Kakamega County has partnered with Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology to pilot a learning project, targeting young children before they join Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDEs).
The project known as Inclusive Home Based Early Learning Project (IHELP), is a community-led initiative aimed at increasing access to quality Equitable Early Childcare and Education (ECCE) for children with complex disabilities, living in poverty and those in less accessible areas.
The two-year pilot project is jointly supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) organisations.
Other partners in the project are the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) and Kenya Institute of Special Needs (KISE).
Speaking during a one-day workshop in Kakamega, IHELP Project Principal Investigator Dr Rose Opiyo said they have set up model learning centers which look like a home in four wards of Ikolomani Sub County to pre-test how it will work out.
The four wards include Idakho East, Idakho Central, Idakho South and Idakho North in Kakamega County.
She said partners are using the project to identify how to address readiness for school among children, quality play based for all children, and on responsive and nurturing caregiving.
Kakamega County acting Chief Officer for Education Doreen Amwoga said that to support early childhood education, the county has developed more Early Childhood and Development Education (ECDE) centers ready to absorb more children who will graduate from the IHELP project
The Chief Officer lauded partners in the project for incorporating support to children living with disabilities and pledged that the county will include the program in the annual budget to stabilize it.
Speaking during the workshop, MMUST Dean, School of Education Professor Moses Poipoi said the project has come at the right time when cases of child neglect are on the rise, some due to teenage pregnancies.