Factors influencing the girl child access to primary education in conflict prone zones of Tana River county, Kenya
Conflict is any disagreement between two or more parties which distabilizes the normal routine of those affected. In Kenya, there are conflict prone areas for example Mt. Elgon, Molo, Mandera, Tana River County among others. Armed conflict has been persistent in Tana River County for years over natural resources. This has greatly affected girl child access to primary education in the area. Girls become more vulnerable during conflict where they are raped, injured, maimed, impregnated or made care givers of their siblings when their parents are killed. The study findings may be used to develop principles and policies of universal application in improving girl child access to primary education in conflict prone areas in Kenya and Africa. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The target population was all primary school girls in the Tana Delta District, teachers, the DEO Tana Delta district and the community in the District. Target population was 1785 girls, 67 teachers of the affected schools and the DEO Tana Delta district and a few community members. The study targeted 20 teachers and 250 girls. The study used purposive sampling technique to come up with the sample size. The study used questionnaire for data collection and data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. From the findings, the study showed that armed conflict in Tana River County was highly prevalent and negatively affected girl child access to primary education. Gender Based Violence (GBV) was a significant factor influencing the girl child access to primary education in conflict prone zones. Through the armed conflict most of the girls were sexually abused resulting to them having early and unwanted pregnancies and others contracted HIV/AIDS. Through GBV the girl child suffered greatly both physically and psychologically and greatly reduced the possibility of returning to school to continue with their education. Child headed families in conflict prone zones such as Tana River County influences girl child access to primary education to a great extent because many girls take up motherly roles and forgo school. All these interfere with the provision of education to girls violating their right to access education. The study recommends the government through the security agencies to work with the local community of Tana River County to come up with a lasting solution to the problem of armed conflicts and ensure lasting peace. The government through the ministry of education should initiate a special kitty to take care of the education of pupils heading their families. Further study should be carried out to assess the factors that influence girl child access to secondary education in conflict prone zones of Tana River County. It is hoped the findings of this study will be of benefit to the Ministry of education, TSC and other education managers in designing ways of improving girl child access to primary education during and after conflict in the conflict prone zones like Tana River County.