Kenya - Overseas Link

Over the past years our educational partnership with the Dioceses of Embu, Kirinyaga and Mbeere in Kenya has gone from strength to strength. 

The partnership co-ordinator is Pamela Draycott and the partnership administrator is Jill Smylie

Over the years of this successful project hundreds of members of staff and thousands of children have experienced and enjoyed cultural diversity and have discovered for themselves what it means to be a global citizen. The project includes schools from three of our link dioceses in Kenya – Embu, Kirinyaga and Mbeere.

The Connecting Classrooms https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/programmes-and-funding/linking-programmes-worldwide/connecting-classrooms partnership, funded by the British Council, is a key part of our Kenyan overseas link. The visits are mainly funded by the British Council but many of the schools have also funded their own teacher visits by fundraising activities (as part of the project) or setting aside money from their school budgets.

The schools in both countries have benefited in rich and varied ways as the emphasis is on learning and cultural exchange. An underlying principle of the partnership is mutual learning for both staff and children. Many of the schools in the Chelmsford Diocese are small and rural and it can be a struggle at times to convey to their pupils an understanding of cultural diversity. Similarly, in the rural schools of Kenya, pupils and students often have a limited view of the world outside their village and the opportunity to meet and talk with people from a different culture prompts huge excitement and curiosity.  Members of staff are able to return to their schools having had first-hand experience of another culture. As with anything, if one is hearing someone’s own story it is so much more powerful and inspiring than reading about it in a book or searching for information on the Internet. 

The visit from our Kenyan colleagues took place at the end of September. 19 colleagues from the three Dioceses of Embu, Kirinyaga and Mbeere representing 17 schools visited their link schools within our Diocese. For most of them it was their first trip to the UK and a great time was had by all. Working in schools, teaching, leading assemblies, attending meetings, reviewing the past year’s work and planning work for the future formed the basis of the activities which occurred during the week. On top of all that a trip to London and to Southend at the weekend provided real entertainment for our colleagues.

The task now is to write up this year’s project and send the report to the British Council by the end of October. The new Connecting Classrooms programme has been announced (see September’s e-bulletin) but the funding procedure and timescale has yet to be organised.

Here you can see a recent newspaper article and a mindmap by a Year 2 pupil (written by the teacher) about the visit to Silver End primary school.