A Sustainable Approach to Partnerships
At So They Can, we believe in the power of partnership and collaboration. We know that our work isn’t sustainable or scalable without the commitment of the government and communities we work with. So we focus on the engagement and empowerment of whole communities to take ownership of their schools and their future. We do this in a phased approach to ensure that we take the time to do our due diligence, build relationships and trust and give communities the resources and knowledge to succeed. These are:
1. Foundation | 2. Core | 3. Sustained
We also partner with secondary schools to ensure that our students continue to be supported and receive quality education. This can include scholarships for our best and brightest students who may not be able to afford the additional costs of attending school.
Building the Foundations
This phase is where we start our relationship with a school; it’s all about getting the basics right, building trust with and understanding of the community we are working with. We deliver our foundation projects including Our School Community, My Voice, Keeping Girls in School, School Improvement and Teacher Development. We currently partner with 17 schools at this Foundation phase.
Katikit Primary School, East Pokot
Katikit Primary School in East Pokot, Kenya, a county with the highest-illiteracy and poverty rates out of the 20 countries that make up East Africa. So They Can began partnering with the school in 2018. A small school of just over 120 students, enrolment has improved since So They Can supported the school with the development of their boarding facilities (beds and mattresses) and learning materials through our School Improvement project.
However, due to a lack of feeding program and access to water, attendance is still an issue. This year, the school is committed to rolling out a number of So They Can’s projects including Teacher Development, Our School Community, School Improvement, My Voice and Keeping Girls in School with an aim of significantly increasing literacy and numeracy rates as well as enrolment and attendance.
Embedding our projects throughout the Core of the school
By this phase, we are running all of the projects that the school requires. This is the core focus of our work and where we start to see the tangible impact of our work in the community. Our students are empowered, their examination results improve and the number of students transitioning to secondary school increases. We currently have 17 schools partnering with us at the Core phase. At the Core stage we work with the schools to identify which additional projects are needed for the school, for example a school in Tanzania might want to roll out Shambu Letu to improve their farming practices, while a school in East Pokot, Kenya may need to focus on Keeping Girls in School as they have the highest rates of Female Genital Cutting in East Africa.
Endamaghai Primary School, Babati
Endamaghai Primary School is in the Babati district of Tanzania. The Head Teacher, staff and their community are committed to creating the best possible environment for their 400+ students to learn. Having worked with So They Can for the past 5 years, the school now runs a range of projects including My Voice, Let’s Read, Our School Community, School Improvement, Teacher Development , Keeping Girls in School and Shamba Letu. The school is proud to have seen an increase in their students’ results, with an 81% pass rate for Year Standard 7 in 2019. Most recently, the school renovated 4 out of its 9 classrooms and built new teacher toilets. Yet the school is still struggling with poor infrastructure conditions of the classrooms, pupils toilets, lack of a staff room, lack of sports grounds and equipment.
Ensuring quality education is Sustained for future generations
Once our schools projects are fully embedded and the community feels ready to fund and take full ownership of them, we transition to a governance approach. While we continue to support the community and school from a management and enhancement perspective, the community is empowered and able to deliver quality education to their students. This stage allows us to continue to scale and work with other schools, while the sustained school continues to succeed on its own.
Aberdare Ranges Primary School
Aberdare Ranges Primary School (ARPS) was the founding project for So They Can and our work with the community has informed much of our approach with our other schools. Having constructed and founded the school with the community back in 2010, 100% of ARPS’s first graduating class of 2017 (120 students) were able to proceed to secondary school to continue their education. The school was most recently placed in the three top performing schools in the Sub-County.
While the school still has areas to improve, the community is well-equipped and invested in taking ownership of these improvements. So They Can is now transitioning the school to the “Sustained” phase, where we support from a governance perspective and are able to beam with pride at what the school community and their students are achieving independently.
Our Education Projects
Over the years, we’ve developed a range of education projects to lift the quality of the education in schools and ensure a sustainable future for the whole community. These projects include:
Our School Community
to build relationships with the community and ensure the long-term sustainability of the projects.
to ensure students are in a safe and vibrant environment where they are kept healthy to optimise their learning.
to improve teaching standards and support teachers in their ongoing pedagogical capability enhancement.
to build confidence and empower students to speak up and take ownership of their education and to understand their rights.
Keeping Girls in School
to engage the whole community of the importance of girls education, including their human rights, health and wellbeing and their contribution to society.
to build interest and confidence in learning, early literacy and numeracy to pre-primary students
to educate the community on farming practices and provide food and income to the school
to build confidence and create connections among our students across schools, regions and tribes
Msomi Scholarships & Secondary Partnerships
to create clear pathways beyond primary school and support students to progress
Mamire Teachers' College
to create the next generation of quality teachers in East Africa who can inspire our students to reach their full potential