Baringo’s Salabani Primary School swept by floods gets new classrooms

Salabani Primary, the school that was in 2020 swept by floods from Lake Baringo and Bogoria, has been reconstructed with new classrooms set on higher ground.

The rehabilitation was sponsored by ChildFund Kenya, which caters to the welfare of children, to the tune of $299,000 (about Ksh30 million). Working with the Central Rift Community Development Program (CRCDP, ChildFund constructed eight primary and two ECD classrooms, an administration block as well as pit latrines.

ChildFund Kenya Country Director Alice Anukur said primary section has been equipped with 400 desks while the pre-primary level with 170 chairs and 45 tables.

The new structures were officially commissioned by Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, who underscored the need to create a supportive learning environment for children.

Salabani Primary and ECD Centre were hit hardest by the flooding in Baringo County, leading to temporary closure after it was submerged. The school relocated to a new site with make-shift iron sheet structures that were not comfortable for learning.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Anukur noted that climate change is increasingly becoming a threat to children’s lives. Climate change drives inequality and prolongs poverty traps, she said, with children and adolescents particularly exposed.

She said floods create extra barriers to education in areas where rising hunger, ongoing conflict, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have already affected children’s learning. “Up to two-thirds of preventable illness and death from environmental hazards such as flooding is experienced by children, with the burden predominantly in those aged under five years,” she said.

According to ChildFund, every year, around 1.5 million children see their education interrupted in Kenya – and half of them drop out of school because of climate and environmental threats.

The ChildFund Kenya Country Director said children out of school are at greater risk of being abused and exploited or recruited into child labour or into armed groups.

Globally 900,000 people have been affected, 50,000 displaced and 400 died due to floods and landslides since August 2021, according to ChildFund statistics.  “These challenges compromise children’s rights and access to quality education and sets up an unfortunate cycle of poverty and inequality as without a proper education, there is little chance of improving one’s situation later in life,” she says.

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