U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec Visits Bethel Outreach Education Center in Kibera

Students demonstrated the impact that an inspired teacher can have on early grade learning

The U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec joined teachers, parents and education officials at the Bethel Outreach Education Centre in Kibera on June 13, 2014.  Class 1 and Class 2 pupils from the densely populated, informal Kibera neighborhood demonstrated their passion for learning and their achievements in mathematics and reading.

Bethel Outreach Education Center is one of 545 schools in Kenya piloting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Kenya Primary Math and Reading Initiative methodologies and materials.  Pupils are independently reading fluently in English and Kiswahili and doing math speedily and well.  Teachers say that lesson delivery has been simplified and made easier through the teacher guides and training.   Ambassador Godec recognized Bethel teacher Mildred Ochieng as an outstanding example of a teacher who has developed engaging lessons to help children master reading and math.

“It is fitting we take the time to recognize the extraordinary work teachers do every day and the important role they play in the development of our most precious resource – our children.  The primary school children here today will become the drivers of change in Kenya tomorrow.  They will build Kenya’s economy and lead its government.  They will be the artists and thinkers and innovators of the country.  They must have a strong educational foundation to achieve Kenya’s vision of economic growth, good governance, peaceful co-existence, and resilience.  And reading is the very first building block of that quality education,” said Ambassador Godec.

USAID has invested Ksh 680 million ($8 million) in the Kenya Primary Math and Reading Initiative, a research-based activity to improve the English and Kiswahili language and mathematics skills of Kenyan children.  The initiative is working jointly with the Ministry of Education to evaluate successful pilot interventions in both rural and urban primary schools.

USAID is investing Ksh 4.2 billion ($50 million) in a five-year early grade reading activity for improved results in early grade literacy, and to increase the capacity of educators and the Government of Kenya to deliver and administer early grade reading programs in Kenya.