More than 60,000 school going children are out of school in West Pokot County due to retrogressive practices and insecurity challenges that have been experienced in the area. This is according to a survey done by Uwezo Kenya in 2014. At the moment, an education campaign has been launched in the county, which is expected to see hundreds of children going back to school after dropping out following the challenges.
The operation dubbed “Bring back out of school children Project” which is meant to last two years, intends to ensure that over 60,000 children are back in school by 2018. The project will cost Ksh 204 million, and will be catered to by UNICEF [93 million] and World Vision [110 million].
Speaking during the launch of the campaign in Kapenguria town, World Vision Manager in West Pokot, Titus Kaprom said the campaign will be done in the whole county targeting children between 8 to 13 years of age. He said the campaign targets chiefs, village elders, religious leaders, opinion leaders, media, teachers, CBOS local administrators and other partners. Mr. Kaprom said that children need the support of the county and national government by paying school fees and improve infrastructure in schools. “We should be committed and be passionate to ensure that children are in school in order to see a transformation,” he said.
He cited that the campaign will be done door to door, and he also called on the government to improve infrastructure in schools. The project Manager Beril Auma said that children need to be protected from social vices like child Labour, defilement, female genital mutilation and early marriages that hinder their progress in education.
West Pokot county commissioner Wilson Wanyanga who was the chief guest called on all actors to give education a chance, saying the government will enforce a law that ensures every child goes to school. “We should mobilize ourselves as actors, put our energies together and address challenges, and mobilize resources to support our children,” said Wanyanga.
He urged chiefs to form committees to help with children enrollment in schools and give education a priority. “We don’t want any child to say that I was not given an opportunity to learn. We need ‘morans’ who have degrees. The constitution provides that every child should be educated,” he said.
Wanyanga urged residents to embrace education urging parents to take their children to school. “You cannot champion a development agenda and have public participation without education,” said Wanyanga . He said the government has put strategies to make sure every child goes to school.
West Pokot county CEC for education ICT and public administration Gladys Kiyapyap said that education has changed the face of the region. Kiyapyap called on residents to be ambassadors of the program and urged parents to play a role in promoting education.
“No child will be at home as we have bursaries from the county government and CDF.As a county government will are using over 150 million to support education through bursary for children” she said.