PLATINUM2023

FLYING KITES INC

We believe that education is a path out of poverty.

aka Flying Kites   |   Boston, MA   |  www.flyingkites.org

Mission

At Flying Kites, we are transforming the quality of early childhood and primary education delivered within resource-poor schools in rural Kenya by upskilling teachers, investing in girls and supporting healthy schools.

Ruling year info

2007

Executive Director

Leila Chambers

Main address

25 Dorchester Avenue #52326

Boston, MA 02205 USA

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EIN

20-5946832

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In sub-Saharan Africa, 11 million children leave school before completing 5th grade. Students in rural Kenya who are lucky enough to be in school face often insurmountable barriers to learning – including hunger, disease, and lack of access to trained and supported teachers. And in the smallholder farming community of Njabini, most families live on less than $2 per day and 100% of the students served by Flying Kites fall at or below the poverty line for Kenya, as measured by the Progress out of Poverty Index. We believe that when students have the tools they need to build their best lives, they can positively impact their families, communities, and country. Our integrative programs address a multitude of barriers to self-sufficiency––including nutrition, medical and dental care, social work services, programs to combat gender-based violence, and work-readiness training––to ensure that all students are healthy, safe, engaged, challenged and supported.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Upskilling Teachers

At the center of our approach is our Teacher Training Center & Academy - an innovation hub for our community of teachers, and a model school where we develop and pilot interventions that form the basis of our work within our School Network (a cohort of high-potential, resource-poor primary schools across our rural district).

We strive to help educators ensure that their students are able to achieve foundational levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy and develop student-centered learning environments that foster inquiry-based learning and promote critical thinking.

This year, we are expanding the capacity of our Teaching Training Center to provide access to technology training and resources in an effort to accelerate improvements in literacy and numeracy among students, promote digital literacy, and nurture the development of 21st century skills for thousands of students in our district.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

We invest in girls and educators as agents of change in our community. Our approach ensures that every girl has the opportunity to access critical information and resources related to her health and exercise her new-found skills in a way that is most relevant to her.

Girls United Clubs, led by trained female teachers from across our Network, are framed by core themes of Guidance, Information, Resources, Leadership, and Skill-Building.



Population(s) Served
Women and girls

In partnership with educators, government leader, and non-profit partners, we are building the capacity of locally-led schools through coordinated interventions to improve student outcomes.

In collaboration with Kenya's Ministry of Education, we have assembled a cohort of high-potential, resource-poor public-primary schools to form the Flying Kites School Network. Through this Network, we are addressing critical barriers to learning by launching School Meals Programs and investing in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) infrastructure.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Optimist Award Winner 2010

Optimist Awards 2009-2010

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students enrolled in the Flying Kites School Network

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children

Related Program

Upskilling Teachers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of teachers trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Teachers

Related Program

Upskilling Teachers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

At Flying Kites, we believe that education is a path out of poverty. Since opening our doors in 2007, we have developed and refined an integrative model for education that nurtures students’ development academically, physically, and socio-emotionally.

The Flying Kites Teacher Training Center & Academy serves as a hub for educational innovation and capacity-building across our South Kinangop District in rural Kenya. Here, we partner with the Ministry of Education, local teachers, families, and community leaders to identify and address the most significant barriers to learning in our community -- hunger, inadequate infrastructure, and a scarcity of proficient teachers.

Through the Flying Kites School Network -- a cohort of high-potential, resource-poor primary schools in our district -- we introduce collaborative programs that: (1) nourish the health and well-being of students, (2) train and support teachers, (3) promote gender equality, and (4) improve access to essential resources, such as clean water, functioning toilets, and basic technology.

After 14 years in rural Kenya, we’ve learned that systemic change requires a holistic and intentional approach. Our work is grounded in stakeholder engagement, measurable impact, and trusted communication, aligned by a vision that positions students and teachers as agents of change for themselves, their schools, and their communities. By investing in integrative, collaborative programs that optimize access to education, strengthen schools, support teachers, and improve student outcomes, we can build the capacity for impoverished rural communities to alleviate suffering, optimize health and well-being, increase gender equality, and spark economic growth and sustainability -- charting a path out of poverty.

UPSKILLING TEACHERS: Recent studies from across Kenya’s education sphere point to the undeniable connection between unsupported teachers and underperforming students. Findings report 64% of teachers in Kenya’s public schools do not demonstrate a fundamental mastery of the curriculum they teach – and that these deficiencies are contributing to the low literacy and numeracy rates of primary school students. The Flying Kites Teacher Training Center & Academy is regarded as a hub for innovation within our community of preschool and primary school teachers – providing educators and school leaders from across our district with a multi-faceted approach to capacity building that lays the foundation for effective, student-centered instruction.

PROVIDING MEALS: In Kenya, one in four children suffer from stunting due to chronic undernutrition. Stunting is associated with an underdeveloped brain, causing long-lasting harmful consequences including diminished learning capacity. Studies from across the globe demonstrate that school feeding programs increase enrollment, decrease absenteeism, and improve the cognitive performance of children in primary school and a recent survey among schools in our district confirmed that student hunger is the primary obstacle to learning in our region. With a commitment to cost-effectiveness and sustainability, we support schools, teachers, and parents to implement school feeding programs in our resource-poor partner schools, developing a cost-sharing model that provides a daily warm and nutritious meal to every student.

INVESTING IN GIRLS: While access to education for girls has increased in Kenya over the last decade, wide disparities remain in poorer rural communities like those served by Flying Kites. In our district, girls are at significant risk for dropping out of school due to early pregnancy, sexual and gender-based violence, and cultural misconceptions about an educated girl’s potential to contribute to the livelihood of her family and community. Our Girls United initiative empowers and supports young women across our rural district to stay in school, stand up for their rights and become confident agents of change for themselves and in their communities. Our holistic after-school club is based on a curriculum that ensures that every girl has the opportunity to access critical information and resources related to her health and well-being, improve her confidence, and exercise her new-found skills in a way that is most relevant to her.

Our Kenyan team is comprised of highly skilled Kenyan educators and professionals in finance, administration, and technology.

In close partnership with leaders from our Network of schools, all Flying Kites programs are led and managed by Lynette (Linai) Mwende, Director of Flying Kites School Network. Passionate about education and dedicated to community engagement, infrastructure development and public-private partnerships, Linai has a wealth of expertise in program strategy, design and management in the Kenya education sector, including as a Public Policy and Project Management Consultant to the World Bank. In her role at Flying Kites, Linai is leading the strategic direction, capacity building and management of our integrative programs as we begin to scale School Meals, Teacher Training, Technology Inclusion, Girls United and other sustainable initiatives across the School Network and beyond.

Training Teachers:
Since opening the Flying Kites Teacher Training Center in 2017, Flying Kites has welcomed 6 schools to our Network, reaching over 4,000 pre-primary and primary school-aged students and 67 teachers. Teachers who have participated in the Teacher Training curriculum have shown marked improvements in their mastery of Kenya’s new competency-based curriculum, development of student-centered teaching practices, and active participation in the classroom, including:

1. A steady increase in class time spent on student-centered activities – from 30% of class time in May to 41% in September in 2019.
2. An average increase of 14% in exam scores among students whose teachers had participated in just one month of workshops, individualized coaching sessions and PLCSs.
3. Students in our model school-- Flying Kites Academy-- scored 60.22% higher on standardized tests than the district average according to data published by the Kenya Ministry of Education in 2019
4. For our inaugural cohort of teachers at the Teacher Training Center, baseline evaluations concluded that only 12% of our cohort scored as overall Proficient (a score of 50-75 on a 100-point scale) in 12 skills relating to content delivery, lesson planning, and student engagement . Following a year in our program, our end-line assessments found that every participant made improvements across the instructional areas, and 67% of teachers demonstrated overall proficiency

Empowering Girls:
In 2019, 91 seventh grade girls in our Network attended a week-long Girls United camp in collaboration with Ujamaa/No Means No. According to data collected in an endline survey of participants:
1. The percentage of girls who reported feeling confident in how to address and report gender-based violence more than doubled.
2. The percentage of girls who reported “believing they could defend themselves” jumped from 37% at baseline to 80% at endline.

In 2020, we were able to scale our Girls United initiative to reach 714 vulnerable girls in grades 5-8 in our district.

Energized by the success that our Network Schools have seen since joining the FKSN, we are looking forward to scaling our impact further. Over the next three years, Flying Kites is poised to welcome 9 more schools to the Flying Kite School Network- bringing the total to 15 schools, and the opportunity to impact over 10,000 students in our district.

Financials

FLYING KITES INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FLYING KITES INC

Board of directors
as of 01/19/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kathryn Winters

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data