The Samburu nomadic school initiative started in 2018 with a community engagement programme to pilot transferable Montessori schools in the Namunyak Conservancy area, in Northern Kenya.
The objectives of the Samburu Nomadic School Initiative are to:
Create a long-term sustainable model for educating children in the Samburu community, with the goal of preserving the magnificent cultural and natural heritage of the Samburu people and lands.
Ensure that agency for change is in the hands of the on-site population. The project is founded on the principle of ‘help me to do it by myself’. Change will not be imposed but the ‘inspiration for change’, ‘guidance for change’ and ‘tools for change’ will be provided by participants and stakeholders with the project.
Ensure that the children receive a quality Montessori education that supports individual development in the context of community. When the initiative was established, two experienced teachers from Corner of Hope moved to the remote region as mentor teachers, to support a team of four newly trained Samburu teachers.
Now, a team of 13 teachers is based in the Namunyak Conservancy, with tented classrooms in the Ntaparani, Tintil and Lengusaka settlement areas, to work with the children and parents in moveable Montessori environments. A fourth school will open soon in the Louwai Obo settlement. All materials and the tents can be transported when the community decides to move to another settlement, or can be moved into a safe storage at the end of the term dates.
Mentor teacher Judy Mugambi completed the international AMI 3-6 Diploma, and three more teachers are currently on the AMI 3-6 Diploma course in Tanzania. The teachers with AMI diplomas will use their gained knowledge and skills to support the other teachers on site.
The children wear school outfits based on the traditional Samburu and shelves were made from local resources, accommodating the full range of Montessori materials. A food programme is also in place, thus allowing the children to have a healthy meal and more time in school.
Under the mentorship of Corner of Hope teachers Judy Mugambi and Terry Koskei, the Samburu Montessori school has continued to thrive and exhibit marked improvement in quality of teaching. The children within the settlement areas of Ntaparani, Tintil and Lengusaka attend school on regular basis and there is huge community support towards the four schools.
The Samburu initiative is realized in partnership with the Sarara Foundation, where education is one of the core pillars to support the nomadic Samburu from birth to maturity.