Growing up with children of military servicemen, Faith and her fellow alumni of Moi Forces Academy return to the barracks to talk to young people about their future.
By Ján Michalko
Initially published on inhiveglobal.org
Faith is an alumnus of to Moi Forces Academy, Lanet. This school is one of four high schools which constitute a collection of schools established in the 1980s by the late former President Daniel Arap Moi. The schools were built to provide education to children of military personnel based in the respective barracks.
Alumni of all four Moi Forces Academies popularly referred to as MFA formed an alumni association. But over the years alumni activity dwindled. In 2016, Faith took the initiative to revive alumni interest in her alma mater. She ran an online event which shared the rich history of the school which provoked nostalgia and interest in the alumni based across the world once again.
Faith and her fellow alumni realised the drastic changes in the school from their schooling days and opted to resolve the challenges they saw among students, teachers and parents. It all started with a series of events in the various MFA schools. The hugest challenge was communication. Students weren’t free to express themselves and as a result, were caught up in a lot of personal struggles affecting their academic performance. Faith knew all too well the importance of open dialogue from her childhood.
“It was a very touchy issue. It affected the ecosystem of the school. It affected the current students, the teachers, of course, it affected the parent-teacher association, it affected the alumni.” Faith points out.
During one mentorship session, the alumni requested the teachers, who would normally sit in on the sessions, to step out to allow candid conversations with the students. This direct alumni engagement resulted in a schedule of mentorship and candid discussions on reproductive health, substance abuse and other life skills with the students.
“By the end of that year, some of the students just reached out to different alumni personally. So the children opened up about the issues that they were dealing with.” Faith recalls.
MFA alumni didn’t stop there, they gave the students a challenge for further motivation: those, who succeed in attaining an ‘A’ grade in their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) will receive an award. From just one awardee in 2016, when the challenge was made, the association awarded 16 students in 2019 having attained the highest grade in KCSE.
The MFA Alumni Association also goes the extra mile to cater to the needs of alumni as well as current students. The association organises various networking events and in 2020, went the extra mile and set up an online job market to help alumni find work, workshops to help people upskill to meet market needs, as well as financial training to help alumni manage the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.