Kenyan Projects, 2008
During 2008, Cosmos Education Kenya carried out a variety of activities to promote Science Education. We present a summary of the most significant projects.
Visiting the Internally Displaced Persons' Camps
The disputed election in Kenya at the beginning of 2008 forced many people from their homes into Internally Displaced Persons' (IDP) camps. Concerned about the children of these refugees, the CE Kenya team visited two IDP camps near Nairobi in March and May.
Mathare Chief's IDP Camp, March 2008
Most of the children in this camp were staying in the Mathare area and lost their homes, or had to leave due to ethnic violence. Many of the children are young and have not yet been to school; some were attending school, but do not feel comfortable in their old schools, or cannot afford to return. CE Kenya visited the camp to inspire, empower, and engage with the young people there through discussions and scientific educational activities.
The children were introduced to the idea of exponential growth through a paper folding challenge. Other discussions highlighted the importance of keeping our environment clean, taking care of trees, and planting new ones. This was wrapped up with a chance to plant some trees under the tuition of the CE volunteers. Before leaving, exercise books and pencils were dontated to the students to help them continue their education.
Muthaiga Police Depot IDP, May 2008
After an orientation session at the camp, Cosmos Education Kenya gathered the children together for the main activity: "Water". The volunteers had a discussion with the young people on the relatively small quantity of fresh water on the Earth when compared to the amount of salty water, the fraction of that which is available to people to use, and the ways in which we can conserve this precious resource. The idea of global warming was handled, along with its causes, and ways to help prevent it.
Later on the volunteers launched a small rocket to illustrate ideas about gases and forces.
The final item on the agenda was a tree-planting session where everyone helped in the planting of 10 trees.
As in the Mathare Chief's Camp, stationery items were donated to help with school. CE Kenya also gave out some postcards which had been donated by UNEP's Children and Youth unit. The volunteers were very touched when some of the students returned the postcards with a thank you note.
Donation of Computers to Kalukuni Secondary School, July 2008
Born out of the 3rd World Youth Congress held in Glasgow, Scotland 2005, Africom - Pamoja Tunaweza is a project to ship refurbished computers to schools in Kenya and Tanzania. CE Kenya President Bridgit Syombua Muasa is the country coordinator.
Cosmos Education Kenya partnered with Computers For Schools Kenya (CFSK), which is an organization dedicated to donating computers to schools all around the country, as well as maintaining them, along with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations and Peace Child International who managed the funding of the project. The costs were covered by Lloyds TSB.
As part of our Inspiring, Engaging and Empowering young Africans from impoverished backgrounds, we searched for a school to benefit from our pilot programme. We found Kalukuni Secondary School in Yatta district. Kalukuni Secondary School is a mixed day school set in the heart of the Yatta plateau in the eastern province of Kenya. This is a less privileged school, built courtesy of the constituency development fund, and is host to 197 students: 105 boys and 92 girls.
In total, ten extra computers were provided to the school bringing the computer to student ratio from 1 in 20 to 1 in 10. The improvement in their ICT skills will be very useful to the students when they begin their careers, or move on to higher education.
Lake Bogoria Research Trip, October 2008
In the fall, CE USA Executive Director (ED) and Vice President (VP) Kevin Hand led a research trip to Kenya and Tanzania, teaming up with faculty and students from the University of Nairobi (UoN, led by geology professor Francis Mwaura) and the University of Maine (led by virology professor Monroe Dubois). The itinerary took him and his team from Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya to Lake Bogoria and Lake Magadi. Along the way, CE Kenya team members and students from the UoN were able to engage in real scientific research related to climate change and biogeochemistry.
Additionally, graduate students from Maine got the chance to visit elementary and secondary schools around Nairobi and Lake Bogoria. Working together with CEK members, the international team carried out a range of fun, scientific activities with the school students on topics including: DNA; a nature walk; using a digital microscope; microbiology; and careers.
In Kenya, Cosmos Education Kenya is Registered Society No. 26710.