Viewing entries tagged
Importance of Education

January 2015

Education is the Hope for Generations

Blog post by Peter King'ori, a member of EFAC's Kenyan Team. 

Visiting Students at Rongai Boys School

Visiting Students at Rongai Boys School

Education and empowerment provide hope for countless generations who live in abject poverty in both arid and semi-arid areas. Transforming lives in these regions requires various stakeholders who collaboratively work together to instill hope, dreams and change to the younger generations.  Sylvester, an EFAC student attending Rongai Boys School, is an example of a student who is optimistic about the future as a result of such collaboration. Sylvester wanted an scholarship to secondary school so badly that he repeated class eight even after having sat for his Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (K.C.P.E.) and passed with high marks. He said recently, “I repeated standard eight with 353 marks since my mother had no money to take me to secondary school.”

A home constructed of local bricks and a thatched roof.

A home constructed of local bricks and a thatched roof.

Sylvester is among the 28 scholars who are benefiting from EFAC education scholarship in Kitui County. These students live with their parents, siblings and guardians in areas such as Katulani, Ikanga, Matinyani and Ikutha. A recent home visit by the EFAC team found that small scale subsistence farming is the main source of income for most peasant farmers in these regions. The climate is characterized by dry seasons with minimal short rainfall seasons. Rivers are seasonal and farmers depend on borehole water for drinking and washing. They must pay for their water and 5 liters of water costs 2 Kenyan Shillings.  Most of the houses are built with local bricks and either an iron sheet or a grass thatched roof. Illiteracy is common among older parents/guardians and they only speak the local Akamba language. Despite these levels of poverty, these parents/guardians are hopeful for the success of their children.

Ishmael together with his mother and siblings.

Ishmael together with his mother and siblings.

Education is the vehicle that drives change in this region. It is the hope for generations. Every parent/guardian the EFAC team met stressed the importance of education and its impact in ending the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Students could not hide their joy as they narrated the events which transpired before they acquired an education scholarship. Ishmael Mother asserted that “You instilled hope and bright future to my family, it’s only God who can repay and bless you.” Antony Mulwa, an EFAC scholar who also acted as the team interpreter testified that “I had to repeat standard eight in order to get good marks which guaranteed me an education scholarship.” Through the support of sponsors, Anthony recently completed his Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) last year and is eager to learn his results and what his options are for university or diploma programs.  He is currently growing green vegetables and Moringa trees in his father’s farm. He sells the vegetables in a nearby market. He puts a smile as he says “I learnt about the benefits of Moringa trees during the EFAC mentorship workshop. I was given a reference book by the facilitator and when I came back home I planted some seeds in our farm.”

Empowering one student at a time brings joy and hope to families struggling with illiteracy and poverty. Educating younger generations translates to a great future. Students are determined to accomplish their dream and transform their entire trajectory of life in a positive way. Together, let us empower one student at a time with the knowledge that education is the hope for generations.

October 2014

The Long Arm of Education

by Rod Van Sciver, founder of Education For All Children

Rod Van Sciver with EFAC students

Rod Van Sciver with EFAC students


After my friend Joe graduated from Yale in 1966, he went in the Peace Corp where he was assigned to teach school on a small South Pacific island in Palau, Micronesia. He arrived with his duffel of cloths to find a small hut with a dirt floor which was to be his classroom and six young children who spoke no English.

Joe said he was never very good with languages so if he and the kids were going to communicate, it was going to be in English. So the first day, they started learning to communicate.

As time went by, the kids learned Joe’s language. Having no book, Joe made up his curriculum on the fly. He talked about history and geography. They lay on the beach and counted the stars. He played math games in the dirt.

After two years, he returned to the US, having had an enriching experience but wonder if his two years on the small island had been a throw away.

When Joe turned 65, his son James said, “I want to go to Palau with you. I want to meet your students.” Joe thought it was a wonderful idea. What they found speaks to the power of education.

All of his students still lived on the island. They, their children and grandchildren all spoke flawless unaccented English. One of his students owned a successful fish export business. Another served on the Micronesia Fishing Commission that negotiated the licensing and revenue sharing model for tuna caught by foreign fishing fleets in Micronesian waters which turns out to be half of all the tuna caught in the Pacific and a major source of income for the islands.

Joe said his most shocking moment came when a small child asked him, in perfect English, “Are you the Joseph that my grandmother talks about?”

No Joe, you didn’t throw those years away. In fact, what you gave those six children will continue to reverberate well beyond our years. 


Voice from the Field - Mona Kyle – VGGS Prayer Day

Mona Kyle, is a volunteer from California who is volunteering with EFAC in Kenya for three months. Mona is living and working at the Vanessa Grant Girls School (VGGS) in Rongai, Kenya, a partner school of EFAC. EFAC students attend secondary school at VGGS. Read Mona's description of Prayer Day at VGGS.

Earlier this month was the 3rd Annual Prayer Day at VGGS.  Unlike many secondary schools in Kenya that have an Open House, a family Visitation Day, and a Prayer Day, in an attempt to reduce costs and disruption to the academic schedule, Nancy Mwaniki has decided to combine all three events into one, with the emphasis on mentally, emotionally, and spiritually preparing the Form 4 scholars for their upcoming KCSE ordeal.  In essence, Prayer Day acknowledges that VGGS has done its part to prepare the candidates for the examinations and enter into the next phase of their lives, requests the candidates’ parents and guardians to pray for their success, and culminates in the act of placing the candidates in the hands of God. The day began with the raising of the flag before an assembly of the entire student body, faculty, and VGGS trustees, and the blessing of the classrooms in which the candidates will be taking the KCSEs by one of the trustees, Lyndon Bowring.  This was followed by a procession to the field by the students, faculty, trustees, and, of course, the candidates, where they were greeted by their parents, families and friends.

The program began with entertainment and presentations from the candidates together with the other students.  This included singing and dancing by various groups, as well as the VGGS choir.  Gogar Primary School also participated in the program with a couple of skits and several musical offerings.  The sermon was delivered by Lyndon Bowring who focused on the VGGS Ethos that “truth, integrity and humility are central to everyday living following the examples set by Christ,” and its motto, “Education Today for Leadership Tomorrow.”  Mr. Bowring concluded by saying that every day is today, and every day we are alive we should continue to learn since that is what being a disciple truly means.

 “The Charging of the Candidates” was done by trustee, Johnny Onslow.  He presented each candidate with her own Bible and read the following charge to the VGGS candidates:  “I charge you never to forget the great benefits that you have received in this place, and in time to come according to your means, to do all that you can to enable others to enjoy the same advantage; and remember that you carry with you, wherever you go, the good name of Vanessa Grant Girls’ School.  May God Almighty bless you in your ways and keep you in the knowledge of his love now and forever.”  

The principal advised the candidates that in order to create a meaningful legacy they will need to surround themselves with good people who have similar interests and moral character, recognize and continue to develop their abilities, and avoid compromising their personal integrity.  The deputy principal thanked the parents, and the faculty and staff for all the support and encouragement they have shown the candidates during their entire time at VGGS.  There was a final surprise presentation by the candidates themselves in which they sang a “Song of Thanksgiving,” individually acknowledging and showing their gratitude to the trustees, administration, faculty and staff.  It was a very sweet song, and everyone was genuinely moved by the sentiment.  The closing prayer was delivered by one of the parents.

After the program the students spent the afternoon with their visiting families. Their families brought home cooked meals which they were able to enjoy as picnics.  Some of these picnics were pretty elaborate affairs.  It was nice to see that those students who did not have any family visiting were often invited to join those who did.  A couple of girls even invited me to join their family for chapati and mukimo, my favorite Kenyan dishes.


Voice from the Field - Mona Kyle – KCSE Testing

Mona Kyle, is a volunteer from California who is volunteering with EFAC in Kenya for three months. Mona is living and working at the Vanessa Grant Girls School (VGGS) in Rongai, Kenya, a partner school of EFAC. EFAC students attend secondary school at VGGS. Read Mona's description of Kenya’s KCSE exams, something all of EFAC’s Form 4 students are currently taking.

The significance of the KCSEs in the Kenyan education system tends to be a little overwhelming, not only to the candidates, but even to the casual observer. The KCSEs are currently being administered on every secondary school campus across Kenya, and I am witnessing the effects of the exams at VGGS first hand.

KCSE stands for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, and is taken by all Form 4 students at the completion of their secondary education. KCSE candidates are tested on a minimum of seven subjects.  For grading purposes, the candidates must take all three compulsory subjects (English, Kiswahili and mathematics), at least two sciences (biology, physics and/or chemistry), one humanities (history and government, geography or Christian religious education), and at least one practical or technical subject (home science, art and design, agriculture, computer studies or business studies).  The grading of the examination is as follows: A (80% and above), A- (75-79), B+ (70-74), B (65-69), B- (60-65), C+ (55-59), C (50-54), C- (45-49), D+ (40-44), D (35-39), D- (30-34), E (0-29).  

In Kenya, this examination determines admittance to public and private universities.  The passing mark for the 2013 exam was a minimum score of 60% (B-) for males and 58% (C+) for females.  Students who attain a grade C or below have the option to enter a diploma program such as mechanical engineering, clinical medicine, wildlife management and other options that also provide opportunities for employment in the future. Once admitted to a university, a student’s KCSE score also determines what course of study he/she will be permitted to pursue.  For example, in order to study medicine, one would need to have As in the four core subjects of English, mathematics, biology and chemistry.  Similar requirements exist for every other major offered.

Students at VGGS

Students at VGGS

The KCSEs are in full swing.  The process began on Tuesday, October 14th with the Computer Studies written examination, followed by the Computer Practical examination on the 15th.  It should be noted that the security surrounding the test questions is very stringent.  The examination booklets for all of the local secondary schools are delivered to the Rongai Police Station, and then each subject is individually distributed to the schools on the exact day of the examination with an armed guard, who remains on the campus while the test is being given, collects the completed examination papers, and returns with them to the police station for safe keeping.  Similarly, the day before the Chemistry Practical exam was given, it was necessary for Mrs. Mwaniki to go to the police station to pick up the chemicals that would be used for that examination.  There are breaks in the exam schedule (for example, Oct. 20th is a national holiday, i.e., Mashujaa or Heroes’ Day to honor all those who contributed to the struggle for Kenya’s independence), so the last day of the KCSEs is not until November 3rd, when the candidates will sit for the Biology Practical exam.  It has been very quiet on the VGGS campus (even Rongai Boys’ is somewhat subdued) as the lower forms have been very polite and respectful of their older schoolmates, and they contemplate what lies ahead for themselves.

The armed guard who has been on campus at VGGS   since the start of exams, which is standard procedure.

The armed guard who has been on campus at VGGS since the start of exams, which is standard procedure.


Nurturing Talents Beyond Academic Excellence

Blog post by Peter King'ori, a member of EFAC's Kenyan Team. 

On January 2013 in the Standard Newspaper, Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology stated that “top marks alone will not assure excellence.” The Ministry stated that schools in the future will be ranked on the basis of academic excellence and other parameters such as good governance and leadership, talent development and character formation aimed towards nurturing well-rounded students.  This effort stands to be of great importance as the 21st Century employers are not only looking for qualified and competent employees but people who also possess the necessary soft skills to fit in the modern work force. These soft skills include ethics, communication ability, working well with others, problem solving ability, interpersonal skills and positive attitude, among others.

Since then, the ministry has taken significant strides to recognize outstanding schools which are contributing immensely in nurturing well-rounded students during national release of academic results. These government efforts to align education with employer demands requires numerous stakeholders to work collaboratively in order to create collective impact while raising lifelong learners.

EFAC Students Attending the Annual Mentor Workshop

EFAC Students Attending the Annual Mentor Workshop

Education For All Children (EFAC) in collaboration with Africa Nazarene University (ANU) and diverse sponsors from across the globe are in the forefront of transforming lives of the bright disadvantaged students’ from numerous region in Kenya.  EFAC students are provided with the opportunity to attend an annual mentorship workshop. During the workshop, students are empowered with values, life skills, IT skills, leadership skills, competencies and career guidance that positions them to succeed in life and the world of work.

Through these workshops, various scholars have been able to unearth their unique abilities and rise up to fulfill their potential in life. Numerous students have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in their school student governance; proactive participation in school drama and music festivals, sportsmanship and essay writing contests, among others.

Wycliffe Displaying his Poster at the Segal Family Foundation Annual Meeting

Wycliffe Displaying his Poster at the Segal Family Foundation Annual Meeting

Recently, Wycliffe Nackeel, an EFAC scholar emerged to be the winner in a “Sexual and Reproductive Health Youth Poster Contest” which was organized by Segal Family Foundation. He received a fabulous award during the Segal Family Foundation Annual Meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania. In his acceptance speech, Wycliffe moved the audience as he narrated how EFAC, teachers and mentors have impacted his life thus far. He said “talent is what I have learned to tame.” Wycliffe’s passion for art, drama, and poetry made led his former primary school to win the district drama and music festival. He played a key role in composing the play and teaching it to the pupils and teachers. In his recommendation letter, the head teacher praises him as a scholar with “a great degree of talents in poetry, painting and drama.”  It’s our hope as the EFAC family in collaboration with stakeholders of good will that we will continue to touch and transform lives in Kenya by nurturing students’ talents, character formation and leadership abilities besides simply academic excellence.

April 2013

"Girl Rising" -- Join EFAC on April 23 at the Red River Theatres in Concord

We are pleased to participate in another screening of Girl Rising, this one at the Red River Theatres in Concord NH on April 23 at 6:30pm.

The movie tells the stories of nine girls from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other heartbreaking injustices. Despite these obstacles, the brave girls offer hope and inspiration. By getting an education, they're able to break barriers and create change. 

There will be a Q&A after the film with:   

Nancy Van Sciver  EFAC Founder   
Shabana Basij-Rasikh Co-Founder & Managing Director, School of Leadership, Afghanistan
Augusta Thomson Team member at 10x10- a social action campaign to promote girls' education
Moderator: Marianne M. Jones, Executive Director, Women's Fund of New Hampshire

For more information, visit the Red Rivers website.

To view the trailer, click here.

We hope to see you there.

March 2013

Girl Rising: Take Action

  Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for the screening of Girl Rising at The Music Hall. It was an unforgettable film about the power of education to change the world. 

As we learned, millions of girls around the world face barriers to education. But when girls are allowed to go to school, they have a significant impact on their family and community. When you educate a girl she will earn up to 25 percent more and reinvest 90 percent of her income in her family. Her children will be more likely to go to school and be immunized, leading to healthier, more productive individuals and communities. 

"When girls go to school and get an education, they stay healthy. They save money. They speak up. They build businesses. Then they pass it all on...and poverty declines," Richard Robbins, Director of Girl Rising.

So how can you help? 

Sponsor a girl in the EFAC freshman class; we currently have 11 girls who need sponsors to finish high school. 

In Kenya, where high school in not free, many families cannot afford to educate their daughters beyond eighth grade. To address this challenge, EFAC identifies impoverished girls who excel in primary school and provides mentoring and scholarships to attend top Kenyan secondary schools. These students are then paired with sponsors like you to fund their education and provide support and friendship.

Miriam, EFAC Class of 2017

Miriam, EFAC Class of 2017

To learn more about the 11 girls who need funding, visit our Class of 2017 webpage where you will meet Annah, Benta, Miriam and others. In her application for a scholarship, Miriam says, "When I grow up, I would like to be a civil engineer and help the needy." Together we can help Miriam and other girls like her realize their dreams. 

An EFAC sponsorship is $800 a year for four years or for $100 a year per person, you can join 7 of your family and friends to form a group to sponsor a child through high school. To help you form a group, you can download a sample letter from our website to send to friends to ask them to join you in sponsorship.

As an EFAC sponsor, you will have the chance to get to know your sponsored student through the regular exchange of letters. Imagine the impact you would make on the life of a girl who would otherwise be forced into early marriage or become a victim of human trafficking.

To sign up for a sponsorship, visit our Donate webpage, send an email to info@educationforallchildren.org or call 603-436-3826. 

Thank you.


Kelvin Continues To Shine

Kelvin has been busy during his Gap Period with both his community service project and his computer studies. For his community service outreach he chose to teach math and science at a nearby primary school for several hours each morning. He then attends his computer course later each day. "The teaching stuff is a whole lot more fun than I ever imagined. The pupils there are so cooperative and always ready to learn," Kelvin says. He tells EFAC he chose this government (public) school because they traditionally offer a lower quality education and so he felt he could make a difference for the students.

"Since joining the school I have acquired self-esteem and boldness to face people. Before I was very shy. The only challenge I face is waking up every day at 5 in the morning, but I am getting used to it."

Kelvin has just learned his KCSE score and we want to congratulate him on his great grade. We are very proud of you, Kelvin!


KCSE Results Are In and Our Students Did Very Well

Source: http://blog.theonlinekenyan.com/kcse-2011-results-analysis

Source: http://blog.theonlinekenyan.com/kcse-2011-results-analysis

We don't have 2012 overall results yet but in 2011, 412,000 graduating students took the KCSE exam. Only 120,000, or about 30%, scored C+ and above. This year, 96% of the EFAC students scored C+ or above. That is impressive!

In 2011, only 7% of the students scored B+ or above, qualifying them for a university scholarship. This year 42% of the EFAC students qualified.

While I know that some of our students are disappointed that they didn’t do better, I think the class of EFAC class of 2013 has distinguished itself as an outstanding group of young adults ready to move to the next level.

Congratulations to all.


“Educate Girls. Change the World.”

Please join us on March 20 for the Portsmouth, NH premiere of Girl Rising at The Music Hall.

Girl Rising, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, spotlights the stories of nine unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances. Girls like Sokha, an orphan who rises from a life in the garbage dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to become a star student and an accomplished dancer; Suma, who writes songs that help her endure forced servitude in Nepal and today crusades to free others; and Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” whose father sacrifices his own basic needs for his daughter’s dreams.

The Music Hall's screening of Girl Rising will be followed by a panel discussing moderated by Cynthia Fenneman, President and CEO of American Public Television and will include: Tom Yellin, Executive Producer at 10x10; Karin Barndollar, EFAC Board Member; Hope Mbabazi, a student from Uganda who benefited from an education scholarship; and Bess Palmisciano, Founding Director of Rain for the Sahel & Sahara.

There will be a special pre-screening reception at The Music Hall Loft for holders of VIP tickets.

Tickets: $10.50/general admission; $75 for VIP reception at The Loft at 5 PM
Time: 7 PM- 9 PM
Location: The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth NH 03801
PURCHASE TICKETS: http://www.themusichall.org/calendar/event/girl_rising