Helping to Improve Life Outcomes in Nairobi: Maisha Mema

Maisha Mema is a charitable children’s institution in Kenya. In Tigoni, the charity runs a Children’s Home, and there is a community outreach program known as ‘Clubhouse’, where children in Soweto slums are supported in Nairobi, Kenya.  Forty-five children live together with the Maisha Mema staff as a big family in Tigoni, and almost 300 children are participating in the program at the Clubhouse in Soweto at any given time.

Maisha Mema’s vision is “to create a conducive environment for the children in the program through learning and activities so that they will be brought up to be useful citizens of Kenya in terms of getting an education and a job.”

Michael Kyavoa, Teacher, Maisha Mema, explains: “We have worked with Whizz Education since 2016 for our children to access the award-winning virtual tutor Maths-Whizz.  Currently, we have 113 licences, so children, mainly from Play Group to Grade 5 (6-14 years), use Maths-Whizz on a regular basis, funded by St. Olav VGS in Stavanger, Norway, whose generous contribution also covers our WiFi.

“All beneficiaries of Maisha Mema attend public school during the day. When they return in the afternoons, we then work with them to ensure they understood their lessons and anywhere where they found challenges, can be set on Maths-Whizz.  This reinforces learning and really helps build confidence when they are in school.”

90% of Maisha Mema’s students who made 2.5 progressions or more, since the beginning of the academic year, have achieved accelerated progress. 

“Our Whizz Education Success Partner, Matt Jones has been incredible.  He has provided several meetings and training sessions with all our staff over zoom. He is always available to help and answer any questions.

“One area we have found most helpful is that Maths-Whizz enables us to monitor the progress of each child and groups of learners too.  This is a good point of reference for our teachers.  Every teacher has their own password and login to access detailed information.  This enables us to drill down into subtopics so we can clearly assess strengths and weaknesses.  The data empowers us as teachers to step in and support individuals, groups of learners or a whole class on a particular topic.  In this way, it helps guide our lesson planning on a daily basis. 

“The Teachers Resource aspect of the solution is also very helpful.  This is a library and tool containing lesson plans and guides which we can use to plan lessons on specific topics.

“The virtual tutor itself is really well received by the children.  They love the games, animals and animation, and genuinely enjoy working through the programme.  It means there is not a ‘formal’ classroom feeling and learners are active in making progress by themselves.   One of the best aspects of Maths-Whizz is that it pitches the learning at the individual child’s level.  It automatically assesses and tailors online lessons to match knowledge and ability.  We often use it to recap our normal lessons and yet, everyone is working at their own level and pace.

“Because we use an English version of Maths-Whizz, incidentally, we have found this helps children with their English too!   As well as reading, the sounds help them with their pronunciation.  

“Following the COVID lockdown, we were allowed to let five children at a time access our Maths-Whizz room although we still couldn’t teach.   This helped them keep up to date with their maths learning as much as they possibly could given the circumstances.

“Maths-Whizz is now helping us prepare students’ learning for the new CBC curriculum which has been introduced, as they eventually work towards a new national exam when they reach Grade 6.

“Overall, working with Whizz Education and being able to access the virtual tutor Maths-Whizz has helped our learners so much.  Ultimately, the knowledge they have acquired will help our children get jobs in the future and improve their life outcomes.”

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