These schools were funded by the Packard Foundation. According to the foundation, the education of girls is the best indicator of reproductive health outcomes as they mature into women of child bearing age. The plan is to make sure these children will receive an education that will carry them through secondary school.
While these young girls (and boys) are in the classroom, their parents also are instructed on reproductive health care issues. I was under the impression that the education was limited to the seasonal time that their families spent in this region grazing their cattle, but I was mistaken. Migratory patterns have become more erratic. This area, along the 10th parallel in Africa, is a region greatly affected by climate change. The deserts to the north are moving south by the rate of a quarter to a half mile per year and the frequent droughts make it all the more difficult for these tribes to follow their traditional migratory routes.
Now the mothers and children stay here while the fathers assume the nomadic life, following the rains with their herds. One of the hidden blessings is that these children now have an opportunity to receive an education.
The schools I visited had, at most, one book per classroom. All learning was by rote. It never ceases to amaze me how children that live in cultures where education is not an integral part of their lives, where there are no books or any other of the resources we take for granted, have such a strong motivation to learn. I am especially impressed by their attention span, as they continually listen and recite every word their teacher enunciates.
Below is a gallery of the images from two of the nomadic schools we visited.
The three instructors:
End of school day: