Cultural factors influencing Sudanese urban refugee girls’ participation in public primary schools in Ruiru sub-county, Kiambu county
This study aimed at investigating factors influencing Sudanese Urban refugee girls’ participation in public primary schools in Ruiru sub-county, Kenya. The study sought to achieve the following objectives: establish the extent to which gender roles influence participation of Sudanese urban refugee girls; assess the extent to which early marriages influence participation of Sudanese urban refugee girls; identify the extent to which the patriarchal nature of culture influences participation of urban refugee girls and examine the extent to which female genital mutilation influences participation of Sudanese urban refugee girls in public primary schools in Ruiru sub-county. The study used descriptive survey design and was carried out in 6 public primary schools. Random sampling was done to come up with 176 respondents 80 of who were teachers, 90 urban refugee pupils and 6 head teachers of the Primary schools. Data was collected by use of questionnaires and focus group discussion. In order to validate the research tools, a pilot study was conducted in two schools. Data was collected, coded and analyzed to form the bases for research findings conclusions and recommendations. The findings of this study showed that gender roles, early marriages, and patriarchal nature of culture and female genital mutilation influence participation of the refugee girls in public primary schools. Urban refugees who underwent female genital mutilation hardly reported back to school and the few that returned did not fully participate because of frequent absenteeism due to the health complications involved. Other factors included general lack of parental support, height and age, trauma, poverty, insecurity and language. The study came up with some recommendations. First, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) should create awareness programs among the communities on the harmful effects of female genital mutilation and early marriages. Second, UNHCR should work with the government and other stakeholders to enlighten the refugees on importance of educating the girl child. The government of Kenya should impose stiffer penalties on all perpetrators of fgm in the country. This study has also made suggestions for further research. These includes, a study on factors influencing participation of urban refugee boys in primary school, factors influencing academic achievements of urban refugee pupils in primary schools and a study on institutional factors influencing refugees pupils’ performance of languages in primary school.