MADRASA RESOURCE CENTRE  
 courtesy of  coastweek





Coastweek - - Like the children's rhyme that says "you are a shining little star, who has made you what you are?" so did I enquire from Naima Shatry about what has made her what she is.

Naima Shatry is one of the first Madrasa Resource Centre preschool graduates in the late 80s, now taking her Bachelor of Medicine from the University of Nairobi.

According to Naima and with a lot of excitement showing on her face she is quick to say that her success in both academic and social life is founded in her preschool experience at Liwatoni.

Liwatoni is one of the first preschools established by the Madrasa Resource Centre early childhood programme in the late 80s.

The most significant impact of a preschool programme is the extent to which it gives a quality foundation for long term growth and development.

Naima is one of the many graduates of the Madrasa Resource Centre preschools graduates who in my interview with her confirms what has been found through Madrasa Resource Centre Impact Research (MRCIR) and other studies that the quality of a preschool programme makes a long term impact on the growth and development of children and that the most important aspect of quality in a preschool is the teacher-child interaction.

Naima's story is like a response to one of the Madrasa Resource Centre national chairmen who during my interview with him asserted that:

"MRC is like a mustered seed that grew into a big tree.

In 20 years time we would want to hear children proclaim that their life was shaped by MRC.

MRC has taken the developmental opportunity to the doorsteps of the community to enable the marginalized to say, "we are".

MRC have contributed immensely to this formation.

And it is a reality not an experiment" (Mwaura 2003).

Madrasa Resource Centre Early Childhood programme in East Africa is a shining example of a programme producing young children "shinning stars" at preschool level and beyond.

Madrasa Resource Centre is an early childhood development programme that was initiated in the mid 80s to facilitate the establishment of quality, affordable, culturally appropriate and sustainable community-based early childhood development and education centres among the low social economic Muslim communities.

Its initiation was a response to the East African Muslim community's concern to have their children well grounded in their faith and local culture while also increasing their readiness for, access to, and success in later schooling.

Prior to establishment of the Madrasa Resource Centre programme Muslim children in East Africa were a disadvantaged lot.

They lacked access to quality and culturally appropriate mainstream education right from the preschool to university level.

This created a vicious cycle whereby many children did not enter into high performing schools for lack of preschool opportunities, consequently finding themselves in poor secondary school reducing their opportunity for University and training colleges and thus employment opportunities.

Lack of access to appropriately quality preschools for the Muslim children made many children not attend secular preschools and those that attended secular preschool went to Christian sponsored ones in the morning and the traditional Quranic School later in the day leaving little time for leisure and play.

Exposure to two different curriculum orientation one being Christianity oriented and the other one Islamic become a source of cognitive, social and spiritual dissonance.

This state of Muslim being educationally disadvantaged has a historical root to it.

According to Brown and Sumura evaluation report (1999)[1] western education was introduced in East Africa by Christian missionaries in the late 19th century and the motive was, apart from giving reading and writing skills, to convert people to Christianity.

By the time Christian missionaries came to East Africa, Islam had spread to the coastal areas of East Africa, mainly through the activities of traders from the Middle East.

Missionary attempts at converting people through education came in to conflict with the already established Quranic schools along the coast of East Africa.

So the western education was not readily embraced and the issue of concern to majority of Muslim communities, not only in East Africa but also in other parts of the world as well is how to get access to western education without compromising their values and identity.

In 1965, the Government of Kenya had noted through Ominde Education Commission[2] that the Muslims were educationally disadvantaged.

The report said in part:

" We found that the major religions notably Christianity and Islam, regarded the very educational process as one-sided and incomplete, unless informed with the spirit, values and the standards of religion ...

We strongly recommend the formation of a comparable Muslim body, based in Mombasa, to exercise the rights and duties of sponsorship in schools in the Muslim community ...

Whereas education that has spread elsewhere in Kenya under Christian auspices has assumed a secular form, Islamic education is wholly centred in Islam as a religion and a social and cultural system.

The idea of religious instructions being one of many subjects in a secular school is thus foreign to the traditional Muslim outlook ...

The need for secular education was clearly recognised, as was also the danger that a neglect of it would increasingly place Muslim at a disadvantage in meeting the demands of a modern world.

What was wrong with secular education was that it was not good enough (Ominde Report 1965 P34-36).

By early 80s some members of the Muslim communities had noted this sequence of educational and occupational disadvantages and were willing to do something about it.

There was a clear realisation that the foundation of better performance in school and access to University and training colleges and eventual opportunities in the labour market lies in having quality early childhood development programme.

They had the will and the willpower to do something about it but despite the willingness to face the challenges, the community did not have adequate financial resources and skills to do so.

Some members of the Muslim community therefore approached His Highness the Aga Khan through the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) East Africa to assist in establishing a programme (MRC) which would facilitate in the establishment of integrated and quality preschools within the under-resourced Muslim communities.

This gave rise to the birth of the Madarasa Resource Centre Early Childhood Development programme in 1986 in Kenya.

Having noted the community problem, identified the appropriate strategy and approach towards facing up the problem, and having identified Aga Khan Foundation(AKF) as a willing funder and partner the ball started rolling faster.

A survey was undertaken in the early 80s involving 75 traditional Madrasas.

This survey found that Most of the traditional Madrasas had permanent buildings, that they had water storage and changed minimal fee for the attendance.

 They also found that there was space in most of the traditional Madrasa for play.

They found in general that the physical resources existed that would appropriately be used for launching the integrated early childhood programme.

What was lacking is the training in child appropriate methods and the enrichment of the space in and outside the classroom with teaching, learning and play materials.

A group of seven persons went round the mosques and traditional Madrasas sensitizing them on the need for preschools that would integrate both secular and Islamic education.

A programme director (Bi Swafiya Said) was employed and soon after sponsored to go to India for orientation.

In consultation with Judith Evan who was by then the Education programme officer in AKF Geneva, the programme officer was facilitated to attend high scope curriculum course in UK.

She (Judith Evans) also directly tutored the programme director in the early childhood approaches not to mention donating reading and teaching materials.

A National committee was formed which came up with the objectives of Madrasa Resource Centre as

establishing preschools

developing an integrated curriculum and

increasing access and enrolment in primary schools.

The programme director with the help of some members of the national board developed an integrated curriculum which was published in 1990.

In the same year 1990 a tracer's study[3] was commissioned by AKF to trace the impact of the integrated Madrasa intervention on the later school success of Muslim children.

This study found among other things that The MRC graduates were consistently ranked among the top pupils in standard one and generally fell in the upper 20 per cent in the subsequent classes up to standard four.

Given that:

the client of the programme came from the under-resourced among the Muslims,

the need for the integration of Islamic and cultural education with the secular education,

the need for child appropriate approaches to learning,

the expected product in terms of child development, and

the need to have preschools that will be technically, organisationally and financially sustainable, it was important that:

The cost of establishing and equipping the community ECD centres had to be strategically minimised.

The cost-effective strategy taken was of developing play and teaching and learning equipments and aids from locally available materials, the use of the community resources and manpower in both constructing the school classes, equipments and resourcing the classrooms.

The children's learning deficiencies characterizing low social economic backgrounds signalled the choice of an enriching child-centered curriculum geared towards assisting the children develop healthy personality and skill relating on learning how to learn while preparing them for the subsequent school levels.

This curriculum was found not only suitable for the children of low social economic status background but was also easy to adapt and was quite appropriate in meeting the needs of child centred methods.

The curriculum methods were suitable for the integrated cultural-religious and secular education and having community development unit that will deal with the sensitization of the community on the importance of early childhood education and the need for volunteerism in centre development and therefore mobilize them towards the goal.

The operational framework was therefore guided by the nature of the micro and macro environment context in which the Muslim child was living and the developmental and behavioural expectation of the child.

These considerations therefore became the guiding posts to the operational philosophy of the programme, its curriculum content, the teaching strategies, the management styles, the teacher child interaction, problem solving methods, and the assessment and evaluation procedures.

It introduced a model for quality community-based early childhood education, which is cost effective; appropriate to the local context; and technically, organizationally, and financially sustainable.

The strategy was to initiate an effective, community-based, low cost approach to early childhood education, which promotes educational excellence in Muslim children from low social-economic background.

In other words the program aimed at supporting the low social economic status communities in accessing quality, culture appropriate and affordable education to their children.

These changes were effected in 1996 through a regional office. The

teacher training and mentoring unit; which was concerned with the training and provision of technical support to the pre-school teachers and other stakeholders and beneficiaries and

the community development unit engaged with the area of social marketing in the community, sensitising and educating them and mobilizing them towards provision of quality early childhood education and care.

Through Madrasa Resource Centre programme teachers are trained and communities sensitised, educated and mobilized. Schools are supported in creating an effective management structure and to provide a quality teaching and learning environment for the children.

The curriculum was designed to be more friendly and centred, and the training became more field-centred and experiential than centre-based.

Greater emphasis was placed on community participation and ownership.

More trainers and community development officers were employed and given intensive training on the relevant methods and techniques.

An internal system of monitoring and evaluation based on staff and community negotiation was also designed.

All this was done with a commitment to ensuring technical, organizational and financial sustainability of the preschool centers established by the communities.

The child focus became more holistic and integrated, the curriculum became more child friendly and centered, the training became more field centred and experiential than centre based as was the case before, there was greater emphasis on community participation and ownership of the programme and this gave rise to the need for more community mobilization and empowerment activities.

Community development officers and more trainers were employed and given intensive training on the new child friendly, active learning and integrated approaches and an internal system of monitoring and evaluation, which involved the community, was also put in place.

In 1998 a research unit was established in the Regional office.

The Madrasa Regional Research programme (MRRP) was initiated to assist in finding out the impact of the Madrasa resource centre on the primary beneficiaries as well as building a sustainable capacity on the staff on the monitoring, evaluation and research skills.

It also aims at creating analysis-friendly management information systems that will enable Madrasa Resource Centre to create a systematic data base which could be used not only for the institutional monitoring, evaluation and research but also for the management decision making process and future researches.

At preschool level the activity cycle starts with the community development officers (CDOs) identifying a community through need assessment strategies.

Through community opinion and religious leaders the community is called for a meeting where they are sensitized on the importance of quality early year's development, the need for quality preschool and the facilitating activities of Madrasa Resource Centre programme.

In the community sensitisation workshops the MRC staff use participatory methods to have the community identify their various educational needs and strategies of solving the problems.

In these workshops information on the values of children, importance of educating children, roles and responsibilities of parents and communities to children, benefits of educating children both to the child and the community, when education starts, ways in which children develop, and the effects of not providing to the needs of children.

Meanwhile the communities will have their own meetings organised by the Mosque committees to reflect on the content of the community awareness workshops in relation to their needs and the appropriate strategies towards solving the problems relating to the children.

Having accepted that education and particularly preschool education is critical in their problem solving options, a workshop is arranged whereby they discuss the preschool strategy which includes identifying or establishing preschool structures, personnel, and election of the school management committee (SMC), setting the terms of the elected SMC and the teachers with the help of the Madrasa Resource Centre staff

They also discuss on what they want their children to learn and to be.

The process is also meant to activate commitment and willingness of the community in establishing quality preschool in the area.

Right from the contact stage the communities are made to understand that they own the programme and Madrasa Resource Centre comes with a pivotal role.

But what does ownership of the project signify in relation to monitoring and evaluation ?

Beyond the short-term goals of sensitisation and mobilisation the process is aimed at creating a corporate power base comprised of people conscious of their individual and communal needs, responsibilities and sustainable strategies of meeting them.

In other words the process establishing community owned preschools is also targeted towards awakening the community's consciousness into the existing community problems and their responsibility and ability to intervene, to promote participation of the community in the interventional process, to develop indigenous capacity in relation to knowledge, practice and skills; and to encourage self-reliant.

In a nutshell the process is designed to ensure sustainability of the programme technically, organisationally and financially.

The implementation phase involves among other things the constructing of classrooms and other crucial structures necessary for quality teaching and learning environment; training and mentoring of teachers; and training and supporting the school management commitees.

After a period of two to three years of intensive support, monitoring and evaluation the preschool graduates.

The graduation phase involves evaluating the programme in relation to the extent to which the schools have satisfied the community involvement, teaching and learning environment and management criteria set in the contract.

It is a validation mechanism that the schools are at a level of quality, with a management and financial systems that will ensure the sustainability of the school technically, financially and organisationally.

The whole system of monitoring and evaluation that has been created in the Madrasa Resource Centre programme is geared towards ensuring that the school achieve sustainable high quality teaching and learning environment and practice; effective management and financial systems so as to ensure the maximum effect on the physical, intellectual and personality development of the preschool children now and in the future.

After graduation the preschool is free to join the Association of graduated preschool (GA).

The post-graduation phase involves giving support to the teachers and the community of the graduated schools.

This may be in terms of mentoring, giving an in-service course to the teachers or further training of the school management committees and/ or the Madrasa Resource Centre graduated school association.

In Mombasa the project started with one school and expanded to 15 by 1990.

Given the promising results and the growing demand for it, AKF and the Madrasa Resource Centre felt that the idea might work elsewhere in East Africa.

Exchange visits and discussions with local Muslim leaders in Zanzibar and later in Uganda led to the establishment of new MRCs.

In 1990 the Zanzibar MRC started operating and within a few years was working with 14 communities.

The program moved to Uganda in 1994 and began to work with handful of communities there.

Currently the project is supporting 153 pre-schools, graduate close to 20000 preschool children and trained more than 6000 teachers in its long, medium and short courses programmes.

Primary beneficiaries of Madrasa Resource Centre:


Kenya Zanzibar Uganda Total
Number of preschools contacted 66 74 50 190
Number of school graduated 51 64 38 153
Number of children graduated 4,795 11,064 3,963 19,822
Number of children enrolled in MRC preschool in 2005 3,035 4,743 2,331 10,109
Percentage of girls enrolled in 2005 47.57 50.4 49.2 49
Number of MRC teachers trained in two year course 479 593 189 1,261
Number of other teachers trained in one year course 2 258 26 286
Number of other teachers trained short course 918 229 1,469 2616
Number of SMC trained and in training 797 849 271 1917

Quantitative and qualitative studies undertaken at the Madrasa Resource Centre programme indicates that:

Compared to other normative preschool programmes existing in East Africa, Madrasa Resource Centre preschool children enjoy a better learning environment.

The Madrasa Resource Centre preschool were found to be better in all the aspects of the environment and significantly better in 73 per cent of the environmental dimensions assessed through the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS

The human interaction between the adults and the children is much better in the Madrasa Resource Centre preschools than the other preschools in East Africa.

The value added in the intellectual development of the children has been found to be significantly higher for the Madrasa Resource Centre preschoolers than either those who do not attend preschool or those that attend other preschool in East Africa.

Madrasa Resource Centre preschool children had a margin of 42 per cent higher value-added mean scores against the home children.

Also children from Madrasa Resource Centre end up performing better in school as compared to other children either from home or from other normative preschools.

There were more children from Madrasa Resource Centre preschool who were in the upper half of the class in the examination performance compared to other children from home (with no preschool experience) or those from other preschools.

Their superior performance is notable right from the time they take primary school admission interviews.

They are said to perform much better than other children.

The divergence between preschool children intellectual performance and the home (those who do not attend preschool) children was found to show as early as sixty day of preschool experience and at preschool girls were relatively but not significantly better than boys in the intellectual performance but there were significantly more girls in the upper half of examination score distribution than boys in all the first four grades of primary school.

While more data collection and analysis is required on the retention rate of preschool and home children, the initial analysis indicate a higher rate of retention of preschool experience children in school system than those who did not attend preschool.

It is clear that the process of establishing pre-schools in communities has unleashed forces within communities for change in these societies.

It has pitted forces for change against forces for conservatism.

There has been a great growth and development in women through training and through the Madrasa Resource Centre policy of ensuring women participation in all areas of management.

It is well noted that the training for example changes the teachers from shy human beings to confident, self expressive, creative and community participating persons

The success of Madrasa Resource Centre programme is also be exemplified by the fact that;

more and more non-Muslim children are joining the programme,

many of the communities in all the three countries were planning to start primary schools that offered integrated education,

a number of teachers are being 'poached' to teacher in private preschool

a number of Madrasa-trained teachers have started their own pre-primary schools that used active-learning approach

the programme started with a reaching-out-to-community strategy which has now changed to community reaching out to Madrasa Resource Centre for the services

the programme is now a major player in the development and implementation of national policy systems.

The programme has been consulted not only by the government but also non-government agencies in areas pertaining to community mobilisation, training for early childhood development, development of policy documents, development of teaching and learning materials and development of curriculum and monitoring and evaluation documents in early childhood education.

The programme visibility beyond the East Africa regional can also be noted from the fact that countries like Mozambique and some West Africa countries have sought assistance from the programme in establishing similar programme in their countries.

Internally the programme products including the Madrasa Evaluation Instrument (MEI), the integrated curriculum, training documents and teaching and learning materials development process documents are themselves indicators of effective early childhood programme process.

There are many lessons we can draw from Madrasa Resource Centre on operational and management effectiveness.

These lessons include:

That the starting point of programme effectiveness is the readiness platform in which the project is initiated.

This platform is defined by the existence of a policy, willpower, and general conscience at local and national level on the issue of intervention.

Readiness is also characterized by the community's ability to identify not only their problems but also their strengths and weakness, and the long term benefit that would accrue to the potential intervention.

It is important that there exists in the community a general level of consciousness on the needs and a level of willpower that gives inertia towards seeking an interventional measures.

The awareness of existing options of reference in the community is also an added attribute of readiness.

That the entry process is crucial and requires strategic planning.

This involves thinking not only on the pathway towards the intended subjects of intervention, but also the personality of the person taking the pathway, and the attitude of the persons in which the intervention is to take place.

Madrasa Resource Centre staff identified a clear path of entry to the communities.

They identified the mosque committee (MC) as the link between Madrasa Resource Centre and the communities.

The spiritual respect given to the members of the Mosque by the communities facilitates a smooth entry to the community but not without resistance.

But the person who initiated it (Bi Swafiya) was a person of integrity resulting from her personality and family background.

The effectiveness of the programme therefore partly emanates from the effectiveness and the respect accorded to the initiator by the community before the project initiation.

Therefore the knowledge and the attitude of the community on the initiator of the project and the kind of person he or she is quite important in creating a condition of effectiveness.

That it is important to take time to study the context in which the problem of invention exists so as to guide the strategies and activities of the programme appropriately.

MRC operational framework was based on the social conditions, strengths, values and expressed needs of the community.

The idea of having an affordable low cost programme at least at the preschool level with an active learning curriculum and the integration of religious and cultural aspects with the secular education was very important in having the communities accept, support and claim ownership of the programme.

 The program emphasizes the use of low-cost, locally available indigenous material, and promotes activities that integrate local motifs and narratives from oral as well as written traditions.

These components ensure that pre-school education is economically, socially, and culturally sensible, accessible and appropriate particularly at a time when pre-schools are seen as expensive initiatives.

A programme structure must embrace all the crucial operational and management dimensions of activities.

In the operational structure it is important to ensure that it includes the quality management operations, quality assurance and quality control operations.

Madrasa Resource Centre operations includes community sensitization, mobilization and empowerment manned by the community development officers; the training and mentoring operations manned by the trainers and the monitoring and evaluation unit headed by a monitoring, evaluation and research liaison officer (MERLO).

This structure is linked to the national and regional policy bodies, the national board and the regional committee, which is a quality assurance unit.

They assure quality through the policies and provision of the required guidance and resources.

The MERLO and the researcher form the quality control wing of the programme while the trainers and the community development officers are the quality management group.

The organization of the operational structures should be in such a way that their relationships create a sense of positive competition among them.

In Madrasa Resource Centre each country has a national board headed by a chairman.

At country level, Madrasa Resource Centre is headed by a programme director and each school has a Community Development Officer (CDO) and a trainer in charge.

Meeting are arranged at all these level for all the groups in the three countries.

This arrangement has created a sense of positive competition each of them wanting to do the best for the community and sharing all the operational innovations from each country.

One feels the sense of competition and sharing at all levels right from the regional to the preschool level.

Therefore the regionalisation of the programme with each country having a national board, programme director, lead CDO and Trainer and the coupling of trainers and CDO for the mentoring and support of the communities in each school not to mention the frequent exchange programmes has created a very positive competition as well as a sense of sharing at the regional and local levels.

That for effectiveness a programme requires a simple but comprehensive system of monitoring and evaluation, reflective and feedback system that takes into account all the dimensions and elements of the operations and all the beneficiaries and stakeholders at all levels.

This system must involve all the stakeholder and beneficiaries in the assessment excise and the assessment should be organised as a capacity building and development activity.

The communication and feedback system should be horizontally flat and vertically a bottom-up-bottom communication based on the knowledge that each staff can give a contribution to the programme.

Madrasa Resource Centre places a strong emphasis on reflective practices through integrated and participatory monitoring and evaluation.

That a system of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, at an individual and community level must be defined and actualised by the programme.

Madrasa Resource Centre has endeavoured to instill the spirit of unity, hard work and volunteerism for community service.

It operates under the human and spiritual philosophy of service to Allah and community, which forms the mystique behind the individual and community active participation in the programme.

The concept of school graduation also gives a corporate psychological motivation to the communities to work hard in the provision of early childhood education resources to the children.

It also gives a sense of competition and accomplishment.

The spiritual satisfaction is the programme carrier factor. The programme has created a sense of mutual complement, responsibility and accountability, to each other in the service delivery, which in turn creates a sense of self-motivation and a process of effectiveness.

That it is important to define the donor-programme relationship right at the initiation level with the relationship taking more than just provision of funds to a partnership perspective.

A more friendly, guidance relation than the supervisory relationship should be built between the funding agent and the programme.

The Aga Khan Foundation while retaining its donor status also gives crucial guidance to the programme as well as freedom for the implementers to decide on their activities.

That effectiveness does not necessarily mean challenge-free growth and development.

Challenges are part of the effectiveness dynamics.

What is important is the way these dynamics are perceive by the staff and the community.

Madrasa Resource Centre faces a lot of challenges but as one of the staff did mention, they don't think of problems as problems but as challenges, the reason being that challenges have options.

That the dynamics of effectiveness must be based on three important programmatic systems.

These are quality assurance, quality control and quality management systems.

 Each of the systems must be effective at individual level but also effective at corporate level with each of the system being accountable to the performance of the other.

That the strength of a programme lies on the personnel and the strength and participation of the stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Great deals of effort and resource have to go in building the human capital.

The recruitment of the personnel must be done carefully in order to get the right person for the right job.

The qualification should go beyond the academic qualification for the personality, attitude and visions may be more important.

After hiring the persons must be inducted not only to the content but also to the heritage and culture of the organisation.

Madrasa Resource Centre community including the staff, teachers, programme and school management committee are inducted into appreciating working for children even when it means working for long hours under difficult conditions.

But care is taken to provide them with enabling resources and environment including training.

It is from this process of empowerment that Waithaka (1999) observed the human products and reported that:

"The three MRCs are well staffed with appropriate calibre of staff that are generally enthusiastic about their work and are sufficiently knowledgeable about the target communities educational, social economic, cultural and political situation.

They appear to have the right attitudes towards and are empathetic with the target communities" P16

Processes in a programme evolve over a period of time.

In Madrasa Resource Centre perfection of such processes as mobilising communities, monitor and evaluating pre-schools have all developed over time.

It is important to allow room for trying and sharing novel and innovative ideas.

That integration in a programme must be seen from content and contextual perspectives.

The content integration at Madrasa Resource Centre is viewed in terms of the integrated curriculum which combines not only secular and religious and cultural education but it is also integrated in terms of delivering a whole package of developmental needs such education, food, health, moral and psychosocial services.

The contextual integration can be seen in terms of it coverage of the main programme stakeholders not just in relation to what they bring to the programme but also in what they benefit directly or indirectly from the programme.

The programme activities include sensitizing, mobilizing, training, monitoring and mentoring and evaluation.

The programme is therefore integrated in its programme cycle. Integration can also be seen in terms of its management system whereby every aspect right from the policy to the implementation is integrated in communication and operations.

There is a vertical bottom-up-bottom and horizontally flat communication system.

That the policy, operational and managerial effectiveness should be assessed in relation to the human product arising from the process.

Defining the primary beneficiary of a preschool programme as the child, the programme process must be seen to impact positively on the child growth and development.

The most important part of this process is the quality of human environment.

The programme must invest in building the human capital not only in relation to training but also in the general area of motivation.

There is need to institutionalize a working philosophy which mobilises the programme community towards programme accountability to all, by all for all in all.

The programme must also be seen to have sustainable impact on the participating community in general particularly in their conscience of existence of needs, availability of internal resources and ability to tackle their own challenges

That an intervention well planned, executed, monitored and evaluated should have the lessons and the process of effectiveness well documented and shared with the rest of the world.

Through sharing of these lessons Madrasa Resource Centre became visible within and beyond the region and this visibility has enabled its contribution at government and non-government policy and implementation levels.



In conclusion I join others before me who have very well noted that Madrasa Resource Centre Early Childhood Programme in East Africa has, in a sure, systematic and committed way, shown that:

Children learning in a quality preschool can demonstrably benefit at preschool and beyond.

Paraprofessionals can be adequately equipped to deliver quality interventions in low-income settings.

Very poor communities can be empowered to invest time and resources in school provision and maintenance.

Preschools can be sustained over time without need of ongoing donor supports.

Even very poor communities have strengths that can be mobilized for the welfare of the whole community.

Preschool models can be designed to address specific cultural and religious needs of a group and be appropriately adapted for that population or for populations that are very diverse in cultural and religious backgrounds.

Well thought of preschool programmes with well thought operational strategies can impact on the policy and delivery systems at national and local levels to improve the appropriateness, quality and integration of programmes and services for young children.



[1] Brown G. J. & S. Sumura (1999). The East Africa Madrasa Programme: The Madrasa Resource Centres and their community-based preschool programme. Geneva: The Aga Khan Foundation

[2] GOK (1965). Kenya Education Commission Report. Nairobi: Government press.

[3] Wamahiu, S. P (1995). The impact of the integrated Madrasa-Nursery intervention programme on later school success of Muslim children in Mombasa: The tracer study continued. Nairobi: Aga Khan Foundation.

[4] Waithaka, D. (1999). Organisational Development Assessment Report. Mombasa: Madrasa Resource Centre.



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