An initiative aimed to support education dubbed ‘Operation come to school’ has been launched in Pokot Central and Pokot South Sub counties in West Pokot County courtesy of the African Range Lands Trust in collaboration with Unicef to enable children access education.
The initiative aims to bring over 6000 children to school by 2018 targeting the most vulnerable families in the county.
Learning in Masol ward, which borders Turkana County has been greatly affected by cattle rustling and insecurity that has been witnessed in the area denying children opportunity to access education.
The marginalized ward has a total of 450 students in secondary schools, 37 in university and has only 3 primary school schools.
Speaking on Friday during the launch of the campaign at Akiriamet, the African Range Lands Trust founder Mr. Joseph Rotich, cited that the campaign will involve door to door campaigns in all households in the region.
“The area has lagged behind in development for many years and we don’t want children to continue looking after animals instead of being in school,” said Rotich.
He urged locals to take advantage of the initiative and give education a chance by taking their children to school.
“Education makes people professionals, resourceful and productive in future. Parents should allow their children to go back to school for them to access formal education,” he said.
Mr. Rotich called on stakeholders to collaborate in terms of offering school feeding, social amenities and boarding facilities.
He urged the neighboring communities to embrace education and benefit from the program.
Sigor Member of Parliament Phillip Rotino, urged area residents to shun from retrogressive practices like early and forced marriage, female genital Mutilation and cattle rustling and turn to education.
Rotino lauded residents for embracing peace encouraging them to take their children to school.
Mr Rotino said that he will make sure that by 2022, the area gets 1000 students in University and 2000 in secondary school after suffering for more than fifty years.
“We are projecting to increase the number after five years,” he said.
He warned parents who marry off their daughters at an early age to desist from it citing that many girls in the area get married when they have not reached 18 years of age.
Central Pokot Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Geoffrey Kithinji, warned parents who sit with their children at home and engage them in looking after animals citing stern measures which will be taken upon them.
“We shall use KPR and chiefs through Nyumba Kumi to make sure that every child who has attained the age of going to school goes to school in the next two weeks,” said Kithinji.
Mr Kithingi called on teachers to cooperate with parents to enroll as many children as possible in schools.
A resident, Mr Kamara Kudak, said that the distance to school has contributed to children not going to school.
“We thank those who have come up with the idea .We need our children to be in school for development to be realized in this area. Many parents died during the conflict and we have many orphans in the area,” he said.