Education is hugely important for the children of Lekrumuni, a Maasai community in northern Tanzania. However, with the nearest secondary school at 13km away, it is also out of reach for many of them. In early 2015, the Lekrumuni sought to partner with COCO to construct a secondary school in the community. In July 2015, COCO’s Overseas Operations Coordinator, Bradley French, and a team of research volunteers from Newcastle and Sunderland University visited the community to find out first-hand how easier access to schooling could benefit the community.
To gain a comprehensive overview of exactly what the community wanted from a school a variety of methods were used, from conducting interviews to collecting official government statistics. At the forefront of these methods, though, was simply listening to what the people of the community had to say.
One approach was to hold a group discussion with students at other ‘local’ secondary schools to hear their opinions on a variety of topics. The first of which was the importance of education. The students were fully engaged in the discussion and gave some uplifting insights into why they value education.
All students valued education as it was regarded as an effective way of tackling local issues such as FGM and poverty. With one student summing up this advantage with “education tackles ignorance”.
Another topic of discussion were barriers to education in the local area. The barriers were hugely varied; some children can’t go to the local schools are they are too far and there are no dormitory facilities, others come from families who can’t afford school fees, meanwhile some girls are unable to continue in education as they are forced into marriage.
COCO is hoping to start partnering with the Lekrumuni community in the near future. Watch this space for any news on development!