Hello from Nairobi!
It’s now been a week since we arrived here, and we have had a productive and insightful time working on the mentorship project. We have also started research on another project, but more to come on that in a further post! Many matatu rides, late night brain storming sessions and many ‘asante sanas’ later we have managed to achieve a lot of progress on the mentorship scheme especially working closely with the Kite Nairobi committee which has been an absolute pleasure. We have met with potential partners and discussed future expansions of the scheme. One of the main highlights of our trip however has been the special activity day to the Bomas of Kenya with the mentees, mentors and teachers at Uhuru Kenyatta.
The special activity day is a termly event that take the mentees out of the usual school setting enabling them to engage in fun activities. The days further their understanding about life after school, careers and future pathways. It also acts as a motivation for the mentees to attend the mentorship scheme at school if they then get to partake in such an exciting day trip that the mentees look forward to. On Tuesday we got to join the second term special activity day to the Bomas of Kenya, a hub of rich Kenyan traditions. The day went as follows:
We (Oxford committee) arrived at Uhuru Kenyatta school to meet with the Nairobi committee and discuss final logistics. The students and mentors then started to arrive. It was great to introduce ourselves and start talking to everyone. We got the chance to catch up with some of the mentees about their experience of the scheme and the feedback was very encouraging.
We asked the mentees to fill in a mid- year survey to self-assess their personal development. We will then be analysing them to compare to the original base line survey and the end line survey they will complete in December once the piolet project is over. It also offered the mentees the chance to give us feedback on things we can improve going forward with the project. The surveys are an opportunity to measure the impact of the scheme.
We all piled into two buses that had a buzz of excitement about them. I felt like I was back in my own secondary school ready for a school trip surrounded by so many smiling faces in school uniform discussing the day ahead! The Nairobi morning traffic allowed for an opportunity to have a great chat and really get to know some of the students on the journey!
Once arriving in Bomas the whole group got to explore the traditional home steads of different Kenyan tribes. There were some great instruments at the end of the tour that everyone got to have a go with!
Lunch time! After an energising lunch we played some team building games with James from CoWA. An intense round of ‘James says’ and the most upscaled game of rock paper scissors that consisted of acting out wild animals got all of the mentees and mentors working together in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
Show time! Bomas provide a daily cultural show of traditional music and dance that was thoroughly enjoyable. We even had some of the mentees go up in the interval and showcase some of their dance moves! It was great to see their confidence levels! However, one of the most entertaining events of the performance for everyone else was when one of the performers picked on me to go on stage to try and join in their traditional dance… it did not go too well but I gave it a good go, and everyone had a good laugh! I won’t be forgetting that experience any time soon!
Back on the bus to Uhuru Kenyatta for the students to go home. What a day!
After reflecting on the busy day at Bomas, it has affirmed our aspirations for expanding the scheme in the future to other schools around Nairobi. We met with Amani Kibera where Ben showed us around the local area and the community centre project they have been working on after the destruction of their original offices due to the road construction displacing approximately 30,000 families.
We also got to visit Babadogo to see the MOHI school and talk to students and parents in their homes about the schools impact on their lives. We have been thinking about possible expansion sat Uhuru Kenyatta with our existing partners CoWA.
All in all it has been a very productive week looking at the mentorship scheme and we are excited about the future of it after the positive feedback we have received. Now we need to start doing a bit more research into possible new schools and begin thinking about a second round of mentor recruitment and training. We would like to extend a special thanks to the Nairobi committee especially Patricia who has been fundamental to the running of the mentorship scheme.
Laura, Pia and Joe