DIRE SITUATION

Students dropping out of school throng Lake Naivasha to fish

Karagita, Kamere, Kihoto and Tarambete areas produce the bulk of the youths

In Summary

• David Kilo, chair of the Lake Naivasha Boat Operators, said they were witnessing an unusual number of students involved in illegal fishing.

• Kilo said that poverty and lack of school fees had pushed the children into the waters, adding that there was an urgent need to address the situation

Fishermen who include teenagers from Karagita landing beach in Lake Naivasha prepare their nets ready for fishing.
Lake Naivasha Fishermen who include teenagers from Karagita landing beach in Lake Naivasha prepare their nets ready for fishing.
Image: George Murage

Scores of students unable to afford school fees have dropped out and turned to Lake Naivasha to fish and eke out a living. 

Not even the rising cases of hippo attacks and deaths from boat accidents have deterred the youths, most of whom are breadwinners for their families. The Karagita, Kamere, Kihoto and Tarambete informal settlements are producing the highest number of dropouts. 

David Kilo, chair of the Lake Naivasha Boat Operators, said they were witnessing an unusual number of students involved in illegal fishing.

Kilo said that poverty and lack of school fees had pushed the children into the waters, adding that there was an urgent need to address the situation.

“The minors are openly fishing along the shores of the lake and this exposes them to hippos which in the past have killed tens of people,” he said.

Elimu Mashinani initiative's Jennifer Njeri said the loss of jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic had pushed the children into the lake.

She said that the children were now the source of livelihoods for their families after their parents lost jobs.

“The minors are scattered all around the shores of the lake and are using bait to get the fish further putting their lives in great danger,” she said.

Naivasha subcounty commissioner Mutua Kisulu said that over 90 per cent of school-going children in the constituency had reported back to school.

“We shall investigate these cases around the lake and the reason as to why the minors have failed to report back to school,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya said scores of students had also joined the sand business in Mai Mahiu area.

He said that the numbers rose at the height of the pandemic, which saw schools close down and several parents lose their jobs.

“As a result of the crisis many of the youths were pushed into sand harvesting and loading so that they could sustain their families,” he said.

Natembeya said many of the students who were making a quick buck had opted to continue working as sand loaders after schools reopened.  He termed the move illegal. 

 

(edited by o. owino)