Mobile Schools: Basic Education for Pastoralist Communities in North Eastern Province, Kenya

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Champions of Quality Education in Africa competition.

 

This mobile school initiative aims to increase access to education for children over 7 years old through the provision of culturally and religiously appropriate basic education to children who would otherwise find it difficult to access formal education. Structures are temporary and materials portable so they can be easily transported by camel as communities travel in search of water and pasture.

About You

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Location

Project Street Address

Project City

Garissa

Project Province/State

North Eastern Province

Project Postal/Zip Code

Project Country

Kenya

Your idea

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Country your work focuses on:

Kenya

What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1-5 years

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What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

<$50

Name Your Project

Mobile Schools: Basic Education for Pastoralist Communities in North Eastern Province, Kenya

Describe Your Idea

 
This mobile school initiative aims to increase access to education for children over 7 years old through the provision of culturally and religiously appropriate basic education to children who would otherwise find it difficult to access formal education. Structures are temporary and materials portable so they can be easily transported by camel as communities travel in search of water and pasture.

Innovation

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Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

This mobile school initiative aims to increase access to education for children over 7 years old through the provision of culturally and religiously appropriate basic education to children who would otherwise find it difficult to access formal education. Structures are temporary and materials portable so they can be easily transported by camel as communities travel in search of water and pasture.

What makes your idea unique?

The education system in Kenya is structured and demand driven. Classrooms are fixed and timings and locations are inflexible. The mobile school initiative, however, takes into consideration the mobile lifestyle of nomadic communities. Schools are provided with a camel to transport portable chalkboards, tin of books and materials as communities move. Teaching is multi-grade to ensure all children in the community benefit. The established mobile schools, while focused on basic literacy and numeracy skills, equally cater to the Muslim religious traditions of the communities. The schools also house two teachers, a ‘dugsi’- traditional Qu’ranic teacher and a mobile school teacher who is selected by the community and trained by EMACK and NOHA. These teachers continue to live and move with the community and provide continuous education for pastoralist children. As a result, children can attend secular lessons for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)

Children & Youth , Early childhood development , Education , Education reform , Girls' development , Community development .

What impact have you had?

The success of the mobile school initiative is evident. Mobile schools have been well received by beneficiary communities who are happy that their children are receiving basic education which is suited to their nomadic lifestyles and integrated with their cultural values. To date, over 80 children, including 28 girls have benefited from the three mobile schools in Wajir. For many, this has been the first time ever they have ever had access to basic education. In addition, 14 children have transitioned to the nearby Abakore Boarding School in order to complete primary education. The mobile schools mark a significant step forward in providing culturally appropriate education to those who are marginalized because of traditional lifestyles. The chairman of the Rabai Mobile School, Abudhllai Sheikh Ahmed, states, “Communities have been yearning for education and today the community’s children are going to school”.

Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.

North Eastern Province of Kenya is primarily inhabited by nomadic pastoralist communities, making up 80% of the population. These communities live a lifestyle which involves frequent resettlement in search of fresh water and pasture for their livestock. Due to the pastoralists' constant resettlement, children from these communities have found it difficult to formally access the Kenyan stationary and secular education system. Enrollment of children from these communities stands at only 2% and drop-out rates are high. Girls are particularly affected by early marriages as opposed to be sent to school. Most attempts to provide formal education to nomadic pastoralist communities and children have experienced limited success. This is mainly attributed to the limitation of the formal education sector to respond to the unique and diverse circumstances and needs of these groups. Another problem the mobile school initiative aims to address is the inadequate capacity at national and district levels to conceptualize alternative approaches for hard-to-reach children.

Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.

Step 1: In order to ensure success in establishing mobile schools, we engage communities through participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercises to ensure proper needs analysis and ownership.

Step 2: mobilize leaders through meetings with potential host villages of mobile schools. It also involves educating the villages on the importance of education and the need to support the initiative as well as remove fear and suspicion of secular education.

Step 3: training of community teacher and ‘dugsi’ by government Teacher Training College in Garissa, particularly on multi-grade and follow up with teachers on learning conditions and use of training materials.

Step 4: establish linkages with primary schools if children want to transition to formal education sector.

Impact

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What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:

In order for mobile schools to be successful, we must continuously engage with the Ministry of Education to ensure mobile schools are mainstreamed as an alternative education option. Our focus will also be on cross-learning between communities themselves so that schools can be replicated and less dependence on the organization. Finally, interventions have to go beyond education to respond to the environment, drought and poverty prevalent in the region. New partnerships need to be explored that intervene in health, agriculture and livelihoods.

Year 1
• Seed capital for purchase of start up material
• Continuous community mobilisation and sensitisation
• Identification and training of paraprofessional teachers
• Monetary support through stipend for the paraprofessional teachers
• Provision of teaching and learning materials on termly basis

Success in Year 2:

Year 2
• Follow-up and mentoring for primary school and paraprofessional teachers
• Refresher training
• Upgrading boarding schools of nearby primary schools to enhance transition
- physical facilities
- Sanitation facilities
- Provision of meals (sustainability communities are mobilised and sensitised to supplement the GoK support)
- Provision Bedding facilities
- Coordination of other to provide integrated multi-pronged approach
• Coordination meeting stakeholders to enhance integrated service provision
• Transitional activities with teachers to help children fit into the boarding schools

Success in Year 3:

Year 3
• Mentoring of teachers
• Provision of teaching and learning materials
• Transition activities for teachers to support transition of children to boarding
• Linkage and hand over to district education officials for support and sustainability
• End of project evaluation

Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)

Yes

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:

1. Teacher and Dugsi training on teacher pedagogy

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:

2. Collaborate with other development agencies in sectors of health and livelihoods integrated service provision

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:

3. Replication of mobile schools and roll out to other districts

Describe the expected results of these actions.

-Increased access, retention and transition among children from nomadic communities
-Improved quality of teaching and learning in mobile schools
-Enhanced parental and community participation and support to education initiatives
-Enhanced community adult literacy normally provided by mobile school teacher

What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Persistent low enrolment rates have been recorded among the Nomadic communities in the North Eastern Province. This is often attributed to the limitations of the mainstream education system to respond to the unique and diverse needs of the nomadic pastoralist community. For the Somali, one of the nomadic communities in NEP, it is mandatory for children to attend the Quranic school (duksi), for religious instructions for a period of 2 – 3 years. The communities put more emphasis on the Quran education when compared to the formal secular education. While the demand of for fundamental religious instruction is not met in the mainstream education the Mobile school provides both forms of education without compromising the other. In addition, the nomadic pastoralist lifestyle is labour intensive by nature; as such children contribute to the household labour needs by tending to the animals and caring for younger siblings children. The flexible nature of the mobile school timetable allows for children to acquire basic education and still contribute to the survival of their families.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The first pilot mobile school was started in Wajir by a group called Nomadic Primary Health Care in and this was improved by Oxfam GB in 1995. Our initiative has taken this and expanded to involve government, introduction of basic life skills and the provision of a camel which can transport the school materials when the community moves.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

through a colleague

Sustainability

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What would prevent your project from being a success?

Nomadic communities’ lifestyles are increasingly getting sedentary as government is deliberately working towards this for ease of service provision. Programmes like the Arid Lands Resource Management Programme (ALRMP) and devolved funds, Constituency Development Fund, (CDF) have been successful in some areas resulting to some mobile schools being weaned off to sedentary schools.

Persistent and prolonged droughts and famine as well as inability to follow-up with teachers because of the distances are other challenges.

Financing source

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

Aga Khan Foundation

How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)

+10 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)

Yes

The Story

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Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnerships with Government of Kenya (GoK) ministry at national for policy discussions and negotiation and sustainability at the end of the three year period will be critical. At local level the partnerships are necessary for community entry, quality assurance and school based support. AKF relies on existing structures like the Mobile school regulatory framework - mobile school Mobile coordination committee chaired by the local Ministry of education leader, the Provincial Director of Education and attended by District Education Officials and other stakeholder.

The multi-sectoral approach brings all service providers across the sectors together because nomadic communities’ issues cut across all the sectors.
Partnership with community Based Organisations for mobilisation, awareness and advocacy and also for sustainability and community entry will be critical.

How many people will your project serve annually?

100-200

What is your organization's business classification?

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?

+100

Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)

CIDA (Canada) , DFID (United Kingdom) , Ford Foundation , Hewlett Foundation , United Nations Development Progam (UNDP) , USAID (United States) .

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258 weeks ago Naveen Shakir said: On July 28, 2009 the judges reviewed the entries for the Changemakers “Champions of Quality Education in Africa” competition ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
264 weeks ago Raphael Ogar Oko said: I want to sincerely thank the organizers for this opportunity and for the few comments that I have read from colleagues even outside ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
264 weeks ago Jenna Lawrence updated this Competition Entry.
264 weeks ago Mobile Schools: Basic Education for Pastoralist Communities in North Eastern Province, Kenya has been chosen as a finalist in Champions of Quality Education in Africa.
264 weeks ago Shams Uddin said: I really am impressed by the activity of moble school that you've launched. For me it has an inspiration because in the Kalash valleys ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
264 weeks ago SAMUEL OMODING said: Congratulations Erica upon being recognized and selected among the finalists of the Champions of Quality Education in Africa! I wish you ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
270 weeks ago SAMUEL OMODING said: Erica, your idea works well with that of Emusoi centre for Pastoralist Girls, Science Education Communication Video and CSMS-Mfg ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
270 weeks ago Erica Stillo submitted this idea.