In Kwale, Kenya, a caregiver reads from a storybook borrowed from a mini-library that was established by AKF's...

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Students at the Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi - Junior School work together on a science experiment.

AKDN / Georgina Goodwin

Madrasa Pre-School Programme Rahma Nursery School, Mombasa, Kenya

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Early Childhood Development project in Baba Dogo Ward in Nairobi, Kenya.

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Madrasa Pre-School Programme Rahma Nursery School, Mombasa, Kenya.

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

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Kenya | Early Childhood Development


AKF reaches 9,000 young children in Kenya

Early Childhood Development project in Baba Dogo Ward in Nairobi, Kenya.

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Madrasa Early Childhood Programme

AKF’s Madrasa Early Childhood Programme supports the creation of locally-owned early childhood centres in Kenya. It was first implemented in 1986 in Mombasa, after Muslim leaders from Kenya’s coastal region requested assistance in improving the overall level of educational achievement of their children. AKF concluded that early childhood education was the key, and worked with local educators, community leaders and parents to create four pilot Madrasa preschools in Mombasa, Kenya.

These pilot schools would later specialise in a holistic approach to early childhood development guided by a curriculum that integrated key religious values and teachings. It was a model that would later be replicated throughout other schools in East Africa to benefit tens of thousands of students, teachers and community members from all faiths.

The Programme, anchored by Madrasa Resource Centres (MRC), has assisted poor communities to establish, manage and support sustainable, quality preschools offering holistic development opportunities to young children. The Centres train teachers and school management committee members, and deliver continuous on-site support. AKF promotes a deeper understanding of the importance of ECD amongst parents, caregivers and other community members to create demand for and active engagement in quality ECD services.

AKF also engages actively with government and relevant civil society organisations in policy creation and sharing of good practices regarding young children’s education and development. It is increasing the coordination of ECD service delivery through technical workshops for policy makers, government and civil society practitioners. Its aim is to enable holistic child development for all children under six.

The Programme delivers professional development courses to frontline pre-primary teachers, ECD caregivers and health workers. This improves the delivery of holistic ECD and play-based learning in preschools and health centres.

Since 1986, the Centres have trained over 500 Madrasa community preschool teachers and have benefited nearly 7,800 students. They have trained over 675 school management committee members (47 percent women) and more than 125 community resource team members (69 percent women). They currently work with over 75 community preschools throughout Kenya with nearly 2,900 students enrolled (48 percent girls). The programme’s integrated curriculum has influenced national policy and practice, and has trained and supported over 2,000 preschool teachers.

Through its Whole School Approach, the Foundation has supported over 1,050 community-based preschools attached to public primary schools, benefiting over 350,000 children. Kenya Graduate Association has established an endowment fund which provides dividends to member communities to sustainably improve the quality of education. The Madrasa Resource Centre in Kenya has also linked communities to credit facilities such as the Kenya Women Trust Fund and the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, which help successful applicants start up income-generating agricultural or retail activities.