GRiC mainstreams parental engagement in promoting holistic foundational learning in underserved communities of Kenya

TaRL session at Noosidan Primary School, Kajiado County. Photo: Samwel Mwayi, GRiC 

Nashipai is a mother of three children who are students at a primary school in Kajiado, Kenya. She is also a part of the parental engagement programme run by Grassroots Nest for Innovations and Change (GRiC). In this programme, parents are taught to access free digital learning materials using feature phones to supplement learning at home. Nashipai joined the programme reluctantly as she felt that it would be an additional responsibility to her already overwhelming state. However, as her children continually improved their reading skills, she took a keen interest in the intervention. Nashipai is now one of the parents championing the parental engagement programme in Magadi. “I have seen first-hand the improvement of my children in reading. This has motivated me to mobilise other parents to engage with teachers in their children’s learning,” said Nashipai.

Grassroots Nest for Innovations and Change (GRiC), with technical and financial support from TaRL Africa, is implementing the Pamoja Twasoma Project in three sub-counties of Kajiado county. In this Accelerated Learning Program, GRiC supports 486 learners in grades three-five in seven primary schools in Kajiado County using the Language Learning from Familiar to Formal (L2F2) methodology.

The L2F2 methodology uses the local language Maa to introduce literacy skills, making it easier for learners to acquire skills in English. GRiC also supports an additional 1,562 learners in 16 schools in the county through the TaRL English-only methodology. Across all these schools, there is a community-based learning component that incorporates low-cost technology and has mainstreamed parental engagement to support holistic learning. A comparison between the baseline and midline assessments data shows an estimated seven percent reduction in non-readers and a 16 percentage point improvement in the proportion of learners with reading fluency across the 23 schools supported by GRiC in Kajiado County.

Teacher Renson, one of the TaRL teachers at Noosidan Primary School, supported by Patinaai Osim, a GRiC partner in the Mashuuru area of Kajiado, said that they are witnessing increased school visits by parents applauding the new learning approach. “Some of the children who had been seriously struggling are showing renewed confidence, enthusiasm, and remarkable improvement in learning,” he said.

“For GRiC, TaRL Africa has been a reliable thought and technical support partner who has walked with us as we think through and navigate the challenges posed to learning outcomes in the underserved communities, especially during this drought and compacted school calendar period. As we await results from the ongoing endline assessments, we attribute the recorded success to our partnership with TaRL Africa. Through the Pamoja Twasoma project, underserved primary schools are now becoming oases of learning and a clear demonstration of determination and resilience amidst the adversities posed by the harsh environment,” said Wangui Nyaga, Executive Director, GRiC.

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