a)Preparation for Human Dignity Curicullum
In January 2019, Mercy Education organized and hosted two separate meetings where World Youth Alliance offices first met with the primary schools head teachers and in the second one met with the Principals from the Secondary schools and Commercial Colleges. The Meetings were aimed at discussing on to incorporate the Human Dignity Curriculum in the Mercy Associated Schools. This is because we believe in the sanctity of life and dignity of every person, that a person has value and worth that is intrinsic to all human beings. This dignity exists regardless of physical ability, intellectual capacity, gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, circumstances of life and experiences and therefore every person ought to be treated fairly and with respect. Children need to be taught on the importance of upholding human dignity from a tender age hence MEO together with schools head teachers and principals saw the importance of embracing this program in their schools. All primary and secondary schools were represented in the meetings
b)Human Dignity Curriculum Trainning
This was a three days residential training that took place from 24th to 26th January 2019 at AOSK Tumaini Centre as one of the action points brought forward during the meetings with head teachers and principals from Mercy associated schools. A total of 45 participants drawn from teachers in Mercy associated primary and secondary schools, MEO staff and World Youth Alliance attended the training. The aim of this activity was to train teachers who would then teach their students on Human Dignity ensuring that they learn to treat themselves and others in a dignified way. The training was done by facilitators from World Youth Alliance who have got vast knowledge on protection and respect for human dignity. After the training, all teachers were tasked to send feedback and action points on how they shall implement the curriculum in their schools to Mercy Education Office. Nearly all schools have responded and implementation shall kick off in second term.
c)Introduction of Human dignity Curriculum and YWA clubs in Mercy schools
After the Human Dignity Curriculum that took place in January 2019, there was a follow-up with schools in readiness to implement the curriculum. This involved having schools visits and was done by MEO and WYAA staff. After analyzing the findings, we decided to begin implementing the program in three primary schools and one secondary school as a pilot. The schools are; St. Catherine primary school, St. Elizabeth primary school, our lady of Mercy primary school, South B and Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School South B. St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth adopted the program as a curriculum by engaging students at class level while our lady of Mercy primary and secondary schools adopted it in clubs. Mercy education office has been making a follow ups to ensure that sessions are held on weekly basis and assessing the impact of curriculum to students. Currently, a total of 300 students are benefiting from this program. The curriculum will be implemented in other mercy associated primary and secondary school in the beginning of the year 2020. The students are enjoying the learning which is child friendly and involves use of video clips, drawings and audios. More cases of improved discipline among students have been registered
d)Human Dignity Curriculum Refresher Trainning
The training took place on the 15th November 2019 at Tumaini Centre comprising 30teachers from mercy associated primary and secondary schools and was aimed at equipping the teachers with knowledge on how to teach human dignity curriculum to their students and was a follow-up of the training that took place in January where the Human dignity curriculum was introduced for the first time. The training was conducted by World Youth Alliance president with the assistance of WYAA regional director of operations. it also served as an opportunity to enlighten the teachers on mercy ethos as well as a glimpse of what the office does.
e) Making Life Responsible Choices & Ahappy Program for primary schools
During the Month of February and March there was an assessment done on the Ahappy Program that has been running in the primary schools since 2017. MEO office and AJAN staff visited MPC schools and OLM pry school South B where they gave out questionnaires for pupils and teachers. They also verified that the teaching has continued although not strongly in some schools. The results of the assessment shall be reviewed in second term and the way forward shall be discussed with teachers and Head teachers. Already, MEO in partnership with AJAN is organizing for a refresher training to teachers during mid-term break in 2020 as one of the activities come next year after realization that most teachers who had been previously trained had transited to other schools hence the training would fill the gap.
f)Ahappy Program and Human Dignity for Post Primary/Secondary School students
In the month of February we called the first meeting for youth out of school to see how programs of Ahappy and WYA would support them to live healthy lives. This was to be followed by a holiday program which was going to work with students from MPC schools who are currently being sponsored for their secondary school Education. This was to be worked together with MPC social office. The preliminary meetings were held where some youths were hosted at MEO. The registration has been ongoing and the first seminar will be conducted in the month of August and will also be an opportunity for career guidance for form threes and form fours.
f)Chastity Conference 2019
Every year, Sisters of Mercy Education Office takes part in Chastity Conference by mobilizing students from Mercy associated schools to attend this important occasion. This is in line with Mercy mission to provide value and ethical based education which contributes to the holistic development of the full potential of each student. This year, the event took place Saturday 9th February 2019 starting 8:30am to encourage a chaste lifestyle among the young people especially those in secondary schools, colleges and universities. The theme was “facing the challenge of pornography.” with the main purpose of the conference being to reflect with the youth on the challenges of living a chaste life in a society where pornographic materials are becoming too available and to generate ideas from the young people on how to make chastity fashionable among their peers with pornography being the single most antithesis of chastity today. The youths would be able to acquire an insight on how to live chastity in a pornographic world. A total of 209 students from St. Michael’s secondary, OLM Ngarariga girls’, OLM Secondary South B, St. Anne’s Girls’ Secondary School Huruma Girls’ and Eucharistic Youth Movement attended the conference. Key activities included; Talk on the challenge of pornography and possible remedies, Gendered and Age based interaction with professional life and family counselors, Edutainment and Chastity Trivia.
g)March for Life
March for life is a walk held annually within Nairobi Central Business to bring together people from different walks of life and of all ages in order to sensitize the society on the importance of promoting and protecting human life. The walk is organized by Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF) which is an organization made up of Church based groups from various denominations that share common values on Christian teachings on issues of life, religion and governance in conjunction with Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) under the Linda Uhai Consortium. Theme for this year 2019 was “DRAWING THE LINE FOR LIFE” and speakers from various organizations took the podium to emphasize on the importance of protecting life, which begins from conception to natural death. A total of 144 students from three Mercy secondary schools and EYM attended the walk.
Objectives of the walk was to bring together people from different walks of life that stand for the culture of life that seek to preserve life at all stages of life cycle from conception to natural death, to advice youth on abstinence in order to avoid early pregnancies which would be an influencing factor for increase in abortions and to support young people introduced to the idea of chaste lifestyles in their disposition to be protectors and defenders of human life.
h) Ahappy generation symposium
On the 29th of June 2019 Mercy Education Office facilitated the participation of St. Michael’s secondary school students in Ahappy generation symposium that was held at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, Lang’ata. MEO assistant project officer accompanied students to the symposium. Objective of the symposium was to create a space for learners from different schools to share their knowledge, experiences as well as their insights on HIV and AIDS, STIs and other diseases to equip them with skills and knowledge that would guide them into making life responsible choices. The activity was happening concurrently in three African countries which are Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe
The theme of the symposiums was “Living responsible lives for a better tomorrow’’. To enable students prepare for the discussions and present their views, a number of questions were sent to each school to discuss beforehand. Students adopted various ways to pass across their points of discussion, through short drama, songs, question and answer and general discussion.
i)Gthamini life skills lessons
In partnership with G-thamini life skills have continued to be taught in the four MPC primary schools, one secondary school and Mary Immaculate Rehabilitation Centre. The program was also took place in Our Lady of Mercy Primary and Secondary schools. A total of 5594 students have benefitted from this program. The objectives of this training were to raise self-esteem, to empower youths to make informed choices.They were taught on different topics as per their grades and the topics were as follows; Grade 4- Good touch and bad touch. Grade 5&6- puberty and hygiene Grade 7, 8, high schools and rehabilitation center- crime, self-esteem, teenage pregnancy, abortion, drugs and substance abuse, illegal cults, STIs. The program has indeed helped the young people to understand themselves and maneuvers through the life changes and challenges in an informed way. They also availed group and individualized counseling where need be.
j)August holiday program
In partnership with AJAN, Mercy Education Office conducted AHAPPY holiday program for the youths from 13th to 17th august at St. Catherine primary school. The objectives of the program was to help young people stay free from aids, to make them aware of risk factors of HIV and aids contraction and finally to help them make informed choices in life.
The mentorship program was attended by the adolescents from primary, secondary students sponsored by Mukuru promotion Centre, post-secondary and other youths who were willing to join the team. They were trained by facilitators from AJAN using the AHAPPY program module. Learning was done through participatory approach enabling all participants to fully be involved in the program.
They were taught on different topics such as purpose for everyone, identity crisis, HIV &aids, drugs, STIs and theory of life which empowered them to have a meaningful life. An evaluation was conducted at the end of the program and the responses analyzed. It was realized that the program had positively impacted the children as they were able to better express themselves which is a step towards self- confidence. Others shared disturbing childhood experiences and were accorded necessary counseling and guidance.
k) November holiday program
Mercy education office is committed to holistic development of children as they grow in the society. As fruits of the society and gifts from God, the office organized a seminar for class eight candidates from mercy and Mukuru promotion center schools and welcomed other schools as well. This was because when children go to secondary schools they tend to get lots of challenges and excitements that might end up ruining their lives. Due to this reason, we held a seminar with class eight students to help them make informed choices with their lives.
The function was held at St. Catherine’s as from 04th Monday to 09th Saturday November 2019, it was attended by 60 students averagely. It was facilitated by different partners of mercy education who were scheduled on different dates to address various issues affecting our young ones. The partners were World youth alliance who facilitated the human dignity curriculum, Mr. Barrack who was a motivational speaker, Ajan who tackled the Ahappy module and Slum child foundation who educated the children on drugs and substance abuse. The objectives of the seminar were; to enhance the students with the knowledge on the existing challenges they might encounter as they transit to a new phase in life, to enhance their skills on how to cope with the challenges and excitements they might face and to also change their attitude on how to deal with issues.
L) December Holiday program
Similarly, Mercy Education office organized for a holiday program for post- secondary and out of school youths to mentor them on how to face the outside world in a more responsible way. They were mentored on various topics that affect them such as self-awareness, goal setting, drug and substance abuse, relationships and careers, campus/college life, child rights and responsibilities, child trafficking. They also had a chance to undergo inner healing in order to make peace with inner self. Facilitator were drawn from mercy education office, AJAN, HAART Kenya and SCAD.
m) Jesuit Hakimani Conference
This was a two days’ workshop that took place in the month of June at Hekima College, Riara road. The conference was centered on two thematic areas; value based education and food security. Representatives from various organizations and high profile dignitaries from church and the government were present to give their input in these topics. On food security, speakers encouraged everyone to be an advocate and supporter of the environment. On the issue of value based education, it was noted that teachers need to be facilitated enough in order to take proper care of the children placed under their care. Speakers pointed out that basic values such as responsibility, accountability, respect, care and empathy, courtesy, generosity, tolerance and endurance, decency, honesty e.t.c. are all incorporated in the new curriculum. However, the problem lies with how to teach them to the children. Parents, who need to be first teachers to their children, do not spend enough time with their children to ensure that what they are taught in school is instilled. Speakers such as Bishop Oballa urged parents to spend time with their children.Lack of capacity and continuous improvement for teachers has hampered the progress of value based education. It is also worth noting that easy access to mobile telephone and computer has also contributed to values/moral decay especially due to lack of parental guidance.