By 2018

students impacted

by Reading Kenya

By 2018

teachers trained

on effective, child-centered strategies to promote literacy in their classrooms

By 2018

school libraries

supported through the provision of collections of children’s books in English, Kiswahili and Maa

Located in East Africa, Kenya is home to seventy distinct ethnic groups and over 30 different languages. Recent successes in Kenya’s education sector include an increase in primary school enrolment, from 8.8 million in 2010 to 9.86 million in 2011 (Government of Kenya 2012).

With more children attending school, new efforts must be made to ensure that there are sufficiently qualified teachers. However, the Kenyan government reports limited funding for teacher training and continuous professional development (Government of Kenya). In fact, a survey of primary schools in Kenya found that Grade 6 teachers scored only 60% on tests designed for their students (UNESCO 2014).

About Reading Kenya

Through Reading Kenya, CODE and its local partner, the National Book Development Council of Kenya (NDBCK), hope to help improve the reading and writing skills of early primary school students in their mother-tongue.

In Kajiado, home to many marginalized communities, too few teachers are adequately-prepared to teach reading and writing and schools are unable to supply the engaging books needed to motivate students to read and learn for pleasure.

The project addresses these issues by: 

  • providing professional development to teachers
  • increasing access to culturally-relevant and engaging materials in English, Kiswahili and Maa; and
  • building the capacity of the local education system

Reading Kenya aims to develop a culture of reading so that children can grow up to be critical thinkers, and life-long learners with a better chance at a bright future.

CODE’s Burt Award for African Literature, which supports the writing and publication of high-quality fiction in English for young adults (from 12 to 18 years old) has also been present in Kenya since 2011.

Country Stats

Capital: Nairobi

Population: 44.353 million

Area: 582,650 km2

GDP (per capita): $133 billion

Languages: Kenya has two official languages, English and Kiswahili, but there are 67 spoken languages throughout the country.

Literacy Rate: 85.9%

Literacy Rate for Women: 86.6%

Literacy Rate for Men: 85.2%

Out-of-school Rate: 13.8% of school-aged children do not attend school

Where We Work: Kajiado region, a semi-arid area inhabited by the Maasai community

Did you Know?

In this and other arid regions of Kenya, an average of 7 out of 10 children in class 3 cannot do class 2 work.* Are Our Children Learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report 2011, 2012 Summary of Findings  

Recent News and Stories

Read the latest news about CODE's efforts in Kenya.
Investing in Teenage Girls through a bookJul 11, 2016I wrote the novella, "Sabina and the Mystery of the Ogre", with an aim of empowering the girl-child and to give her the tools with which to change the community’s mindset about her place in society. full article...
Celebrating the Winners of the 2015-16 Burt Award for African LiteratureApr 26, 2016The past few months have been busy for CODE’s partners in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. They each awarded talented local authors of English language literary works for young adults with CODE’s Burt Award for African Literature. full article...
Volunteer Voices: Angela WardApr 12, 2016Volunteering with CODE as a member of the Reading Kenya team is a life-enhancing challenge for me; all my professional experience has been as an educator, beginning as a primary teacher working with indigenous children, and closing my career as ... full article...
OlepolosMay 28, 2015By Hila Olyan, Programme Manager “Where do you live?” I ask Vincent. “Near the shops,” he tells me. “That’s a long way,” I respond, “do you walk?” “No,” says Vincent, but he smiles. “Then how do you get here?” I full article...


Our Programs

Recent Burt Award Winners

Was Nyakeeru My Father?

20141st PlaceElizabeth Kabui

Ask the Stars

20142nd PlaceAnthony Mugo

The Shark Attack

20143rd PlaceMoraa Gitaa

Photos From the Field

Our work takes us around the globe and close to home. We love to share photos of the faces and places where your contributions are making a real difference.