BACK TO SCHOOL FOR YUSUF
Yussuf Hassan is 13 years old and is benefitting from a Save the Children programme in Garissa County.
Located in North East Kenya, Garissa County’s population comprises predominantly of ethnic Somali’s and pastoralists, whose nomadic lifestyle sees them move their herds with the rains, having a dramatic impact on children’s education. Garissa County lags far behind the national educational averages with a very small number of children enrolling in school and those that do have very attendance. Of children aged six to 17 years old in Garissa, 40.5% have never attended school.
Other challenges faced in Garissa County include: no electricity outside of the towns, making homework after dark near impossible for children; early marriage for girls is common practice, removing them from school; and most households live in multidimensional poverty, on less than $1 a day.
In 2013, Save the Children launched a Cash Transfer Programme, piloted in 31 villages across Garissa County. Involving 4,000 families the programme aims to reduce financial barriers to accessing primary education. It is also generating evidence on the relative impact that conditional and unconditional transfers can have on enrolment and attendance rates.
Yussuf Hassan’s mother, Raha, is one of the beneficiaries of the programme; she receives a monthly cash transfer of 3,000 Kenyan Shillings (KSH) via M-pesa mobile money. There are no conditions attached to the cash transfer and she can spend it on the items that she knows her family need the most.
He is the eldest of six children, and dropped out of school in 2012; his parents could no longer afford for him to stay in education, needing him to help his father earn enough money to feed the family. He started working on a farm which earned him 2000 KSH a month.
Raha was notified about the Save the Children programme, and was fortunate to be nominated by the community to be a beneficiary. On receiving the first Cash Transfer, Yussuf was instantly re-enrolled at Balamabala Primary School.
“I am now going to school regularly and…my mother pays for my uniform and books. I’m motivated to learn and thank God for this wonderful opportunity. I want to study very hard and become a well-trained teacher.
Since the programme started, Yussuf’s monthly school attendance averages at 88% and now that his parents can afford it, his five siblings have also all started attending school.
About Save the Children’s Cash Transfer Programme
The Cash Transfer Programme aims to determine whether placing a condition on a monthly cash transfer has an impact on school attendance, particularly amongst girls. 1,500 families receive 3,000 KSH a month, conditional on a tracked child achieving <80% monthly school attendance; 1,500 families receive 3,000 KSH per month with no conditions attached, and 1,000 families form the control group.
Data collected over the first 16 months demonstrates that children within the conditional cohort have a significantly higher average school attendance, at 88% for girls and 89% for boys. There has been a marked rise in school attendance across all three cohorts, with boys and girls in the control group achieving 68% average attendance. The programme to date has resulted in an additional 3,742 children enrolling in school, 1/3 of whom are not being tracked by the pilot, demonstrating a wider community benefit. For Garissa County, which at the last count, had just 44% of girls and 57% of boys enrolled in school, this will make a demonstrable difference.