Education and resilience in Kenya’s arid lands
The UNICEF “Study of education and resilience in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands” (2015, 86pp) uses a resilience framework to ask how various education systems in the arid lands are helping or hindering young people and their societies to absorb shocks, adapt to and minimise stresses, and transform in positive ways when confronted with internal change and external pressures.
The study was commissioned by UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) to contribute to Outcome 1 of its Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme: Inclusion of education in peacebuilding and conflict-reduction policies, analysis and implementation, and inclusion of peacebuilding in education. It aimed to stimulate collaborative action among citizens, state and civil society in Kenya, and to contribute broader insights on education provision in Eastern and Southern Africa’s arid lands. The fieldwork was carried out in Marsabit, Wajir and Turkana Counties of northern Kenya in 2014–15.
It was found, among other things, that – although pastoralism is the economic mainstay of the three counties – schools do not teach subjects relevant to pastoralism, and many portray a negative image of the livelihood. Parents, youth and community leaders are organising their own initiatives to secure the kind of education they want, such as starting schools that allow herding education and formal learning to take place hand-in-hand.