KWALE COUNTY- It is known all over the world for its beaches of the Kenyan South Coast, the most popular being Diani. However, Kwale being one of the marginalized Counties in Kenya, many places here are prone to poverty hence many school going children find their way out of school to seek alternative means of income.
This income is used to support families and is often relied on by the young boys and girls for their day to day necessities of life.
It was observed that parenting, poverty, and lack of education are the main contributors to high numbers of school drop outs in Kwale.
Wairimu Munyinyi Wahome who is the Executive Director of Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW) told Chams Media that Kwale is one of the region with high prevalence of school dropouts and her organization is striving to change the narrative.
“Kwale County is one of the counties in Kenya that has very high numbers of girls that are out of school, the enrollment rates are low and even for the few girls that make it to school, their retention and transition rates to secondary school are even lower," she said.
However, various stakeholders have come in to rescue the girls from early marriages, teenage pregnancies, and rampant school dropout cases.
According to Joyce Karigia of Terre des Hommes Netherlands, partnerships have been key. She says “In Kwale, we partner and work closely with the Kwale Child Rights Network and also the Gender Technical Working Group in Kwale to advocate and lobby with the girls.”
Through Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) program under implementation by the COVAW and Terre des Hommes Netherlands, at least 21 women and girls working groups have been identified.
These girls are trained on how to champion and advocate for their rights. For instance, at the training done at Kingwede Girls Secondary School in Msambweni Sub-County last week, the girls actively participated.
Through such training, the girls and young women get empowered to appreciate life and work hard towards self-reliance.
It is expected that such trainings will help change the mindsets of the community that has overtime relied on backward cultural practices so that girl’s rights are upheld.