Partner since 2015
Investment to date: $10,000 in 2015
Fellows in 2016: 127
Cumulative students: >6000
PACEmaker International (known as PACE – Promoting Access to Community Education) is based in Nairobi, Kenya and was founded by Peggy Mativo. Established in 2013, PACE addresses two critical issues: The first is the 6-9+ month gap period facing most youth in Kenya between leaving secondary school and entering university or technical training courses. For many Kenyan youth, this period is rarely used to enhance their skills and competencies, prepare for future courses and employment and/or to engage in voluntary community service. The second issue relates to improving learning outcomes in the many urban primary schools that are under-resourced with overcrowded classrooms and insufficient teachers. PACE brings these two issues together through its program that identifies and trains recent secondary school graduates to serve as volunteer Fellows providing tutoring and mentoring to primary students who are struggling with their studies.
PACE’s vision is a Kenya whose education offerings provide all youth with personal development, leadership opportunities, career and decision-making skills that enable them to prosper, take initiative, transform communities and contribute positively to national development. PACE operates on the theory of change that if youth assist teachers in overcrowded classrooms, and teachers spend the extra time focusing on individual students and small groups, then primary students will have better learning experiences and their test scores will improve. At the same time, Fellows will develop the key skills, awareness and attitudes needed to lead change in their communities.
PACE volunteer Fellows go through an intensive induction and training process prior to being placed with one of the government primary schools participating in the program, all of which are considered poorly resourced schools.
PACE staff then provide monthly training and personal development sessions for Fellows and make weekly visits to schools and Fellows to monitor their progress and address any issues that may arise. Once in their assigned school, Fellows focus on grading, tutoring and mentoring students, particularly those students experiencing challenges with their classes, attendance and/or behavior. Many Fellows also work with students on projects to improve their school and learning experience such as assisting with sports and music activities and cleaning up their school environment. Their work both meets the immediate needs within schools and also exposes young, bright and committed Kenyans to potential careers in teaching during the gap period between end of high school and entry to university.
- Improve the academic performance of primary students in underserved schools through intensive tutoring and mentoring
- Increase the diversity of extracurricular and co-curricular activities within participating schools
- Increase teaching and learning resources available to schools by providing teaching assistants and sourcing for additional textbooks and exercise books.
- Analyze lessons from the program to share with the wider educational sector.
- Increase the ability and interest of high school graduates to serve as teaching assistants
- Increase awareness among youth on the benefits of volunteering
- Promote a culture of community engagement and continuous learning among the youth
- Create an alumni network of youth who are informed, passionate and empowered to continuously contribute to expanding educational opportunities for at risk students
WHY WE INVESTED
GEF is investing in this new early stage non-profit because of its focused work on and clear strategies to address a serious gap for youth and for schools, and because of the passion, commitment and intelligence that its young female founder and her team are bringing to these issues. We also saw an opportunity to create a link with an existing partner (GEF Kenya) that implements a leadership and entrepreneurship program for disadvantaged secondary school students coming from the slums of Embakasi in Nairobi. Some of the youth leaving GEF Kenya’s program were interested in serving as mentors and tutors for students but did not have the ability to do so on their own. Through GEF support, PACE is finding new ways to seek and accommodate more students coming from poorer households.
IMPACT TO DATE
To date, over 300 youth have worked as PACE Fellows and have provided more than 35,000 hours of documented community service to targeted primary schools reaching over 20,000 primary students. PACE has tracked students’ grades and key exam scores since the program started. It also has monitored other initiatives by the Fellows such as the startup of reading clubs, French clubs, library reorganization projects, coaching hockey and soccer teams within the schools amongst other activities that are leveraged as incentives to promote literacy and learning. PACE selected 135 new Fellows for the 2016 school year.
In the first year of GEF's support, PACEmaker wanted ideas and feedback as they improved upon their monitoring and evaluation system to track progress of the program, the Fellows and the primary students.
GEF's support has enabled PACE to include even more youth from disadvantaged homes to serve as volunteer Fellows during their gap year, changing their lives and the lives of young students in their communities.
GEF has linked PACE with another partner grantee in Nairobi, GEF Kenya. We have also helped to connect them with other people with experience in monitoring and evaluation.