By: Kennedy Odhiambo MA,
One of Shalom-SCCRR’s strategic tools for conflict transformation and peacebuilding is through the development of educational institutions within the conflict environments for the marginalized and vulnerable children. For the past 12 years, Shalom-SCCRR has implemented more than 120 school/educational development projects in Samburu and Isiolo counties. These projects include: school construction and rehabilitation, solar lighting systems, provision of teaching and learning materials (books and stationaries), and supply of furniture (desks lockers, tables and chairs). We have also supported the establishment of live-in (boarding) structures and facilities. To enhance sanitation and hygiene, we have constructed standard toilets, installed water systems and supplied girls with sanitary towels, all of these schools are inter-ethnic and inter-religious.
Chumvyere primary school is located in Northern Kenya at the border of Isiolo and Samburu Counties. The borderline has witnessed sporadic inter-ethnic conflicts between the Samburu and Turkana Communities, leading to displacement of families, vandalism and destruction of school properties. Many times, the school has been abused as a battle ground for different warring ethnic communities leading to closure of school hence disruption of learning calendar and disadvantaging the learners in the region. Due to this, the communities reached out to Shalom to help them install a security fence around the school.
The area chief Mr. Mwenda Chomoi while thanking the Shalom team for the fence noted that; “The installation of the fence is a major boost to the government’s role of ensuring adequate security for the pupils, teachers and school infrastructure. The encroachment into the school’s compound has significantly been managed—herders, wild animals and trespassers kept at bay.”
The pupils appreciate the safe environment in the school. The head girl had these words of gratitude; “A secure environment has made it much easier for us to learn and play without any fear of wild animals, herders and attacking warriors. In addition, we are now planting trees and flowers that not only beautify our environment but also help to counteract the negative effects of climate change. This was not possible before the fence since the animals would encroach and eat them.”
Ms. Veronicah Asuyen a teacher in the school stated; “installation of the fence has provided a serene environment where learners can concentrate through their classes, this has positively influence their academic performance and psychological well-being due to the improved security within the school.”
In his thank you note to Shalom, the school’s Head teacher Mr. Paul Ewoi, observed that “before the installation of the fence by Shalom, pupils lacked a sense of safety and security as the school was to a large extent exposed to interference from wild animals and the morans (warriors) who, more often than not, crossed the school compound. The installation of the fence has helped in improving the safety of the pupils, through reduction in external interferences. As a result, led to improved performance by the pupils, fostering greater peace and development.”
Mr. Julius Loyan, a member of the Board of Management, noted: “The community of Ngaremara offers heartfelt appreciation to Shalom-SCCRR who have continually provided assistance to our schools and supported the community through conflict transformation and peacebuilding interventions. Through these interventions our children can attain education. We appreciate the Shalom team, friends and donors who have generously supported us to ensure that communities can co-exist peacefully, children can pursue their educational dreams and livelihoods are protected for a better future together… May God bless the work of Shalom-SCCRR!!!’’
Author: Kennedy Odhiambo MA. Project Officer; Samburu-Isiolo Project