It’s a sigh of relief as more than 700 school dropouts, and orphans whose parents died during the Pokot-Turkana conflict and other vulnerable children along the Turkwel belt in West Pokot County have benefited from bursaries worth Kshs 6 million courtesy of Northern Rangelands Trust and Tullow Oil Company through Pello and Masol community conservancies. More than 600 children are out of school in the area following the protracted attacks and insecurity in the area. Learning was affected by cattle rustling and insecurity that was witnessed in the area where many children missed the opportunity to go to school
Speaking during the launch of the bursaries at Masol area, Masol Conservancy Manager Nicholas Mwetich said the program targets to boost education and change the mindset of residents from engaging in retrogressive practices like cattle rustling and banditry by sponsoring secondary and college students. “The funds will help children from families who were affected by cases of insecurity. The area was lagging in development for many years and we don’t want children to continue looking after animals instead of being in school,” said Mwetich. Mwetich said that the initiative will improve lives in communities who have embraced conservation by supporting education in marginalized communities.
Masol Community Conservancy Chairperson Mr. Joseph Seketion said many kids in the area still need help. “Many children are still in villages and some parents want to escape because of a lack of fees after their children were sent away from school,” he said. Seketion called on the County government to factor the two community conservancies in the budget before Tullow Oil Company stops the funding. He called on children in the area to embrace education and shun cattle rustling activities, and that conservancies will improve tourism in the area.
A resident, Mr. Reuben Lotumale, said positive results regarding peace among neighbouring communities have been noted. “Many residents who engaged in poaching and cattle rustling died but those employed have promoted peace.”