Save the Children has been operational in Kenya since the 1950s, providing support to children through developmental and humanitarian relief programmes delivered both directly and through local partners. Current Save the Children programming in Kenya focuses on Health, Nutrition and WASH, Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education and Child Poverty. . In 2012, as part of a global reorganization process, Save the Children combined the programmes of SC UK, SC Canada and SC Finland to create a single operation in Kenya. In February 2014, Save the Children completed a second transition, which saw us join forces with the British INGO, Merlin, and acquire a footprint in Turkana County. Save the Children has an operational presence in Nairobi, Garissa (Dadaab Refugee Camp), Turkana, Wajir, Mandera, Bungoma and Busia counties and works through partners in many other parts of the country.



Education is a human right, enshrined in law. It is also enshrined in The Constitution of Kenya (2010). It is also how we equip our girls and boys with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world.  Education is fundamental for human, social and economic development and a key element to achieving lasting peace and sustainable development. It is a powerful tool in developing the full potential of everyone and in promoting individual and collective wellbeing.


Save the Children’s education work covers Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD), and primary education both formal and non-formal. As articulated in our global strategic plan 2016 – 2018, in the coming three years Save the Children will focus efforts on ensuring the right to development and education, and to learn, for the most deprived boys and girls. We will seek to ensure that education provision is equitable, and ai to reduce the disparities amongst the most deprived girls and boys or between the most deprived children and the rest of the population. 


Save the Children education work will focus on:


  • Deprived children attend good quality inclusive early childhood care and development and transition successfully into basic education
  • Deprived children attend good quality inclusive basic education and demonstrate relevant learning outcomes
  • Effective governance systems exist to ensure that deprived children have equitable access to good quality basic education and demonstrate relevant learning
  • Children affected by humanitarian crises have continuous access to a good quality ECCD and basic education.


In order to achieve the above, Save the Children will test innovative and evidence based methods for behaviour change communication, integrate WASH & Child Protection for safe quality learning environments and prioritise evidence-based advocacy on issues to do with adequate opportunities for children among others. In addition we will ensure that we programme cross-thematically and ensure the synergies between themes are realised by working with:


  • Child Protection to eradicate violence of all types in schools, strengthening the role of teachers in the child protection system and ensure that children caught-up in humanitarian crises are protected
  • Child Poverty to identify economic barriers to child development and education and reduce these barriers both within families and communities but also in the education system.
  • Child Rights Governance to hold governments to account as duty bearers for ensuring all girls and boys receive a good quality early learning support and education;
  • Health & Nutrition so that children – including very young children and those with a disability or special educational needs - receive the health, nutrition and developmental support they need in the early years.




Our approach to programming is driven by our Theory of Change.


Being the voice: 

We advocate and campaign for better practices and policies to fulfil children’s rights and ensure that children’s voices are heard (particularly those of children most marginalized or living in poverty.


Being the innovator: 

We develop and provide evidence-based, replicable breakthrough solutions to problems facing children.


Achieving results at scale:

We support effective implementation of best practices, policies and programmes for children, leveraging on our knowledge to ensure sustainable impact


Building partnerships:

We collaborate with children, civil society organizations, communities, governments and the private sector to share knowledge, influence others and build capacity to ensure that children’s rights are met



Working with Communities

In most of the areas where Save the Children works, the nomadic lifestyle combined with chronic poverty, recurrent droughts, material deprivation, inadequate social safety nets, conflicts (cattle rustling), high levels of illiteracy among the adult population and lack of awareness of the value of education among parents, interrupt a child’s education and compound the vulnerabilities of the households. Save the Children will work with communities to change their attitudes towards education and to ensure they are able to demand quality education for their children from the duty bearers.


Working with Ministry of Education Science and Technology

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) recently launched the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK) whose main goal is to put in place an institutional framework that will ensure efficiency, accountability and effectiveness, in the delivery of education to nomadic communities in order to achieve universal quality education and training. We will work with the MOEST as the key duty bearer to put in place measures to ensure that the marginalized children are accessing their right to education.


Working with the schools and pupils

One major challenge in the areas Save the Children works is the low enrolments as well as high drop- out rates. Save the Children therefore also works with schools to deal with both pull and push factors; ensuring the schools have a quality learning environment so as to attract children to school and ensure they remain there. Save the Children also focusses on role modeling as a way of motivating the children in school to aim high and have dreams.



What is our global breakthrough?

By 2030, all children learn from a quality basic education


What do we want to achieve in Kenya by 2030?

In Kenya, we will work with the MOEST and like-minded organizations to

(a)   Increase the transition rates of children from primary to secondary schooling from 73.3% to 90%

(b)  Increase the number of children (aged 10-16) who have mastered Grade 2 literacy and numeracy skills from < 70% to >90%

What is our target 2018?

Working together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as the County Governments in the Counties Save the Children works, we aim to

(i)            Pilot a low-cost model of quality ECCD, and an evidence base generated for scalability by one ASAL County Government.

(ii)          Document an effective model for improving pastoralist children's learning, including the most deprived and out of school children that can be shared with Ministry of Education and NACONEK to take to scale.

(iii)          Work with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through NACONEK to set up the legislative and organisational architecture required to ensure the most deprived children, including children from pastoralist communities have access to quality education.

(iv)          Support the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to build the capacity of County Education clusters and adapt County specific Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans in Wajir, Mandera and Turkana counties to ensure all children caught up in humanitarian crises have continuous access to quality ECCD and basic education.


Which children will we target?

Out of school children and children in basic education in the most deprived areas in Kenya including:

  • arid and Semi-Arid Land areas (ASALs)
  • refugee and IDP settings
  • urban informal settlements