“Teacher, Teacher!” the children call out as they strain to raise their hand higher than the other kids. Finally, Robai is chosen to answer.

“School!” she says, and the word is duly scribed on the board. Now the children call out words related to this first word and a spider-like mind map slowly fills the board. Once all the children have contributed a word to the map, they settle down to write sentences using words in the mind map.

This is one of the games that the Community Library team are using to help children catch up in reading and writing. In Kenya, 60% of children aged 7 to 13 cannot answer a reading and maths test aimed at a 7-year-old. Learning outcomes are particularly low in semi-arid areas of the country and urban slums like Kibera. For this reason, ZiziAfrique developed the Accelerated Learning Programme designed to help children in Grade 3 to 5 to catch up in literacy and numeracy. They trained our team in this approach last year as we reported in the January Viewpoint. Now, 16 children aged 9 and 10 years old are meeting every Monday morning to take part in the Accelerated Learning Programme run by the Community Library team.

We are running the programme for a group of Grade 4 students who are currently out of school due to the phased reopening of schools in Kenya. So far, the children are enjoying the sessions and we are tracking their progress. We have further plans to repeat the programme with another group of children in the library later in the year and incorporate the approach in our School Transition Programme.