Maasai women embrace adult literacy

Women continue to dominate adulthood classes in Kajiado with men shying away from classes a matter attributed to cultural beliefs

By Our Reporter

Maasai women have embraced adult education programs to fight illiteracy and poverty in Kajiado.

They are also advocating against retrogressive cultural practices like female Gentle Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages that deny Maasai women formal education.

Aged women across the county have now accepted to go to class and in places like  Loitoktok, Kajiado South Sub County, those aged between 50-70 years have come out in large numbers.

Men are also going to school although they are said to be reluctant to attend classes with women.

Traditionally, women are equated as children and sit separately at many public or social gatherings.

Recently, more than100 women from Loitoktok graduated after attending languages and basic arithmetic classes for three months.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku,who graced the graduation ceremony lauded the program saying his administration has allocated Sh40 million in the current financial year to enroll more adult students.

He urged the community to shun retrogressive cultures that are counterproductive to formal education.

“Retrogressive cultures have seen our community lag behind in formal education,” said Governor Lenku.

The classes were interrupted by Covid 19 pandemic but the students had already sat for exams waiting to graduate.

Some learners wish  to know how to count livestock and have the capability to read the Bible.

“Life of an illiterate Maasai woman in the village is full of challenges. Those in beadwork rely on interpreters to negotiate prices with foreign customers. We herd but we cannot count our livestock,” said Lilian Kirelo

They have vowed to continue encouraging more women to join adult education and continuation programs.

Governor Lenku also emphasized enrollment of all children who have attained school going age into Early Childhood Developmnt (ECD) classes.

Ministry of Education statistics show that illiteracy in Kajiado county stands at 49.8 percent.

In 2018 male enrollment stood at 3,414 students against 6,015 female students enrollment.

In 2019, the numbers significantly dropped to a total enrollment of 3,179 students. The number may drop further due to Covid 19 pandemic education calendar interruption.

Kajiado Central and West sub counties have witnessed the biggest drop in the program enrollment.

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