Community Talks on Education PDF Print
Education Stories


Community dialogue is the platform that connects members of the community from all walks of life to freely share their views about their actions, values and norms and identifying how these affect them. These dialogues create space for mutual learning, reflection, planning and action.


During the recent dialogues held in Gaalkacyo, 40 parents from IDP settlements met to discuss the value of education for their children. The aim of the dialogue was to gain community support in overcoming barriers to education, especially girl’s education through influencing the community to embrace a positive perspective regarding education.


A heated debate ensued regarding the plight of IDP school going children, most of the children particularly girls in the camps do not attend school due to various reasons. Hassan, a former school Headmaster, shared that the reason most children from IDP camps do not attend school is because of intense bulling that is perpetrated by other children from the host community. Bulling normally occurs when the children are on the way to or from school, and the school administration is not in a position to protect the children.


Poverty was also addressed as a root cause of poor enrolment in school. “Most parents wish for their children to go to school,” remarked Rukia one of the parents, “but poverty is a hindrance.” The lack of basic amenities like school fees, uniforms and stationery keeps parents from enrolling their children in school. Poverty is also a major reason of high school drop-out cases mainly for girls. In some cases, parents especially from IDP settlements make their children do menial jobs like cleaning shoes and washing cars for pay.


All parents present were in agreement that they should provide all their children, regardless of gender, with an equal opportunity to education. They suggested that, to increase the enrolment of children from IDP settlements, the values of education should be emphasised to the rest of the community.


The group thought it would also help to construct learning spaces within the camps and provide stationery, sanitary kits for girls and start feeding programme in schools. They also proposed involving the business community, NGOs and other well-wishers to support scholarship programmes.


This discussion was meant as a catalyst for change regarding the perception of education particularly girls education. To achieve impact more such dialogues are obviously desired. However there is need to shift the discussion from the challenges facing education especially girl’s education and concretely focus on how to support the education sector.


By Anne Waithera, Communication Support Officer, Nairobi







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