Press Release – MIT Researchers Release Report to CFK Africa on Strengthening Schools in Informal Settlements in Kenya

Researchers advise NGO on its program efforts to build evidence-based solutions

NAIROBI, KENYA – CFK Africa, an international nonprofit with offices in Kenya and the U.S., has received a thorough report from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) fellows on how the organization can strengthen its research efforts to improve educational outcomes among primary students in informal settlements.

CFK Africa was chosen as one of 10 global partners with the world-renowned university for the program Leveraging Evidence for Action to Promote Change, or MIT LEAP, a collaborative initiative between MIT and the Jacobs Foundation.

The 50-page report, now available online, rigorously analyzes an ongoing data collection effort by CFK Africa to study which interventions have the best effect on boosting the rate of primary school graduation among students in informal settlements like Kibera in Nairobi.

Through its Best Schools Initiative, CFK Africa collects data from 64 primary schools serving students ages 5 to 12 who live in Kibera. Co-created with the local community, the initiative has found that improved teacher training, parent or guardian involvement, stable and affordable school fees, reliable free lunch programs, good student-to-textbook ratios and after-school and between-term activities help improve educational outcomes.

“We survey schools to evaluate everything from class size to school fees to find the best ways to help children finish their schooling,” said Jeffrey Okoro, deputy executive director for CFK Africa who heads the program. “MIT’s researchers gave suggestions for how to improve our survey design and how we analyze the results. These suggestions will help us improve our evidence base creating a strong foundation for knowledge that can be shared globally.”

The team from MIT found ways that CFK Africa could strengthen its data collection, such as refining survey question choice, reducing the number of people who conduct the surveys at each school, and including examples to ensure more standardized responses.

“The surveys we conduct are the foundation of all of our efforts, helping us determine what are the most cost-effective interventions and where we should focus our energy and resources,” added Okoro. “As the growth of informal settlements increases worldwide, evidence-based data gathered from our unique research platform could lead to pivotal findings applicable to community education globally.”


About CFK Africa
Founded in 2001, CFK Africa improves public health and economic prosperity in informal settlements in Kenya through integrated health and youth leadership initiatives. Using a participatory development approach, CFK Africa works directly with community residents to develop and implement sustainable programs. After marking 20 years of service in Kibera in 2021, CFK Africa began expanding to additional informal settlements in Nairobi County and across seven additional counties in Kenya, including Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Machakos, Mombasa, and Nakuru.

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