Women’s Literacy Program

The Women’s Literacy program within the Women’s Department of KELC has been developing and progressing in recent months. In April, Magarini Parish, near Malindi in the coastal region of Kenya held a graduation for 44 people who have completed adult literacy classes and passed a government exam showing their ability to read and write. LungaLunga Parish in the South Coast region held a graduation in June for 33 people who completed adult literacy courses. Illiteracy among adults in Kenya remains a concern. According to the Kenyan government, about 25% of the female population is illiterate. The Women’s Department of KELC is committed to providing Adult Literacy classes in many congregations around the country.

The Adult Literacy Course is a two-year program where students attend classes 3 days per week and they learn to read, write, and do basic math. Although students can complete the work in 2 years, many people take several more years because of other family and community commitments. Many of the students are deeply committed to learning to read and write, and experience many benefits from their newly learned skills. Some women are able to start a small business and can be confident in managing the finances. Many graduates take pride in reading the bible during worship on Sunday. Others continue their education by study a trade, such as tailoring and dressmaking.

The program through the Women’s Department is continuing to grow and new teachers are being trained. In June, 15 new teachers attended a training seminar to learn how to teach the Adult Literacy Course. During the 3-day training, the new teachers learned the process of teaching literacy classes, developed tools to use in the classroom, and practiced their lesson plans. We are grateful for the new teachers who will be going back to their homes to continue developing and spreading the Adult Literacy Course within their communities.

Adult Literacy Program Graduation

Adult Literacy Program Graduation

Magarini Parish held a graduation ceremony on April 20th, for 44 people who have completed Adult Literacy Classes. The KELC Women’s Department has been supporting literacy education in several parish and mission areas, including this group in Magarini Parish. The course is a two-year program, at the end of which the students take a government exam.

Nearly all of the graduates in Magarini Parish were women. As wives and mothers, the women have many daily tasks to maintain their household and support their husband and children. Yet they also craved education and wanted to improve their lives by learning to read and write. Although the course can be completed in 2 years, many women take several more years to complete their course, as they are pulled away from classes periodically to address other duties in their family life. They remained dedicated to their education, and although it may take 5 or more years, they have persevered and have now graduated.

The graduation ceremony was attended by local government officials, church leaders, and community members. Two students demonstrated their reading skills by reading from the bible and the church liturgy book. There were many songs and dancing, including a children’s choir who sang songs to celebrate their mothers on this special day.

Illiteracy continues to be a problem in Kenya and women are disproportionately affected. About 25% of women in Kenya are illiterate, according to the records of the Kenyan government. Many of the graduates lamented that before they undertook the literacy classes, they struggled to shop or conduct business in the market, they were nervous to travel alone, and they could not assist their children with simple homework from school. Now they feel empowered to improve their lives and the lives of their families. We thank God for the dedication and commitment of these students and we pray that all communities around Kenya will continue working toward literacy for all people.

Women’s Empowerment Through Popular Education

Kisii Mission, in Western Kenya, is the latest KELC community to host a seminar to learn about women’s issues. In December, a delegation from the Women’s Department, together with their partners from Hope Foundation for African Women facilitated a 4-day workshop to discuss the topics of Gender-Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation, Human Rights, and Economic Empowerment.

The facilitators used a new learning model called Popular Education (PE). PE engages all participants to collectively and critically examine their environment and everyday experiences, so that they can take control of their own learning and development. This style of learning requires a lot of active participation and discussion. PE is a new style of learning for many people in Kenya. The participants in the seminar received it with excitement. Each successive day more people came to the seminar, as positive word of mouth had spread through the community of the new and engaging presentations.

At the end of the seminar, participants responded that they learned about legal rights that they did not know they had, including rights concerning their health and their access to social services. Other participants shared that this seminar has inspired them to work together as a community to improve on the economic standing of the whole community, rather than letting jealousy divide them. Lastly, they learned that ordinary people can create change, even if only few resources are available. Together they can protect each other from gender-based violence and insist on their human rights, within their families and their communities.

 

Cancer Screenings at Women’s Health Seminars

Cancer Screenings at Women’s Health Seminars

Women’s health is an important topic about which many of KELC’s women’s groups have requested to receive more educational seminars. The Women’s Department has endeavored to educate women about their health and their access to health care in many different areas of Kenya, covering many different topics within women’s health. During the second week of April, the Women’s Department continued their efforts to share information about women’s heath by holding seminars in Taveta Parish, Timbila Parish, and Kitobo Mission to educate women about cancer, especially breast cancer and cervical cancer.

The local hospital administrator in Taveta said that non-communicable diseases, like cancers, heart disease, or diabetes, have become more prevalent in the area. Currently non-communicable diseases are affecting more people than communicable disease, however most people in the area are not going to the clinic or hospital for diagnosis or treatment of their illness. The Taveta hospital staff were happy to partner with our churches in the area to educate women about health issues and to provide screening for cancer.

In each of the three location of KELC parishes, participants were invited to a two-day seminar to receive educational training about symptoms of cancer, methods for doing home self-screening for breast cancer, the importance of maintaining good hygiene, and what to do if you become ill. On the second day of the seminar, all participants visited a local nurse who performed screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer. The health care professionals also answered health questions that the women participants might have, regarding themselves or their family’s health.

Over 250 women participated in the three seminars and all were examined for signs of cancer. Nearly all women who were screens were found to have no sign of cancer. For those few who were found to have indicators of either breast or cervical cancer, they were referred to the local hospital in Taveta for further testing and examination.

During the seminars, there were also sessions about women’s leadership, creating a vision and mission for your work and family, and the role of women in society and the church. The women were very happy to have the opportunity to learn more about heath care, leadership training, and empowerment topics.

We are thankful for the success of this program, and we continue to pray for women’s education and for the good health of all people.

New School at PLCC

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The new school at PLCC- Ongata Rongai

Pangani Lutheran Children’s Centre (PLCC) is continuing to grow and expand their work and services. In an effort to better serve all of the girls in the community, PLCC is starting a new school for students with learning difficulties. A new school building has been built at the PLCC Ongata Rongi compound. Now that the building is completed, the teachers and staff are hard at work developing classroom materials and learning tools before the start of the first class scheduled to begin in January.

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One of the classrooms in the new school building.

The new school will use an innovative teaching style called MultiGradeMultiLevel Methodology. This teaching framework allows for many students from different grade levels and academic abilities to be together in one class. Teachers will provide instruction to the whole class, to small groups, and to individual students. This methodology gives students the flexibility to work at their own pace and at their own level. This teaching and learning style is very interactive and creative. Students will work both individually and collectively. With students working at different levels and different speeds, the students will be able to assist each other in their schoolwork. This will allow the children to be both students and teachers, and they will support each other toward successful completion of their work. Receiving support from their fellow students, as well as instruction and guidance from their teachers, we believe the students will be successful in completing their schoolwork and will progress in their educational development so that they will be fully compliant with Kenyan educational standards and testing. Although this teaching style is different from many Kenyan schools, the students enrolled in the PLCC school will learn the same subjects, such as math, science, languages, and so on. The students will undergo examinations in the Kenyan educational system and will be held to the same standards for grade-level completion as their contemporaries in other schools.

Classes at the school at PLCC is scheduled to begin in January 2016. There are 8 girls who have been identified to attend the school. PLCC has hired two teachers to instruct the girls and to lead the way in this new and innovative classroom educational system.

Let us all pray for the teachers and students who will be participating in the school. With the hard work and collaboration of all people involved, the school will be successful in providing exemplary education to students who have learning difficulties or who have struggled to succeed in traditional classrooms. God Bless the teachers, students, and staff members as they prepare for this new endeavor at Pangani Lutheran Children’s Centre.

Training Teachers for Literacy Education

KELC’s Adult Literacy program is continuing to grow and develop. Last week, 17 new teachers attended a week-long training seminar to learn teaching skills and classroom management tools that they can use when teaching literacy classes in their communities. According to UN statistics, about 28% of Kenyan adults are illiterate. Adults who are unable to read or write often face discrimination, have difficulty finding and maintaining employment, and are not able to participate fully in church and community activities. In keeping with KELC’s mission to ensure abundant life for all people, our church has been offering literacy classes in many of our parishes and communities for many years.

The seminar was led by trainers from Partners in Literacy Ministries (PLM). PLM, in partnership with Literacy & Evangelism International, has developed a comprehensive teaching and learning plan for effective, culturally sensitive adult literacy education. During the seminar, participants learned methods for teaching adults to read and write, ways to motivate students, how to maintain class attendance, and tools to incorporate faith into literacy education. Teachers were given detailed lesson plans to use in their literacy classes, and they were instructed on how to make learning materials, such as diagrams and flashcards.

The new teachers are from 5 different parishes within in the coastal region of Kenya. The newly trained teachers will be able to start several literacy education classes, which will teach hundreds of people to read and write. Many of our congregations have felt the positive impact of literacy education in the past years, and we are grateful for the opportunity to grow the program to reach more people. We thank God for the gifts these new teachers will bring to their communities and we wish continued blessings for all teachers and students in KELC’s literacy program.