Mathare Community Education and Development Organization (MCEDO) (Figure 6) is a Community Based Organization (CBO Reg No. 805) operating in the heart of Mathare slum, the second largest slum in Kenya. The organization was founded in 2000 and registered formally in 2001. The volunteer run CBO was formed in response to the plight of orphans and the vulnerable children (OVCs). The key areas included illiteracy, HIV Aids awareness, feeding and environmental conservation. This was the predicament of the slum child living in extremely deplorable conditions of utmost poverty with basic needs being a luxury. Through successful implementation of various community education and development based programs, the CBO has been credited by the non-residents and residents for its immense contribution in improving the welfare of hundreds of young people in the area through tailor-made programs.
Its primary beneficiaries have been mainly the highly disadvantaged children and youth in the slum. The initial focus was empowerment through education opportunities. Adult education pioneered this initiative and led to non-formal school. This was however discontinued in 2003 when the founding team discovered that several extremely needy children stayed at home though
primary education was free. United Nations Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) team from United Nations was very instrumental in implementing child education since October 2005. YEP partnership was also the platform that introduced World Food Programme to address the feeding challenge among the children.
In 2006, a documentary on Mathare slum featured MCEDO. Through the documentary, the CBO challenges were brought to light. The Chinese Embassy under Ambassador H.E Mr. 2Hang Ming responded by pledging to financially support land purchase and construction of the school. In memory of their kindness, the school was named MCEDO Beijing School.
MCEDO was formerly housed in separate temporal make shift structures but is currently operating in partly permanent house. The one storey building accommodates most of the operations though some of the classes are held in a nearby church. The school currently has a population of 627 children aged between 6 and 18 years. The exponential growth in population has been attributed to multiple programs that the centre runs that are child friendly and very attractive. The most popular programs are feeding and talent development. Its daily operations are run by a team of 22 volunteer staff (15 teachers, 7 non-teaching)
In January 2011, MCEDO started yet another exciting program, a Mixed Day Secondary School. This was due to the increasing number of children who could not secure high school spaces due to finances or performance. The scholarship program has limited positions hence the need to create additional education opportunities for the needy students.
MCEDO is an ideal centre for any organization interested in harvesting the positive slum potential to give the children career development opportunities. However this school doesn’t have computer facility. The total no. of the students of this school is 627 in this academic year.
Students are of different castes and groups.