Partner school since 2018
Eiti Makurian Primary School Kenya
The Maasai Village
The Eiti Makurian Primary School is located in a very small Maasai community about 4 hours' drive South-East from Nairobi. The villagers live in a "boma" - a traditional village sheltered all around by acacia branches, and each family shares an approx. 15 m2 traditional mud hut made of mud, grass, cow dung and sticks. (See photo gallery and videos below). The land is barren and difficult to navigate. The Maasai men are herders, polygamy is still practised, girls are married off from the age of 15, the girls' families receive a dowry, and the women have an average of 6-10 children. Sadly, female circumcision (albeit illegal) is still often practised. With modernisation only a few hours' drive away and many environmental, political and economic factors threatening their survival, the community is looking to the future and is ready to tackle many of these issues that prevent them from remaining sustainable for the next generation. "Education is the key to success" was part of a song the children sang for us on one of our field trips.
The school does indeed have many needs as it is severely lacking in teaching materials, but the Maasai community is incredibly committed to education and the partnership is very rewarding.
Since the project started in 2018, the school has been equipped with many materials, classrooms have been painted, furniture has been built and teachers have been trained. Feedback from the community is very positive and the children's literacy and other important academic skills are improving significantly. In 2021, some children sat the national exams for the first time and did very well, considering how little education they have received and that their families are illiterate.
The school has grown from 80 to 300 children. Some children walk more than an hour to attend school. At the beginning, absenteeism was a major problem, which has now greatly diminished. Adequate teaching materials, the provision of lunch and the incentive of possibly receiving a scholarship to secondary school if they perform well are all factors that contribute significantly to the children's improved attendance and high learning in just a few years.
The school buildings are though not sufficient for this number of children and we are working on plans to support better facilities. We have been working on adding gutters to the roofs and installing water tanks. With some solar panels, there is enough electricity to charge some phones and recently we installed a small photocopier. Another classroom has been built, but more are urgently needed.
It is extremely difficult to find teachers to travel to such a remote area, especially as there are no on-site facilities for them. There is a high turnover of teachers as they quickly find they have no accommodation and little access to water or electricity. Covid-19 and the terrible drought currently affecting the entire Horn of Africa have added to the school's challenge of retaining teachers. A borehole and teacher accommodation must be part of our next priorities.
More Information and Media
Here below is a gallery of some photos from the first visit in 2018 and two films from 2019 when a TEACH team visited Eiti Makurian School. They show life in the village and in the school. If you watch both films, you will notice the amazing changes that have already taken place in the school in just 6 months.