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Turkana, Endorois struggling to access education and healthcare

Despite increased government budgetary allocations to the minority and indigenous communities, the two groups continue to face major challenges in accessing quality education and healthcare facilities.

A study conducted by Minority Rights Group (MRG) International in Turkana, Baringo, Trans-Nzoia and Elgeyo Marakwet counties has revealed that Endorois and Turkana communities trek long distances to access the two important services.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, the County government of Turkana allocated Sh1.4 billion for Health and Sanitation Services.  It also allocated 1.2 billion for Education, Sports and Social Protection.

The study stated that despite this allocation, many residents are still forced to cross flooded rivers during the wet seasons to access services due to the poor road infrastructure in these rural counties.

Persons Living with Disabilities and belonging to these communities are often worst affected by this unfortunate state of affairs. For instance, there are no special needs centres in the area of research. Indigenous children with disabilities have inadequate access to assistive devices for their disabilities.

“The briefing is important because it points out the root cause of the problem of discrimination in access to basic services and more importantly what can be done to reverse the situation and uphold human rights,’ says Minority Rights Group International East Africa Health and Education Coordinator Geoffrey Kerosi.

MRG conducted the study in collaboration with Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (EIWEN) and Turkana Development Organization Forum (TUDOF), two indigenous organizations working to promote the rights of the Endorois and Turkana communities respectively.

The marginalization of minority and indigenous communities in the country such as the Endorois and Turkana goes far back. For example, since Kenya attained her independence, no technical and vocational institutions have been established in the areas where this study was conducted.

“Access to health and education is a basic human right. The Endorois community of Baringo is still far from this reality because this research has shown that there are no maternity facilities and special education centres for children living with disabilities, due to a widening gap of social inequalities leading to extreme marginalization,’ says Christine Kandie, the Executive Director of Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (EIWEN).

By Peter Gitonga

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