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Monday, October 29, 2012


By Sheila Ngigi

Since 1992, Nasaru Ntoyie women’s group has worked to ensure girls are saved from forced marriages and their thirst for education quenched. Though an up heal task, they have been very successful and have given hope to so many. Under the close supervision and leadership of Peninah Nasieku Tompo among others, as highlighted in an earlier article, the women sell their hand made beadwork from which funds go a long way to educate and accommodate the rescued girls.
Peninah attending to customers during one of their exhibitions

However, it was after the article was posted on this blog, when an ongoing scheme by callous individuals was discovered. It was established that there were numerous people masquerading either as Nasaru Ntoyie’s partners, volunteers, or employees on the web for a long time now. They had been using the group as a means to get funding and donations from individuals, organizations and other development agencies.
“I had gone to the Maarifa center to read the article on Nasaru Ntoyie which had been posted on the Isinya Maarifa Center blog on the 11th of May this year. However, on keying in the name Nasaru, I was faced with very many options which appeared after I searched. So I sought assistance from the Field officer who discovered that the options were from other people and not the original Nasaru Ntoyie’s members,” says Naomi, one of the beneficiaries of the group’s girl education project.
Some members of Nasaru Ntoyie

Nasaru Ntoyie Women’s group has since then sought professional advice and assistance. In that light, they were advised to create a blog which they have done with help from the Isinya Maarifa Center. Their link is:

This is before their website is completed and plans to patent their name are underway.
"We are very grateful to the Isinya Maarifa center and ALIN for their support, assistance and provision of access to internet at the community center. Were it not for the article that profiled our group, we would never have been able to save our group", Naomi says with a smile.

Friday, October 12, 2012


The word library brings to mind books, books, and even more books, the word class room also ringing read, read, read, read. Combine the book and the class and all that’s missing is the student. What most people either don’t know or refuse to understand is that , books , a library and a class room is not all one needs to learn, and even in the library there is more than just gigantic volumes of intimidating books waiting to be read, there are other items like videos that can instill knowledge faster and even more effectively.
Mr. Joseph Sila with his students

Do you ever wonder why a student will remember everything they watched on TV, every piece of action every word as if they were part of the production team and forget most of what they learn in class? Studies have shown that Most people are likely to be more attentive to a TV than to teacher, visual information is easy to process and pictures are like a first language to most people, regardless of this the TV like social media has received immense criticism, parents and teachers are too busy shielding children from TV and videos that they forget its untapped potential, there must be a reason why it is more popular than a book.
Students of Olkejuado high school got out of their comfort zone breaking the classroom monotony travelled over 10 kilometers to Isinya Maarifa center to put the TV and video to good use.

When Mr. Joseph Sila Mbindyo  an agriculture teacher at Olkejuado high school in Kajiado visited the Maarifa center after hearing about the ongoing mobile library program he came looking for books on agriculture for his students to read, just as any other teacher or parent  would , but when the field officer informed him that videos on farming were also available, his focus totally shifted and after going through the DVD inventory he settled for two videos “ farming for life” and “horticultural farming in Kenya”, the date was set and all that remained was the students arrival.
On the D day, to our surprise a whole bus off 55 students arrived at the Maarifa center, the boys carried notebooks and pens. Since they could not fit in the Maarifa center, the Maasai rural training center (MRTC) dining hall which is a stone’s throw away from the Maarifa center was the perfect venue.
After watching the videos, the session was followed by a question and answer session which provoked discussion on what the students had learnt.
Discussion in Progress.

Maybe we shouldn’t judge the TV and videos by the images we see on it, maybe it’s time we really tapped into its true potential, If students love TV so much then why not use is to instill the much needed knowledge, isn’t it said that People learn new concepts more when presented with both visual and audio information as opposed to audio alone?


What started as a mobile library program targeting only primary schools has now graduated and is serving secondary schools as well. Isinya secondary is one such school. The school which is still in its infant stages was started in 2011 and as a result has only form 1 and 2 classes, this further means that the school is yet to get some basic facilities such as a library. Meanwhile as the school awaits the construction of these facilities, it needed not agonize over reading materials, this is because Isinya Maarifa center has come to their rescue.
This endeavor was highly welcomed by the head teacher Mr. Mokamba and really encouraged by teacher Ursula Tororei.
Teacher Tororei attanding to her students.

The form 1 and form 2 teachers have mostly been signing out fiction novels.  When I inquired from Teacher Tororei why this particular category, she told me that this would help the students improve their language skills as well as encouraging creative, imaginative and critical thinking and by the time they get to reading set books they will be already accustomed to not only reading large volumes of books but also a wide range of genres as well.
I totally agree with her since reading even if it is a book of fiction does not only pave way to learning but to self enlightenment as well. Gone should be the days when we have to put up with lousy jokes such as if you want to hide anything from an African hide it in a book.
Given that reading means gaining knowledge and we at the Maarifa center pride ourselves in sharing of knowledge we are really proud of Isinya secondary school for embracing this program and we will give them all the support our knowledge platform can offer, we pride ourselves in inculcating knowledge to whomever and whenever required.