The Pastoralist Education Project (PEP)

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The Pastoralist Education Project (PEP)

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

About You
Project Street Address

Marsabit Moyale Road, C/o Pastoralist Integrated Support Project (PISP)

Project City


Project Province/State

Eastern Province

Project Postal/Zip Code
Project Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on:

Ethiopia and 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?


Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.

This project contributes to the effort of government, community and their organizations to increase the opportunity for out-of-school children (with particular emphasis on girls’ enrollment and retention) and functional adult literary program for adults in pastoralist areas to access quality basic education using innovative approaches.

What makes your idea unique?

The project has adapted approaches that fit into the pastoralist lifestyle and allows the children to help with herding and the household chores as they attend classes. IIRR has popularized the use of;
• Feeder schools – these act as early Childhood Development classes set up in the settlement to minimize the walking distance of the younger children.
• Mobile schools – these are learning centers made up of semi – permanent structures, sometimes under trees. This means that when the community needs to move because of drought or conflict they can shift with minimal losses. The teachers are from the community.
• Shepherd classes - are evening classes (from 5pm to 8pm). These classes target the children who have to herd during the day. The centers provide a meal to the children attending these classes.
• Functional adult classes – these are evening for adults for them to be able to use numeracy and literacy skills to do business, participate in community leadership positions and read.
To ensure success of this project, IIRR works with local partners (CBOs and NGOs), local government education authorities and local communities and structures. IIRR provides strategic grants to its partners to put up structures, buy solar panels (lighting) purchase of teaching and learning material, pay some of the teachers. IIRR has built the capacities of its partners in financial management, training the teachers of the different centers in quality delivery of education as well as setting up of Community School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) and giving them relevant skills to administer centers. Out of this experience IIRR and partners started Functional Adult Learning Centers to give the parents basic literacy and numeracy to be able to manage the affairs of the SMCs. IIRR also realized that the FALs that have a income generating aspect is more attractive because it allows them to earn some money to meet their financial needs. The project has integrated gender, HIV/AIDs and Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction trainings.

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

Children & Youth , Boys' development , Child care , Child exploitation , Child labor , Child protection , Early childhood development , Education , Education reform , Girls' development , Youth development , Development & Prosperity , Adult education , Communications , Community development , Economic development , Employment , Food security , Fundraising , Globalization , Hunger , Income generation , Infrastructure , Microfinance , Networking , Philanthropy , Poverty alleviation , Rural development , Sustainable development , Trade , Environment & Sustainability , Climate change , Conservation , Rural , Water , Food , Health education , HIV/AIDS , Reproductive and maternal health , Sanitation , Wellness , Human Rights & Peace , Abuse and violence , Child exploitation , Conflict resolution , Food security , Gender equity , Hunger , Indigenous cultures , Migration , Tolerance , Vulnerable populations , Women's issues , Public Participation & Engagement , Citizen participation , Cultural preservation , Disaster relief and crisis management , Mentoring .

What impact have you had?

IIRR has promoted the evolving education delivery models that are responsive to the pastoralist lifestyle. Additionally there is;
1.Increased opportunity to access good quality education – with IIRRs support, as at mid 2008 there are 28 learning centers in Kenya with 1, 006 boys and 991 girls. There are 19 Early Childhood development centers with 299 boys and 371 girls, these ECDs serve as feeders to the learning centers. The delivery approaches have increased access and retention of girls. Most of these centers are now registered and are receiving funding from the MoEST. This model of education allows the learners to attend classes in their traditional attire (this saves the parents money for buying uniform)
2. Improved the quality of education - In collaboration with the district education offices, the project has reduced the average text book ratio to 1:2. The drop out rate has reduced to 1.5% against that of formal schools that is at 30%. The building of latrines, school water supplies and a feeding programme encourages retention. Training teachers and encourage use of locally available teaching aids makes learning interactive and improves the quality.
3. Capacity of the local institutions has been built - They are in a better position to negotiate with the Ministry of Education and other agencies for support. We are also witnessing a shift in thinking and engagement of communities as they take ownership of the learning centers.

These are but some of the impacts the project has had; the local community is happy with the alternative approach because their children can engage in the day to day life of the households. They also get quality education that opens opportunity for them to get into the regular system for further education assuring them of a livelihood, especially in wake of increased droughts and conflicts that threaten their way of life.

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

IIRR and its partners seek to provide education to the pastoralist children in areas where there is limited or no access. Our engagement with the communities makes every effort to counter the challenges listed below;
• The geographical and environmental characteristics of the areas of operation are vast with hostile terrain. Reaching the target communities is difficult and expensive. There is recurrent drought and increased instances of insecurity that force the communities to migrate more than previously which means that the children’s education is compromised.
• The communities have cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages that tend discourage the girls from acquiring education (results in high drop out rates) -
• It is difficult to attract and retain qualified teachers
• The absence of government policies that support alternative education for pastoralist children that allows for a flexible time-table that is relevant to the needs of the pastoralist child

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

To address these challenges, IIRR has come up with a strategic plan that covers the period 2009 to 2013. The proposed activities will enhance the capacity of local institutions/organizations to design and implement sustainable education programmes for the pastoralist children.

The pastoralist education network will be strengthened to be able to lobby and advocate for improved access, retention and quality of education to the children in pastoral areas. This will ensure harmonization of programs and resource utilization thus reducing duplication and overlapping. IIRR intends to build its in house capacity to be able to support the partners in a bigger way.

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

As earlier stated, providing education in the pastoralist areas is a very expensive undertaking and IIRR requires new and additional funding to ensure that the programme expands to cater for the education needs of more children.
Success in Year 1: This is the first year of PEP phase two (2009 – 2011), IIRR and partners will undertake action research and studies in the following areas: curriculum review to contextualize it to the pastoralist way of life, study the school governance system, teacher supervision and support in Kenya and in the area, the life cycle of children, livelihood systems and cultures, the challenges faced by teachers in delivery of quality education with a view of developing them professionally. These and other studies will inform programming. A training of policy advocacy will be offered that will create synergy with the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction program that IIRR is implementing in the same area.

Success in Year 2:

The focus in year two will be to implement the results of the studies in year one. A study will also be undertaken in curriculum review for both children and adults. We also intend to create linkage and synergy with other IIRR programmes. IIRR is active in the fields of gender in leadership, HIV/AIDS, Food security, Access to markets, local Governance and it is expected that these will create leverage for PEP initiatives. The organization intends to introduce relevant components of these areas in the pastoralist education curriculum to build knowledge and skills to support their livelihood. Lobby, Advocacy and documentation will be a key focus. The strengthened network of like-minded NGOs will have a stronger voice to demand for services and friendly policies that promote access, retention and improved quality of education. IIRR plans to facilitate a regional
Conference on pastoralist education

Success in Year 3:

IIRR anticipates that the local partners will by that time be able to raise funds independently and will not relay on us. The activities have indicators that will be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis. IIRR will continue to build the capacity of its partners to ensure that they do the same. IIRRs strength is in documenting and helping other organizations to document their best practices and impact stories using the innovative writeshop approach. Documenting our experiences in pastoralist education will give impetus to other organizations to take up the challenge of providing and promoting education among the pastoralist communities.

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

Yes. IIRR developed a five-year strategic plan (2009 – 2013) to ensure improved and increased delivery of education to the pastoralist communities of Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia.

In addition IIRR Africa has a business plan (2005 – 2010) for the organization. We are in the process of developing the next one for 2010 – 2015.

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

Buy-in from the government and collaboration with other stakeholders. Evidenced by pastoralist education friendly policies.

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

Increased funding for the project that will allow partners and IIRR to cover professional development of teachers in the short and long term, improving classroom learning and assessment, review of curriculum and to buy teaching/learning materials

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

Strengthened participatory management and governance of the established learning centers

Describe the expected results of these actions.

We expect an increased access to quality basic education for boys and girls in programme areas, through provision of relevant delivery of alternative education. The pastoralist friendly curriculum will allow the children additional knowledge to be able to shun negative practices. It will also borrow and strengthen the benefits of a pastoralist way of life/indigenous knowledge and enhance their coping mechanism. The children can then be absorbed in the regular/formal schools when they are much older and are able to cope with boarding schools.

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

Working with pastoralist communities and witnessing the un-met need for an alternative education delivery system that does not contradict the migratory way of life of the local communities.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The project idea was developed by Dr. Isaac Bekalo, the President/Regional Director of IIRR. It has been implemented by Mengistu Edo who is a pastoralist education specialist with many years experience.

The local implementing partners have also contributed to the development of the innovations in this program as the process has been participatory.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

From friends of IIRR who have witnessed the impact the project has made on the communities that it works with.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The project has a lot of support from the communities and government. A major challenge that the project faces is frequent hazards that occur in the area. These include drought that seriously affects food and water security. Inter-ethnic and resource based conflict, animal and human diseases outbreaks.

Financing source


If yes, provide organization name.

IIRR is an established organization that works closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

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

More than 5 years

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

Yes. We have a Board of Trustees

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

IIRR is involved in capacity building of community members, partners, government education officials and collaboration other like-minded International and local NGOs

In addition, we have partnership with SNV, CCF on pastoralist education. We are also members of the Education cluster group in Kenya which is chaired by UNICEF and ministry of education, Elimu Yetu which is an education campaign and lobby group which spearheads the education for all (EFA) campaign in Kenya

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

Yes. We have recently established a CSO-Private sector partnership pilot project initiative on safe water in Kenya. We anticipate that the models that will evolve will be replicated in the project area to contribute towards safe water supply in schools.

We are exploring similar partnerships for the education program.

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

Yes. For example the registration of the Learning centers and supervision (monitoring) of the learning centers by the local education officers. IIRR, Partners and Ministry of education quality assurance staff undertake joint school and teacher assessments.

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

The participation and engagement of local communities and community structures, district education authorities in the development and management of alternative approaches is critical for sustainability. Long after IIRR exit, the other stakeholders will ensure that the programs continue running.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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

IIRR has about 69 staff members based in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Philippines and USA.

What is your organization's business classification?

Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

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

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation , Ford Foundation , Rockefeller Foundation .