Taking Digital Literacy To The Margins: Kids Comp Camp

By Caleb Ndaka

Kids Comp Camp is a  program in Kenya that aims to teach young people in marginalised communities basic digital literacy skills that enable them to use digital devices for  learning and leisure. The camps run during school holidays in April, May and December and during weekends. It is an initiative of Kompyuta Mashinani. Despite security concerns after the Garissa University College attack, #TeamCompCamp successfully ran the April 2015 Kids Comp Camp in Madogo Village in Tana River County, which is only three kilometers from Garissa Town. More than 100 kids from five different schools attended the camp.

Session at April 2015 Kids Comp Camp

Session at April 2015 Kids Comp Camp

How Kids Comp Camp Began

While in university at JKUAT, we used to have weekend getaways dubbed ‘Plot Plot’. On our way back from one of our getaways at Kitengela, we had a conversation about how we could be more impactful on society. This invoked ideas about how we could match our fun experiences with positive impact. For instance, we all had laptops and a bit of pocket money. Therefore, we thought about doing a road trip to a school in a village with no access to computers and training the pupils on computer basics. This is how Kids Comp Camp began. Since then, we have trained more than 200 pupils aged 9 to 14, from five different school in two counties – Machakos and Tana River County.

Impact at the Margins: How We Do It

Kids comp camp consists of three teams: Training Team that puts together the training content, Communication Team that manages internal and external communications and  Maintenance Team that works out logistics. The programme’s decision to focus on marginalized communities is informed by research that revealed a huge digital gap between children growing up in rural and urban areas. Statistics put the ratio of computers to pupils at 1:15 in urban areas compared to an unacceptable 1:150 in rural areas. This is in regions where if interventions are not made to improve digital literacy, young able minds will lack the competitive edge required to engage in todays’ information- driven world, further compounding their marginalization.

Play time!

Play time!

The program aims to reach one thousand young learners in five marginalized regions in Kenya by the end of 2015. It also aims to set up 10 equipped and easily accessible ‘Kids’ Comp Labs’ at ‘Kids Comp Clubs’ in local communities. These will support continuous learning and advancement beyond the basic computer skills acquired by the young learners at the Kids Comp Camps.

Connect with Kids Comp Camp:  info@kidscompcamp.com | #kidscompcamp on Twitter

Education System or Systems?

We tend to use the term ‘education system’ when referring to policy on educating society. But is this the best term? Doesn’t it limit our thinking when we state is as one single system rather than a collection of systems serving different learning needs in our society? For instance, early childhood, vocational training, adult learning, higher education, sports, play and cultural experience both in and outside the formal school system are all components of our education as a society, but they are all provided through different systems. The view that education is only what is formally taught in a learning institution starting from pre-primary to university is limiting. If we thought about education policy more broadly we would include cultural spaces and processes as well as community social spaces. Such broad policy would reflect the reality of how children, youth and adults learn, and perhaps be more responsive to the needs of communities. Adapting to changes like tech would probably not be limited simply to computer labs at schools or e-learning courses that replicate the classroom model. The language we use when we name education systems is limiting our perception of it.

like fabric patterns, several systems blend together to make up the whole