In Marsabit County, located in a part of northern Kenya that suffers from extremes in weather as well as sporadic attacks from Islamist militant group Al Shabaab, less than 15% of girls over the age of 6 have ever attended school, and the drop-out rate rises steeply as soon as the girls are old enough to marry or take on more of the family work duties. The poverty rate there hovers around 92% and literacy levels stand at just 20%. In this challenging landscape, a mobile classroom is making education available to young women who have the hope of creating a better life for themselves, their children, and their pastoralist community.
Learning takes place when the rainy season falls so that the students are not pulled away from their work. Adeso, the non-profit behind these “walking classrooms,” offers an informal education to teenage women aged 13-18 in the village, many of whom are already mothers and who had very limited educational instruction (if any at all) in their earlier years. Focusing on basics such as numbers and letters, the women gradually learn how to expand their knowledge to further their individual aspirations, whether it be opening or bettering a business or simply learning to read directions.
From the looks of the video, many of the women’s children sit in on lessons as well and are likely benefiting even if indirectly from this early learning. Once the rains end, the mobile classroom continues on with the community as it searches for new places to pasture its livestock, although retaining teachers during this trek can be an additional challenge. Begun in 2014, Adeso’s program will continue until at least 2016, and the organization is actively raising funds to empower and educate these young women and future generations of Kenyans.