Kerio Valley region has been in the limelight for decades, but for the wrong reasons; frequent incidents of vicious cattle rustling and banditry raids among warring communities sharing the common border of the volatile region.
The vast region which has been rocked by insecurity over water and pasture encompasses West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, and Baringo counties within the North Rift region.
At least 2,000 lives have been lost in the past two years following the banditry and cattle rustling attacks pitting the members of the warring communities.
To contribute to efforts by the government to address the perennial insecurity challenges that have bedeviled the volatile region, a private learning institution, Nehema Institute of Science and Technology, has set up a campus in Marigat town, Baringo County to provide education and empower youth in the region to look for alternative sources of livelihood using the knowledge they gain from education instead of solely relying on livestock that is a major source of the conflict.
About 200 students from the region have so far graduated from the Institute after undertaking various artisans’ courses that include Hairdressing, Barbering, Agriculture, Food, and Beverage among others.
Presiding over its recent graduation, the Director of the institution Dr. Joseph Chepkwony, and Baringo South Member of Parliament Charles Kamuren implored upon the graduates to open up their minds and hearts to the jobs available in other parts of the country to get exposure away from home.
“We want you to use the skills and knowledge acquired for self-empowerment and help change this community. We want you to help bring change and have a community where everyone understands the importance of peace,” said Chepkwony.
While congratulating the graduates, the two-term MP assured them of his support to enable them to continue with their education at higher levels as he urged them to encourage more youths to embrace education for change.
“Let’s work together to bring the desired change in our society and ensure that we end the challenges of poverty, illiteracy, and banditry that have hampered the implementation of social and economic development by the national and county governments. We are tired of witnessing the loss of innocent lives and property in the hands of armed bandits and I would like to thank Nehema Institute for the initiative that has continued to see our young people get empowerment skills,” said Kamuren.
Kamuren lauded the institute for its bold move to establish a campus in the region and besides, deploy teaching and non-teaching staff despite other leading institutions giving the area a wide berth for fear of insecurity.
The Director of the institution said they have sponsored more than 100 bright students from needy backgrounds in the area since the institution was established and many have become self-employed while others have gotten jobs in various devolved units and the private sector across the country.
Chepkwony however, asked parents, leaders, and the society in the region to encourage and support students willing to go to school for posterity.
By Kiptanui Cherono