Michelle’s Friday Project Update: PACE

Today, I am going to share information on one of our younger GO grantees. Peggy Mativo is 24 and the Founder of PACE. I first connected with Peggy in March of last year. She was so excited to talk to me. Then, and in all my communications with Peggy since, what stands out to me about her is her inquisitive nature. She is constantly asking for feedback so she can learn, strengthen her program, and better serve her community. Peggy is a visionary and on her way to improving the quality of education for all Kenyan youth. Please take a moment to read more about this amazing partner.

Organization: PACE
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Context: Kenya suffers a shortage of teachers at all education levels from primary to tertiary institutions. This shortage has resulted in increased class sizes; it is not uncommon for there to be classrooms with 100 students. This situation often results in ineffective teaching which impacts students’ ability to attain a quality education. It is estimated that Kenya needs an additional 70,000 teachers to address this shortage and reduce class sizes to UNESCO’s recommended level of 35 students to 1 teacher.

Background: Peggy Mativo grew up in Nairobi; her grandmother was a teacher and from a young age she learned the importance of education. Peggy Mativo is a recent graduate of Harvard University majoring in Chemistry and East Asian Studies. After graduation, she returned to Kenya and founded PACE in 2013. PACE trains high school graduates as volunteer teaching assistants and places them in public primary schools to help improve the quality of instruction; this model is an innovative and low-cost approach to addressing Kenya’s teacher shortage. During their year of service, PACE volunteers enable the teachers to better meet the needs of children in the classroom while simultaneously gaining valuable work experience. Today, PACE has expanded its work to 15 public schools in three areas of Nairobi, resulting in increased academic performance among students in their daily work, report cards, and scores on the Kenyan national exams.

Current Status: In September 2015, GO approved a $16,275 grant to PACE to train 200 high school graduates to be teaching assistants in Kenya’s public primary schools during the 2015-2016 academic year. Funds were disbursed in October 9th, and we just received our first quarterly report from Peggy. Peggy is happy to share that they have successfully trained 160 of the 200 youth teacher corps members and placed them in local schools to begin their year of service. These teaching assistants are directly working with 5,400 students to improve the quality of their education. The teaching assistants received intensive training prior to being placed in their schools and also attend a monthly professional development workshop during the year to ensure they receive the continued support needed to be successful in their placement. Workshop topics which have been covered include instructional delivery, evaluating success, financial planning, stress management, etc. After the Financial Planning workshop, the PACE volunteers decided to set up their own income generating projects. They are now saving and investing as a group. This would not have been possible without the training session. Their efforts are helping secure their own futures and their abilities to achieve their career goals. In Peggy’s report, she also shared a story about how 2 PACE volunteers helped rescue a young student they found at a bus stop late one night. The boy had no idea how to get home and did not remember his family’s mobile numbers. In sharing the details of this story, Peggy reflected on the impact of PACE. She said,

“The true secret of PACE is that we build 18 year-olds into empathy-filled leaders. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, these young people act with clarity in moments of crisis. PACE volunteers know that they cannot wait for other people to come rescue a child at 10pm, they have to do something. They don’t say: “This is someone else’s problem.” They take on the challenge and do their best to help. I’m proud of the young people in our program.”

Thank you for helping build the capacity of the next generation of Kenyan leaders!