Education

It Starts With a Girl

SHOFCO’s innovation places free schools for girls in the center of holistic community services, allowing the school to become a portal for large scale social change. This approach invites both genders to be part of the solution and builds a community invested in its own future—ultimately, transforming the face of urban poverty while creating tomorrow’s leaders.

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To make the highest impact investment possible, we strategically identify both the brightest and the most at-risk girls—targeting the next generation of leaders. Through small classes, exceptional teachers who serve as positive role models, and world-class curriculum, we provide a superior education to the future engines of social change in Nairobi’s slums.

More Than an Education

A SHOFCO education goes beyond academics. Our schools provide daily nourishment, health care, psychosocial support, after school programs, uniforms and supplies all free of charge. Parents, or other relatives of students are also required to work for five weeks at the school, part of our holistic approach to invest the entire community in girls’ education.

Why Educate a Girl?

  • Women and girls reinvest 90% of their income in their families; men reinvest 30-40%.1
  • When 10% more of its girls go to school, a country's GDP increases an average of 3%.2 
  • Educating a girl through at least the fifth grade results in later marriage, fewer children, and a reduction in HIV/AIDS. She is more likely to seek medical care, find employment, gain access to credit, and vote.3 
  • Women’s representation in governments makes a difference. Research on panchayats (local councils) in India discovered that the number of drinking water projects in areas with female-led councils was 62 per cent higher than in those with male-led councils. In Norway, a direct causal relationship between the presence of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage was found.4
  • Women’s leadership matters.  An analysis of Fortune 500 companies found that those with the greatest representation of women in management positions delivered a total return to shareholders that was 34 per cent higher than for companies with the lowest representation.5

The SHOFCO Curriculum

SHOFCO’s approach to education is to create a student-centered, experience-based environment that fosters a love of learning, creativity, and critical thinking skills—skills that tend to be underdeveloped in the lecture-centered, rote memorization and test-based approach typical of the Kenyan educational system.

In concert with our sister school, New York City’s Chapin School, and some of the United States’ preeminent curriculum experts, SHOFCO has developed an international primary school curriculum that incorporates the latest learning innovations in math, literacy, science and social studies. Art, music, poetry, debates, yoga, community service projects, and field trips supplement academics, adding to the education of the whole child. SHOFCO’s curricular approach nurtures essential skills for our students to create personal paths out of poverty, and to foster proactive, engaged citizens and leaders who can effect real change.

The World Bank
USAID
3 UN Development Group: MDG #2
4 UN Women
5 UN Women