SCCRR has supported many inter-ethnic and inter-religious schools in conflict prone areas through its peace and development project. By doing this, we tap into the nexus between education and peace building activities which take place both at a personal and community level. At a personal level, education, is a major contributing factor to the development of the intellect so that an individual learns to deal with and control negative emotions. Education therefore, has the capacity to lead to civic mindedness and “educated decisions” that create the right conditions for peace in a community/society at large.
Shalom rides on this approach as a guiding principle through our peace education projects. We focus on improving learning facilities in schools drawn from our project areas mainly in Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot and Marsabit in Kenya’s Northern region where communities which are mostly pastoralists live in extreme marginalization from the main stream development.
Through our projects, we purpose to provide proper infrastructure inform of supporting the construction of classrooms, dormitories, beds and mattresses, seating facilities like desks and lockers in these schools as well as updated reading and learning materials, teaching materials and teachers guides in planning their lessons. By so doing, we get to the heart of the communities and break the conflict cycles by ensuring that children stay in school and hence saving under-age girls from early marriages and the underage boys from cattle rustling activities which are rampant among the pastoralist’s communities.
One area where the peace education project of Shalom has taken deep root is Nyiro ward in Samburu North, Sub-County of Samburu County. This project targets the Samburu and Turkana Communities living around Tuum area (Nyiro Ward, Samburu County).
The specific targeted schools are Parkati Primary School in Parkati Village inhabited by Turkana community and Simale Primary school in Simale Village inhabited by Samburu community both shown and circled in blue in the map.
This specific project is aimed at ensuring that pupils in these schools access quality education just as their counterparts in urban places. In Parkati and Simale for instance, shalom aims at building additional classrooms, fully equipped kitchen, and staff quarters fully fitted with solar units for lighting and water tanks for water harvesting as well as provide a fence around the school compound. In addition to this SCCRR has provided these schools with furniture like desks, teachers’ tables and chairs, cardboards, beds and mattresses as well as reading and writing materials to the surrounding schools. It is worth noting that Tuum Primary, Waso-Rongai Primary and SeiSei Primary have already received some of these materials (refer to the map above for location)
This project has already been started in Simale Primary School and its nearing completion (below are some photos of the continuing project of building a Teachers House and a fully fitted kitchen with energy saver jiko (cooker)). Upon completion, we desire to initiate the same in Parkati Primary school (where Turkana community resides) however, we have already provided the school with updated text books, teaching and learning materials awaiting the commencement of the project on construction.
- Construction of the teachers house
Teachers in this school have suffered a lot since there are no houses in the school, according to them; they have to travel an approximate distance of ten (10) kilometres (to and back from school) every morning and evening. This is dangerous because the shorter route is through the forest where snakes and other wild animals reside. The situation is made worse by lack of affordable transport within the region since roads are in bad state and the conflict in the region keeps away possible investors from investing in the sector. This state of affairs has affected a lot teacher’s attendance since some days they are not able to reach school. Consequently, the pupils get demotivated to be in school due to unavailability of teachers on a constant basis.
Upon receiving a request for material support from the school, Shalom saw it fit to help the school construct two teacher’s houses which are almost completed. We expect that by constructing these houses, the teachers will be more available for the pupils thus encourage the community to mobilise their children to attend lessons.
2. Construction of a fully equipped kitchen
Shalom Team visited the construction site at Simale Primary School to inspect the ongoing construction of a fully equipped kitchen in the school and they established that the construction is almost 75% complete and the work is still on course.
The two photos below compare the new kitchen under construction in the school with what they were initially using and are still using to prepare the food for both Pupils and teachers. The state of the current kitchen is unhygienic and the food cooked here is not safe for human consumption hence our intervention in helping the school in constructing a fully fitted kitchen.
As we work to ensure peace prevails in and between these communities, we understand that Peace is a feeling – and needs to be felt. The actuality and reality of peace plays out on the intimate stage of the human heart. Through education and cultural affirming we can educate the VALUE of peace which is worthy of (self and societal) seeking. We at Shalom-SCCRR do this by ensuring quality education is offered to children in these marginalised communities we thank our donors for supporting our mission.
By: Austin Ngacha; BA; MA. Project Officer – Education/Development Projects.