A Study of Education and Advocacy in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

Published on 1 November 2015

How can education in northern Kenya’s arid lands help build a stronger and more secure society and economy? This study uses a resilience framework to ask how various education systems in the arid lands are helping or hindering young people and their societies to absorb shocks, adapt to and minimise stresses, and transform in positive ways when confronted with internal change and external pressures.

The question is based on the concept of peacebuilding, in which it is assumed that people and societies are resilient when they accommodate adversity through complementary absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities.

The study was commissioned by the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office and funded by the UNICEF Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme, which is supported by the Government of the Netherlands. It aims to contribute to the programme’s Outcome 1, inclusion of education into peacebuilding and conflict-reduction policies, analysis and implementation, as well as inclusion of peacebuilding in education; Outcome 5, generation and use of evidence and knowledge on the links between education, conflict and peacebuilding; and Outcome 4, increased access to quality, relevant and conflict sensitive education.

The study aims to stimulate collaborative action among citizens, state and civil society in Kenya, and to contribute broader insights on education provision in Eastern and Southern Africa’s arid lands.

The report conveys the perspective of a wide range of people, including those who learn in secular and religious schools, those who have just left them, teach in them, manage them and send their children to them, and those who are given a traditional education by parents and elders. The fieldwork was carried out in Marsabit, Wajir and Turkana Counties of northern Kenya, from March 2014–August 2015. All three counties have low levels of enrolment, low retention and poor performance in formal education.


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Patta Scott-Villiers

Research Fellow

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published by
Scott-Villiers, P., Wilson, S., Kabala, N., Kullu, M., Ndung'u, D. and Scott-Villiers, A.


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