Starehe Boys’ Centre (a popular school in Nairobi, Kenya); is currently on a journey to digitise some of its functions, for better service provision. The school though, has hit a snug in its agenda due to lack of adequate funds; and a call has been put out asking donors to come to their aid.
The institution started as a rescue centre and is no stranger to receiving financial assistance from well wishers. The School educates at least 70% of its students free, and the rest at a reduced rate. This stems from its founding charter as a charitable school. School fees are paid on a means-tested basis, with substantial subsidies paid by the school. This allows students from all walks of life to have a public school education.
The “Lost Decade”
The school has been one of the top performers in years gone by. The performances though, have been getting worse and the blame can, among other factors, be assigned to poor leadership.
According to Francis Kamuyu, IT Manager, Multichoice, and the chair of Starehe’s IT Committee, in an email to well wishers noted that the deterioration is referred to as the “Lost Decade” and it started with the death of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin.
“For those who remember Dr. Griffin, you will also remember that when he was alive, Starehe Boys Center thrived. Soon after his death a decade of decadence in administration and deterioration in performance followed. We call it the Lost Decade,” said Kamuyu.
“As old boys of the school we’re trying to revive it back to its former glory. Each one is pulling where they’re strongest. The school Management Committee has slots for old boys, and there’s real cooperation and progress,” he added.
Getting back on track
Starehe has been on the road to recovery, using ICTs as a crutch in their quest to getting back to winning ways. As far back as 2015, the school partnered with Samsung to launch the Samsung smart school solution.
Last year Telkom graciously accepted to lay fiber for the school pro-bono to replace expensive microwave used for internet over the last 5 years.
“The school is now getting 5 Mbps when before it was paying the same amount of money for 1 Mbps. I also assisted the school to move to Google Apps as discussed here afew weeks ago,” Kamuyu added.
“The purpose of these changes is to ensure that Starehe can run a Student and Finance Management System that will make it easier for the international sponsors to trust the financial records. DigiSchool, a provider of just such software, has accepted to give it to Starehe pro-bono,” he continued.
How to help the cause
“The school needs 36 computers to replace computers that are over 10 years old both at the institute and in other labs. These computers will be used to assist the boys who have been sponsored but didn’t make it to university to get another life line, instead of going back to the villages and slums they came from with no skills to lift them economically. This will give them hope and avoid wasting the 4 years invested in them,” he added.
“If you have a computer replacement cycle coming up kindly let me know if you can spare the 3-4 year old PCs for Starehe. Should your company want to have a CSR photo shoot with the director of Starehe accepting the donation we can arrange for that. If we get these computers we can then collaborate with IT Training Company that has pledged to train them after form 4 on Oracle and other technologies for free,” Kamuyu concluded.
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