Drought in Kenya Sends More Girls to School
Drought in Kenya Sends More Girls to School.
But this time, something unusual is happening: Hard-hit herder families are instead selling drought-threatened livestock and using the money — along with government cash payments — to keep girls in school.
“It is no longer profitable to exchange our young daughters with livestock, because when the animals die of drought, it is like we have lost the girl,” Joyce Apus Ipapai, a mother of eight from Lorengelup village, said.
Responding to drought by keeping girls in school is far from an obvious coping strategy for poor families like Ipapai’s.
More than 38,000 households in Turkana County receive the payments, officials said.
In recent years, other parents in the area also have decided to forgo marrying their teenage daughter to win dowries, instead relying on social payments to get them through droughts and investing in their daughters’ education and future employment prospects as a new more resilient form of savings.
As a result, Lopungre became one of the 35 girls who started at the new Nakurio Girls Secondary school in 2015.
Unlike what happened just 10 years ago, where girls were forcefully married off in exchange with livestock, the same parents are now willing to sell the very livestock in order to pay school fees for their daughters,” said Missionary Alfred Areman, the principal at the school and a clergyman at a local Catholic church.
Campaign changed minds The switch comes on the back of tireless campaigning on the value of keeping girls in school by the church, local officials and humanitarian organizations.
“Once a few girls get it right, they will become role models to others, including parents, and that will help us keep up the campaign to promote girl child education in this area,” he said.