Each year students, faculty, and staff in the department of Educational Psychology work together with the student organization D.E.S.K. (Delivering Educational Supplies to Kenya) to support the success and well-being of students in grades K-12 in Western Kenya. With the help of community members like you—both inside and around the Ball State community—we have been able to ensure that many students at Shivembe Primary School have what they need to stay enrolled, continue attending, and thrive academically. This academic success has been supported by numerous research activities (conference presentations and scholarly publications). We hope to continue to provide needed school supplies and carry out supporting research activities.
In order to keep attending school, Shivembe Primary students must have school uniforms. The cost for these uniforms can add up quickly, especially if a family has more than one child in school. Additionally, D.E.S.K. helps deliver school supplies and medication to Shivembe Primary and neighboring schools. Last year, we were able to help 223 students stay in school by providing uniforms; this year, we hope to increase that number significantly. The research we have conducted show an increase in academic performance due to the availability of school uniforms.
The older students at Shivembe and neighboring schools receive additional types of support. Another key initiative of D.E.S.K. is to provide personal hygiene products, such as sanitary pads, for girls. Without adequate personal care supplies, older girls often miss school during their menses and end up falling behind in their learning. The consequences can be lower standardized test scores or dropping out altogether. We have been able to publish research showing that the provision of sanitary pads has indeed increased school attendance, motivation and academic achievement of the older girls.
Finally, last year we were able to do two significant projects: assist the school to construct a library, the only library in the county; present several awareness and educational presentations on Sickle Cell Anemia, a disease that is prevalent in the region. We are currently preparing to collect data to assess the impact of the library and the educational presentations on the students and community at large.
A crucial factor in the success of these initiatives has been the continued and much appreciated involvement of the community within and around Ball State. We are hoping that during this #OneBallStateDay, you will join us in offering support for continued service and educational research efforts in Kenya.