Alice is 55 years old and teaches at Ndhiwa Hospital Primary School, which has its name because it is next door to the hospital! She lives in teachers’ accommodation and as a result stays three kilometres from her family. Alice has a husband and eight children; four boys and four girls who range in age from 13 to 30 years old. Her youngest child is in her final year at Ndhiwa Hospital Primary.
Alice is the Girls’ Advocate at Ndhiwa Hospital Primary. When growing up, Alice suffered many challenges in gaining an education because she was a girl and she is determined to help girls avoid these same challenges. “When I was studying to complete primary school, there was 6 girls and 44 boys. Dedication made me get through and to fight with boys to be equal.”
As the Girls’ Advocate, Alice coordinates the Girls’ Support Group at Ndhiwa Hospital Primary; “The Girls’ Support Group teaches the girls life skills so that they are much safer. The community are around and they have Team Kenya to support them when difficult times appear. The girls in the Support Group are very vulnerable and often have no mother or father.”
Alice also distributes sanitary towels to the most vulnerable girls; “Getting sanitary towels is still a problem. I helped when a teacher found a girl ‘wet’ and embarrassed, I helped her and got her back to class. The government gave sanitary towels for 2-3 years but we have not received any for a while, so I keep some for the most vulnerable girls.”
Team Kenya’s Brighter Futures programme has had a significant impact at Ndhiwa Hospital Primary; “the boys and girls selected in the programme show learning can be done in different ways; ball games, athletics and games”.
The programme is also vital in the push towards gender equality; “the programme helps with problems, young people are still growing and it is important to mix boys and girls for gender equality.”
“It helps because girls are being encouraged. Years ago boys were pushed and girls were kept at home. The programme helps them to understand how they can handle themselves, solve problems and understand equality.”
Alice feels that the infrastructure at her school needs further improvement; the school needs more books, learning resources and buildings, as currently classes are forced to share. It would also be useful for the school to have more wall charts to assist with the techniques outlined in the Raising Achievement programme.