Through more than nineteen partnerships in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda IIRR has established more than 54 learning centers, 28 functional adult literacy classes and 17 early child development centers serving over 2,500 children and 1,500 adults. Partner organizations continue to build on and replicate these programs, and governments have taken notice and are tailoring education policies to reflect the needs of pastoralists.
IIRR plans to expand access to quality education to a wider pastoralist community and enroll over 10,000 children and adult learners over the next five years.
Pastoralists number in the tens of millions across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. An estimated 25 to 40 million children of school age live in nomadic or pastoralist households in Africa alone. Most education systems available to pastoralists are characterized by limited access, weak delivery, gender inequality and poor infrastructure. IIRR believes that education is a basic human right and is critical to human development. In 2005, IIRR initiated the Pastoralist Education Project (PEP). The purpose of PEP is to contribute to the efforts of government, the community and other actors to increase the opportunity for out-of-school children and adult learners in pastoralist areas in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to access quality basic education.
IIRR builds the capacity of local organizations, government and parents’ associations to design, implement and monitor non-formal education programs that are appropriate for the pastoralist lifestyle and for other marginalized communities, and that can be widely replicated and scaled up. PEP has developed a flexible education curriculum that fits with pastoralists’ mobility patterns and still allows children to help with daily chores. Particular attention is paid to the enrollment and retention of women and girls.