The work at the Daraja Academy doesn’t stop when the term ends. During school break, the Daraja girls take skill sets and knowledge acquired from their studies to complete curriculum-related projects in their respective communities.
In a partnership with the University of San Diego, Daraja has created a project-based learning program focusing on community health. The participants of this project are the current Form 2s. In an attempt to interlink English, Swahili, biology, geography and business studies, the Forms 2s have been tasked with the assignment of collecting health-related data about their communities. What diseases are prevalent? What are the symptoms of common illnesses? Are there preventative measures that can be taken to avoid these illnesses? Are there curative medications that can be administered in order to save the lives of the affected? These and other related questions will be analyzed in order to create a educational awareness program with tangible solutions to bring back to surrounding Daraja communities.
“We introduced a basic foundation of knowledge to the Form 2s before assigning this project,” Victoria, the Business Studies teacher said of the project. “The girls visited Mara Moja, a community local to Daraja, and observed important aspects of community health: proximity of houses, common diseases the women suffer from, water sources and hygiene habits. We took that information and brainstormed ways that Daraja can help to lesson the effects of ineffective practices observed.” During the break, the girls are to take that information, those ideas, and collect supplementary information from their own homes and villages.
A potential completion date for the community health project is June. The Form 2s are planning to host a town hall meeting with the women of Mara Moja and other local communities to teach the women more effective hygiene practices and spread awareness about prevention methods and ways to treat common diseases.
The Form 4s, although home for a shorter period of time than the rest of the students, have a community inventory project to complete before their return this weekend.
“What is in your community?” Leah, program development associate at the Daraja Academy, asked the girls. “Are there financial institutions? Businesses? Hospitals? Clinics? Local NGOs? I want you to take a snapshot of your community so that we can better understand the communities you will be assimilating back into once you’re finished with your secondary school education here at the Academy.”
The Form 4s will return to Daraja with important data about their hometowns, as well as relevant experience for their personal development. If a financial institution is in operation in their communities, the students are to go in and find out how to open and maintain an account.