byJyry Virtanen via web
The ECCD project reached a total of 12,960 (86.4%) children (6,460 girls and 6,450 boys) participating in early learning program in 133 ECCD centres in Kisumu (33 centres), Siaya (Bondo-33 centres), Homa Bay (34 centres) and Kwale (33 centres). This includes 10,075 (67.2%) children (5,027 girls and 5,048 boys) who are currently enrolled and participate at the ECCD centres and 2,885 (19.2%) children (1,433 girls and 1,452 boys) who transited to class 1 in primary school in January 2016. These children are supported by their parents and a team of 255 ECCD teachers (31 male, 224 female) out of which 71 teachers are employed by the county government while 184 (72.2%) are employed by the community. In an effort to set pace and improve quality of early learning program which was developed to the County governments the project constructed a total of three model ECCD centres, one in Kisumu, Kwale and Siaya (Bondo) Counties respectively. The model has since been adopted by Siaya County in ECCD counstruction. Kisume and Kwale pledged to adopt the same model.
The project has reached a total of 5,228 (95%) parents (3,952 female and 1,276 male) who participate in monthly parenting education sessions at community level from 138 established parenting groups. The parents are supported by a total of 309 (105 male and 204 female) parenting group facilitators who underwent thorough training on parenting education. All the groups have operational village savings and loan associations (VSLA) which support the parents’ economic status and feeding program at the ECCD centres. The project also supports 13 expectant mothers clubs which are affiliated to the community health facilities within the project areas.
The project works in partnership with County Governments and Central Government line ministries, and strengthen collaboration with other partners and stakeholders to put structures in place to support the provision of ECCD services in early learning program. Through this effort the project has managed to achieve the following to improve service delivery at the ECCD centres and enhance quality of early learning program; ECCD Management Committees (BOMs) with a total membership of 462 (154 female and 308 male) for Kisumu and Kwale Countieswas established and appointed by County Education Boards and trained by MOE to support ECCD centre management. Each center has 7 BOMs members. Siaya and Bondo counties are in the process of appointing BOMs. The launch of school feeding policy for ECCD centres Kisumu county, enactment school milk policy for ECCD children in Siaya County and the deliberate effort of Homa Bay county government to support the establishment of kitchen gardens at the centres to support and promote school feeding programs. The project supported the development of ECCD bills in Kisumu, Kwale, Homa Bay and Siaya Countied to providing guidance on the operations of ECCD centres at the county level. Siaya and Kwale have since passed their bills and are operational. Kisumu and Homa Bay awaits public participation before being presented to the assembly for reading. The project has played a key role in influencing the County Governments to set aside a budget for teacher recruitment. Kisumu and Siaya county recruited 700 and 300 ECCD teachers respectively during the year.
Plan Finland and Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs funding for the project was withdrawn at the end of 2016 after MFA budget cuts in 2015. The project has received co-funding from other donors, which will continue to support the project after the retirement of Finnish support.
Labour related issues among teachers in the country slowed the implementation process through a prolonged teachers strike. During this period the flow of activity implementation at the ECCD centres were affected after teachers including the ECCD teachers stayed away from work. Changes in the administration of national examination both in the primary and secondary schools affected effective implementation of activities at the ECCD centres towards the end of last year. The ministerial directive banning all activities in the school compound during the examination period (October to December) equally slowed down the implementation process. Follow up and support of the early learning program could not be effectively carried out during this period. Other activities scheduled to take place during this period like teacher training on transition, open day/orientation of learners (ECCD graduates) to the new learning environment in class one could not take place in all the centres.