Nelson Mandela once said: ““Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
As Macheo we also believe that education is key for future success, where success is not only defined in terms of academics or economics, but also in terms of avoidance of teenage pregnancies and/or neglect.
We are faced with an overwhelming need around us, which gives us the responsibility to not only carefullt choose how to help, but also who to help. To achieve as much impact as possible, our focus for the “payment of school fees” intervention is on children early in life, for who a delayed start could have big consequences and on adolescent girls. Reasons for these – difficult – choices are explained below.
It is well known that, investments earlier in life have a higher return. Macheo learnt about the necessity for Early Childhood Development mostly through the work of James Heckman, who won the noble prize in 2000 for his work, clearly showing the biggest Social Return On Investment in education was in the earliest possible years:
In Kenya, there is an added advantage to children of seriously disadvantaged families being enrolled in school at an early age, which also includes them into child protection systems outside the nuclear family.
In 2024 Macheo aims to assist 300 children from vulnerable backgrounds to enter ECD classes, in 2023 we have helped almost 200 children to enter ECD. These are classes in public primary schools, starting from the age of 4. According to the Kenya Pediatric Association, 45% of the children in Kenya is at risk of poor development.
In our work towards getting children enrolled in ECD as soons as possible, we track our progress with the following indicators:
1) the child fully attends school
2) the child has acquired reading and writing skills
3) the child is part of a social system outside the family
In 2023 Macheo assisted 200 children to get access to ECD, our goal for 2024 is to help 300 children get enrolled at the right age. The children we help are at serious risk of not starting if Macheo does not help. They are referred to us through different sources. This can be through the government (children’s office, police or local government representatives), concerned neighbours or Macheo’s own social workers.
Assisting the child to go to school is one intervention that is often applied, together with other interventions. The other interventions aim to adress the cause of the child not getting enrolled at the right age. Sometimes it’s the economic status of the mother, then we also refer to our Family Economic Empowerment intervention, it can also be her mental or physical health situation, in which cases we refer to our Individual Counselling intervention and/or to our Individual Health intervention.
Sometimes, or often, the situation is complex and requires multiple interventions.
This is how we try to create a situation where the caregiver can provide long term again when Macheo does no longer pay the school fees for the ECD, so that the boy or girl can stay in school. Macheo pays for two school terms, during which the caregiver should be empowered enough to continue paying.
Macheo works with unit costs, which are the average costs to help one child access Early Childhood Development education. These unit costs are all the costs Macheo makes, so it includes an allocation of the social workers who identify the children who can be helped best, it also includes transport, communication, salaries and an allocation from the necessary overhead Macheo needs to operate and to continue operating. Biggest bulk of the costs in this intervention are however school fees for two terms and uniform for the child. The budgeted unit costs for this intervention in 2024 is 8,648 Kenyan Shilling, approximately 62 euro. This means that for this amount a child can start schooling, start his/her development at the right age and become part of a social protection system. A child that would otherwise be highly likely to miss out!
More detailed questions about the exact unit cost calculation can be asked to email@example.com
We truly believe life-long benefits are created for this amount.
The girl effect video.
Macheo has been working with unit costs since 2019 and this has really many benefits, it helps us to get a better understanding of our costs compared to our impact. It has also really raised the cost awareness of Macheo’s staff, leading to gains in efficiency, thus enabling us to help more children with the available resources.
In this unit costs we have calculated all necessary costs, for 1 child or 1 caregiver.
Macheo can help 1 child or caregiver through Individual Health Support for Kenyan Shilling 6,566 (53 euro)
46% is going directly to medical costs, such as treatments and/or medication. The transport costs are relatively high, because quite often patients need to travel far, and regularly, to get specialized treatment.
First step in measuring the difference we make to the children who need our help is to choose who will benefit most from the help we can offer. This choice is being made by holistic social workers who identify the need, look at root cause and refer the children and/or caretakers to help from Macheo colleagues, the Government, or others who are able and willing to help.
The identified needs and root causes are captured in Macheo’s (anonymized) database.
When referred internally our specialist colleagues start with a baseline measurement on the Key Performance Indicators of their specific intervention. During the process they track progress towards this and when completed they rate the clients again. This shows the difference the intervention made. All data is collected through apps on mobile phones and displayed in dashboard, such as the one below, which is specifically for this intervention:
Since these challenges are often complicated, one child or caregiver could receive multiple interventions. After all interventions are completed the holistic social workers comes back to the family and repeats the intake needs assessment. The difference between the first and final needs assessment shows whether the interventions had the desired impact on children’s well-being.
We hope you will join us in enabling Macheo to help more children and/or caregivers who need assistance through Individual Health Support. Macheo reports in April, August and December/January. An example of a report can be found here.
Macheo has 4 great colleagues working with full dedication in this intervention. They are under the management of Ibrahim Hassan, whose own personal story can be read here.