During the 2012 academic year, the Nuru Education Program conducted classroom outreach in nine primary schools in Isibania Division, Kuria West District, Kenya. Nuru’s Education Program aims to increase child literacy to the Standard 2 (class 2) level among rural public, primary school students through intensive student-centered teaching and literacy-focused interventions. Workshops were held for two hours per month and focused on the five main components of literacy development: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

The M&E team implemented a survey tool called Uwezo meaning ‘capability’ in Kiswahili. Nuru adapted the Uwezo assessment, developed by a regional (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) initiative, which is a booklet that consists of reading and comprehension assessments in English and Kiswahili to administer to the children. Standard 2 level literacy is defined by Uwezo as the point at which a child successfully reads a short story and answers two comprehension questions correctly. The assessment was implemented by Nuru M&E staff in 2012 at the beginning of the school year (BOY) and end of the school year (EOY). The Nuru M&E team assessed 100% of the students present for the assessment (1,950 total) in all nine schools.

Results show that while the majority of students are not reading at the Standard 2 literacy level until Standard 6, both male and female students made substantial improvements in Standard 2 literacy during the 2012 school year. In the earlier grades, Standard 2 Kiswahili literacy improvements outpace Standard 2 English literacy improvements, whereas the opposite is true in the upper grades.

Efforts to quantify the impact of the Nuru program will be made during the 2013 school year, by using comparison schools within the community.