Impact of armed conflict on education : a case study of Chesegon Division of West Pokot District, 1992-2003
Ndege, Julius K
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This study analyses the impact of armed conflict on education in West Pokot District in general and in particular Chesegon division between 1992 and 2003. The study argues that armed conflicts, insecurity and violence have negatively influenced the provision of and access to education in the region. Based on a wide array of primary and secondary sources, the study uses historical analysis methodology to analyze the role of African indigenous informal education. Key among these include, customs such as circumcision, age-groups, marriage and bride wealth, herding livestock, cattle raids and heroism the institution of Laibon/diviners, casting of skin sandals and 'reading' of animal entrails, women altitude and envy and dances such as adonga that have contributed to conflicts in West Pokot. The desire to satisfy their basic needs motivates the youth in West Pokot District to engage in conflict. Armed conflict presents an easy avenue for accessing cattle, which is considered the foundation of the socio-economic wellbeing in the District. For instance, raiding provides cattle for paying bride wealth, food, prestige and status. Many youth thus, consider formal education as secondary. Raiding and other cultural activities readily offer solutions to their immediate needs. As detailed in this study, the youth including school-going children are actively involved in the conflicts playing various roles ranging from actual combatants, spies and carriers of looted items among others. The involvement of the pupils/students as shown has significantly lowered the standards of education in the region- through absenteeism, displacement, injuries, fatigue, and loss of interest, diseases and misconduct. The conflicts too, have led (0 fleeing/withdrawing of inspectors of schools and teacher's services. The conflicts have scared away the investors and other education stakeholders, thus making the region to lag behind as far as education standards are concerned. The study concludes that armed conflicts do affect the smooth provision and access to education whenever they occur. It is also imperative to note that conflicts are exacerbated by traditional practices and beliefs of the communities in West Pokot District.