English and Literacy program is changing the lives of hundreds of students in Kwale County.
The project dubbed Intellectual Literacy and Leadership program was introduced in schools to assist learners in skillfully speaking and writing in English.
Most learners in the region are reported to have no proper command of the English language because of excessive use of vernacular and Kiswahili language resulting in poor academic performances.
So far the program has reached over 700 hundred students from around 10 schools both in high school and primary learning institutions.
It is managed by a coastal-based youth affairs non-governmental organization Samba Sports Youth Agenda through the Fazil Chinoy Fellowship.
Some of the schools include Waa Boys, Kaya Tiwi, Mwanambeyu Girls, Kombani secondary, Yeje and Mbweka among others.
The organization’s Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Mwachausa said the program uses debates to nurture leadership and public speaking talents and instil discipline in students.
Mwachausa said school children are made to research and discuss on various topics on effects of teen pregnancies, drugs and substance abuse, crime, climate change, tourism, mining, leadership and governance among others.
According to him, the ILLP program has enhanced the resilience of the children, capacity built and transformed them into responsible and disciplined people.
“The debate topics are inline with the current situation which gives them an overview of the real life challenges and help come up with solutions,” he said.
Mwachausa said since the ILLP began two years ago most schools have recorded improved discipline and academic grades.
He said some schools refer their students to ILLP so that they can be trained and gain discipline.
The CEO said currently students are good at public speaking and eloquent in English language.
Mwachausa said before the project, many were unable to express themselves but within a short time they have improved and showcased their talents.
“Through this program, we were able to identify different talents of children and help nurture them,” he said.
ILLP chairperson Amani Nuri said the program includes creative writings, presentations and journalism sessions.
He said students have for the past two years improved their English knowledge and become great speakers and writers.
Nuri said most schools have got the opportunity to participate in regional and national debate contests, winning several awards and getting various sponsorships.
“In the beginning, students were in a very bad shape, many couldn’t construct a single sentence in English and lacked confidence but now they are experts,” he said.
He said they are looking forward to extending the program in other Kwale schools and beyond the county.
A beneficiary Ali Hamisi from Waa Boys High School hailed the program for changing his life.
Hamisi said ILLP empowered him to become courageous and bright.
“I was unable to express myself and ideas but thanks to this program I have developed abilities that I never knew I had,” he said.
The form four boy said apart from language and school debates the program advocates for peace and good moral values that help youth shun drugs and fight teen pregnancies.
Ngozi Girls High School student Jane Nzodzo said she is now an English champion because of the program.
Nzodzo said she has seen great improvement in academics and aspires to be a journalist.
Another Salma Abdallah from Kwale Girls secondary said she thanks the program for supporting her.
Abdallah said she was poor in public speaking but has now become better in English speaking and writing.