Shaping the future of learning: Youth First Kenya

In Kenya’s Kilifi County, Rama Guni and her class at Gandani Primary School have been making great strides. An educator for five years, Rama teaches mathematics, social studies, Kiswahili, agriculture, and nutrition. Her approach to teaching underwent a significant transformation after her participation in the Youth First Kenya (YFK) program , an initiative promoted by our partners CBM and Basic Needs Basic Rights Kenya aimed at building personal resilience and health among adolescents.

Initially, Rama struggled with problem-solving and recognized her unintentional biases towards certain learners. The introduction to YFK sparked a shift in her teaching methods, enriching both her personal growth and her interactions with students.

Teacher-facilitated and grounded in evidence-based practices, the YFK resilience and health curriculum for adolescents is rooted in positive psychology, social-emotional learning, and student well-being. The program has been shown to foster positive outcomes in the classroom, including improved academic performance and problem solving, enhanced communication skills, and stronger peer and learner-to-teacher relationships.

YFK introduced Rama to the importance of embracing mistakes as part of the learning process. This realization not only boosted her confidence but also led her to adopt new teaching strategies, such as arranging lessons in a circle to nurture dialogue, openness and trust. This change greatly improved communication among her students, encouraging them to share their challenges and voice their opinions without fear or shame.

The impact of these changes have been clearly reflected in the school’s recent academic achievements, including an increase in national test scores. Rama attributes this improvement to the positive influence of the YFK program on her teaching methods and her students’ learning experiences in the classroom.

Rama now sees YFK as a crucial tool for educational enrichment and hopes its wider application will benefit more teachers and students. Her story underscores the role that thoughtful, evidence-based programs can play in transforming teaching practices and fostering supportive learning environments, enhancing student resilience and well-being.