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Wind power firm spends Sh 250 million in support of development programmes

The remote constituency of Laisamis in Marsabit County is faced with many challenges that range from water, education, food security and roads infrastructure.

The government and her development partners have been striving to address the constraints in a bid to transform the lives of the local communities who are largely pastoralists.

One of the main challenges is education where both girls and boys are pulled out of school to attend to domestic chores like being forced to start families through early marriages after forced female genital mutilation and the herding of livestock.

The situation became a little bit trickier with the introduction of the competency-based curriculum (CBC) and the starting of the junior secondary school which called for additional classrooms and boarding facilities.

However, the challenges in the implementation of the curriculum are steadily being addressed as stakeholders’ chip in to ease the constraints.

The Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) company has on its part not only assisted in the improvement of schools but also in the development of the local road network in a bid to ease movement and supervision of learning activities.

The company, under its social corporate programme, The Winds of Change (WoC) Foundation has spent Sh 250 million in the last one year in its corporate responsibility activities that include building of dormitories and classrooms, rehabilitation and sinking of boreholes and assisting the residents cope with the vagaries of drought and famine.

At the Titus Ngoyoni Memorial and Loiyangalani primary schools in Loiyangalani sub-county, LTPW has sponsored the construction of a 96-bed capacity dormitory for girls in each of the schools in a bid to boost enrolment and improve on the academic performance.

At the Layeni primary school in the same sub-county, two modern classrooms with a capacity of 40 pupils each have also been funded to completion by the firm in support of the implementation of the CBC.

The WoC Foundation director Felix Rottman said during the handing over of the facilities to the communities that the gesture was aimed at creating a safe and an enabling learning environment for the girls.

Mr Rottman added that the additional classrooms at Layen primary school would give the Elmolo community a chance to enroll all their school aged children to school so that they are not left behind in matters of education.

The director added that the firm which had an annual budget of Sh 100 million for social corporate activities increased the budget to Sh 250 million in order to accelerate provision of the learning facilities and upgrade the Gatab-Mt-Kulal road to concrete standard.

“Education is key to self-sustainability and investment is required in order to accord communities in these remote parts of the country an opportunity to transform themselves,” he said and thanked the contractor, Samua Investment company for doing a commendable job and on time.

The wind firm is also assisting learning institutions in its catchment area to establish school gardens where food crops like vegetables and fruits are grown to supplement efforts on balanced diets.

Besides, the gardens offer pupils and students a chance for practical lessons in agriculture and climate change for prosperity.

LTWP chief executive officer (CEO) Phyllip Leferink who officiated at the handing over of the facilities noted that the organisation was conscious of the difficult environment under which the local community was living and that the availability of the boarding facilities would address the risky and long distances the pupils have to cover to access education.

Mr Lefering while reacting to pleas from local leaders and parents for bursary support for their secondary school and college students, said the organisation was willing to support but the community should come up with a transparent modality of disbursement.

“We are much willing to support the students who all virtually come from poor background but a clear modality is needed to avoid duplication and unfair process,” said the CEO adding that there were other similar kitties from government and other agencies in place hence the need to have a clear framework of who is not benefitting and the amount to be awarded.

Area sub-county director of education (SCDE) Andrew Galgathele lauded the gesture by the wind power firm saying it would go a long way in complimenting the government effort in providing the much-needed facilities towards the implementation of CBC.

Mr Galgathele said that availability of boarding facilities was going to retain girl pupils in a school and save them from the risk of falling into the jaws of harmful cultural practices like FGM and early marriages.

He decried low enrolment in the sub-county which he disclosed stood at 65 percent and asked parents to take their children to school in order to prepare them for a bright future.

‘I am saddened to see these good education facilities not being utilised as required because parents prefer to assign them home chores and duties like fishing and herding of livestock instead of sending them to school,” he said.

The SCDE also urged parents to accord both girls and boys equal opportunities to education saying the enrolment of boys was far much lower compared to that of girls in the area.

By Sebastian Miriti

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