When schools re-opened in January in Kenya, parents across the country breathed a sigh of relief. After 8 months out of school and at home in lockdown conditions, children were far behind in their learning. Some children kept up their studies to some extent through radio and TV broadcasts of lessons, through reviewing their own textbooks and via online learning at home. But most poor families couldn’t offer their children those options.

We all expected the government to restart the school year at Term 1. We thought they would simply accept the fact that the lost time was lost forever and all students would start by rewinding the school year. But that was not their plan. Students found themselves starting in January at Term 2 – where they left off. On top of that, there is an extra semester in 2021 – and will be again in 2022. Theoretically making up the two lost semesters of 2020. That put the end of the 2020 academic year into April 2021. Before the pandemic, the academic year would have ended in November. It is a crash program with shorter semesters and less holiday time.

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

An additional country-wide lockdown in April forced the closure of Elimu Resource Centre again – right when kids were home for their ‘long holiday’ and could have been benefitting from our digital resources to catch up on their studies! But the good news was that since it was holiday time, the lockdown did not affect the school year. By May when schools were due to open again, the lockdown was lifted and students got back to class.

Despite the marathon schedule, Elimu has been able to continue our mentorship program for the sponsored students of our Stay in School Project. They joined us for a half day in April before the lockdown was announced and again in July during a brief week off between terms. During these sessions we spend time sharing information and encouragement. We often invite teachers and other community members to talk on specific topics of use to student life. We include mentorship break out groups where students get to share their challenges and discuss issues they are facing at school with individual Elimu staff who share advice from their own experience. In this hectic year with its added challenges our children need the extra boost of positive support from our team. We hope it gives them an edge in this challenging year!


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Elimu empowers learners to increase academic and digital literacy, improve school retention and encourage self-sustainability through employment planning and entrepreneurship. 

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