The education system in Kenya is difficult for many students. Free public education is provided by the Kenyan Government for primary school education but secondary schooling is not free and costs approximately £370 per year for each of the four years of secondary education. This is prohibitively expensive for many families with low or no real income, so there is very low take up of secondary schooling in some areas.
We work in the very rural part of northern Kenya, Kilifi District, in villages that are just being connected to electricity.
Our aim is to set up community libraries, which are based in primary schools. We have chosen to be based in primary schools partly because we do not then have to buy property and partly because primary schools are very central to the life of the community. Primary education in Kenya has only been free since 2003.
Our libraries are used by the school , by other neighbouring primary and secondary schools and by all members of the community. A newspaper in one of our libraries can be read by upwards of 50 people.
Our work is based on a belief in the value of education and the need to broaden minds. We know how key reading and ideas and libraries are to this. We are supported in this by the communities.
Akili is an example of a small economic model of intervention – planned with and working with the local community, through management committees, local staff and families . We want to increase the opportunities that are available particularly for young people and evaluate the impact of this model over time.