CFK Africa is among 10 global partners picked to work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study solutions to improve educational outcomes among students.

The international nonprofit with offices in Kenya and the US was among 120 organisations that applied for the program Leveraging Evidence for Action to Promote Change (LEAP).

CFK Africa Interim Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives Jeffrey Okoro says the partnership between MIT and Jacobs Foundation and will greatly benefit Kenyan informal settlements.

“We have long looked at our own data to see how we can help children finish their schooling,” said Okoro, who heads the program.

He added, “We are excited to be working with MIT to take that research even further and make our programs more effective.”

LEAP will see a pair of researchers work with CFK Africa’s education initiatives to boost the graduation rates of pupils in primary school in informal settlements like Kibera in Nairobi.

Under its Best Schools Initiative, CFK Africa partners with pupils between the ages of 5 and 12 who live in Kibera slums and are collecting relevant data from 64 primary schools.

The initiative found that enhanced teacher training, parent/guardian involvement, stable and affordable school fees, reliable free lunch programs, good student-to-textbook ratios and after-school and between-term classes all help to improve education.

Okoro says the initiative will move beyond traditional approaches to educational programs in informal settlements, which mostly focus on scholarships to pay school fees.

Karama Primary School. PHOTO/CFK AFRICA

He says it will instead establish the most cost-effective ways to improve the capacity and structures of informal schools and in the process boost the educational outcomes in Kenya.

“The new research from our partners at MIT will help us fine-tune our programs.

“We are eagerly awaiting this next phase of the Best Schools Initiative to help students in informal settlements gain more educational opportunities which lead to better academic outcomes.”