UNICEF contributes $2.5 million to support free primary education in Kenya

15 January 2003

With over 1 million children eager to attend school in Kenya, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced a donation of $2.5 million to urgently support the Kenyan Government's pledge to provide free and compulsory primary education.

With over 1 million children eager to attend school in Kenya, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced a donation of $2.5 million to urgently support the Kenyan Government's pledge to provide free and compulsory primary education.

A UNICEF spokesperson in Nairobi said that 1.5 million children showed up for classes after the new government announced it would immediately abolish fees at all government schools. Hailing the government's education initiative as a "milestone," UNICEF Representative Nicholas Alipui said the agency is working to swiftly assess those children most in need as a priority.

The UNICEF funds - for use over the next three months - will benefit 450,000 girls and boys from grade 1 to 3 with learning and teaching materials in eight districts and Nairobi. Specifically, the agency will provide "basic education kits" - exercise books, pens and pencils, rulers, sharpeners, slates and chalk - and recreational kits, which include footballs, volleyballs and jump ropes.

The funds will also support the training of 5,000 teachers, and assist in the repair and rehabilitation of primary school classrooms and their water and sanitation facilities.

Another feature of UNICEF's response to the government's initiative will be to pick up the pace on its commitment to leave no girl behind as the country attempts to move forward, said Mr. Alipui. Crucial to the overall effort to get girls into schools is the provision of clean water and sanitation facilities. "The lack of separate facilities for girls and boys is a major barrier to girls' attendance," he added.

Further, UNICEF is making a concerted effort to seek additional funds to increase support to the Kenyan Government in its commitment to provide low-cost, quality basic education to the country's children, Mr. Alipui said.

 

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