Evaluation report, Chesta Girls Secondary School Project, 2003-2008
Background:The Pokot people in North-western Kenya constitute a marginalized group in Kenyan society, and live in a remote, neglected and poorly developed part of the country. Pokot women and girls can be said to be doubly disadvantaged, since they are marginalized also within Pokot society. It is extremely rare for a Pokot girl to be given educational opportunities at all, let alone to secondary level. Moreover, an increasing number of girls who resist female genital mutilation (FGM) were being thrown out by their families and turned to the church for help. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) therefore established a girl's secondary school in Chesta, as a normal progression from the ELCK sponsored Girls' primary school in the same place. The project was started in 2003 under the sponsorship of ELCK and started receiving funds from NORAD in 2005. It has been a goal to establish an institution for girls' secondary education to act as a role model in the region. Furthermore it has been a goal to sensitize the community, especially the pastoralists, on the importance of education without showing discrimination to girls. It has also been a goal to avoid early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation. Purpose/objective: The evaluation aimed at measuring to which extent the project has achieved its goals. It also aimed at assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the interventions within the management structure, implementation process and sustainability. Methodology:The evaluation team performed interviews based on questionnaires and made observations while spending a number of days at the project site. The team also interacted with various stakeholders, students, parents, community, teachers and committee members. Key findings:The project's main objectives have been met to a large extent. The school has been established and is currently offering 265 girls secondary education. The girls are empowered and avoid early and forced marriages. The school acts as a role model in the region as it is the only secondary school in the whole of Chesegon Division. There has been an increased enrolment in the school, which in turn has reduced illiteracy levels in the area. There is also a boom of income generating activities due to the heavy presence of the school community (students, staff) that provide ready and reliable market for the goods and services. Cases of female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have greatly reduced in Seito sub- location. A report from the school administration indicated that about 60% of the girls have not undergone FGM. Remaining challenges: There is a lack of tertiary institutions to absorb secondary school graduates. Some parents still secretly subject their daughters to forceful FGM and marry them off. The high demand for education by the most vulnerable children has increased. The school is short on staff and there is a lack of proper and adequate medical fertilities. Recommendations: • For continuity purposes, affirmative action should be accorded to the local students to be enrolled in the institution.• Tertiary institutions should be started to absorb the high number of graduates from secondary schools given that the nearest tertiary colleges is approximately 100km away.• Since the funds were properly spent and objectives met under the prudent management of the church, a similar project can be replicated elsewhere in the district by the church through the support of the donors.