ACCESS TO BASIC EDUCATION IN TURKANA…ALBRIGHT'S STORY

Monday 11 April 2016

Twelve-year-old Albright from Turkana County in Kenya attends school, unlike most girls in her community. She is in class six at a local primary school in Turkana. Albright is a positive example of a young girl who is succeeding in her education, with the support of her family, in a county where many girls do not attend school for cultural and economic reasons.

Albright’s story in her own words

“My name is Albright. I have one younger brother and one younger sister. My mother dropped out of school when she was younger, but now she has gone back to school at the Polytechnic here in Lodwar and she is in Form 3. My father is a casual worker. He mostly works loading trucks.”

Albright has great aspirations. She says: “My favourite subjects are science, swahili, and maths. I like science because it teaches you about things like the earth and the environment and technology. My hope is that in the future I will grow up to become a doctor or an engineer. Going to school leads to a better life for me and my family. If I can get an education and get a job, it will lead to a better future where I can help other people.

Albright’s wish is that all girls in her community can get an opportunity to go to school. She says: “Now school is available to all girls and boys. It’s not good to discriminate against girls when it comes to education. Girls need to be able to go to school too. I have one girlfriend who doesn’t go to school but I don’t know why she doesn’t go. Not all the girls in Turkana go to school; I am not sure why. After I finish primary school I will continue my education until I get a job.”

Education in Turkana County
The nomadic lifestyle of the Turkana community, high illiteracy levels among adults, chronic poverty, recurrent droughts and a lack of awareness of the value of education among parents all serve to disrupt children’s education and compound the vulnerabilities of households. Only 50% of primary school-aged children in Turkana County are enrolled in school, far below the Kenyan national average of 92%. The adult literacy rate in the county is about 20%.

In Kenya, Save the Children has been working closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) and the National Council for Nomadic Education of Kenya (NACONEK) in (a) implementing education programmes in Wajir and Turkana Counties, aimed at increasing access to quality basic education for children from nomadic communities; (b) Supporting the development of guidelines for the establishment of NACONEK; and (c) induction of council members.

In 2014 and 2015, Save the Children supported a pilot project aimed at improving the learning environment in boarding schools in Wajir County and some of the interventions were replicated in Turkana County. The project design followed a research on education for pastoralist communities globally and in Wajir County.  Some of the interventions that have contributed to an improved learning environment include: sensitization of parents and children on parents’ role in children’s education; regular parents-teachers meetings; involvement of children’s government in decision making, capacity building of Boards of Management (BOMs) members on their role in school management and supporting them to develop, track and implement school improvement plans.