Kenyan project coordinator Piushepsh Odhiambo (left on photo) gives his view in the following article.
Siaya County is one of the 47 counties in Kenya. It lies within the arid and semi – arid climate. There are six constituencies in Siaya County namely; Gem, Ugenya, Bondo, Rarienda, Ugunja, and Alego/Usonga.
Most of the people who live within Siaya County are peasant farmers. Due to the fact that there are unpredictable rainfall patterns, the returns are never much and the people have to venture into small scale business to make ends meet.
Of worth noting is the vital role the education of Siaya has played in the lives of the people of Kenya. Most of the brains that Kenya has ever had and has, hails from Siaya county, such as the Vice chancellor of Egerton university, Prof. Rose Mwonya, out gone vice chancellor of Nairobi university, Professor Magoha,2nd prime minister of Kenya, Hon. Raila Odinga, just to mention a few. This was however realized in the past. Currently the education trends in Siaya have been on the decline.
Against this background we saw it wise to start an organization that would champion for the rights of the needy people in Siaya. Hence the genesis of the Eagles Foundation Center. Under this organization two students in secondary school have had their form one and form two fees paid, mainly with donation from The Netherlands under the umbrella of the Siaya Education Project. We are grateful and hope that we will have more sponsors coming forth. We hope that our students reach form four, even go to college, and become better people in society.
However, funding still remains a major challenge for the Eagles Foundation Center under the Siaya Education Program. The foundation has twelve girls that we wish to support through to their schooling, but the following challenges have made our efforts bare little fruits. Hence we appeal for funding from sponsors.
Reasons to support Siaya education:
- Siaya as a county lies in one of the remote areas in Kenya with less chances of development, if most of the inhabitants are not empowered educationally.
- Political alignment of the county has affected it immensely. Most of the inhabitants are in the opposition side of the government hence when allocation of funds and resources are done; the bigger chunk of it goes to central and rift valley counties where the president and the vice president come from. This has made the education sector in this are to lag behind, since resources are distributed on tribal and political belonging of an individual county. So sad Siaya is a political minority.
- Most of the people of Siaya are poor. Overreliance on peasant farming does not give much returns as well as small scale business. If students from this county do not proceed to secondary school it means that most of their talents will remain untapped hence lesser chances of better life in future. This is because most of the talents are developed in secondary schools through games, drama, music festivals.
- Most of the students from Siaya County are not able to pay for their secondary school fees. This is because primary education is free and provided for by the government. Upon completion of primary school, progression to secondary school becomes a problem because of the socio- economic challenges faced since Siaya is a rural area with less development.
- Secondary school education plays a vital role in a child’s life. If students do not proceed to secondary school, the consequences will be felt instantly. Crime, unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse, early pregnancies, rape case etc. are to be on the increase. This is because when the pupils clear primary school they are at adolescence stage. Failure to proceed to secondary school will make them idle hence engaging in such cases.
- Most bright students from Siaya county are either total orphans or partial orphans and stay with their grandparents who can do very little to raise school fees. Such students are always on and off the school to look for fees. At times; they end up staying for a long time at home and their learning is interfered with.
- HIV/AIDS scourge and single parenthood background has affected the education sector in Siaya County. A study shows that most bright students are either affected or infected with menace. Maybe their parents passed on from the virus and such students may not continue with their studies due to lack of funds. If good wishers do not come forth, such students also suffer mental torture and if not contained in school their future is definitively doomed.
- Vocational training institutes in Kenya do exist, but lack of funds to proceed to such institution also affects the education sector in Kenya. Such institutions play a major role as a bridge for those who do not make it to secondary schools. In such institutions the pupils learn crafts, trade, welding etc. which make them earn a living in future.
It’s on the background of such enormous challenge in Siaya county that the rationale to start Siaya Education Project came up and is picking up slowly due to lack of funds.
We therefore appeal to any good wisher to kindly contribute towards the Siaya Education Project. The funds will go to paying of school fees for the children and even support the Eagle Foundation that deals with girl child education in Siaya County.
Currently they are twelve and we hope to increase the number as more funding comes. We are equally planning to register the foundation so as to also attract funds from the Kenyan government!