Education is the key to success, and now the marginalized communities have embraced education especially to the girl child well. It is expected that in Kajiado south constituency, the ratio of boys to girls in education come next year will be 100: 100. However, there are still cultural practices that a section of the Maasai community has been hooked to.
In the heart of Kajiado south constituency lies Iltilal village and in this village, a great school dots in this area. Iltilal primary school, an institution that has sparked a zeal for education to these young ones. A community that embraced boy child education, has as well taken great strides to see that a girl child’s performance stands out in this competitive world of knowledge.
Despite the efforts that have been put in place to ensure a girl child is well educated especially in the marginalized communities, a challenge still plagues out to a section of the Maasai community, that is yet to help the girls move forward.
The journey of a Maasai girl leads us to Merick Mushinga, a father of 26 children, among them 13 daughters who underwent the cut and were married off. Merick is one of the elders that is yet to denounce the cut.
Margret Lankeu is one of the many girls in the Maasai community, who turned into a woman after the cut, and she maintains that the community should embrace the Alternate Rite of Passage programmes- ARP, aimed at eradicating the cut.
80 year old Mary Konyoki one of the few elderly women who confesses to having circumcised hundreds of girls, and for the last two years, she has been advocating for ARP programs as a way to preserve the culture in the Maasai community.
The Maasai girl too is forced to miss classes during her menses. However, the help of Malkia initiative which is set to educate the girls on menstrual hygiene, will cut on the girls’ absenteeism in this area. Dropping out of school too after the cut to be married off at a younger age is also a challenge that a section of the Maasai community is still practicing.
Despite the challenges that the girl child goes through, her journey to reach her dreams has not been deterred and now Iltilal primary school has seen great improvement of girls joining this school, which is dotted in the hills, for the past 3 years.
In 2016, 89% of the boys joined high schools while 73% of the girls joined the high schools. In 2017, 91% of the boys joined high schools while 87% of the girls joined high schools an improvement of girls as compared to 2016.
The school has enrolled 61 candidates to sit for their national exams this year, 34 of them being boys while 27 are girls and as the brilliant sun rays gleam outline the cotton-ball clouds in a blazing glow in this village, it is silvered and transformed by the light of the moon, a symbol of the light of transformation, that against all odds will help the Maasai girl pursue her dreams.