The Nafasi Process
Swahili for "opportunity," Nafasi signifies EACEF's belief in the empowering potential of a community-driven, holistic approach to educational reform. The Nafasi Process evolved through the joint efforts of students, parents, teachers, administrators, local government officials and partner NGOs in the United States and East Africa. Through the Nafasi Process, EACEF focuses on improving school facilities (Engineer!), enhancing educational programs (Expand!), and empowering young people through social action (Engage!).
Targeting pressing and addressable issues such as impaired infrastructure, hunger and lack of learning materials, the Nafasi Process aims to break down material barriers to a child's success in school. While EACEF is dedicated to providing customized solutions for each educational community, the Nafasi Process provides a general framework to begin the collaborative planning effort with local stakeholders. At each partner school, EACEF expects to witness rises in national examination scores, enrollment and consistency of attendence, as well as broader community ownership of the education process.
EACEF first implemented the Nafasi Process at its pilot project at Kirimara Primary School, located outside Nyeri, Kenya. In just the first six months of its work with Kirimara, EACEF witnessed a 7% increase in the students’ annual standardized test scores (KCPE), one of the most dramatic yearly increases in all of Kenya. In recognition of this acheivement, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki stated that EACEF and its local partners were "ahead of the Kenyan government in educational outreach" during a visit to neighboring Mount Kenya Academy. Prior to EACEF's involvement at Kirimara in 2007, for the vast majority of students, the last year of primary school represented the conclusion of their education; in 2010, however, the entire class progressed to secondary school. As a further sign of the effectiveness of the Nafasi Process in expanding educational opportunities, enrollment has increased from 107 students in 2006 to 175 students in 2011, despite an overall reduction in the local population.
Inspired by the success and lessons learned at Kirimara, EACEF has expanded the Nafasi Process to three additional schools in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and witnessed similar results. For example, since EACEF began working in 2009 with Bisate Primary and Secondary School, located outside Ruhengeri, Rwanda, passing rates for annual standardized tests have drastically improved from less than 50% to greater than 80% in just one year.