INEE Member Spotlight: Penina Odhiamo

Location: Machakos, KenyaHeadshot Penina

Title: Educator & Curricularist

Contact: peninaadhiambo@gmail.com

Introduce yourself to other members. Tell us who you are and summarize the work you do or interest you have in EiE. 

Hello, my name is Penina Odhiambo, I am a high school teacher and curriculum expert from Kenya. 

My passion for education stems from my belief that every child deserves access to safe and high-quality education, regardless of their living conditions. As a mentor for a non-governmental organization in Kibera, I had the opportunity to work with girls who were victims of gender-based violence. I provided guidance and counseling to these girls and mentored them by instilling in them the value of education. I worked with the organization to help these girls return to school, which was a fulfilling experience that further reinforced my passion for education. 

During my masters' degree in education, I developed a keen interest in Education in Emergencies. I was exposed to the challenges that students in emergencies face and how important it is to provide education in such circumstances. Since then, I have been championing for education in emergency situations and running an informal program in my community. Through this initiative, I teach computer skills and offer mentorship to school dropouts, aiming to empower them to access education. 

As an educator and mentor, I am committed to empowering children and young adults through education. I believe that education can unlock a world of opportunities and transform lives. I am passionate about working with marginalized communities, particularly in emergency situations, to ensure that every child has the chance to learn and grow.

What has been a highlight of your work as a professional in EiE? Feel free to share a personal story. 

As a professional in Education in Emergency, my highlight has been witnessing the transformative power of education in crisis situations. In emergency situations, children are often forced to flee their homes, leaving behind their schools and disrupting their education. Education can provide a sense of normalcy and stability to children who have experienced trauma and displacement. It can also equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to build a good future. 

Another highlight has been working with organizations to support education in crisis situations. I have seen firsthand the difference that can be made when organizations come together to provide resources, training, and support to educators and students in emergency situations. I have been inspired by the dedication and resilience of educators and students in crisis situations, who continue to prioritize education despite the challenges they face.

When and why did you join INEE, and what is the value of INEE membership to you?

I joined INEE recently. The membership has been valuable for me as I get access to EiE content, and learn through these resources how to handle EiE situations.

How do you currently engage with the INEE network? 

I use INEE EiE resources such as reports and handbooks and incorporate the learnings in my project for digital skills training and mentorship for children..

How would you like INEE members to connect and engage with you? What skills, experience and/or technical support would you be willing to share or provide to other members and/or INEE Secretariat? 

As a trained curricularist, a guidance and counseling teacher, and a facilitator, I am seeking opportunities to volunteer in programs for education in emergencies. I have expertise in selecting appropriate training materials, content, and teaching methodologies for both in and out of school children. I am also capable of offering mentorship and guidance to students. 

I am particularly interested in online training, webinars, and talks related to education in emergencies. Having personally experienced education in an emergency situation, I am passionate about sharing my story with children and inspiring them to persevere in their studies despite the challenges they face. I welcome invitations to participate in workshops, seminars, and mentorship programs focused on education in emergencies. I believe that my experience, skills, and passion for this field make me a valuable asset to any program seeking to support children's education during times of crisis.

Anything else you want to share with members? 

In situations of emergency, such as wars and instances of domestic and gender-based violence, children often face challenges in accessing safe and quality education. Even when they do have access to education, it may only be at a primary level, and they may struggle to transition to the next level due to their circumstances. 

To address this issue, it is essential for all education stakeholders and humanitarian organizations to prioritize ensuring that children have access to safe and quality education , regardless of their circumstances. Education programs in emergency situations should include psychosocial support mechanisms to help children cope with the challenges they are facing. These mechanisms should aim to promote the mental health and well-being of the children, enabling them to learn effectively and transition to higher levels of education. 


 

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