Education for Marginalized Children in Kenya II

Funding Level:
US$17.8 million

November 2006 – December 2014 

Activity Goals:

  • Improve teaching and learning in Kiswahili, English and Mathematics
  • Improve effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of school management, and improved parents and communities’ participation to support reading outcomes
  • Strengthen Ministry of Education delivery systems at cluster and district levels to enhance learning outcomes in Kiswahili, English and Mathematics
  • Increase equitable access to education for 120,000 children in crisis and conflict environments

Activity Accomplishments:

  • 130,978 learning materials provided with U.S. Government support
  • Established 132 reading clubs that meet outside of school hours
  • 192,402 learners receiving reading interventions in grade 1, 2 and 3
  • 75 schools supported with relevant materials to improve safety and the learning environment

Key Partners:
Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology

Aga Khan Foundation East Africa; Coastal Rural Support Programme; The Kenya School Improvement Program; Madrassa Resource Centre; Habiba International, Women and Youth Affairs; Girl Kind Organization; Womankind Kenya; Junior Achievement; Daraja Civic Initiatives Forum; Dignitas Project and key Ministry of Education Directorates in Kenya

Activity Locations:
Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Lamu, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Nairobi City Counties


Education for Marginalized Children of Kenya II is a USAID-supported initiative of the Ministry of Education and Aga Khan Foundation. It increases access to quality education opportunities for primary school children marginalized by cultural practices, conflict and poverty. The activity focuses on improving learning outcomes and implementing evidence-based school management reforms. Community-based organizations work closely with the activity to encourage effective learning through parental and community participation, promotion of local initiatives, and improved teaching and education management.


Education for Marginalized Children of Kenya II is improving access and retention rates for children historically underserved by the education system.

Activities encourage community and parental participation in all aspects of school life, strengthen school management and leadership practices, and improve teaching practices and learning environments at the early childhood development, lower primary, upper primary, and lower secondary levels, including at informal community and Koranic schools.

The project introduces literacy and numeracy.   It sensitizes teachers and school managers to the needs of students from marginalized populations (pastoralists, girls, people with disabilities, orphans, and other vulnerable children).  It improves coordination and dialogue with education policymakers and leaders to inform the national education strategy and enable key officials in the Ministry of Education to scale up successful practices.


Peris Mpheku, a grade three teacher in Manda Primary school in Kwale County, was close to retirement but happy to be among the 3,454 teachers who were trained on Reading to Learn. Reading to Learn is a balanced teaching approach geared at improving the pedagogical skills of teachers in the lower primary grades. Following the training, teachers are mentored through on-site visits undertaken by education officers and project officers who are also trained on the methodology.

“I am open to advice and new challenges in life. When Reading to Learn was first introduced, many teachers my age were opposed to it because it involves more work in the preparation of teaching and learning materials. But I saw it as an opportunity to help my learners. I am happy I gave Reading to Learn a try,” said Peris.

Ms. Peris went further, thinking up new ways of enhancing the interest of her new readers. One way was to ensure that her classroom walls were engaging. She developed charts with stories that learners could identify with. Additionally, she established a classroom mini-library and ensured that learners could engage in a variety of group activities.

“I prepare different tasks for different groups. This includes using a crossword puzzle, reading of selected key words, filling missing words or letters and even writing different words from one key word. Students then exchange these tasks in groups,” she explains. As a result of using different innovative ways in teaching English and Kiswahili, she reports that over 80 percent of her learners can read fluently and with comprehension.

“I am currently helping my fellow teachers to become effective in teaching using the Reading to Learn methodology. I want them to enjoy teaching as I do, and most importantly, I will be happy if more learners improve their reading abilities and achieve better grades in all subjects,” said Ms. Peris.

USAID Contact:
Irene Muriuki
Activity Manager, USAID/Kenya
Education and Youth Office
Tel: +254 20 862 2000

Education for Marginalized Children of Kenya II Contact:
Alex Alubisia, Chief of Party
Aga Khan Education Foundation
Tel: +254 20 232 3233



Updated August 2014

Last updated: October 21, 2014

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