Who We Are
Our mission is to elevate the literacy levels of children aged 3-10 years in community centres and schools. We achieve this by employing child-centred approaches that prioritize the unique needs and capabilities of each child. By doing so, we aim to bridge the literacy gap that exists in the quality of instruction and involvement received by children in underserved communities.This is How
Our literacy content and way of teaching is currently used in 3 centers in Nairobi metropolitan and impacting over 150 children weekly, with the majority of these children reached through teachers and volunteers that we train, support and follow-up with to ensure learning remains child-centered and improvements are seen.
We help children love learning literacy and have fun while at it through our literacy programs.
The mystery that has perplexed many educators nationwide has been Why are literacy levels among Kenyan children failing to improve, despite increased enrollment, enhanced attendance rates for both children and teachers and a growing emphasis on the significance of a solid early years foundation?
A study by Uwezo Kenya (2016) found that learning has remained static over the years. It reports that nationally, “only 3 out of 10 class 3 children can read a class 2 level story and 1 out of 6 children in the same class cannot read an English word” and in class 8 “4 out of 100 children cannot read a class 2 English story” (Uwezo, 2014). According to the same study, by the time a child is getting to class 1, 13% of children cannot identify a single letter, 43% can
read a letter, 29% a word, 7% a paragraph and 8% a story. This is at a level where the average child is expected to be able to read a short story.
This could be a pointer that these children were not well prepared in the early literacy skills acquired in preschool and the reading skills acquired in the early grades one and two. While the current efforts towards accessibility to school are appreciated, it cannot be ignored that learning is rigid and boring which continues to leave children unmotivated to learn.
We ensure our activities are designed with the child at heart through the inclusion of hands-on activities during the learning process instead of the default rote teaching and memorization.
Watoto Wasome promises to bring an exciting new way to learn without
breaking the bank. By leveraging on the use of recyclable materials to create literacy activities, use of affordable or secondhand storybooks and toys, and training teachers on our child-centered approach and building their confidence in the classroom, we can greatly improve children’s literacy and love for reading at affordable costs.
Access: What if children across Kenya could access hands-on literacy learning resources that support their learning and encourage confidence and self-expression?
We strive to partner with more schools/organizations that work with underserved children and train their teachers and follow-up to ensure support and implementation.
Ecosystem: What if communities, schools and teachers were empowered with needed training and guidance to create a holistic literacy learning environment for the child?
We provide teacher and volunteer training to support developing and implementation of literacy activities.
We strive to ensure the child is fully engaged in the learning process and that we are including as many learning styles as possible.With support and willingness of many institutions serving underserved kids and those who dropped out of school, we are positioned to grow our reach and impact, bringing new and impactful learning experiences to the Kenyan child.
We place the needs of children first, and we continuously monitor, evaluate and improve our approach and reach in Nairobi. Our child-centered, engaging and minimalist approach to teaching literacy ensures that our programs are both engaging and effective for their intended audience. We plan the activities, implement them and gather feedback from users (children and teachers) to learn what to improve on and apply them.
Feedback from the teachers we have worked with include increased participation in the classroom, concentration and literacy growth from little to no knowledge of letter sounds to reading 3 and 4 letter words and confidence in speaking before others and comprehension skills.
We are committed to continually and rigorously measuring impact, and using learnings from our evaluation to further improve our products and services for kids in Kenya.
Over the next two years, our focus will be on running Watoto Wasome as a full-time entity i.e. Monday to Friday (as we only work on 3 Sundays a month due to current budget constraints) and reaching more organizations and schools through intensive teacher training and continuous support and follow-up and material provision and also purchasing of digital literacy devices. We aim to increase the number of children we reach, with evidenced literacy improvement in 2,000 children by 2025.
As we scale to new geographies, we will also add permanent paid staff and set-up digital and analog training programs and monitoring and evaluation systems. We are committed to continual growth and expansion across Kenya as the literacy gap is even wider in rural regions and ensuring that as many children in Kenya can smile while they learn. By increasing the effectiveness of our programs with children, while also increasing our reach, we can exponentially increase the impact of our programs and eventually literacy outcomes among Kenyan children within our target age group.