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
Students at one of our partner schools in Makina Village, Kibera Slum
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.
The updated version of our logic model
Teachers from Primary Schools in Kibera taking part in development of learning materials during a training session
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.
A video by The Action Foundation of the views of community members, teachers, parents and students on inclusive education in Kibera
A teacher helps a student with Down's Syndrome in one of our partner schools in Kibera
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.
The Action Foundation logo which represents bringing out the best in the community that we serve
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?
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.
We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.
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
Teachers from our partner schools in Kibera sharing their feedback about our Inclusive Schools Training Program
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?
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
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