Set within semi-arid rural lands of Marsabit county, close to the north eastern border of Kenya and Ethiopia, Karare is home to the pastoralist communities of Samburu, Rendille and Turkana tribes.
Here tradition and culture define roles and responsibilities as well as opportunity and expectation. Multiple wives and numerous children are the norm for many families, increasing the burden on first born or eldest girls. Traditional family homes include herds of cattle, sheep and goats and daily chores of fetching water and firewood as well as caring for younger siblings.
During times of drought, young boys and girls charged with looking after the livestock have to travel many kilometres to source suitable grazing lands and access to water. Such challenges fuel tribal conflict and often brutal violence.
The girl child in Karare faces many challenges; expectations of taking on family chores at the expense of accessing education and providing valuable resource to the family in the form of a dowry in exchange for marriage. Despite greater awareness of the value of education, many girls drop out of school at the age of 12 – 13 years either in preparation for marriage or through teenage pregnancy.
Since 2015 Stephen and Ellie have worked tirelessly with the community, the elders, their respective families and key individuals to enhance their understanding of complexity of problems, to respect tradition and culture whilst finding ways to challenge those which cause harm. Following initial consultation and engagement, the community gave their blessing for Amuka Foundation to work within Karare. At every stage of developing programme activities, we engage with the community representatives ensuring transparency and accountability.
For those who were born in Karare and later fled to Nairobi to realise their career dreams, we encourage them to give something back, to support others through mentorship and guidance as well as funding activities.