As students in the US head back to school, our recent WISER alumni are gearing up to begin their college journeys on campuses across Kenya. Our 5th class of WISER graduates will be studying everything from computer science to social work this fall, and while starting your first semester of college can be intimidating, these girls are especially ready to get going.
Why? Earlier this year, this group of students participated in our first-ever computer skills course offered specifically for WISER alumni entering the next stage of their education.
This course, designed to smooth the transition for WISER alumni heading into their college studies, was made possible through a new partnership with Lumen Labs; a social enterprise based in Nairobi working to bridge the digital divide by making computer education accessible for hard-to-reach communities. We invited all of our most recent alumni to join us back on campus for a month-long course with Lumen Labs to build their digital literacy and computer skills by completing a project designed to identify and solve community challenges.
Throughout the month-long course, WISER alumni were trained in data collection methods via computer-based lessons. The recent graduates then took these lessons and put them into practice by surveying girls in Muhuru Bay who had dropped out of high school in order to better understand the challenges girls face in the area. After the data was collected, WISER alumni used digital tools in our computer lab to analyze the information they had collected and to build their confidence in using various software programs to solve problems.
As one of our recent alumni, Shanny, shared, this course not only helped build computer skills for alumni, it helped them think critically about community issues. “We did surveys, and one problem we identified was lack of school fees to the youths,” said Shanny. “We had several ways to solve the problem, like involving the donors, fundraising, and lobbying the government to offer free education.”
Creative problem-solving to address locally-identified challenges like these is emphasized throughout girls’ four years at WISER, and we are proud to provide opportunities, like the Lumen Labs course, for our alumni to continue learning and growing after they graduate.
WISER and Lumen Labs share a firm belief that girls can lead change in their communities and we were excited to partner to make this a reality for our recent alumni this year. With new computer skills and renewed vision of leading change, WISER’s newest graduates are well-prepared to enroll in universities this fall. We know this is only the beginning of what our alumni will accomplish, and we’re excited to see what comes next for our inspiring graduates!
Special thanks to the Pentair Foundation, who made this possible with a generous grant. Pentair’s support is helping WISER grow into a hub for technology and innovation, empowering girls in new and exciting ways.