New partnership agreement with Kisii University drives next stage in community engagement

African Development Choices is delighted to announce a partnership agreement with Kisii University in Kenya for its pilot project, building water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities at Nyansakia II Primary School.

African Development Choices (ADC) was conceived in 2018 by Moses Tai to deliver access to essential services, setting better precedents and mobilising communities to enact change for themselves. Focused particularly on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), ADC’s first project is the construction and maintenance of facilities at Nyansakia II Primary School in Kenya. To date, ADC has already partnered with the primary school’s board of management to build a water borehole and new toilets within school grounds on the allocated land for the project.

ADC upholds community participation as the key tenet for sustainable development of public resources. With the new agreement with Kisii University, ADC has secured a valuable local partner to collaborate on community participation, research and long-term sustainability for its development projects and goals.

Supporting local education and community WASH infrastructure

Given the wealth of benefits basic WASH infrastructure has on education, the partnership with a well-established university in the region to progress the project is very fitting. Kenya might have met 100% primary school enrolment from 2016, but attendance rates are often poor. Research conducted by Kenya’s Ministry of Education in 2014 found that there were

29 girls per toilet and 34 boys per toilet in schools. Coupled with lack of clean water as a key cause of illness and disease, it is unsurprising that school dropout rates are often high. By enabling students to spend more time in school productively, their horizons are broadened with greater opportunity to continue their education and improve their quality of life in the longer-term.

Kisii University

A World-Class University for the Advancement of Academic Excellence, Research and Social Welfare

Kisii University was founded in 1965 as a primary school teachers’ training college and upgraded in 1983 to a secondary teachers’ college offering diploma programmes. In 1994, Kisii Campus became one of the earliest university campuses created in Kenya and in 1999 its first-degree programme was established – a bachelor of business and management, run alongside a postgraduate diploma in education. On 6 February 2013, it was awarded a charter to become the 13th public university in Kenya. The university’s main campus is situated about 2 km from Kisii Town Centre.

Driving community participation

Within the partnership agreement, Kisii University, through its School of Education and Human Resource Development, will assist in identifying community champions for the project and recommend students for community-based engagements to properly understand the community’s needs. This engagement is the crucial next step for ADC as it embarks on an initial needs analysis. Students from the university will conduct surveys in the community and collect valuable information to inform the project approach, design and implementation.

In return, involvement in the Nyansakia II Primary School project will enable students at the Kisii University to apply their research skills to something with real impact, paving the way for the next generation to benefit from the education system. The plan to also set up a research centre at the university opens up an opportunity for the institution to become a world leader in research into community participation.

Leading the efforts of Kisii University in its support of the project is Dr Titus O. Pacho, whose work strongly aligns with ADC’s belief that community participation is the sustainable solution to improved essential service delivery. Dr Pacho has pioneered participation in learning, founding a non-governmental organization – Service-Learning Tanzania – which creates partnerships between students and community organisations to embed community participation into the student learning experience.

Through ongoing collaboration and community engagement, ADC will be able to achieve optimal alignment with the community and the best possible project outcomes. With the new agreement in place, ADC is set to begin project execution in September 2021 and complete the construction phase by the end of the year. Identifying the right community stakeholders will be important not just in planning, but also for the project handover in December 2022.

This project will set the precedent to engage with local communities and leaders, with subsequent delivery of similar projects at schools and in communities on a broader geographic scale.

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