mugoya thank you! Facilitating access to professional development and training will add great value to the project and we also see how it will motivate the teachers. Majority of the teachers who are in our program do not have access to special education and training on inclusive education. Learning from experts virtually will be a plus to the teachers!
We will need to find out the best way to do this considering poor internet connectivity and that not all teachers may have access to a computer or a smart phone.Meanwhile, we will reach out to universities and individuals in our network to look at the possibilities of virtual training.

Photo of Paul Wafula

This is a great initiative by the Action Foundation. Children with disabilities in the informal settlements of Nairobi are left out in education, so this is an idea whose time has come.

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Paul Wafula !

Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH

Such a worthy cause and program. Teachers are so important in changing mindsets and being catalysts of inclusive education. Training and resources for teachers are essential. I wish you much success!!

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH !

Photo of Rahab Wafula

This is a great initiative Maria. It will for a long way to help Children with disabilities. Kudos

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Rahab Wafula !

Photo of Shabir Hussain

Dea marea,
You are punting forward important idea and it will be helpful for the PWDs children to get education. Would you please explain how they will move to the schools or education ??thanks

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Shabir Hussain . The schools we work with have children with disabilities enrolled. Our project aims to give the teachers in these schools the skills and resources to meet various the additional educational needs of the children with disabilities enrolled in their classrooms. By doing this, we not only aim to help them provide quality education to these children, but we are also encouraging the schools to enroll other children with disabilities who are yet to access education.

Photo of Shabir Hussain

Dear Maria,
Please see my project (linking Persons with disabilities to communities) and give your feedback please

Photo of Maria Omare

Hi Shabir Hussain , I will give feedback

Photo of Benita Chumo

Maria, this is a great initiative with potential for a wide reach.
In the non-formal schools, are the classes mixed in that students with disabilities learn with other more-abled students? Is this the case for the 26 teachers trained so far or are they solely in special needs institutions? For sustainability, continued support through building peer communities among the teachers who have undergone/administer this programme may be monumental. How is the programme currently structured? Is it one-off intensives/workshops or continued support or development? This info would be helpful to provide more feedback on execution and sustainability. All the best!

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Benita Chumo !
The classes in the non formal schools that we work with have students of all abilities. There are no separate classes for those with disabilities or those who require additional learning support.
We are working on building a supportive teachers community around inclusive education. Presently, the trained teachers hold discussions about what they learn with their peers within their schools such as during lunch breaks in the staff room. They also share their experiences with each other during our workshops which bring together teachers from different schools. The program involves monthly workshops on inclusive education and in school support for modeling of what they learn in their classrooms
We are working on using available digital platforms such as Schoology ( ) and google drive to facilitate deeper interactions and sharing of resources and tools among our teacher network. Our project activities in the coming months will also include webinars with experts in inclusive education from different parts of the world!

Photo of Aaron Tait

Hi Maria, looks cool. We do a lot of teacher training at Education Changemakers so feel free to reach out to chat about how we structure our programs. Also think about how much of this training you can do without the need for face to face. Ie could you consider videos, posters, a day that every school celebrates and learns at each year, cartoon books for kids etc. Keep up the great work!

Photo of Maria Omare

Hi Aaron! Thank you for the suggestions.
I will definitely reach out to learn more about how you structure your programs at Education Changemakers. It is a great idea to have components of the training in videos and other communication materials, we will work on incorporating this.

Photo of Kat

Hi Maria,

This is a very well thought out intervention on training teachers in inclusive education. The fact that you have successfully trained 26 teachers already shows your ability to scale up the project. You also clearly identify the immense need to increase access to education for the over 50% of people who are living in slums in Nairobi.

How did these non-formal schools you mentioned start? Who started them?

Thank you and best of luck!
Kat Aronson-Ensign

Photo of Maria Omare

Thank you Kat!
The non formal schools are owned by community based organizations & self help ( 62.5%) , religious institutions ( 30%) or individuals (7.5%). - Data source - Allavida Kenya (2012)

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Maria, thanks for joining the Challenge!

Don't forget to add clarifying information, like links to your website and if you haven't done so make sure to check out the Challenge Brief: + the Evaluation Criteria: If you have any questions, please do reach out to me using '@' and typing in my name.

Excited to continue to learn about the work you are doing!

Photo of Maria Omare

@Ashley Tillman, thank you for the feedback. I have added links to our website and to my bio as well.