More than one million school children have dropped out of school since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in 10 Frontier counties.
Statement by Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) Governors comprising Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu and Mandera said that total of 1,295,820 are out of school.
The County chiefs painted agrim picture of the dire situation adding that, some 107,556 of students are from both primary and secondary schools while the rest dropped out of pre-primary school.
Mandera Governor Ali Roba who is also the council chairman said the situation worsens the already dire situation saying half of the region was initially illiterate.
“Education is a basic right for all Kenyans under the constitution, we appeal to the National Ministry of Education and President Uhuru Kenyatta to help us ensure access to basic education for our children,” he said.
Roba said the region is faced with severe teacher shortages and learning remains paralyzed in many schools with the majority of institutions only the head teacher available to serve the entire school population.
The quarterly meeting that brought together FCDC leadership summit in a bid to address drought emergency, education crises, insecurity, locust invasion, and assess the state of infrastructure investments on the key projects.
On drought, the leadership said they were concerned that Frontier Counties experienced erratic rainfall and this has amplified water deficiency and depressed pasture making people more vulnerable and food insecure.
“We are slowly feeling the pain from the dry spell, we face some tough and challenging months ahead before the on-set of long rains expected in April 2021,” said Roba in the statement.
Drought the FCDC said doesn’t just hurt pastoralists, but it impacts the growth and productivity of our entire nation and region.
The leadership said the FCDC counties are actively trucking water to save people and animals, this they said is an exercise that requires extra funding that keeps water flowing in the affected areas.
The region has equally been hit by the invasion of swarms of desert locust; the leaders applauded and commended efforts of the National Government and Ministry of Agriculture and particularly the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with county governments in mitigating the impacts of the destructive pest.
“We request that the Ministry of Devolution and ASALs to extend food relief support to help plug the gaps in food security, such support will go a long way in complementing the efforts of respective county governments and partners,” said Roba in a statement signed by other Governors from the region.
The frontier counties leadership said the peace and security in the region remains fragile and worrying that they said are extremely concerned with deteriorating situation.
“We appeal to the National Government to help restore peace and security in the areas that reported challenges, these include Kapedo, Isiolo-Wajir border where we have witnessed inter-clan clashes of boundaries, Wajir Garissa clashes of land and pasture,” said the statement..
They said they are witnessing increasing incidents of violent extremism and sighting of terror cells particularly in Mandera, Wajir and Garisaa.