Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mobile schools acclimatise to educate girls in rural Kenya

Kagondu Njagi at the Thomson Reuters Foundation:  At 16 years of age, Nagirasia Lengima is already a mother of two. But parenthood doesn't stop her from indulging in her latest passion: school. Like a growing number of girls from nomadic communities in northern Kenya, Lengima is defying cultural prejudices - and climate pressures - by getting an education at a mobile school.

Run by non-profit groups, the schools bring learning to girls whose families are forced to move around the region to survive. In Laisamis village, Marsabit County, at a school run by the Nairobi-based development charity Adeso, it is Lengima's turn to demonstrate what she has picked up from the morning session.

After playing around with some numbers on the chalkboard, she elicits cheers from the 59 other pupils in the class as she produces the answer with a double stroke. "Mathematics and Kiswahili are my favourite subjects," said Lengima. "I want to go into business in the future."

But circumstances are conspiring against her. Teachers have largely abandoned the area to escape sporadic attacks by Islamist militant group Al Shabaab. And increasingly erratic weather often pushes pastoralist families away from their settlements in search of water and grazing, limiting children's access to formal education.

Temperatures in Northern Kenya can reach over 30 degrees Celsius, and the region regularly suffers from both drought and heavy rainfall. Adeso works with the weather to give girls access to informal schooling which otherwise may have been impossible....

Christopher Michel took this photo of a Masai girl doing math problems in 2013, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: