This article was originally published by Costa Kalanda, Advocacy Officer – SHINE Project, Kesho Kenya.
Kesho Kenya is member of Elimu Yetu Coalition
SHINE! Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (E.A.C.C) of Kenya, a body mandated to fight corruption in Kenya launched Integrity Clubs in collaboration with the Ministry of Education on the 17th of November 2010. The Ministry of Education released a circular in 2013 requesting all schools and colleges through the Ministry of Education to establish Integrity Clubs for the purpose of training youth to be men and women of Integrity
To support the implementation of this policy, Kesho Kenya together with KWEA CBO have been carrying out a project known as SHINE; Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education (SHINE).
Using the Community Integrity Building Model, SHINE project has worked with 152 public secondary schools in Kwale and Kilifi County. The objective has been to get students to act with, and demand integrity through constructive and collaborative approach. Through this model, the students identify problems within their setting and collaboratively work with stakeholders find amicable solutions.
From the successes witnessed, Kesho Kenya is advocating for the full Implementation of the Integrity Clubs in line with Ministry of Education directive in collaboration with the EACC. This is an effective avenue to instill moral values among students. This is line with the drive for key competencies such as citizenship, honesty, integrity as envisaged in the CBC curriculum.
INTEGRITY CLUB MEMBERS IN BAHARI GIRLS ON A MISSION TO INSPIRE OTHER GIRLS
Visit to a nearby primary school
‘’Some of the primary school girls were not even aware that there was a national secondary school in the area,’’ Madam Mary, the integrity club patron in Bahari Girls remarked. The club members of Bahari girls recently visited Mavueni Primary school where they met with 200 girls from class 6, 7 and 8 classes. Their aim was to provide to motivate them to work hard and even aim to join national schools like Bahari girls which is within the locality. With the high rates of teen pregnancy within Kilifi county, it is not uncommon for girls to drop out of school. This session gave the club members an opportunity to inspire the young girls.
Before the visit, the integrity club members mobilized the students in their school who donated personal items like soaps, sanitary towels which were given to the 200 girls.
“Many who struggle in life are successors….”, “It takes a personal decision to leave you comfort zone…” – Integrity Club Members came up with the talking trees project where they put up placards with quotes to motivate the girls as they move around the school. The quotes would remind the students of their set targets so as to motivate them to work hard.
“When a girl reads ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you’, if you run into a wall ‘Don’t give up… ‘-even a student who is at the verge of giving up gets motivated to work even harder.” (Patience Mapenzi, Club Patron Bahari Secondary)
The integrity club has made a significant contribution to peer to peer accountability in the school. Girls
challenge each other about good morals. Openness between students and teachers has greatlyimproved
because club members identify challenges and request for dialogue with the school administration to
address them. This openness has also helped the girls to talk about pressing issues such as teenage
pregnancies which is rampant in Kilifi county and as a result, a culture of
accountability has been created among the entire student body.
INTEGRITY CLUB PATRON USING HER ARTISTIC SKILLS TO MENTOR YOUNG PEOPLE
It was heartbreaking for Madam Lydia, a teacher at Canon Mweri Mixed School to see school going students loitering in the streets and beaches of Malindi during the corona pandemic. Moreover, young girls were more prone to exploitation because of the biting poverty and idleness. This situation prompted her to set up a youth integrity club at the community level using the knowledge she had gained from the SHINE (Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education) project in her school.
Being an artist, she decided to transfer her skills to keep young people engaged as well as to help them get some income. She brought together 20 young people and she taught them painting using coconut shells. She also opened her home to the youth and trained them on entrepreneurship. One of the practical skills they learnt was baking. This was an exciting activity for the youth who started baking and selling pastries in their neighborhoods. The club members were also involved in tree planting and beach clean-up activities where they brought together other young people in the area.
On seeing such good efforts by the youth, community members donated books to the integrity club. Young people would come to read the books to keep them busy during the extended school closure. This community library is growing and Madam Lydia plans to set up another library in the school compound since schools have resumed. She hopes that this trend can be replicated in other schools around Malindi.
Word spread around about the work that she was doing with the young people and the club received support in the form of sanitary towels for the girls. She has been distributing the towels to 15 girls who she had identified. Two weeks ago, she received menstrual cups from a community member and with schools having resumed, she distributed to students in her school.
In December, together with the integrity club members, they plan to hold a fashion show and already one hotel owner has agreed to give the venue for free. They plan to use the fashion show as a platform to boost the self-esteem of young people as well as to instill moral values.