Four NRT member community conservancies in Isiolo each recently received Ksh 2.5 million from the Community Livelihood Fund (CLF) to cater to their secondary school students’ bursaries.
The newly-established Cherab, Kinna Ward, Sericho, and Garba Tulla Community Conservancies celebrated the receipt of the funds and organized ceremonies to award the bursaries to their schools. Cherab’s ceremony took place on the 20th of April, while the other three conservancies’ ceremonies were held the next day.
Jarso Mokku, the NRT Board of Directors Vice-Chair, presided over all four ceremonies, which were attended by officials from the Isiolo County Government, including Galge Galgalo, the Isiolo County Director for Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) and Vocational Training.
With a total of 827 students, Kinna Ward Community Conservancy had the most students benefiting from the program. 200 of them were from Algani Girls High School, which is located within the Conservancy.
In Cherab Community Conservancy, 565 students will benefit from the bursary. The Conservancy selected 315 students from secondary schools within its locality and 250 students who hail from the Conservancy but attend schools outside its borders as bursary recipients.
Sericho and Garba Tulla Community Conservancies have 500 and 336 student beneficiaries respectively. The beneficiaries are all drawn from local schools in the two conservancies.
All four conservancies are part of NRT East, which comprises NRT member conservancies in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties. Due to poverty brought on by an extended drought in the region, bursaries were a top priority for communities in the four conservancies when making their CLF applications. The locals, who traditionally are pastoralists, have borne the brunt of the drought, which has gradually led to the shrinking of pasture lands, spelling doom for the communities, whose livelihood largely depends on livestock.
“Owing to inadequate pasture due to the drought, livestock became malnourished, resulting in them fetching low market prices. This caused many families to cut back on their expenses for survival, with school-going children being the most affected as many parents couldn’t afford school fees anymore,” explains the Garba Tulla Community Conservancy Manager, Boru Ibrahiim.
The bursaries are a lifeline for many underprivileged families, especially since their distribution coincided with the reopening dates of schools across the country.
“The funds disbursed will cater for the student’s learning for two full school terms. The majority of the parents of the student beneficiaries have lauded the move and feel greatly relieved of their financial burden. They hope that this bursary program will continue,” says Mr. Ibrahiim.
The four conservancies’ bursaries, issued through the CLF, were jointly funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Rainforest Trust, and Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM). Additionally, The Nature Conservancy in Africa (TNC), the Embassy of Denmark in Kenya and Somalia, and USAID, have all provided financial support to cater for the four conservancies’ operations.
NRT established CLF in 2015 to empower indigenous communities in identifying, planning, and implementing their own development programs. To date, CLF has funded 162 projects across all NRT member conservancies. Any NRT member conservancy may apply for CLF funds as long as their proposals reflect community priorities and have been approved by the conservancy board.