Kakamega County Executive Committee Member for Education Science and Technology, Dr. George Akolo Lutomia Thursday afternoon officially launched the Inclusive Homebased Early Learning Program (IHELP) at Ikhuliri village in Ikolomani Sub-County.

The project, the first of its kind in Kenya, is sponsored by a Canadian organization; the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Knowledge Innovation and Exchange (KIX), the International Research Development Centre Canada (IDRC) in collaboration with the County Government of Kakamega and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).

The homebased learning cum play-based model will be established in Ikolomani Sub-County in all the 4 wards (one per ward) with the aim of increasing access to quality Equitable Early Childcare and Education (ECCE) for children who are marginalized, with complex disabilities, living in poverty and those in less accessible areas.

Speaking during the launch, Dr. Lutomia applauded MMUST and IDRC for introducing the concept observing that it will enhance equitable learning.

“We are happy that MMUST, together with IDRC have decided to spearhead introduction of child care centres, which is a requirement by the ECDE Policy complementing Governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya’s program of ensuring condussive learning environment for the young ones through construction and equipping of modern ECDE centres as well as employing competent teachers and providing capitation for the learners across Kakamega County. As a government, we shall facilitate the 4 centres with furniture and teachers, once complete,” Dr. Lutomia said.

On her part, Chief Officer Dr. Irene Ashioya, thanked the partners for selecting Kakamega as the first County and region to set up such a program. Being the first County to initiate the project, Dr. Ashioya noted, Kakamega will act as a model of quality and equitable education.

Dr. Rose Opiyo of MMUST thanked the County Government for the close cooperation and willingness to oversee the project succeed. She stated that the 4 home-based child cares in Ikolomani will help in keeping young learners in school in addition to giving mothers an opportunity to focus on other activities.

In attendance were Associate Dean SEDU MMUST Prof. Peter Bukhala, Dean School of Education Prof. Moses Poipoi, Director DIAL Dr. Catherine Aura, the Ward Administrator for Idakho North Mr. Walter Okoth, and the County ECDE Director Mr. Alfred Shabiha among other officers.