Schooling for Children

New school supplies being handed out to students by their teacher.

The Samburu consider schooling essential to their children’s futures. They will do anything to make it possible for their children to attend class. Most families struggle just to provide themselves with enough food for survival and no funds are available for their children’s education.

15 years ago Tribal Advancement funded the education of Sarah Lenaimado so she could become a teacher. She is a very intelligent young woman and, with 3 years training in Nairobi, Sarah earned her teaching certificate. Tribal Advancement also funded 1 year of health training for her. A small primary school exists near their tribal lands and Sarah is now one of their teachers. Tribal Advancement continues to provide books, pens, pencils and uniforms for hundreds of families who cannot afford school costs.

Secondary School Funding

An Education Committee exists within the tribe. They meet with families seeking secondary education for their children and carefully decide which students will receive school fee assistance. The decision is determined by the attitude and grades of the student. When these students have choices in their study curriculum most choose environmental, agricultural, veterinary, and health studies along with accounting.

Tribal Advancement is currently sending 18 students to secondary school in distant trading towns where they have boarding schools. As these young students gain higher education, employment and income, they share their knowledge and are committed to developing projects among their tribal people that greatly assist in overall advancement.

Literacy and Education for Adults

In the early years when I returned for a month to work with the Samburu, I joined their planning groups and observed that only young boys and young men were chosen by the Samburu to attend secondary school. At that time, the tribal men were the decision makers and felt that with the limited education funds available only males should receive secondary schooling. However, this changed rapidly as women gained basic literacy and micro-credit loans, and they created income that supported their families. This impressed the men who now join the women in choosing equal numbers of boys and girls to receive secondary education. The Samburu now recognize that literacy and math skills are essential so they can successfully integrate tribal tradition with western culture. When I first started working with the Samburu, we immediately began basic literacy trainings among the Samburu women who eagerly gathered in groups at their manyattas. Since that time, men and women continue to consistently meet with Sarah Lenaimado, who teaches them basic literacy, math, general health, and reproductive health.

Veterinary Training

Goat being vaccinated by one of the Samburu veterinarians.

The life and death of the Samburu depend on the animals they keep for food. The health, and wealth, of the tribe is calculated by the number of cows and goats they have, so keeping their animals healthy is of utmost importance. In 2002, Tribal Advancement paid for 4 young Samburu men to gain veterinary training and a veterinary fund was set up with medicines for treating the sick cattle, goats and camels. The outcomes have been very successful and large numbers of Samburu families are very grateful that their livestock have been saved over the years.