State of health and education among minority and indigenous peoples in Kenya

This publication was produced by MRG’s partner(s) with MRG. It remains the property of the organization(s) in question and do not necessarily reflect the views of MRG.

In 2015, all member states of the United Nations (UN) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. i The member States rightfully recognized the importance of good health (Goal 3) and quality education (Goal 4) in the attainment of sustainable development. It can rightfully be argued that good health and education are the fulcrum of the fifteen other SDGs. With the adoption of this Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Member States further pledged to ensure that ‘no one will be left behind’ and to ‘endeavour to reach the furthest behind first’.

The furthest behind include indigenous communities in Kenya like the Ogiek of Mau forest and Mt. Elgon, the Sengwer of Cherangany forest, the Endorois of Baringo and the Awer of Boni forest Lamu, who are the subject of this baseline study that was commissioned by Minority Rights Group (MRG) and the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP). The study is part of a program that they are implementing with the aim of improving access to quality health care and education among the above named communities. The study began on 24 June 2020. It involved extensive literature review, telephone interviews with various stakeholders as well as field visits to Mt. Elgon in both Bungoma and Trans Nzioa Counties, Cherangany in West Pokot, Trans Nzoia and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties, Baringo County and Mau Forest in Nakuru and Narok Counties.

The study came up with numerous findings, key among them being the recognition that the government has taken some measures to realize goals 3 and 4. However, there remains challenges because of factors such as Law and policy gaps; inadequate resources; unsecure land tenure; security concerns; poor infrastructure; poverty; early marriages; the covid-19 pandemic and community attitudes among others.

This publication was produced in the framework of our programme ‘Enhancing quality and universal access to indigenous peoples’ reproductive healthcare (EQUIP)’ focusing on Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Myanmar from 2019 to 2023. Click here to read more about the programme.

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