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 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.