A.K.D.N. HOSTS A FAMILIARIZATION VISIT TO PROGRAMMES IN KENYA AND ZANZIBAR
Coastweek – – At the invitation of the Aga Khan Development Network, Her Excellency Mrs. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State, Human Resource Development, Government of India, visited Mombasa and Zanzibar on 30 and 31 May 2007.
The primary aim of the visit was to provide exposure to AKDN’s Madrasa Early Childhood Development Programme and the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in an effort to promote south-south collaboration and learning.
In Mombasa, Her Excellency visited Rahma Majaoni Pre-School. The school was established in 1999 and has an enrolment of 55 children. The Minister had the opportunity to interact with children and teachers.
She commended the level of volunteerism and community participation in the programme and shared that, in India, there was an untapped potential to get parents more actively involved in their children’s education.
Her Excellency then visited the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, where she met representatives from across the Aga Khan Development Network, local opinion leaders and government officials.
The Minister took a guided tour of the state-of-the-art Academy, which was officially opened in 2003 as a centre of excellence for education in Kenya. The Academy is the first of up to 20 such academies planned for developing countries in Asia and Africa. She later visited the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.
In Zanzibar, Her Excellency had a joint meeting with Honourable Haroun Suleiman, Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Zanzibar, senior officials at the Ministry and AKDN representatives.
She visited Madrasa Al Rahma in Kidimni Village where the Minister observed in-classroom teaching and outdoor play. Madrasa Al Rahma was established in 2004 and provides pre-school education to 84 children.
The Minister interacted with teachers, parents and members of the School Management Committee.
In her remarks, the Minister complimented community members on prioritising early learning as the cornerstone of education. She reinforced the vital role of the community in the attainment of their own development goals, including education.
Recognising the importance of early childhood development, Zanzibar’s new education policy strives to enable access to pre-school education for every child.
At present, the enrolment rate of pre-school aged children in Zanzibar is 13.8 per cent.
AKDN works closely with the Government in an effort to achieve national education goals.
Since 1982, the Madrasa Programme has mobilised communities, at their request, to establish and manage their own pre-schools and prepare marginalised children to access the national education system.
Currently, the programme supports 203 pre-schools in Zanzibar (both Unguja and Pemba), Mombasa and Kampala, reaching more than 16,000 children.
In addition, over 1,500 teachers, most of them young women, and 1,400 community members have been trained.
Over its lifespan, the programme has benefited over 50,000 Muslim and non-Muslim children from impoverished and marginalised communities.
Through the programme, AKDN has helped communities give their children the skills, competencies and attitudes necessary to succeed in the formal education system and become engaged citizens in an increasingly global and pluralistic world.
The Aga Khan Development Network is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Its annual budget for not-for-profit endeavours is in excess of US$300 million.