In Laikipia County only 23% of residents have secondary-level education or higher. In Laikipia North constituency where Dol Dol resides, the rate is the lowest in the whole of Kenya. The local community are mainly Maa-speaking pastoralists whose main economic activity is herding livestock. Their nomadic lifestyle makes it hard for children to attend school as families frequently move in search of pasture for their livestock. In addition, schools in Dol Dol have few book resources beyond curriculum textbooks which are also often limited in number. As a result, illiteracy levels are high. In addition, with few books in school, pupils have no resources to use for assignments or further their knowledge.
The Yes to Reading project aimed to improve learning outcomes of Maa-speaking children by establishing their reading skills in their mother tongue and preparing them for the transition to learn in English – the language of instruction in Kenyan schools.
In collaboration with Book Aid International, we focused on four main areas of activity:
Teachers report that pupils are now writing more interesting compositions and have greater confidence reading and speaking in class as they have a broader vocabulary.
The donation of new books has enabled schools to set up school libraries and implement library lessons and reading periods.
Teachers are putting their new skills gained in the training to good use. They are using the new books to teach comprehension and other subjects in class.