Organisation main programs
The organization key activities include the following:
1) School uniforms program
Primary education only became free in 2003. Education as a measure of fighting poverty and reducing vulnerability is one of the top priorities for the children but this is becoming a dream to many orphans and vulnerable children in different parts of Kenya. Many orphans and children continue to miss part of their early education due to lack of school uniforms which is mandatory requirement in Kenya to date. Many orphans and vulnerable children especially adolescent girls and boys have been dropping out of school due to ridicule and shame of having to ware torn school uniforms with patches all over. Though the government does support free primary education, it does not support school uniforms and this continues to hinder many OVC to benefit from the fee primary education. Too, the support given from free primary education does not favour these children and many finds themselves without books, pencils, pens among other when there is a delay in provision of these important scholastics materials. MCESO therefore continues to support orphans and vulnerable children with school uniforms and stationery to help them remain in school like other children and ensure that their education is guaranteed.
2) Secondary school sponsorship program
A better education improves both the chances of a child to get a job once she/he completes her/his career, and the effectiveness and productiveness of her/his future professional life. To many orphans and vulnerable children, secondary education is a dream to them since, even if they want to continue with their education, many of the guardians living with these children have no financial means to support these children acquire secondary education and many end up not achieving their goals. The aim of the Secondary school sponsorship program is to strengthen the capacity of the education for the orphans and vulnerable children in Ruiru district and to equip them with coping skills that will enhance their survival in future. MCESO therefore continues to support orphans and vulnerable children with Secondary school sponsorship program.
3)University & Collegess ponsorship program
College and university schooling in Kenya are not free and are considerably more expensive than secondary, at $ 800 USD or more per year.Our University & Colleges sponsorship program exists because we recognise that as a country develops it needs people who have the skills to meet new challenges.
4) Stationery & Scholastic material support program
Over 95 % of families living with orphans and vulnerable children are so poor that they cannot afford to buy stationery for these children. As a consequence, their performance in schools continues to drop down day after day; some of them may be even forced to drop out. We have seen so many orphans and vulnerable children who stay staring at other children during class work since they do not have a book to write on because the one issued from the free primary education kitty is filled up and the teachers do not have any replacement available. Having identified this as a challenge since what is given by the free primary education is hardly enough for these children, MCESO has been in the fore front to support
the needs of these children through distributing stationery and scholastic material to orphans and vulnerable children in different public schools in Ruiru district.
5) Vocational training program
Majority of out of school orphans girls live on less than a dollar a day, this translates to living below the poverty line according to the United Nations and the world community standards. In addition the illiteracy level among marginalized girls and youths is wanting. These girls have been made to leave school due to an avoidable circumstances like the death of the parents through HIV/AIDS or their parents are poor themselves and can not afford to support these youths. Majority of these youths are unskilled and have lost hope in future. However, it is strongly felt that there is a need for perfecting their skills if they are to take orders for earning a living. The biggest problem faced by out of school orphan youths in Ruiru district is unemployment and restricted access to other opportunities and this survival pushes them to risky behaviour e.g. prostitution, drugs and substance abuse, early marriages. We support out of school girls through vocational training skills.
6) Combating & mitigating infectious diseases
Diseases pose a significant threat to many orphans and vulnerable children in different parts of Kenya. For example,HIV/AIDS is the underlying cause of much of the orphans across the country, malaria ,malnutrition, water and sanitation and as well internal and external parasitic diseases due to poor hygiene contributes must to the suffering of needy children in these communities’ as well inadequate health services. Community Health Education programs are having a positive impact on the rate of HIV infection. This education reinforces the need for preventative health in response to the threat of vector borne diseases such as malaria, water and sanitation and transmittable diseases such as HIV / AIDS and other related diseases. The provision of education on the prevention of HIV/AIDS,physcho social support, to children who are orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/ADS,providing mosquito netting and education about reproductive health are key mitigation strategies in response to these problems. We conduct live saving preventative-health education programs to teach children the communities about environmental health, preventative measures different disease.We also try to mitigate and address stigma especially to the children who are born HIV positive so that they can feel wanted within the schooling environment they are in.
7)Health and hygiene education program
Schools have a central place in the health of a community. Inappropriate hygiene in schools can cause many diseases. If there are no school sanitation and hygiene facilities, or if they aren’t maintained and used adequately, schools become places where diseases are likely transmitted. Schools can determine children’s health and well-being by their exposure to a healthy or unhealthy school environment. Too, Limited access to safe affordable, convenient and culturally appropriate methods for dealing with menstruation has far reaching implications for rights and physical, social and mental well-being of many women and adolescent girls in Kenya. It undermines sexual and reproductive health and well-being and has been shown to restrict access to education.
Adolescence is a crucial stage of life and one that is challenging for most girls because of its physical and psychological changes. One of the major physiological changes in adolescence girls is menstruation. According to the research, we conducted over 2 years ago over the 65% of the adolescent girls we interviewed openly told us that they use cloths instead of sanitary pads; more than one third of the adolescent girls participating in the research said they skipped school on the first two days of menstruation as the schools lacked proper sanitary facilities for girls. Incorrect advice from family members was the main reason behind this.40% of the respondents said they did not use sanitary napkins because family members suggested they use cloths. Economic constraints are the major causes of not using sanitary napkins: 36.7% of the respondents said they did not use sanitary napkins because it was too costly. As a result, the girls suffered major health problems due to poor sanitary practices during menstruation, and also lost significant numbers of school hours due to poor hygiene management during menstruation.
Poor facilities in school were the main causes for skipping the school. Only 11% of the schools visited had separate toilets for girls with water facilities and only which we had constructed, and only 3% of the schools had facilities to dispose of sanitary napkins. Not surprisingly, even among the girls using sanitary napkins, majority of them (68.7%) could not change napkins at school due to lack of privacy and proper sanitary facilities; 45% complained about lack of water.
Compounding these customary challenges is the lack of access to sanitary protection and towels, which disempowers girls, as they have to stay at home to avoid staining their clothes with blood in public. The cost of sanitary ware and towels is beyond the reach of most young women and girls, who in Africa are the majority of the unemployed and those living in poverty. Most girls end up not going to school, because they cannot afford to buy sanitary ware.
In addition, there are physiological and symptomatic challenges that girls go through during their menstrual cycle, which also hinder their full access to education as well as stop them from fully enjoying activities with others. For instance, before the onset of menstruation, adolescent girls can experience tension, depression, tiredness and irritability – symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which affects the way adolescent girls relate to other students in school and their teachers. We try very much to support these girls with access to sanitary protection and towels, which empowers them and builds their morale towards education during this cycle.
8) Water & sanitation program
Water and sanitation-related diseases remain one of the most significant child health problems worldwide. In some cases, these diseases cause premature death, but more
frequently they cause non-fatal chronic conditions such as diarrhea, worm infections, cholera, malaria, trachoma, and schistosomiasis. As water and sanitation problems continues to escalate in many of these local public schools within Ruiru district, diseases such as diarrhea and parasitic worm infections continues to lock out many of the school going children and the worst affected group is that of orphans children. Diseases are not the only problem caused by the lack of clean water and hygienic sanitation in the school environment.
Providing safe and separate sanitation facilities for girls, particularly adolescents, is one of the key factors in promoting greater school attendance by girls, and preventing them from staying away from school, particularly during menstruation. Adolescence is an important stage of growth characterized by significant physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Learning at this stage leads to a healthy or unhealthy adulthood. Access to sanitation facilities is a fundamental right that safeguards health and human dignity and providing those facilities at schools not only helps to meet that right, but, it also provides the most favorable setting to encourage behavior change in the school and in the community. Children who suffer constant water-related illness are at a disadvantage in school, as poor health directly reduces cognitive potential and indirectly undermines schooling through absenteeism, attention deficits and early dropout.
Additionally, the lack of adequate, segregated sanitation facilities for boys and girls at school discourages girls from attending full time, affecting their academic performance and perpetuating gender inequity. We support local public primary schools with water and sanitation in order to improve the learning environment for the children and mitigate the impacts of water borne and unhygienic sanitation disease .
9) School furniture program
Most of the schools are devoid of proper classrooms, school desks for the students, and other necessary facilities. The conditions in the schools where we work are really terrible. Often there are few desks or benches for the children. Providing desks and benches will increase the number of children attending school and improve the learning environment and therefore improve the grades of the school going children. There is therefore a vital need for improvements to the quality of education and learning environment available in under resourced public schools in the region. The scarcity of furniture and supplies has severely impeded Kenya’s educational system by decreasing the participation of children in school … In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 45 million children do not go to school and only 20 percent of children that do attend have access to furniture. By providing desks for pupils the main objective is to ensure that children attending lessons are not forced to sit squeezed or at cramped desks, both of which inhibit the quality of education children are receiving. The provision of such furniture improves the overall learning environment, which has a substantial impact on teaching and learning. Appearance of a classroom is important and has been shown to affect children’s behaviour. Through this project, we continue supporting many children with school desks as well as chairs for the teachers.
10) Children’ Rights & Advocacy program
All children are born equal and are entitled to basic human rights and liberty and that they deserve respect, care, support and protection as they develop and grow. Many
orphans and vulnerable children have not been treated with respect and dignity due not having same opportunities, and this has destroyed children lives, gifts, talents, skills
and ability to develop them for sustainable livelihood. Loss of one or both of parents, diseases and malnutrition and lack of other basic needs has disrupted quality formal education and learning and social relationships of these needy children.
Therefore MCESO advocate for children rights which includes; education and learning, development, feeding, medication, clothing, protection, equality and participation and would like to partner with other organization in the world. We raise awareness of the needs,
neglect, nurture and potential of children in poverty and challenge and enable those within our influence to greater involvement and effectiveness on behalf of the children.
11) Mentorship Program
Our mentoring program works to support and keep both primary and secondary students especially the adolescent in school, a time when they are more at-risk to drop out. Working with schools, we covers topics on building strong self-esteem and leadership, making healthy decisions, and creating a brighter future. Older secondary students are also paired with younger students to learn and support one another. We also offer Mentorship to all the orphans and vulnerable children who are in our sponsorship programs in order to build their esteem and self drive on life.
Sport is a viable and practical tool to assist in the achievement of the MDGs. Children & youths have to participate in school sports to increase confidence, mental alertness, and self-esteem. Sports are important in schools because it helps to teach various skills to students like leadership, patience, patience, team efforts, and social skills. Participating in play and sports gives children & youths opportunities for natural, self-expression, self-confidence, relief of tension, achievement, social interaction responsibility, and self-discipline and integration as well as for learning the spirit of solidarity and fair play. Team games and play promote positive social integration and facilitate the development of social skills in young children and youth. We support sorts in schools because, Sports in school help prepare children/students to face the challenges of life. They enhance physical and mental abilities of children/students and help them achieve the goals of their life.