The UK government, through the Department for International Development (DFID), is working with the Government of Kenya to improve school enrolment and retention in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). DFID is investing Kes 2.3 billion in providing cash transfers, constructing climate-friendly classrooms, girls’ dormitories, latrines, water tanks, solar installations and other climate mitigation initiatives which will provide a conducive learning environment for the children. The counties that will benefit from these initiatives are Wajir, Marsabit, Mandera, Tana River, Turkana, Isiolo, Garissa and Samburu. This forms part of a total UK investment of around Kes 11.2 billion in the education sector in Kenya over the period 2012–16.
Getting more children into school in the ASALs, and keeping them there for a good quality education, is critical. Without targeted efforts to achieve this, ASAL counties will continue to lag behind the rest of Kenya and generations of children will be denied the benefits of education. DFID is supporting the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in its efforts to ensure children in the ASALs benefit from good quality free primary education.
Speaking at the launch of the SDF in Kinisa Primary School in Marsabit County, Head of DFID-Kenya, Ms Lisa Phillips said:
As a long-standing partner in the education sector, DFID recognises the needs of children living in marginalized and excluded areas. We are working with different counties to address geographical and gender inequities. We want to ensure that children out of school in the hard-to-reach counties have an opportunity to enrol and stay in school.
Ms Phillips also encouraged parents in the nomadic communities to enrol their children in schools, as this would contribute to the future development of not only the county but Kenya as a whole.
Marsabit Governor, Ukur Yatani, thanked UKaid for their support:
We are privileged to partner with DFID and are grateful for their support in addressing the issue of retention in schools which is going to benefit close to 100 schools in Marsabit County.
Other officials present at the launch were Moyale Member of Parliament, Hon Roba Duba, North Horr Member of Parliament, Hon Chachu Ganya and Women Representative, Hon Nasra Ibrahim.
The SDF project visited in Marsabit will be implemented by International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and Kanacho Nomadic Educational Foundation (KNEF) through close collaboration with the county government of Marsabit County. Photos on Flickr