Pharo Foundation's Vision for Transformative Learning in Nairobi

By Irene Kiiru, Pharo Foundation Head of Education in Kenya

Following Pharo Foundation’s recent acquisition of Tender Care's main campuses in Komarock and Umoja, the team and I are proud to share our plans for transforming the educational landscape in Nairobi. As Head of Education Kenya, this project is close to my heart as it aims to bring innovative solutions to a sector that I am passionate about and does so in the community where I grew up and went to school for most of my life.

Building on the work and legacy of Mr. Kahoro and Tr. Ruth (the founders of Tender Care), we envision a transformative journey for the students, families and community around us. Drawing inspiration from our successful programs in Ethiopia and Somaliland, we're committing to providing a holistic educational experience at Tender Care - our largest education project across the Horn of Africa. It's more than textbook learning; it's about building a comprehensive body of evidence on practical training approaches. This is our commitment to quality education that stands the test of time.

Our foremost goal is to elevate Tender Care to a benchmark of educational excellence in Eastlands and beyond. Our overarching mission is to provide a locally relevant and globally competitive, high-quality learning experience, which empowers students to become lifelong learners and productive global citizens. Our focus locally, will be on ensuring that we offer a quality curriculum, which serves as the foundational framework that shapes the educational experience at the school. To achieve this, we will intensify our focus on English, Maths, Science and ICT subjects by complementing the CBC curriculum with international teaching methodologies to usher in a new era of learning that is dynamic, inclusive and tailored to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

At Pharo Foundation, we see our facilitators as leaders who inspire and guide our students. Alongside our focus on students, we are devoted to providing essential support to our teachers. This involves targeted teacher training programs and equipping educators with the necessary resources to create an environment conducive to effective learning. Indeed, we have already conducted training sessions including Child Safeguarding, ICT Integration in Schools, and Parental Engagement and Empowerment, underscoring our dedication to improving the overall teaching and learning experiences for both students and educators.

To provide a quality education it follows that the institution should have quality pedagogy. It is the quality of pedagogy that most directly and most powerfully affects the quality of learning. We will employ teaching and learning that is student-centered, inquiry based and integrated with technology. This will be achieved through a continuous dialogue with our learners about their learning experience, progress and difficulties, with an aim of keeping the students engaged and motivated. We encourage our teachers to use technology in lesson delivery, use practical experiences in the classroom demonstrations, use YouTube videos and arrange relevant industry visits for the students. These tools of teaching foster curiosity, critical thinking, problem-solving and ultimately a deeper and long-lasting understanding of the subject matter.

Quality school infrastructure is another fundamental pillar that is crucial in creating an environment where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. Beyond serving as physical spaces for learning, well-designed and maintained school facilities play a crucial role in shaping the educational experience. Our aim is to ensure that the classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and play areas provide a safe and conducive environment for learning. Well-designed, technologically advanced, and inclusive facilities go beyond the immediate academic experience, and can help shape students into well-rounded individuals prepared to meet the challenges of a dynamic and interconnected world. In line with this commitment, we are pleased to announce that we are in the process of adding a state-of-the-art computer laboratory to the school, as well as fitting out a new building in phase 4, further enhancing our infrastructure to provide an even more enriching educational environment. These initiatives, together with many more that we will establish with the school's leadership, will ensure that Tender Care continues to build on its legacy.

Nairobi's Eastlands, presents unique challenges regarding education accessibility and literacy. The region is a mosaic of communities, some blessed with well-established schools, while others grapple with inadequate infrastructure and limited resources. Literacy in Eastlands mirrors these disparities, underscoring the urgency to address educational inequalities at the grassroots level. As such, our decision to focus on Eastlands wasn't arbitrary, and by establishing a significant educational presence here, we hope we can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the school gates. Indeed, by addressing the unique challenges of Eastlands we hope to be a catalyst for positive societal change and for this project to stand as a testament to our commitment to creating lasting change on education in the Horn of Africa.