Kenya, Africa

KEN01b - Mathare Community Outreach Education Support: Partnership Reports

Other Reports Available:

Print friendly version

Back to Partnership

Report Date: October 18, 2019

Update from Mathare Community Outreach 

Key people: Daniel and Magdalene Ogutu, Rodgers Ade 

Recent Events

Background Information 

tough placeOutreach Community Centre though its development wing, Mathare Community Outreach (MCO), runs four schools comprising three primary schools and one high school. This is in fulfilment of MCO’s mandate to improve the lives of the disenfranchised children and their families in slum areas, mainly Mathare and Kariobangi. Most of the communities living in slum areas do not readily access education, for example, in Mathare slum only three government schools are available for a population of 300,000 people. Since inception the schools have seen over 17,000 students supported.

Schools and Activities

The list below shows the school names and the current student enrolments:

MCO Joy Primary School in Mathare slum - 440 children
KCO Primary School in Kariobangi slum - 236 children
MCO 4B Primary School in Mathare slum - 267
MCO Mixed Secondary School in Mathare slum - 82 children
Total  :   1,025 children

impacting lives

The schools follow the country national education curriculum with a teaching force of 56 teachers. They post good results in national examinations with 95% securing admission into high school. Only qualified teachers are employed.

A feeding program is run through the schools with provision of breakfast and lunch. This has greatly helped to retain the pupils in school instead of them going to scavenge for food in the streets of Nairobi town or in better residential estates. It has also enhanced significantly the academic performances. The meals provided in the school is also what, in most cases, the children count as their only meals of the day. 

The children also get sponsored through their primary education. The sponsorship comes from different partners working with MCO, e.g. Bright Hope World, Compassion International, and Child Care International. The support mainly goes to cater for tuition fees and school uniforms for the children and also for salaries and wages for both the teaching and administrative staff (cooks, watchmen, clerks, accounts etc.). 

The sponsorship support will normally cater for 30-60% of expenses and the parents/guardians meet the extra cost. 


Current Issues and Challenges

tough placeThe following challenges as always are experienced:
1) Delay in salary and wages payment: This is largely due to inadequate funds received in the organization. Not all the children are sponsored, currently only 55%, and since the sponsorship is not 100% they often still fail to meet their side of the bargain. The non-sponsored also hardly also pay hence there are huge fee balances. More children need to be sponsored and other mechanisms put in place to ensure the parents are able to pay. This has also led to a high staff turnover, in particular teachers who leave for greener pastures or where the salaries are paid on time.

2) Feeding program: For several years MCO received food support from World Food Program until mid-2018 when the program was phased out. The government was to take over but so far nothing has worked. Since the children rely so much on the school feeding program, the organization now charges parents KS15 (US$0.15) per day. This is charged on top of the school fees but is an additional burden and they hardly pay. 

3) Competition and emergence of other schools: Several schools have sprung up in the slums with plans to offer similar services to the children in Mathare. The parents will then move very basictheir children from one school to another and not pay any school. There are also some schools that charge very low fees and offer a poor service but parents will rather send their children there without caring about the quality of education.

4) Sacco and Provident deductions: The staff belong to a Sacco run by the organization but the staff contributions are never remitted as there are no funds and any other funds available are used to pay staff their salaries. The Provident fund was also meant to save money for their future retirement. This has left the organization in heavy debt running into millions of Shillings. 

5) The general running costs especially recurrent costs, e.g. water and electricity bills.

6) The current MCO schools are temporary structures. The most affected school is MCO 4B. The structures constructed with corrugated iron sheets are in a dilapidated state. The classrooms no longer offer a proper learning environment and new classrooms need to be put up. 

tough life

7) In Kenya the government tax employees and this is mandatory. We pay under the following categories:
PAYE payable by 9th of every month. Late payment will attract a penalty of 300%.
NSSF payable by 15th of each month and attracts a similar penalty
NHIF payable by 15th of each month and also attracts similar penalty
The organization must raise Kenya Shillings 400,000 (US$3,860) to avoid the punishing penalties. This also contributes to delayed salary payments.


Prayer and Praise Points

1) To get more sponsors for the children and also to raise the amount of support
2) For MCO to identify sustainable projects that will help it meet its running costs without relying on external support
3) To raise funds to help rebuild the Kariobangi children's home that was damaged by fire
4) The building of new classrooms at MCO 4B primary school
5) Repairs to classrooms in MCO mixed secondary school
6) To realize funds that will help pay off the burdening debts
7) Pray for closer relationship with the community and improved services