Kenyan Education Act and School Sponsorship Challenges

Here is what Francis and Victoria had to say regarding the recent developments. We will be able to provide a clearer assessment of the situation after our meeting on September 1st.

Last week, Francis and I met with the District Education Officer (DEO) to discuss the Ministry of Education’s decision regarding Nuru’s desire to sponsor Taragwiti Primary School. The DEO told us that they have “no problem” with us sponsoring the school. However, before any formal decision is made regarding our sponsorship, the DEO wants to meet with the Salvation Army, Taragwiti parents, local chiefs, Nuru, and any other interested parties to discuss the transfer of sponsorship from the Salvation Army to Nuru. We received word this week that the Salvation Army representatives in Kakamega who hold the highest decision-making power said that they would absolutely not consider relinquishing sponsorship. The DEO also told us that the Education Act is undergoing revisions as a result of the new constitution. He said the revisions are mainly targeted at reducing, controlling and limiting the role of the sponsor. We are now in the process of clarifying what exactly that means.

As a result of these developments, we need to revisit the sponsorship model and determine our strategic direction. We will be assessing the risks associated with this approach and trying to gather more information about these proposed revisions to the Education Act to inform our path forward. Our main challenges right now are the unknowns related to the Education Act, the Taragwiti parents who are extremely agitated about the Salvation’s Army’s unwillingness to surrender their sponsorship, the Salvation Army’s position and lack of transparency regarding their decisions, and the DEO’s strong advocacy for our involvement in Taragwiti that is diverging from our vision for the sponsorship. These elements represent considerable challenges for the sponsorship program as we had envisioned it. Though it derails us momentarily from our forward momentum, it is an important test of the strength and practicability of the sponsorship approach.

About Lindsey Kneuven

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