NO DRINKING WATER

Hunger, banditry and floods disrupt learning in Baringo

County commissioner Wafula says he had received and distributed some 100 tents to schools affected by floods.

In Summary

• Thousands of learners have lessons under trees after classrooms partially submerged.

• Only 57 per cent of pupils in Tiaty have returned to school.

Nursery pupils at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Nursery pupils at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Nursery pupils at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Nursery pupils at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Grades 3 and 4 pupils share classroom at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Grades 3 and 4 pupils share classroom at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo, on Wednesday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Government Spokesperson Col.(Rtd) Cyrus Oguna addresses in Marigat, Baringo South, on Wednesday.
Government Spokesperson Col.(Rtd) Cyrus Oguna addresses in Marigat, Baringo South, on Wednesday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

It is minutes past 3pm and nursery pupils at Kotoron Primary School in Tiaty, Baringo county, are hungry and thirsty.

They had no lunch and the situation is worsened by their worn out, dirty civilian clothes. One sits on a fallen wooden electric pole and others on a veranda. A nearby water tank is empty.

“[They are] not only missing lunch but are also thirsty. There is no single source of clean water near the school compound,” says Elijah Manigor, a resident.

On Wednesday, Water Sanitation and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu visited the school and termed the situation dire.

County commissioner Henry Wafula, who hosted Irungu and his team, said he had received and distributed some 100 hardcover tents to schools affected by floods.

“I have also distributed some 100 mosquito nets and 312 bales of Ujimix supplements to the schools,” he said, adding that everything is under control.

Irungu was accompanied by his counterparts Peter Tum (Labour) and Jerome Ochieng (ICT) and Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna.

Grades 3 and 4 children at the school share classrooms because of the shortage of structures. Such a situation is common in schools across the county. Tum said social distancing shouldn’t be an issue as some learners can have classes under trees.

“As government, we are committed to see every child gets education without any hindrance," he said.

Only 57 per cent of Tiaty learners are back in class since schools reopened three weeks ago. Backward practices have been blamed for the huge number that is yet to return. 

However, Tum said between 80 and 90 per cent of learners have resumed classes in Baringo, dismissing claims that floods and insecurity have interfered with reopening.

He said the government has released Sh19.5 billion for ‘operation return to school’ to facilitate anti-Covid-19 measures countrywide.

At Chemolingot Boys High School, 147 students out of 349 have yet to resume learning. Principal Julius Bett blamed it on banditry, circumcision and early marriages.

“People thought learning might not resume anytime soon and so ended up taking their children through the normal traditional rites of passage,” Tiaty MP William Kamket said.

Kamket apologised to the government on behalf of the community saying they will not allow that to recur. He said the rising cases of insecurity occasioned by banditry and cattle rustling have seen many teens drop out of school.

Learning has been paralysed for thousands of children in about 10 schools in Baringo South and Baringo North following displacement by floods and bandit attacks.

At Salabani Secondary in Baringo South, students learn under trees after their classrooms were partially submerged following backflow from Lake Baringo.

Schools in volatile areas like Chepkesin Primary in Baringo North have yet to reopen for fear of bandit attacks. Others facing similar predicament are Ng’ambo, Sintaan, Kampi ya Samaki, Loruk, Chemoe, Yatya, Chepkesin, Kagir, Ng’aratuko and Kisumet.