The Macheo project was set up in the light of COP’s conviction that the best way to tackle poverty in Kenya is to empower its people through education. In Kenya, only 3% of the people who enrol in primary school education go on to enrol at University level. Many extraordinarily bright and able young Kenyans are underperforming and failing to finish even secondary level education. This tragedy has motivated the Macheo Project, which is tailored specifically towards improving the retention rates of these underserved students in the education system.
Based in the Kibera slum, where statistics suggest there is almost no probability of a child surviving through to tertiary level; the Macheo Project seeks to directly combat those barriers which systematically cause students to drop out or underperform academically. In Kibera, poor Kenyans who want to escape the viscous cycle of poverty around them, need to maintain high enough grades to attract public and private sector scholarships. Where aspiration is low and drug addiction, alcoholism, and parental disengagement are high; young people desperately need positive role models. Mentorship provides the students not only with academic tutoring, moral guidance, and sound strategic advice, but also a clear sense that there are people who care about their welfare.
Three Saturdays a month, students leave Kibera slum and meet in the inspiring grounds of Strathmore campus, where a guest speaker delivers a talk designed to hammer home those principles like perseverance, punctuality, diligence, and integrity, which are just as essential as academic qualifications for Kenyans wanting to keep steady employment. They are tutored in subjects like Maths, English, and the sciences, and are individually coached by their Strathmore ‘mentees’, who help them set personal goals and who give them encouragement and advise about how to rise above the pervasive culture of despondency.
Macheo aims not only to broaden their academic horizons, but also to show them the possibilities of life beyond Kibera slum. Each month the students are taken for excursions in and around Nairobi, where they engage in sports activities, cultural and historical outings, or simply just enjoying the countryside.
The Macheo Project relies upon the generosity of donors and of students who wish to volunteer. Anyone interested in contributing to this initiative of hope make a tangible difference in inspiring Kenya’s young people to build better lives for themselves, their families, and for the generations to come.