Mastercard Foundation Scholars transform Garissa Road Primary School with infrastructure and technological enhancements

By Safari Etien

Last Friday, Mastercard Foundation Scholars from the Kenneth Kaunda and Kwame Nkrumah families hosted a handover ceremony of 156 desks, five desktop computers, 16 chairs and 16 tables, and a water tank to Garissa Road Primary School, located in Thika town, as part of their Community Development Project, which is part of the Scholar citizenship initiatives within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa. The event was graced by Prof. Audrey Mbogho, Dean of the School of Science and Technology, and Ms. Jacqueline Lidonde from the Advancement and Partnerships Division, representing USIU-Africa, showcasing the university’s dedication to community development and educational advancement.

Garissa Road Primary School, established in 1985, operates under the County Education Board and serves over 900 pupils with an average class size of 40. Prior to the handover, a needs assessment conducted in collaboration with the school administration revealed critical shortages. With only 250 old desks, 50 of which were unusable, students had to share desks at a 1:3 ratio, significantly hindering effective learning. Additionally, many pupils come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, making it difficult to afford learning materials and fees. The school also required desktops to bridge the digital gap and aid in learning and research.

Through the project, the Scholars aimed to bring transformative change in education and environmental conservation within the school. By providing quality desks, chairs, tables, desktops, and implementing infrastructure improvements such as planting grass and fixing gutters, the Scholars’ immediate goal was to enhance learning conditions, improve academic performance, and motivate pupil engagement.

A major component of the project was the establishment of a small computer lab with five desktop computers, building digital literacy among pupils and equipping them with essential computing skills crucial in today's digital age. The Scholars also renovated the school compound by laying murram in the school premises, improving its overall infrastructure to create a conducive learning environment.

The installation of a water tank and gutter system will ensure that the school community has access to a reliable source of clean water, essential for various purposes. Additionally, the provision of 156 desks ensures that each pupil has a comfortable seating arrangement conducive to learning. To support teachers, the Scholars donated 16 chairs and 16 tables, aiding in marking and administrative tasks, thereby enhancing productivity and effectiveness.

The handover ceremony not only marked the official transfer of these resources but also underscored the commitment of USIU-Africa and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars to the development and advancement of education within the community. Long term, the Scholars hope that the project will facilitate community development through investments in children's education, resulting in a more educated population capable of contributing to society.

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