Improving Access to Education among Nomads in Kenya

Anthony M. Wanjohi:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, declared that “everyone has a right to education.” The World Conference on Education for All (EFA) in 1990, sparked off a new impetus towards basic education especially with its so-called vision and renewed commitment. Many governments in developing world embraced this call and worked towards making education free and accessible. However, there is yet much more that developing countries need to do in order to improve access to education especially among the marginalized communities.


A study by Adano (2009) explored a number of measures that can be adopted to improve access to education among the Nomadic Community in North Horr in North Eastern part of Kenya. Teachers who were the key respondents in the study suggested various measures that can be adopted to improve access to education in the area.


The most outstanding measure among 86 per cent of those who took part in the study was initiating programmes to address the problem of retrogressive cultural practices. There are a number of retrogressive cultural practices that continue to eat the very fabric of a rather culturally rich yet vulnerable nomadic society. These include early marriages, beading (where young girls are booked early for marriage and used as ‘wives’ to quench men’s sexual urge), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), cattle rustling among others.


Government should also have policy provisions on education among pastoralist communities. Majority of teachers (64 per cent) indicated that there was need for sound education-access-policies that accommodate nomadic way of life. Another 57 per cent of teachers indicated that there was need to design and implement a curriculum which is compliant with nomadic way of life.


In order to realize these suggestions, there is need for government, development partners and representatives from the nomadic communities to work together in planning, designing and implementing programmes and policies geared towards improving access to education.



Adano, M.B. (2009). Factors Influencing the Establishment of Mobile Primary Schools in North Horr in North Eastern Part of Kenya. Unpublished Research Project, The CatholicUniversity of Eastern Africa.