I have just taken a big step in my life. After banging on at my students so much about taking on challenges and opportunities in life, it would be remiss if I did not do so myself. Therefore, when my boss David Akers offered me the chance to take a year working with Budmouth’s link schools and projects in Kenya, I felt that ageing and chubby as I am, I should grasp the nettle. Moreover, I feel that God is calling me to this and, after much prayer and thought, I have decided to take the challenge.

In essence, I will spend most of the next academic year (about 10 months) working alone in the Maara District of Kenya.

I am highly motivated by the potential for good that could be realised in Kenyan schools and communities. While in Kenya, I have a number of goals. These include:

  • Working with the 20 Kenyan schools in the Maara District linked with Weymouth and Portland schools training Kenyan teachers on more effective styles of teaching and learning and raise academic achievement. Currently Kenyan teachers only use ‘chalk and talk’ methods, and pedagogy is an area I have trained UK teachers and spoken to Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and Local Authority conferences on.
  • Working with the above to develop use and skills in ICT, to develop health education, and to help the schools work more cooperatively together and share good practice – to help build their version of the Chesil Education Partnership.
  • Developing internet capability for Wiru School to allow enhanced and out of school hours learning opportunities, and exploring higher education potential through distance learning.
  • Working with the Donna Kelly Unit for children with severe learning and/or physical difficulties to develop an outreach programme for children unable to get to school, following on from the work of two of my Budmouth Sixth Form students who founded this project in February. Also exploring the initiation of new buildings for this project, making it more accessible to disabled children.
  • Exploring setting up small businesses in the Wiru area (working with Wiru Church, Wiru Secondary School and Wiru Primary School) to create employment opportunities for school leavers and avoid them becoming involved in drugs and crime. One possible route is the production of banana paper, as there are so many just lying around, to then be marketed in theUK.
  • Working with the Chogoria Anti-Retroviral Therapy HIV Support Group to develop education on sexual delay training, contraception and sexual health.
  • Exploring founding an orphanage and outreach programme to support the many children whose parents have died of AIDS. Other people in the community often being too poor to take them in, and there being little or no government support.
  • To set up opportunities for other UK citizens to become involved and work in Kenya, whether as individuals, organisations or, in particular, within the framework of supported volunteering for young, or slightly older.

I am ready for something new in my life. Having taught successfully in UK classrooms for 35 years, and
having wide knowledge and experience of more effective teaching and learning, I believe that I would be able to make a significant impact on realising the above goals. The year will be unpaid. I have had to take my pension. Finance is, therefore, a problem for me.

It should also be said that I have been greatly inspired to take this step by my beautiful daughter Diamond who, at the age of 18, spent the best part of 8 weeks working in the same schools and living all alone in the same area of Kenya. She did this as part of a highly successful and productive gap year before starting at Durham University.

I write to you on three levels:

  1. to inform you and seek your thoughts;
  2. to try to engage your interest and professional knowledge and skills to boost this idea; and
  3. to seek your advice and help on where I may be able to access some funding to support me in Kenya
    with this work.

I would be extremely grateful if you could advise me on any of this.  I can be contacted on
07786542034 or at dukesa@budmouth.dorset.sch.uk, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/andydukesinkenya, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/andydukeskenya  if you feel able to respond in any manner.


Andy Dukes

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Sally Breakspear
    October 17, 2011 at 09:08

    Hi Andy, Don’t know if I will see you before you go but I will be thinking of you loads and sending lots of love and good wishes.

    Sal x

  2. Karen Steeples
    October 20, 2011 at 16:06

    Hi Andy
    We are all thinking of you lots and lots. Wonder if it’s very hot and how you are coping.
    You must be tired out after a long flight and so many new experiences!
    Don’t think you will be out of our thoughts and prayers for a minute.
    Much love
    Karen, Paul and family. x

  3. Matt
    October 23, 2011 at 14:02

    Hi Andy
    Hope all well so far. Look out for lions and tigers.
    All the best
    Matt, Jackie and the 4 pesky varmints!

  4. Maggie
    October 23, 2011 at 14:36

    Hi Andy

    Mum saying hello. I do hope you are adjusting to your new environment.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Mum x

  5. Karen Steeples
    October 25, 2011 at 19:38

    Great to read your message and text Andy.
    Sounds like you’ve hit the ground running and had an amazing welcome. What an experience!
    You are in our thoughts and prayers everyday.
    All well here. Our little Amelia is settling down and Helen, Rich and Jack adapting to new addition to their family.
    Paul and I went to Cardiff to see James in concert this weekend. It was fantastic and lovely to get away together for few days.
    We will keep updated and want to know how we can support and encourage you so please
    keep us informed.
    Hope the evenings are not too lonely!
    Much love to you.
    Karen and Paul. x

  6. Maggie
    October 27, 2011 at 15:43

    Andy — There’s an e.mail from me, so look for it, Won’t you? Mum. XX

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