Mobile Non Formal Education keeps Sarah’s dream alive despite obstacles

Published February 12, 2016 by MNFE Team

pichaAn excited Pauline standing outside her manyatta in Korr, Garrissa.

Sarah Josephine glanced anxiously at her friend’s phone as she waited for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results to be released. At the age of 17, she was among the students that sat the national examinations at Adeso’s Non-formal education center in Koor, in Kenya’s Marsabit County, in November 2015.  

As she soon found out, Sarah had no reason to be nervous about her performance. To her astonishment, she scored 256 points out of a possible 500, making her the top female student out of 89 registered candidates (33 girls 56 boys) who sat for the examination. Sarah’s story is that of hard-work, sheer determination and self-sacrifice.
In 2014, at the age of 15, Sarah became pregnant during her final year at Korr Primary School. This did not however deter her from realizing her dream of proceeding to high school.. Even though she was unable to attend school regularly during her pregnancy, Sarah managed to get an entry grade to high school. Unfortunately, she lost her father that same year and was unable to amass enough money to proceed to high school. 
When we visited Sarah at her home in the outskirts of Korr, the effects of poverty were evident. Sarah, her mother and two of her siblings live in two dilapidated stand-alone manyattas (houses). Determined to keep her dreams alive, she joined Korr Non Formal Education Center in early 2015 after learning of the program from a friend. With a young baby to take care of, Sarah had to take regular breastfeeding breaks, but her mother was there to support her. 
Sarah has great ambitions. With her KCPE in hand, she now wants to proceed to secondary school and later join college to study Journalism. As a professional journalist, Sarah hopes to be able to highlight the plight of young girls in her community. She believes girls are still being left out of the social, economic and political decision-making of the community and as a result are marginalized and forgotten. 

“As a girl I feel we have been left out in our society. We are not given equal opportunities like boys, especially in education. I want to study hard when I join secondary school so that I can come back to my community and champion girl’s rights,” says Sarah.

Sarah believes that some of the problems that plague young girls in her community – including early marriage and pregnancy, female genital mutilation and HIV/AIDS – could be addressed if parents, leaders and the government started talking about these impediments openly and addressed their underlying causes. 
The Korr Non Formal Education Center has recently seen tremendous improvements in the enrollment and retention of girls who had previously dropped out of school. Part of this is due to Sarah’s efforts to talk to girls in her community and encourage them to go back to school. Sarah is passionate to see her friends complete the Non formal Education curriculum and later join Secondary schools or Vocational training institutions.
The MNFE project works to ensure that all children and youth can not only go to school, but can also acquire the knowledge and skills they need in a bid to lead healthy, productive lives, secure meaningful jobs, and contribute to society.