Kenya, Africa

KEN01b - Mathare Community Outreach Education Support: Partnership Reports

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REPORT DATED: MAY 13, 2016 >

Report Date: May 31, 2023

Update from BHW Kenya Partnership Facilitators

Key Person: Rodgers

Recent Events


Mathare has been settled and running as normal over the last year with the exception of July and August. The elections caused some disruptions to student's learning as they can normally become chaotic. 

This was also the same year they had four school terms as opposed to the normal three term year. Terms were shortened to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organization also struggled to meet its obligations due to a lack of adequate finances. Families are still struggling to pay their school fees due to the impact of the pandemic and rising living costs. 


Personal Stories

Lucky Kasenji

Lucky is a 14-year-old girl who successfully passed her KCPE exams in 2022 having scored 321 marks out of a possible 500. This was a huge success despite having been out of school for the majority of the time due to a lack of school fees. Her parents are poor and doing casual work. The father used to work in a laundry but was let go during the Covid-19 pandemic. She got admission in a national school known as Precious Blood Rituta in Nairobi. The parents could not afford the school fees and she eventually joined a day school in her home county Makweni.

She never thought she would join high school and receive good results, but she kept working hard and became the head girl. She was learning at MCO Joy Primary School.

Ferdinand Odhiambo

Ferdinand is 14 years old and bright in class. He is from a poor family. At some point two years ago, a team of scouts for potential basketball players visited the school to recruit and coach students. He played well in front of the scouts and eventually he attended a tournament organized by high schools. One school called Butula saw his talent and selected him to join the school and covered his fees. Ferdinand, like many children in Mathare, have talents but lack the opportunities to be recognised. Something good can always come out of Mathare despite the harsh environment they live in. Many of the children living in the slum are bright and talented but do not have the same resources. 

Ferdinand is one of the lucky ones who got the opportunity to reach his full potential.


Partnership's Influence within the Community

Despite their current challenges Rodgers still feels they are making an impact in their community. Their school remains the school of choice due to their academic results. The students continue to have good results in the national examinations each year and this is a reflection of the qualified teachers they have on staff. 

As a Christian institution the children are exposed to the Word of God from a young age. This, Rodgers believes, is decreasing the chances of turning to drug abuse and crime. These are two common features in the community among the youth. 

Having the opportunity to be educated has allowed many of the children from poor families to gain employment. They have then been able to migrate together with their families from Mathare slums to other better locations.

The past former MCO school learners formed an alumni association. They have been able to give back to the school by awarding the best performing students. This generous act has been a positive demonstration of the impact that the organisation has had on the students. 


Current Issues and Challenges

The organization continues to face a myriad of challenges, the biggest issue being lack of adequate resources (finance) to meet its obligation.

• The failure by parents to pay school fees interferes with the smooth running of school programmes.
• Poor morale by staff due to delayed salaries which has caused high staff turnover.
• Loss of learners to other schools with registered JSS. The JSS classes are supposed to be domiciled in the same school for continuity.
• Transfer of learners to other schools as a result of lack of JSS in the MCO school.
• Dilapidated structures especially in their schools now require frequent repairs. The repairs are always very expensive.
• Need to create new classrooms e.g., MCO4B school and KCO require 4 new classrooms to allow registration of JSS classes
• The cost of foodstuffs went up by over 80% hence parent's contribution to meals could not match the available need.
• Lack of a clear local sustainable plan to help in running programme activities


Prayer and Praise Points

Mathare Community Outreach group of schools comprising of MCO Joy, MCO4B and KCO had a total of 83 students who successfully wrote the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the month of November 2022. The results were released in the month of December and the top student scored 366 marks out of a possible 500. 

They also had 79 learners in grade 6 who for the first time sat the national exams Kenya Primary School Education Assessments (KPSEA). The exam is not graded by marks but by performance in terms of 1) exceeding expectation, 2) meeting expectation, 3) approaching expectation and 4) below expectation. Their overall result analysis showed "meeting expectation". 

The school meals programme went on successfully despite the cost of food getting higher.

Teachers and other staff continue to work hard despite salary delays of up to two months.



We do have some concerns around the ongoing financial situation that Mathare is in. Another BHW team member is visiting in June to speak with Rodgers and to facilitate interviews with previous students. We are then going over in September to visit and hope to continue the conversation with Rodgers.