Irish Ambassador kicks off tree planting week at Kibera school

Vincent O'Neill at Olympic Primary School in Kibera
Dr Vincent O'Neill donates a copy of Elephants Wear Ivory to the Olympic Primary School in Kibera. Photo: Twitter/IrlEmbKenya

Irish Ambassador, Dr Vincent O’Neill visited the Olympic Primary School in Kibera yesterday where he planted a tree to kick off tree planting week.

Accompanying the diplomat were Kenyan filmmaker Feisal Malik, Elephant Neighbors Centre’s Jim Justus Nyamu and representatives from the Nairobi Giraffe Center and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

While at the school Dr O’Neill also donated a copy of the first augmented reality book to be published in Kenya; ‘Elephants Wear Ivory’ which he launched in January.

Tweeting after the visit, Dr O’Neill said: “Delighted to visit Olympic Primary School in Kibera this morning, discuss the importance on wildlife conservation with the children and present a copy of Elephants Wear Ivory.”

The Olympic Primary School is a government-run primary school which was established in 1980. After successful national examination results over a number of years, the school began to attract pupils from all social classes.

The school is partly funded by the British government and consistently places near the top of Kenya’s school league tables. It received a visit from British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in January, 2005. The aim of the visit was to learn about the effects of the 2003 introduction of free primary schooling.

Gordon Brown and Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga shows former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown around the Kibera Slums in 2005. Photo: DEMOSH

There were some 1,700 students at the school prior to 2003 but around 5000 students attempted to enroll at the time that school fees were abolished, but not all could be accommodated.

In 2005, enrollment was approximately 2,200 and by 2015, enrollment was 1,780 boys and 1787 girls making a total of 3567 students, approximately evenly divided across all 8 class levels.

In January, 2016, enrollment was 1,983 boys and 2,063 girls, for a total of 4046 students. which increased in March to 4,125 students.