British Special Envoy for Gender Equality visits UK supported education projects in Samburu

Joanna Roper in Kenya
Joanna Roper, Susie Kitchens and Tony Reilly about to set off for Samburu. Photo: Twitter/JoannaRoperFCO

The UK Special Envoy for Gender Equality, Joanna Roper, spent the second day of her trip to Kenya by flying out to Samburu with British Council Kenya Country Director Tony Reilly and Deputy High Commissioner Susie Kitchens, where she met Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education, Amina Mohamed. 

Ms Roper travelled out to Samburu to see Department for International Development (DFID) Education and British Council inclusive education projects in Kenya through the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) which aims to help 1 million disadvantaged young ladies attend primary and secondary school.

Joanna Roper in Kenya
Joanna Roper learns about the challenges girls face in staying at school. Photo: Twitter/tonyreilly5

During the visit, she met the Governor of Samburu Country and a group of hearing impared learners. She also spoke with Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda about the importance of keeping girls in school.

Joanna Roper in Kenya
Joanna Roper and Amina Mohamed meet the Governor Samburu County. Photo: Twitter/tonyreilly5

The group also met staff and pupils at Maralal and Lorubae Primary Schools and spoke with the local community in Lorubae.

Maralal Primary School
Joanna Roper met pupils at Maralal Primary School during her trip to Samburu. Photo: Twitter/UKinKenya

Girls’ Education Challenge

The Girls’ Education Challenge will help up to a million of the world’s poorest girls to have an opportunity to improve their lives through education. This initiative calls on NGOs, charities and the private sector to find better ways of getting girls in school and ensuring they receive a quality of education to transform their future.

In Kenya, areas benefiting from the initiative along with Samburu include Lake Turkana and Marsabit.

Some projects are targeting highly marginalised girls, including the World University Service of Canada project in Kenya in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps as well as the Leonard Cheshire Disability project which supports Kenyan girls with disabilities. The latter has also been successful in influencing policy on inclusion at county and national level.

This morning, Ms Roper was one of the guests on Capital FM’s 984 in the Morning, where she spoke about the social and economic benefits of girls’ education along with the barriers faced by young women in Kenya.

Discussing her visit with hosts Amina Abdi and Maqbul Mohammed, she explained: “Whole communities miss out when they don’t educate their girls.”

She also touched on the subject of Female Genital Mutilation, saying that a community elder told her they “want to drive down the prevalence of FGM” and that they wanted to support their girls in gaining an education.

Tweeting after the show, Ms Roper said: “Thank you 984 In The Morning for inviting me to talk about how the U.K. & Kenya can work together on Girls’ Education. Everyone benefits when both boys & girls can complete their quality education.”

For more information on the Girls’ Education Challenge, please visit the DfID website.