Adult Education in the village takes on many forms; it may approach the basic family structures and interactions of family priorities, such as education, age of marriage, time and resource management; it may focus on new methods of productivity in farming through group training; it also, from time to time, identifies specific subjects which impact a variety of families or adults and brings those people together who are interested in finding a better solution.
An example of adult education is easily seen when looking at the first few years of our cooperative experience. One of the very first projects was to establish a micro-franchise fund to assist women to participate in the economy. The establishments of the fund was not expensive for it was not a large fund. However the training required for the adult women who had never had the responsibility of a loan of any kind, the responsibility to repay and priority to provide for future recipients was a major training effort for this group. A second specific training which has taken place, which was project oriented, was the garden training or community gardens/kitchen garden concept which was introduced to the village women and which has brought much attention to the efforts of GAD Kenya. A third example of adult education is directly related to the cow project. The underlying issue of the cow project was twofold one being health related due to the availability of milk from a properly cared for Kyle the second being economic related to do the potential to sell extra milk but the cow would produce the cow project was focused on families who previously had very little or no experience caring for a cow and also had very little experience working together in a group for a common cause or purpose.
All of these adult education opportunities required individuals, who had lived life in an environment which required them to take care of themselves to re- learn some of life’s lessons to gain a community view, that of working together, assisting each other, taking responsibility for commitments to others and pursuing a common goal under chosen local leaders. While we in the West may see nothing unusual about this manner of building community both as a geographic function and as a task or outcome oriented function, for the people in the village it is a whole new way of life.
Perhaps, though, the most important or potentially the most dynamic issue of adult education is directly related to the education of their children, raising the priority, encouraging new habits, readjusting resource priority and taking part in the education process in a more direct and dynamic way. For the parents and those responsible for the young people who are still in the education. Of life learning how to be the parent of a student is a formidable task. Where just a few years ago, in some cases a few months, the family priority was tending the fields tending the goats gathering the water caring for the small children; amongst all of the ease comes now a new priority, a first priority. First for time first for attention and first for resource. Educating families and extended families on the importance of extended education, that being extended past the eighth grade, has been and continues to be a critical link in the community’s growth the community’s awareness and the community’s participation in the emerging culture both local and national.
It may seem a given for us but educating the adults, parents, the community and introducing them to new models of priority and working together under local leadership is a critical foundation of all we hope for in this effort.