In Shianda village, Western Kenya, the EU Aid Volunteer has the opportunity to work in 6 schools (primary and secondary), by mostly focusing on facilitating the school link initiative between the Kenyan and Estonian schools. The main activities are filming clips from children’s everyday school lives and organising joint skype calls for the students from Kenya and Estonia, also the volunteer will be training teachers on different teaching methods, gets the opportunity to teach classes and to raise the awareness regarding the importance of education, especially the girl child and disabled child education in the schools and community and to follow up Western Focus Community Organisation (Wefoco’s) school support program for sponsored children.
This is an interesting position for a motivated volunteer, as there are various and diverse possibilities to implement different educational activities in the schools - one of them supporting children with disabilities, 2 secondary schools and 3 other primary schools. The aim of the activities would be to support the two local school link coordinators in their ongoing activities, reduce the large number of school drop outs in Kenya, to increase access to the quality education for all children, including children with disabilities and to ensure that more children gain the opportunity to have useful life-skills.
The EU Aid Volunteer is going to work in the community groups, schools and churches by building their capacity in the field of awareness rising and education in Kenya by teaching relevant skills to the community members in order to raise awareness on the importance of education in Kenya. The EU Aid Volunteer will carry out trainings in 8 locations on the aspects of awareness rising education, advocating on the right to education of girls and children with disability in Kenya. The EU Aid Volunteer will also carry out school visits to talk with students and teachers, visit the community and church too. Each EU Aid Volunteer is expected to prepare weekly and monthly reports during our weekly and monthly meetings.
In Wefoco, there is one part-time employee – a director – and one person employed to provide the computer services at the office, all others are local volunteers, including the 2 women who have worked for several years as the school link activities coordinators. It is an interesting position in a grassroot organisation in rural Africa, which enables the volunteer to learn about education in a developing country and explore the local culture and traditions as hands on as possible. The EU Aid Volunteer will stay in the village, where living conditions are basic and privacy can be limited as people are interested in the activities, in addition the choice of food is limited. There will be several other long-term volunteers staying for the same period.
Western Focus Community Organisation (Wefoco) is a community based organization (CBO) in Shianda in Western Kenya that was started in 2004 as a self-help group and later registered as a community based organization in 2009. Wefoco consists mostly of 26 women’s groups in several areas and is focused on orphans, families suffering because on HIV/AIDS and generating incomes of those in need. Additionally, Wefoco has initiated also a cooperative in order to support the community people in joint agriculture, currently the cooperative has over 300 members who grow maize, vegetables, chicken, fish etc.
Wefoco's mission is to develop a sustainable community based initiative that promotes welfare of community people and Wefoco's vision is through its activities directly or indirectly reach to every vulnerable child in the community.
Our approach consists of work in the following fields: education, HIV and AIDS campaign awareness, income generating activities, capacity building activities, gender inequality.
Education: 25% of primary school aged and 75% of secondary school aged children in Shianda can’t afford education. We work to ensure that all children in Shianda village join school. This helps them stay out of child labour, as well as building a promising future for themselves.
HIV and AIDS campaign awareness: Compared to other areas in Kenya, high number of people is infected with HIV and AIDS. Our aim is through awareness raising and counselling to reduce the rate of infections and to provide care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Income generating activities: Most people are poor due to unemployment, low job opportunities, ignorance and lack of education. We work to give people necessary knowledge and opportunities to increase their incomes.
Capacity building activities: Large parts of the population in Shianda, especially people who are living in deep rural areas, lack access to education and information. We work to strengthen the skills, competencies and abilities of people so they can overcome the causes of their exclusion and suffering.
Gender inequality: Women are not treated equally to men and they can be discriminated against in society. We work to give women necessary counselling, to give them a voice and encourage them to be independent and stand up for their rights.
Operational details & security context
The EU Aid Volunteer will work in Shianda, Mumias East subcounty, in 3 wards and 8 locations, which are in the village, consisting of Wefoco group members, as it will be indicated in the work plan made on arrival of the volunteer. The EU Aid Volunteer will be working 5 days per week and will have 2 holiday days per month. The mode of transportation that the volunteer will use in the village is motorbikes or walking short distances. Motorbikes are an ideal mode of transport especially in the interior village but care needs to be taken where the routes are not well maintained. Shianda area experiences heavy rain from March to June and also from September to October. During this period, volunteers are advised always to ask for safe routes since some of the roads becomes almost impassable when it rains heavily. They are also advised to finish their activities early in the afternoon since most afternoons programmes are hindered by onset of rain. By the help of group leaders, the volunteers will be able to organise meetings for them with members.
The volunteer will be oriented on aspects of security, though in Shianda generally the security status has always been favourable and not hostile. This is not to say that we don’t have unfortunate cases but however volunteers should always be aware of such incident and have office contacts for efficient communication in case of any. Volunteers are also advised to have knowhow of the current laws, by-laws, and rights to avoid issues with the local authority.
Shianda is situated in equatorial tropical climate, region which is prone to tropical diseases such as Malarial and typhoid. For this case, volunteers are advised to seek for anti-malaria medication, vaccination and other related conditions according to their health history. The hosting organisation has developed security management plan, health and safety policy and a security briefing that are updated regularly. These documents and briefing will be shared with the volunteer at the beginning of the project.
School link teachers will organise the activities at school for the volunteer.