Child mentors

Child mentors

Nairobi, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SIDAREC is a youth development with a focus on youth empowerment; including skills enhancement and education for slums child as one way of reducing poverty.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the slums where majority of the poor resides in, taking children to school has been a luxary to many single parents who could barely make ends meet. As a result, many children as young as four years find their ways in to the streets to become street children. This becomes the norm as many parents would rather have their children in the streets than in the classrooms. The need to have children in the classrooms and be mentors of others made SIDAREC to start early childhood education program. Most of those children going to the street did not go because they like it, but because circumstances forced them. To do this, we wanted to start a mentor program for children where other children instead of going to the streets would be a reference point for them to asked to be taken to school.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution to this problem was to start a pri-school and provide single parents with start up capital to start an income generation projects. We recorn that having children in the classroom was not going to be enough without looking at the root cause of the problem which we found to be deeply rooted in the family. We also started liaisong with parent to have the children provided with a meal in the morning (breakfast) and lunch. This we we did as most of the children would come to classes and start sleeping. This we realised was because, some of them had not slept, or did not have something to eat at night. We have since replicated Early Childhood program in to other two slums in Nairobi. With partnership between SIDAREC and parents, the pre schools has grown to be the envy of many other parents.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In 1996, majority of children in the slums opted to go to the streets to beg, either on their own or at the behest of their parents. This is because primary schooling was not free and majority of them, though they wished to be in classroom like the rest of their peers, could not. As young people who grew up in the slums, we realised the duty bestowed on us to reduce more children going to the streets.We also realised that it would be difficult removing the children in the streets and so we came up with a program that reduces the number of children going to the streets while at the same time giving their parents incentives. Children that started the pre-school in 1998 performed well in their national exams and gone to good secondary schools. These children have acted as mentors since whenever they are back in holidays, they would come to tutor their peers and mentor them at the same time. The community library managed by SIDAREC has given the children reason to work hard since they meet other colleagues from other slums with similar situations like them who believe that education is the key to prosperity. With pre-school, parents have been made to take care of their children through the support SIDAREC provides, The number of children going to the streets from the slums SIDAREC operates in have dwindle as many children prefer schooling, children have become their own mentors, bringing many children to learn at the SIDAREC Centers and Libraries. Thus, when Kenya experienced famine in 2011, most of the children were in the forefront asking their parents/community to donate.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

SIDAREC's peers are the private pri-schools and primary schools within the slums. Because of limited space in our centres, SIDAREC can only take certain number of children at any particular time, this is why private schools have come in to fill the void that SIDAREC cannot fill. With primary schools, SIDAREC act as the main feeder to these schools by channeling students that performs well in the national exams because they leave the centres well grounded. SIDAREC complement what private pre-schools offers. The need is huge, and the entry of primary schools to offer pre-school activities will enable many children to start schooling early on in life. This is the challenges faced by players as the government hopes to have every school in the country to have pre-schools to accommodate more.
About You
Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC)
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC)

Organization Country

, XX, Nairobi

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Nairobi

Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

SIDAREC is organisation founded by young people in the slums who believed that community problem needed community solution.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

It has helped increase schools enrollments, given children head start in learning, and reduce the number of children in the streets.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

There has been a marked decrease of the children coming from the slums going in the streets; their has been competition among the children to do well in school to go to a good high school; many children has been like mentors, espcially when they ask social workers to go and visit homes of their peers who have family problems. This shows they care about each other. The fact that they bring other children in the centres to play and learn with others shows they empathise with the situations of what other children leave in, but would do well to encourage them to visit the centre for support. With the help of microenterprise project, many children has been able to keep their children in school and even pay up to secondary level. In 2009, 40 children in Pumwani slums studying in different primary schools got over 400 marks in National examination. This was the first time any child in this slums ever got 400 marks. The much they have gone was 250 marks out of 500.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

We project the following:
An increase of number of children doing well in primary school as a result of given a head start in education. We expect 300 children to score above 400 marks.
Number of increased children attending Early childhood education in the slums, and good performance because of children attending schools early in their age.
Competition among the children, that enable them to perform well in schools as a result of reading materials available through SIDAREC mobile library and community centres with library facilities.
Improved earning by mothers, enabling children to finish their education.
Reduced number of children going to the streets to beg or loiter in the streets because their parents can not afford them shelter, education, clothing and food.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The slums SIDAREC operates in are huge, with populations ranging from 70,000 - 1.1 miliion people. Its not easy to help everyone, and so managing the expectation of everyone. To manage this number & expectation, we partner with others and refers them where we cannot help.
The other issue is funding. SIDAREC is a small organisation that is trying to reach out to many people with little resources we have.
SIDAREC has resource centres. Already, these centres have no space when one come late for the services we have like library, Computer training and internet services. There are those who come as early as 7am and leave at 7pm so that they dont loose space. To do this, we have allocated time schedule that one can be at the centre to allow others to access the facilities.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

We intend to work with primary schools and Nairobi City Council to achieve the listed tasks.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Identitifying 12 primary schools as centres of excellence. This will be done in the first month, followed by signing of MOS's

Task 2

The second task involves training of teachers on how they can motivate students to achieve high marks, thus motivating others.

Task 3

Improvement of learning and sports facilities among the selected 12 primary schools.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Increased number of children attending schools as a result of their peers urging, reducing children loitering in the estates.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Through sports where children will be educated by their peers on the need to go to school.

Task 2

Improved reading facilities. Puting up libraries in 12 schools and reading competition will greatly improve learning.

Task 3

Training teachers, selected community members and students to manage both sports and learning facilities.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

When we started SIDAREC, we were just young people trying to find our way out. We did not have anyone to look up to as role models. Because of poverty, many young people ended up in bad companies, robing and stealing from people. These were the 'role' models of many children growing up in the slums. For those kids, going to the streets was another option. We wanted to be different, and so started SIDAREC. The first project was ECD to have children not in the streets join and recieve education. We were written off as 'what can these young people we have seen growing up here with us do that even the government has not been able to do? We proved everyone wrong. 15 years down the line, 3 pre-schools have been constructed, with over 8,000 children passing through the program. 200 of these children have ended up in presitigious high schools like Starehe Boys, most of whom could have been in the streets or mugging if it were not for this program.

Tell us about your partnerships

SIDAREC has worked well with the government through Provincial Administration. The land we have put up Resource Centres in slums were donated by the government. SIDAREC also partner with schools within the slums as one way of improving quality education standard. This partnership has seen SIDAREC put up 3 libraries in different schools. Through SIDAREC Community radio station, ghetto 99.9 FM, we allow children voices to be heard through children programs.
SIDAREC also partners with local NGOs and CBOs, some of which we have supported to grow and become bigger youth organisations.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Majority of SIDAREC staff come from the areas we operates in. They know the people around, and even the children and able too nurture them. They have been their mentors and molden them to be responsible. These volunteers are trained social workers, youth development workers, and expert in Non-profit management. Our team also includes teachers in both primary schools and pri-schools that has been responsible for improved education standards in the slums.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

SIDAREC has invested heavily in child growth and development in the slums by investing in education, marketing the work we do on behalf of the children and connected the students that leave SIDAREC to go to primary schools to best schools that performs well. For the schools that has not been doing well, we have come up with library services to improve skills among students and teachers.