Turkana

Turkana - Where BBF is now working

The BBF has decided to work in the northern Turkana region of Kenya.  This is one of the most desolate inhabited places on the continent and an area of absolute need.  Our work is based around the provision of schools as part of a larger sustainable educational infastructure development project.  We hope to build 5 nursery schools and a secondary school.  The Kataboi district that we are working in has only two primary schools for about 3,000 children (aged 6-12) and there are no secondary schools.  If students want to be educated further then they must go elsewhere in the country.  About two a year might then end up going to university. 

The detail of our initial proposal can be seen in the attached document and can be found in much more detail in the Turkana pages.  Turkana Proposal 

 

 This is an extract from the latest visit to Kataboi by Sacha

 

'The one word that describes the place is humbling. They literally don’t have anything at all and are certainly not given much by the government. The people there are fishermen and eek a living from the Lake. They live in huts made from reeds and dried grass – there isn’t even corrugated iron here...

 

...The surrounding area is semi arid at best, heavily volcanic and desert at worst. The villagers greeted me and I was given a series of speeches from members and then privileged to be the recipient of an incredible dance by the women, shrieking, jumping and weaving in the sand. They told me that I must have been sent by God and to be honest I felt like one of the early anthropologists I studied so little of at university.' 
 

 Background information on the Turkana region

Turkana district, is the largest district in Kenya with an estimated 77,000 sq kilometers land mass, and with a population of approximately 0.5 million is known to have one of the lowest levels of literacy (30%) and remains as one of the poorest districts in Kenya (overall poverty of 74%). According to district ranking on food poverty among the rural districts, Turkana is the third worst hit, while on overall poverty it is ranked fourth among districts with more than 60% of their population below poverty line (Turkana District Development plan 2002- 2008).

 

The district consists entirely of arid and semi- arid lands, characterized by an extremely harsh climate with low unreliable rainfall, high temperatures and poor soils. Pastoralism is the dominant economic activity with agriculture practiced on a small scale and only along two main rivers dissecting the district. Frequent severe drought and famine over the last few decades have decimated livestock and undermine the livelihoods of thousands of families.

 

Meaningful commerce is constrained by dilapidated infrastructure, illiteracy/ignorance as well as insecurity. The pastoralist livelihood is almost completely based on their livestock, which includes goats, sheep, donkeys, camel and cattle. While most pastoralist communities are involved in opportunistic cultivation, the cereals that they produce, mainly sorghum are not enough to carry them through the entire year.

 

Livestock, the cornerstone of pastoral society and economy represents both an investment for the future and a source of every day needs in the form of milk, blood and meat. Pastoralists are poorly integrated with the cash economy, and carry out their trade and bartering using livestock.

 

The major causes of poverty are harsh topography and climatic conditions, prevalence of animals and crop diseases, collapse of irrigation schemes, poor marketing systems of agricultural and livestock, poor infrastructure especially roads, unreliable rainfall, inadequate access to credit facilities, illiteracy and ignorance, limited employment opportunities, inadequate health facilities, large families and lack of access to productive assets, insufficient water supply, insecurity and cattle rustling, low school enrolment, retention and completion rates.

 

 

£12,000 builds a school for 300 or more children

£688 gives the school a teacher for a year

£292 buys a school a years worth of teaching equipment

£57 pays for a teacher for a month

£17 is the amount to educate one child for one year

£2.50 buys a child a school uniform