The Faculty of Education Students’ Association (FESA) recently welcomed former parliamentarian of Kenya, and former ambassador to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Phoebe Asiyo and her daughter, Atieno, from the Wikondiek School in Kenya to speak at their council meeting.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Asiyos to share information about the progress of the small school in Western Kenya that FESA has supported through fundraising activities over the past five years, including conferences, workshops and an annual job fair for education students.
During her remarks, Phoebe Asiyo spoke about the partnership that the Wikondiek school has developed with FESA and the University through the York International Internship Program (YIIP).
“The partnership with FESA and with York University has benefited Wikondiek and its residents immensely,” she said. “Some of the impactful changes that have occurred as a result of the fundraising efforts of FESA include: the construction of roads to make the village more accessible; the building of the school and other facilities so that students can continue their studies despite the weather conditions; and the creation of a First Aid Club started to help develop residents’ life-saving skills – this is particularly impactful due to Wikondiek’s rural setting and clinics/hospitals not being as accessible.”
Through YIIP, the Wikondiek School has hosted a number of York students as interns during the summer months. The experiences were beneficial for not only the students, but also provided key learning opportunities for those at the school, said Atieno Asiyo.
“Mobilizing knowledge and learning from each other, all while understanding the importance of education and its impact on people as global citizens, locally and abroad, is key,” said FESA President Kim Tran. “As future educators (within the classroom or not), we believe that education should be accessible for everyone.”
In 2003, York University awarded an honorary doctorate to Phoebe Asiyo in recognition of her impressive human rights work. That work continues today through her ongoing support and work with the Wikondiek School.
To learn more about internship opportunities at the Wikondiek School, visit the YIIP website.