Even prior to the COVID, only 1 in 16 Maasai girls living in Kenya's Loita Hills graduated from primary school. Without access to electricity or internet, students there had no access to remote lessons provided by the government during COVID-school closures. This project scaled offline education to hundreds of those students in 2020. The unique access it offered to interactive digital STEM, arts & literacy content was so successful we have added it to our core programming.
In the Loita Hills of Kenya, two barriers often create insurmountable challenges to girls' education. There is only one day secondary school in the 400 sq. mile region, and longstanding cultural norms encourage FGC and early marriage. Now, school closures necessitated by COVID-19 have created additional risks for girls, as their risks for both FGC and early marriage spike when they are out-of-school.
Our normal work focuses on leveraging community resources to start affordable day secondary schools in an extra primary classroom or church. In response to COVID-19 school closures, we pivoted to find a way to deliver lessons to students who live in remote communities with little access to internet or electricity. Our project utilizes an offline app that, once loaded with online content, can seed it to tablets students can use offline. Local clinics are paid to serve as tablet charging stations.
Without education, girls' futures are limited; their health, income and ability to drive their own lives is jeopardized. A ripple is sent that affects their children and the cycle of poverty and helplessness continues. Keeping girls in school is a leverage point that that empowers girls and impacts generations and entire communities.