Curbing school dropout in Mauche-Njoro Sub-County
Collaboratives a sure bet for curbing school dropout in Mauche-Njoro Sub-County
Mauche, Mau-Narok communities have firm cultural beliefs. Livestock rearing and crop farming are the main source of livelihood and cultural practices practiced by the majority of the residents here. The predominant Kalenjin and Maasai communities living in this area are known for herding large numbers of cattle and as such community members are introduced to the practice at an early age. Having firm beliefs and preferences to cultural practices has led to an increase in the number of school dropouts where young children co-opt herding to increase family wealth at the expense of schooling.
A teacher based in Mau-Narok (who is a participant in the PBLD scale up program in Njoro) identified a form three student from Njoro Boys secondary school who had been herding his family’s cattle in the area while schools had resumed. Upon inquiry, the young boy explained to the teacher that despite the lack of financial stability, he was open to the idea because he would get his own cattle from his father’s herd if he took good care of the herd. The Mau-Narok based teacher identified partners and stakeholders (local community leaders, political leaders and aspirants, teachers) who would assist in mobilizing resources needed for the student to return to school. Various meetings were conducted between the teacher, other PBLD participants from Njoro including visits to the Njoro sub county department of education where commitments were made by the stakeholders to assist in facilitating the student back to school.
Realizing the importance of multi sectoral collaborations where no single sector can work alone, and having gone through the seven steps of forming collaboratives on collective action for collective impact while embracing a shared measurement system, the teacher realized the school cannot be able to solely address the school dropouts thus identifying relevant stakeholders who would play different roles in facilitating return to school of these children would bring about collective outcomes. In the collaborative, political aspirants and leaders provided funds needed to settle the school arrears and the fees needed for the next academic year; the religious leaders sought funds and well-wishers to buy school uniforms through donations of cash and in kind while the teachers involved ensured that the students will be provided with free food while at the school. Lessons from stakeholder analysis also helped in terms of arriving at partners and agreeing on a common agenda sharing responsibilities, being accountable to each other while enhancing communication across the collaborative.
The intervention created good working relationships between the partners involved, especially with officers from the education sector who ensured to do more when identifying young children in Njoro who have dropped out of school and initiating a process to return them back to school initiating a ripple effect in addressing the issue. They were able to raise enough funds to take the student back to school, covering his arrears and school fees for the next academic year. The collaborative has since taken responsibility to look for other school age students who have dropped out of school facilitating their return back to school.