Kenya’s Endorois and Turkana minority and indigenous communities are struggling to access quality education and healthcare services, despite increased government budgetary allocations to the two sectors in the country, a Minority Rights Group International (MRG) study has revealed.
The study, conducted in Baringo, Turkana, Trans-Nzoia and Elgeyo Marakwet counties revealed that access to quality education and healthcare is jeopardised by several factors. Many Endorois and Turkana have to trek long distances to access schools and healthcare facilities. During the wet seasons, some have to brave crossing flooded rivers to access services due to the poor road infrastructure in these rural counties.
Persons living with disabilities and belonging to these communities are often worst affected by this unfortunate state of affairs. For instance, there are no special needs centres in the area of research. Indigenous children with disabilities have inadequate access to assistive devices, such as wheelchairs for those with physical disabilities.
‘The briefing is important because it points out the root cause of the problem of discrimination in access to basic services and more importantly what can be done to reverse the situation and uphold human rights,’ says Geoffrey Kerosi, MRG’s East Africa Health and Education Coordinator.
MRG conducted the study in collaboration with Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (EIWEN) and Turkana Development Organization Forum (TUDOF), two indigenous organizations working to promote the rights of the Endorois and Turkana communities respectively.
The marginalisation of minority and indigenous communities in the country such as the Endorois and Turkana goes far back. For example, since Kenya attained her independence, no technical and vocational institutions have been established in the areas where this study was conducted.
‘Access to health and education is a basic human right. The Endorois community of Baringo is still far away from this reality because this research has shown that there are no maternity facilities and special education centres for children living with disabilities, due to a widening gap of social inequalities leading to extreme marginalization,’ says Christine Kandie, the Executive Director of Endorois Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (EIWEN).