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It was heart-breaking for Madam Lydia, a teacher at Canon Mweri Mixed School  to see school going students loitering in the streets and beaches of Malindi during the corona pandemic. Moreover, young girls were more prone to exploitation because of the biting poverty and idleness. This situation prompted her to set up a youth integrity club at the community level using the knowledge she had gained from the SHINE (Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education) project in her school.

Being an artist, she decided to transfer her skills to keep young people engaged as well as to help them get some income. She brought together 20 young people and she taught them how to paint on coconut shells. She also opened her home to the youth and trained them on entrepreneurship. One of the practical skills they learnt was baking. This was an exciting activity for the youth who started baking and selling pastries in their neighbourhoods.  The club members were also involved in tree planting and beach clean-up activities where they brought together other young people in the area.

On seeing such good efforts by the youth, community members donated books to the integrity club. Young people would come to read the books to keep them busy during the extended school closure. This community library is growing and Madam Lydia plans to set up another library in the school compound since schools have resumed. She hopes that this trend can be replicated in other schools around Malindi.

Word spread around about the work that she was doing with the young people and the club received support in the form of sanitary towels for the girls. She has been distributing the towels to 15 girls who she had identified. A while ago, she received menstrual cups from a community member and with schools having resumed, she distributed to students in her school.

In December of this year, together with the integrity club members, they plan to hold a fashion show and already one hotel owner has agreed to give the venue for free. They plan to use the show as a platform to boost the self-esteem of young people as well as to instil moral values.

SHINE ! Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (E.A.C.C) of Kenya, a body mandated to fight corruption in Kenya launched Integrity Clubs in collaboration with the Ministry of Education on the 17th of November 2010. The Ministry of Education released a circular in 2013 requesting all schools and colleges through the Ministry of Education to establish Integrity Clubs for the purpose of training youth to be men and women of Integrity.

To support the implementation of this policy, Kesho Kenya together with KWEA CBO have been carrying out a project known as SHINE; Students Acting for Honesty, Integrity and Equality in Education (SHINE).

Using the Community Integrity Building Model, SHINE project has worked with 152 public secondary schools in Kwale and Kilifi County. The objective has been to get students to act with, and demand integrity through constructive and collaborative approach. Through this model, the students identify problems within their setting and collaboratively work with stakeholders find amicable solutions.