November 30, 2012
On 29th November 2012 political representatives and aspirants for the constituency and ward, NGOs / CBOs representatives, religious leaders, elders, youths, people with disability women representatives and provincial administration gathered at Mathare Valley Polytechnic to be addressed by the local IEBC representatives.
IEBC had their agenda while most people had questions, which they wanted addressed. IEBC wanted to sensitize public about voter registration in Mathare constituency, perception on the public on BVR kit, public, violence, role model and morality. When it came to questions, public were more concerned about accessing identity cards, extension of voter registration, transportation of voters into Mathare, voter education and the process which was used to recruit educators, what are the current numbers of registered voters and target for each ward? From the meeting it was clear that the public agenda and that of IEBC was different.
The IEBC official(s) present informed the public on the progress as from 19/11/2012 a follows but these figures were given as estimates (only for the 1st week of registration)
||1st wk registered voters
During the meeting, an aspirant brought a public address system to the meeting, which the public rejected. The IEBC officials should have rejected this move. By accepting ‘resources’ to facilitate an IEBC meeting from an aspirant amounts to being compromised.
The meeting was on a short notice. It was clear that supporters of certain politicians were more than others. IEBC needs to ensure that all aspirants are invited on time and their apologies acknowledged otherwise the public will view IEBC as collaborating with certain sections of the community. The public seems to be unclear on the new boundaries since it causing confusion among the potential voters. In Hospital ward for example, the Kenya Gazette had indicated that Gitathuru and Mathare 4B are still in Mabatini Ward. IEBC ward educators are expected to sensitize the public on the boundaries and other voter’s related issues. The Mathare area District Officer was very categorical that all residents have a duty to ensure that the elections are peaceful both at the party nomination and national elections. Public expect a credible election and IEBC officials should act in ways that will boost public confidence in the process.- Simon
May 31, 2011
Thatched school in Mathare North
During my time with Map Mathare I was surprised to find that in my area, Mathare North, there are only three government schools: Mathare North primary school, Drive inn primary school and Ruaraka high school. The fourth school collapsed. In the year 2006 the government released twenty million for the construction of girls high school. The money was misused and the project collapsed after six month. Most of the formal schools in Mathare were constructed by Nairobi city council in early eighties but due to corruption with top officials, the status of these schools are diminishing. The schools problems are poor performance in national exams, lack of teachers, a lot of children per class thus making it hard for teachers to teach. This is why many parents prefer to take their children to informal school.
In Mathare North there are more than seventy six informal schools both secondary and primary. A lot of children attend what are known as non-formal or informal schools. These are supported by communities, religious groups and other organizations by offering feeding programs (feed the children Kenya), text book distributions (DFID), and sponsorship programs by (well wishers) amongst other things. Most of these non formal schools in Mathare face many problems:
- Lack of Playing grounds i.e. recreational facilities
- Poor infrastructures in class rooms
- Huge numbers of orphans, displaced children and lack of space
- Lack of qualified teachers due to poor salaries
- Unfair distributions of Text book in schools
- Lack of food – many students are sleepy and unable to pay attention in class because there is not enough food for them at home or in school.
They say the presence of informal schools means that Kenya has two levels of education: One for the children from the slums, another for the children from better conditions.
There is a very big need of the government to assist this informal schools in Mathare because the problems are big and are spreading throughout Kenya.
January 27, 2011
Preparing for a better future through studies
All societies are positive of what their children will be in future. Today I was touched by a discussion I had with 35 children from Kiamaiko. We were discussing a community clean up exercise to be carried out at the end of February in the nearby community. As we were discussing what was required such garbage trucks, spades, shovels, rakes and the rest, the discussion digressed into what we don’t have in our community. I was shocked to find that children were influenced to choose careers that will help empower their communities; Below is a response from six children what that want to be in future;
- Mwangi, 11: wants to be a teacher in future
James Mwangi, 11 yrs:
He wants to be a teacher. James has been greatly influence by her class teacher who is kind and always ready to assist. The teacher also takes time to know how he is fairing at home more than his mother. He believes that being a teacher will make him be like the teacher.
Kenrich Avoga, 13yrs: He loves cars especially white ones. His dream is to drive a big truck full of goods from Kenya to Rwanda.
Godfrey Nderitu, 13 yrs: He has never taken a ride on a ship and he also loves being in the ocean. His dream is to work in a big ship like Titanic as he has watched the movie. He wants to be a coxswain.
Kenrich Avonga, 13 yrs, wants to be a truck driver
Rachael Wanjiru, 15 yrs: Rachael loves computer. She wants one day to own a computer company. She wants to be a computer engineer.
Clementina 14yrs, wants to be a lawyers to fight injustices in slums
Clementina, 14 yrs: She wants to be a lawyer because there are so many injustices in her community and those suffer most are women and children especially girls. Clementina believes its all through being a lawyer that she will be able to protect women and children.
Issa Ismail, 15 yrs: Issa is not happy with the way houses have been constructed in slums. There are no playing grounds for small children. He believes that he will design good estate that children into account.
After looking what these children and who they want to be, I was forced to ask myself, ‘how do I contribute in helping these kind of children to achieve their dream? – Simon
January 4, 2011
School Children in Mathare
It is early November 2010 and parents are seeking space for class one while others want to transfer their children because of issues related to relocation, job transfers or fees. My neighbor, Mrs. Kamande was on the same trail seeking to transfer her two children to public school from high cost primary school. Reason being that she feels that her children lack social skills she acquired in public school when she was young.
On this day she entered into one of the local primary school (school identity hidden) just to find the headteacher settling to serve the local parents. After explaining that her children have been schooling in one of the academies and she wanted to transfer them to public school, she was shocked by the headteacher’s reaction. “are you bringing your children here because you have lost a job or it is that you want to save money”? Mrs. Kamande was shocked beyond words. She decided not to respond to the query but instead focus on her mission, ‘what do I need for my children to be admitted in this school?’
She was issued with a long list of requirements which included: school desk at Ksh.2,500; registration Kshs. 1,500; Tp Kshs. 300 per term; Tuition fee Kshs. 1,000 per month. On top of this, one has to buy text books, exercise books and school uniforms. For Mrs. Kamande this was not about money or a lot but the reason she decided to share this was total different. She was simply asking and wondering what part of free primary education is free and at what happens to all the desks that are bought every year by parents.
This made me to cross check with other public schools elsewhere. Her experience was similar with that of parents in Mathare and Huruma. I was able to establish that on average one pays Kshs. 7000 (almost 100 USD) for new registration apart from school uniform, text and exercise books, school meals and tuition fee even though it is not mandatory.
Back to Mrs. Kamande’s experience, She wondered what happens to the school desks, and if parents are allowed to take them away when a child finishes class 8? Finally she decided not to transfer her child to a public school because of the attitude the headteacher might have on her children. Another reason, the difference between the academy and the public school is not all that good. However she still believes that public schools are the best as you are guaranteed of a teacher being qualified as they are forwarded by Kenya Teacher Service Commission. Our conversation ended with a question; what part of free primary education is free?