Monday, January 12, 2009

Cosmos Education Kenya

Happy New Year,
I hope this finds you in good health.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for having taken an interest in Cosmos Education Kenya in the year 2008. A great deal was achieved in that year all of which would not have been possible without your contribution.

2008 will go down in history as one the most challenging years in Kenya . It was a year, when old feuds were brought to the surface after a bitterly contested election that to this day is a thorn to the Kenya’s economy.

CEK activities were also greatly hampered by the ensuing political instability; we however rose to the task and continued in our quest of Inspiring Engaging and empowering leaders in waiting – the youth - in the quest for sustainable development. We began the first term with a visit to two camps which were host to the internally displaced people who had lost or fled from their homes owing to the post election violence that rocked the country. The two Camps: - Mathare chief’s camp and Muthaiga Police Depot were host to families from the sprawling Mathare slum and the informal settlements at the Huruma area in Nairobi .

At these camps we held two sessions with the children and young adults hosted there. Besides our usual modules aimed at engaging the students, the volunteers also took on the role of peer counselors. We then had had short informal sessions with the students who had been traumatized by the chaos.

From the internally displaced camps the next Stop was Yatta District more specifically Kalukuni secondary school. This time we partnered with Computers for Schools Kenya, a non profit organization supporting IT in institutions within Kenya . At Kalukuni CEK presented a donation of 10 computers to the school. This was followed by a brief session where the volunteers went on to motivate and inspire the 197 students at Kalukuni secondary school. This event was made possible with support from Lloyds TBS, Scottish Council for Voluntary organizations and Peace Child International.

CEK volunteers and Kalukuni secondary school students outside the computer lab after the presentation

Term three of year 2008 saw us welcome our partner branch Cosmos Education US and their partners from NASA, JPL and University of Southern Maine . This was for a research and outreach programme. A series of field trips and school visits were carried out in this period. This was an opportunity for the students and CEK volunteers to learn about research and get to participate first hand in a research expedition.

As has been the norm for the past few years, CEK activities for the year came to a close with a member’s activity and the Annual General meeting. At the annual general meeting a new executive board was elected. The following were elected to serve CEK executive committee for the year 2009

  • President – Dr. Bridgit Muasa

  • Vice President - Mr. Peter Kanja

  • Treasurer – Dr. Evalyn Mwihia

  • Secretary – Miss Carol Muli

  • Director of Education – Mr Ben Kariuki

  • Executive Director – Mr. Isaac Musyoka (appointed)

The new executive committee took up office soon after and will be in charge of managing CEK for the next one year.

As we welcome 2009, I would also like to invite you to participate in the activities scheduled for this year. In 2009 we plan to continue with our career and motivation programme, Nyota professional insights. We also plan to continue engaging and encouraging critical thinking and team work amongst the student with our “Chemsha Bongo” Engineering challenges. In April and August we also plan to hold Holiday science camps within the country. We also plan to schedule outreach programmes and field visits with the term to various locations.

Below is a list of the programmes that we intend to carry out in 2009

Nyota professional insights programme: This is a career and motivation programme that facilitates interaction between students and respected members of the Society who have excelled in their fields of expertise. Under this programme CEK, the students and the school’s career guidance teacher identify topics and issues that are relevant to the students needs. CEK then identifies suitable mentors and facilitate the session

Chemsha Bongo engineering challenges: This is an interactive session where the students are engaged in various challenges. To solve these challenges the students are required to think critically and work as team. During these sessions CEK volunteers organize challenges with affordable and readily available materials. In these sessions the volunteers present the challenge, provide the materials and set the rules and the time period, the rest is left to the student’s discretion. The tasks are designed to require collection effort thereby instilling team work.

Holiday science camp (HSC): These camps were designed as an upgrade to the Under African skies programme. With the holiday science camp CEK invites four to seven schools to converge in one location for a week long science camp. During the camp we conduct a series of engaging and fun experiments incorporating material that the students learnt in the past semester and adding new materials. This way the students are able to put into practical use knowledge gained in class as well as learn new things. This programme enables us to reach a larger audience and also allows us to spend quality time with the students allowing us to empower them more. This programme also caters for the insufficient practical exposure that the students lack owing to financial constraints. The schools we target are often low income schools that do not have the finances to provide sufficient practical exposure within their curriculum.

Kalukuni secondary school visit: We plan to visit this school in February 2009.This will be a follow up visit 6 months after we donated computers to the school. During this visit we plan to evaluate the benefit of our donation to the school. We plan to have a session where the students will have an opportunity to show case to CEK what they have learnt this far and of what benefit the computers have been to them. We will also have an interactive session where will engage the students in hands on experiments.

Uvumbuzi club: This is derived from the Swahili word Vumbua which has the broad meaning of: bring to light, explore, invent and discover. Uvumbuzi club is a new project that we plan to launch this year. Under this programme we plan to partner the secondary schools in our network with a group of undergraduate students from different faculties. The undergraduate students will then work with the students on various tasks through out the school term. The aim will be to expose the secondary school students to various fields and cultivate interest in the students to pursue higher education.

I would like to invite you all to support us in our activities this year. To support a CEK programme please visit our website for details

To conclude, on behalf of CEK I would like to thank you once more for being part of this great movement and we believe with your help we can reach out to more young people in Kenya .

I would especially like to acknowledge the support of the following Organisations

  • Cosmos Education UK

  • Cosmos Education USA

  • Cosmos Education Zambia

  • Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations

  • Peace Child International

  • Lloyds TBS

  • Computers for Schools Kenya

  • JPL

  • NASA

  • University of Southern Maine

  • Mama na Dada

I would also like to thank all school heads,teachers and students and all other CEK supporters.

Happy New Year!

Warm regards,

Bridgit Muasa
President ,
Cosmos Education Kenya