An international non-governmental organisation (NGO), ActionAid-Kenya has rescued 15 girls who had dropped out of school due to early marriage in the hardship area of Tana River county.
In the ‘Stop Violence Against Girls in Schools’ project report, the organisation says early marriage is the major cause of girls abandoning learning in the county. The NGO revealed that a survey in the region has shown the local communities favour education of the boys to that of the girls.
“Many girls drop out of school due to the varied forms of gender-based violence and the study carried in Wanje Division in Garsen sub-county last year indicated that only a handful of the girls complete primary school education due to harsh treatment by their communities,” the report says.
The project coordinator Sheikh Maro in the report notes that efforts to rescue more girls have been hampered by some local provincial administration officials who colluded with some parents to allow early marriages and sexual violence against their daughters in the area.
“Majority of the girls in Wanje Division have not reaped the full benefits of the Free Primary Education as they drop out of school before they reach Standard Eight,” he said. He further said only between eight and 10 girls have been sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) every year in the area.
However, the situation improved last year with a record of about 70 girls sitting the national examination, he added and hoped the number would go up this year.
The NGO’s report also revealed that schools in the region have a population of about 8,000 pupils with more than three-quarters being boys. More than 500 pupils interviewed during the survey in the more than 20 primary schools in the division agreed that it was in order for teachers to punish through caning.