Introduction

The Macheo Primary School Program (PSP) is designed to increase the number of children that attend school and complete their primary school education in the Thika slums, by providing them with good nutrition, and a quality education. Macheo focuses on the most disadvantaged children whose parents are not able to send them to school. Daily, Macheo supports around 14,000 children in twenty schools by providing nutritious food at school without charge, sanitary pads for girls and personalized individual assistance to families in numerous ways.

How does the program work?

In Kenya, public primary schooling is free of charge; however, there are some additional costs for parents or guardians to pay, such as examination fees or school uniform. A substantial percentage of Kenyan families are living in such a deplorable situation, that the financial burdens of school, combined with the challenging situation at home are the primary reasons why children are absent from school, or at risk of dropping out of school.

The PSP consists of various interventions, because there is no simple universal solution to achieve the objective of raising a child. The most important intervention of PSP is the serving of food to the children at their school. When a child is hungry, learning is limited so Macheo serves breakfast to all the children in the form of porridge, and lunch is offered only to the most vulnerable and needy children; about 10% of the school population. Their parents or guardians contribute a small amount to the lunch to prevent dependency. The second intervention of the PSP focuses on de-worming treatment on a regular basis for the children, ensuring improved health. The third element is the distribution of sanitary pads to the neediest girls, to reduce their absentee rate.

In addition to these general activities, the PSP strives to help individual children. Fieldworkers and counselors work on personal cases to track why children are absent. Parent and teacher seminars are also part of the PSP. Macheo is dedicated to serving only the most vulnerable children in each of the schools, because not every child in these schools is as disadvantaged as others.

Within this PSP, Macheo collaborates with all the stakeholders such as the government, teachers, parents and other NGO’s in order to share responsibilities and to create a child-friendly environment both at school and at home, which ensures good nutrition and a high quality education.

Facts

  • The Macheo Primary School Program was founded in 2006 and started with fifty children and one school.
  • Macheo supported twenty schools and had up to 13,199 beneficiaries in 2014.
  • Macheo held seven parent seminars in 2014.
  • 133 drop-outs were brought back to school in 2014.
  • 42 Absentee school children were returned to the classroom in 2014.
  • Girls were no longer absent from school during their menstruation because of the sanitary pads provided by the PSP.