Genesis Immaculate High School in the Huruma slums of Nairobi, Kenya participated in our S.L.U.M.S. Curriculum starting in 2015. In 2015, there were 8 other schools who also participated in service-learning activities.

At the beginning of the year, the teachers and directors at Genesis Immaculate attended the annual S.L.U.M.S Labs, our training retreat for schools in the network. Here, they learned how to facilitate the curriculum as well as how to integrate it into their standard curriculum. Teachers were given frameworks and lesson guidelines, but they had free reign on how to customize the curriculum into their classrooms.

The students began with the research block of their service-learning project in which they went out into the community to identify some of the pressing needs and problems. They then came into the classroom to discuss these issues in groups and also debate which one their school wanted to address. They eventually decided to tackle the drug and substance abuse problem plaguing their community, especially amongst the youth.

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For their direct service project, they formed groups to go around the slum and participate in various activities: skits, marches, and demonstrations. The students felt that young people would be compelled and convicted if the message was coming from their peers and not some authoritative figure or merely information on a flyer.  These activities were powerful for both the community and for the participating students themselves, who expressed later in their reflection journals how much it opened their eyes and sparked new ideas.

The final block of the students’ service-learning projects revolved around advocacy. The students wrote letters to community leaders and officials to urge them to continue to create policies that help in the rehabilitation of substance abusers and to also aid in the prevention of sales and distribution.

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Though this year-long project, teachers, directors, students, and community members were all reminded of how powerful service-learning could be in creating tangible outputs but also lasting outcomes both in and out of the classroom. We are continuing to evaluate the success of this project based on various learning and civic engagement metrics that we hope to share shortly.

In the meantime, you can see teacher feedback on this project in our Data and Reports page and also see what the students of Genesis Immaculate are up to in 2016!