East Pokot is in Baringo County in Kenya. It is one of the most beautiful and fascinating areas in the country yet full of complex challenges. Two major challenges facing the region include education challenges and water shortage.
East Pokot faces serious education issues caused by forced marriages, female genital mutilation, forced labor, violent cattle raiding, and malnutrition due to drought and food scarcity. Education is foundational in the development and empowerment of this area, yet most families cannot financially support their children to school. Most people in East Pokot are illiterate, which adds to the difficulties when it comes to development and addressing basic needs. A recent study ranks East Pokot as having the lowest literacy rates in East Africa estimated at 85-95%. For those who pursue education, most are unable to complete high school education due to poverty and lack of financial means. In addition, many primary schools in East Pokot are severely under resourced and under staffed. The students who attend these schools face many challenges as they try to stay in school, pass their examinations, and eventually make it to secondary school. The dropout rates in the area are very high due to poverty related issues, family migration, early marriage, and child labour. Education in the area is at a standstill with most schools closed due to insecurity. This adds to a large drop out of students with most teachers abandoning their schools in search of tranquil settings.
Water challenges in East Pokot are caused by prolonged drought and famine. The plight of people who live in this hostile area continues to be ravaged by drought and famine. Drought and famine has deteriorated in spite of donors and people of good will, who have responded generously to appeals for assistance. The Pokot people are experiencing one of the worst droughts in the history of Kenya. A few short showers with no real significance have come and dried up immediately, partly due to the ground temperature. It has not rained with any significance since October 2016. One of the many effects of this severe drought is shortage of water. Rivers are seasonal and river beds are dry in the region. East Pokot has experienced months with few erratic showers but water dams and pans are drying at a rapid rate partly due to a very high evaporation rate. The community and their animals are sharing the same water sources which can lead to outbreaks of Cholera among other water borne illnesses.