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Airtel collaborates with UNODC to support education for vulnerable girls in Kenya

Eldoret, 20 November 2021: In celebration of the World’s Children Day and in line with this year’s theme ”A Better Future for Every Child”, Airtel Kenya in collaboration with UNODC and the Department for Children’s Services is supporting vulnerable children in conflict with the law in their transition from rehabilitation homes to mainstream education. 

A child’s right to education is enshrined in several international declarations and convention including The Convention on the Rights of the Child. As Nelson Mandela aptly put it: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.  

In line with this concept and in pursuance of SDG4, Airtel Kenya through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in 2021 sponsored vulnerable girls who had graduated from rehabilitation homes though scholarships to continue their education at Liberty Girls High School in Eldoret and thus providing them with a chance for a brighter future. This is in line with Airtel’s CSR programmes sustainability strategy to support education within the communities it serves.

Statistics show an improvement of the literacy rate in Kenya with at almost 82% for people older than 15 years old. However, there is a major gap in the transition from primary to secondary education. In 2019, 10.1 million children who attended primary school only 3.26 million students enrolled in secondary studies. Furthermore, prolonged and repeated school closures due to COVID-19 have resulted in increased drop-out rates, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable children according to UNESCO.

Studies prove that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of our youth, and it’s been proven to be a key asset in the fight against crime and poverty eradication. Additionally, research indicates that 65% of the offences committed by minors were perpetrated by school dropouts. Juvenile offenders face great obstacles to reintegrate back into society, and are often subjected to stigmatization, marginalization and isolation. Moreover, the lack of structure, support and opportunities in their transition often pushes them back into a life of crime and violence, and the recidivism rate in the country for juvenile offenders is at 52% (CLEANSTART Foundation).

UNODC in partnership with the Department of Children Services and Airtel Kenya continues to work to ensure fair access to education for our most vulnerable children in our society. In the words of Koffi Annan: “Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity... For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential”.

With the invaluable partnership of Airtel CSR, 8 girls were provided with a right to education and an opportunity to transform their lives. Furthermore, receiving the chance to continue with their education has had a massive impact in in their motivation, self-esteem and aspirations for the future. Liberty Girls High School reports their improved behavioral and academic progress as well as progress in their social and character development.

UNODC and the Department for Children’s Services celebrate this partnership with Airtel Kenya, as it highlights the importance of strategically and systematically engaging with the private sector. It is also in line with SDG 4 on quality and inclusive education and SDG 16 on building strong and inclusive societies pursuant of the 2030 Agenda.  

Together, we strive for a better, safer and more resilient communities.