Pastoralists Girls' Education in Africa: A Study of Emusoi Center in Northern Tanzania

Master's Thesis, 2008

59 Pages, Grade: 56





List of Abbreviations


2.0 Literature review and theoretical framework
2.1 Overview of girls’ education
2.2 Pastoralist Girls’ Education
2.3 Introduction
2.4 Concept and trends
2.5 Constraints
2.5.1 Policies
2.5.2 Poverty
2.5.3 Traditional practices and culture
2.5.4 Distance between the home and school
2.5.5 Dilapidated structures
2.6. Emusoi Center
2.7 Introduction
2.8 Center capacity
2.9 Duplication
2.10 Approaches adopted by the center

3.0 Methodology
3.1 Methodological approach
3.2 Expected approach to analysis
3.3 Limitation

4.1 Situational analysis of Maasai girls’ education
4.2 Poverty
4.3 Distance to school and fear of wild animals
4.4 Culture

5.0 Conclusion


1. Sample of the questionnaires used


2. Pastoralist girl’s education questionnaires and interviews response


List of Figures

1. One of the primary schools in Losimingori village, Arusha, Tanzania

2. Emusoi Center entrance gate, Arusha, Tanzania

3. Girl’s hostel at the Emusoi Center, Tanzania

4. Inside of Emusoi Center, Arusha, Tanzania

5. Some of the Emusoi staff

6. Emusoi Assistant Director

7. Pre-Secondary school pupils taking lessons

8. Maasai girls walking to school

9. One of three Maasai kids herding is a girl


1. Sample of the questionnaire used.48

2. Response from the questionnaires and interviews response54


Special thanks to Ford Foundation International (IFP) for the sponsorship during this course.

I am particularly grateful to the Emusoi Center, which forms the basis of this dissertation. I would like to thank all the Emusoi Center staff for welcoming and treating me so warmly and allowing the observation and recording of their activities.

Special thank must be given to Sr. Mary Vertucci – Emusoi Center Director, who arranged the researched field visit and for the driver to pick me to and from the Center. I would also like to acknowledge the Maasai people for enabling me their time and efforts during interviews and group discussions.

I am extremely grateful to my translator Naha Shuaka without whom the interviews, and group’s discussion would be impossible.

I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate the efforts, guidance and encouragement of my supervisor, Dr. John Watson in shaping this work. Many thanks go to all members of staff at the International Development Department (IDD) who facilitated my academic progress at the University of Birmingham. Lastly, I would like to thank my wife Khadijah and daughter Fatimatu Zahra’u for their patience and forbearance while writing this dissertation.


This dissertation has found that providing services such as infrastructure and welfare services to groups of people who are on the move, has historically been very difficult. Providing services such as education, to a society which is either migratory or just beginning to stabilize, and does not value education, particularly for girls, is seemingly difficult. The Tanzanian Maasai people are the perfect example of such a society. Many problems adversely affect their girls’ enrolment, regular attendance and performance in school: lack of schools, the distance they must walk to go to school, a dangerous environment to walk through, fees, lack of food, poor standards of education in the schools, lack of classrooms, books, desks, teachers and learning supplies, also the transhumant nature of the society and the customs and culture of the community. All these factors are found to greatly affect both boys and girls, but have the greatest impact on girls.

However, the Emusoi Center has provided an approach for keeping these girls in school by involving pastoralist NGOs, churches, government leaders and members of parliament from the pastoralist area. Religious leaders identify possible students, government and Parliament Members use their power to ensure parents allow their girls to attend school, especially in instances where the girls are forced into marriage. The Center monitors the students’ progress at the end of every term and maintains a close contact with the schools in order to follow up the students’ progress. The Center also involves students who have finished their O-level studies as student’s mentor and as a role model to empower the new comers and those already enrolled. They accompany the new students to schools, hospital, and also help with administrative task such as accounting and secretarial work.

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

CHAPTER ONE Introduction

International organisations and NGOs use education as a corner-stone for measuring poverty and indicate its importance in reducing poverty and empowering development (UNESCO, 2002; UNESCO 2003; and UN, 2005). Girls’ education has become a global issue. Leaders of developed countries have been providing aid for the provision of basic education and pledge their commitment in helping developing countries boost their education sector. They stressed their commitments in embracing the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)[1] in education, especially eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education (UN, 2005). However, it has been noted that, for countries to make progress on achieving the MDGs, attention has to be paid to pastoralist areas, which have both a high incidence of poverty and low levels of educational participation and attainment (Bishop, 2006). Girls’ education has been identified as the most effective investment (Paul, 2000).

Right across Africa, pastoralists are faced with many problems ranging from land degradation, lost of land to expanding farming populations, privatization of rangeland, urban migration, wheat estates, expansion of tourist game parks, and political conflict. Post-colonial governments, lured by investments and aid from international donor agencies, have increasingly privatized communal lands, encouraging the expansion of export and local market agriculture such as beef and dairy marketing (Fratkin, 2001). Particular areas such as the arid regions of southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and northern Uganda, pastoralists population of Samburu, Pokot, Turkana, Rendille, Boran, and Karimojong are faced with problems of drought and famine coupled with ethnic conflict and political uncertainties, increased population growth and high competition in range land and water resources (Fratkin, ibid.). Inter-ethnic conflicts have escalated into violence as automatic weapons from civil wars in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia are increasingly acquired by pastoral tribesmen (Fratkin, ibid.).

As a continent, Africa has the largest pastoralist population; research estimates that thirteen million Africans are predominantly pastoralists and nine million agro-pastoralists, keeping large numbers of livestock while practicing agriculture (Galaty and Johnson, 1990; Jahnke, 1982). Their subsistence largely depends on raising domestic animals such as cattle, camels, goats, sheep and donkeys, which are used for milk, meat, transport and trade (Fratkin, 2001). Pastoralists are found in semi-arid and arid regions where rain-fed agriculture is precarious; they include well-known populations of Tuareg, Fulani[2] (Fulbe, Peul), Bedouin, Somali, Nuer, and Maasai. Pastoralists characteristically occupy large share communal land and have been found to develop kinship ties for mutual herding and defence (Fratkin, 2001).

In East Africa, the pastoralist population of Kenya’s total population of 30 million, Tanzania’s 35 million, and Uganda’s 23 million has been numerically estimated to be 1.5 million (Fratkin, 2001). The cattle-keeping Maasai (300,000 in southern Kenya, and 150,000 in northern Tanzania), Boran and Orma (75,000), Karimojong, Dodoth, Teso, and Jie people in Uganda (about 200,000), Samburu (75,000), and Turkana (200,000). The drier camel-keeping pastoralists include Afro-Asiatic-speaking Gabra (25,000), Rendille (25,000), and about 1.5 of Somali’s 6.5 million people. They can also be found in northern Kenya, and southern Ethiopia (Fratkin, 2001). Many agricultural groups of Kalenjin speakers (Nandi, Kipsigis, Pokot) raise large herds of cattle in western Kenya and Bantu speaking BaAnkole in western Uganda and Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi (Fratkin, 2001).

Pastoralism is an economic response to the environmental conditions of the Southern Sahel[3] in Africa (Hodgson, 2000:6). In this environment, settled agriculture has historically been impossible, due to rainfall patterns. Complicated pastoralist systems, in which people are dependent upon cattle and upon migratory movement between grazing grounds has become widespread (Fratkin, 2001). In Nigeria, on a Blueprint on nomadic education (1987), the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Education (MOE) identifies stages of sedentarization in order to define nomads. According to Woldemicheal (1995:9):

Rural sedentarism in Africa can be discerned as the last stage of the process that occurs over time in the mode of the pastoral production. […] The three stages towards sedentarisation are nomadic-pastoralism, agro-pastoralism and transhumant-pastoralism’.

Nomadic pastoralists have no specific recognised place of residence and any crop production can only be supplementary activity (Carr-Hill, 2005).

Thus, providing services such as infrastructures and welfare services to groups of people who are on the move has historically been very difficult. Initial post-colonial governments didn’t try at all (Doornboss and Markakis (1991) cited in Mlekwa, 1996:53). Since then, governments in Africa have been slow to try to meets these needs, but are increasingly attempting to do so, working in relation with the aid agencies, donor organisations, etc. The problem is how to provide education to a traditional society which is either migratory or at least beginning to stabilize, but also has not valued education, particularly for girls. Tanzanian Maasai people are particular example of these general problems.

The Maasai people in Tanzania are a Nilo Hamitic ethnic group believed to have migrated to this area at some point from farther north, and are perhaps the best known example in Africa of a pastoralist people. Famous for their culture, way of life, clothing, and customs; they always attract interest of tourists. Nevertheless, like other pastoralist people, they have had to come to terms with the pressures of land shortage, climate change, civilization, and government. But in terms of their culture and way of life, they are very similar to other pastoralist groups like the Fulani in Nigeria, Somalis, Sudanese, and Kalenjin in Kenya (Hodgson, 2001).

Maasai are among the Maa-speaking people of Eastern Nilotic in East Africa (Spear and Waller, 1993 cited in PARDEP, 1998:27). In Kenya, there are estimated to be about 450,000 Maasai and over 500, 000 in Tanzania (PARDEP, 1998:27). It is said that Maasai originated from a mythological place called Endikir e Kerio and have expanded southwards. Before colonialism, the Maasai occupied a vast area of land extending from Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya down to central Tanzania in the South, an area of 1, 000 km (600 miles) in length and a width of about 300 km (Jacobs, 1965). This could be due to their speed and vigour in military organisation (PARDEP, 1998:27).

Semi-nomadic pastoralist children[4] in Tanzania, particularly girls, rarely go to school. Many factors are associated with this, such as geographic location (regions), marginalization, and economic, socio-cultural, and institutional barriers. The Maasai ethnic group are largely affected by these problems. Many policies have been adopted in order to improve the enrolment of female semi-nomadic children in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Tanzania. Since independence in 1961, Tanzania, with a population of 39 million people, has had its own National policies on education such as: Tanzania Education and Training Policies (1995), National Science and Technology Policy for Tanzania (1996); Women and Development and Gender Policy (2000); and Primary and Secondary Education Development Plans (2002 – 2006) and (2004 – 2006) respectively.

In several northern regions where pastoralists are found, girls’ enrolment is low, and often girls in semi nomadic families don’t go to school. The figures are much lower for pastoralist girls than agricultural families from towns, or agricultural families who are not pastoralists (EC, 2008). Girls have been most affected by the poor state of education. Compared to boys, the national literacy rate of girls is low, and in some regions, the female literacy enrolment and achievement rates are much lower. For instance, in some of the Northern regions, the girls’ enrolment is low, constituting only 40 percent of first year primary school students, 29 percent of secondary school students, and less than 1 percent of first year university students (Frances, 2000). Despite the National Policy on Education and pledges to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, girls from semi-nomadic family often do not go to school in the North, and those that enrolled rarely finish their primary or secondary schooling.

Providing education to semi-nomadic pastoralist children is seemingly very difficult given their peculiar socio-economic problems. Recently, in Kenya, there has been an attempt to bring the children of semi-pastoralist people like the Maasai into more formal education, particularly girls (Bishop, 2006). Different approaches have been adopted, such as a Maasai Girls’ Secondary School, the Monduli Pastoralist Development Initiative (MPDI), and the Emusoi Center in Arusha. The Emusoi Center seeks to address the lack of opportunities for girls’ education within the indigenous pastoralist/hunter-gatherer societies in Arusha. The project targets females aged from 13 to 22 years old. When the project started, the target group was restricted to Maasai girls, but since 2003, it has agreed to accept 2 Barabeig girls per year and it has accepted 6 girls from the Ndorobo community. There is also hope that 2 Hadzabe girls will join each year. It is within this context that this study attempts to examine the approaches adopted, as well as identify the major trends and problems affecting pastoralist girls’ education in Northern Tanzania (EC, 2008).

1.2 Research aim and objectives:

- To examine the trends and constraints of semi-nomadic pastoralist girls’ education in Northern Tanzania, and to analyse the major problems affecting them.
- To identify the main approaches used in the provision of girls’ education, particularly for the pastoralist communities in Northern Tanzania.
Through examining the trends and constraints of semi-nomadic pastoralist girls’ education and why these problems persist, the research seeks to answer the following questions:
- What issues restrict access to education for the semi-nomadic pastoralist girls and what are the major problems affecting them?
- What approaches does the Emusoi Center adopt in improving semi-nomadic pastoralist girls access to formal education?
- What policies on education best suit the semi-nomadic pastoralist girls’ education?

1.3 Structure of the paper

Chapter two examines relevant literature with a view to understanding the trends and constraints of semi-nomadic pastoralist girls’ education. It also looks at the case study Center (Emusoi Center). Chapter three focuses on methodology. Chapter 4 discusses and analysed the research findings. Chapter 5 summarised the discussion and findings, and ends with a conclusion.


2.0 Literature review and theoretical framework

2.1 Overview of girls’ education

Education is fundamental to development. It empowers people and nations to become more powerful, secure, and is a key to achieving several of the Millennium Development Goals (Cheru and Bradford, 2005). Educating one’s child is among the basic legacies one can offer to enable them lead a better, more fulfilling and prosperous life. Education is an important factor in improving people's lives. It benefits people, society, and the whole world. Without education, the world of today’s cars, computers, electricity, planes, medicine, etc wouldn’t have existed (Global Fund for Children, 2002: p.4).

Gender and Education analysis has generally originated in the countries of the west. In the 1980s, little research has been made on these topics in the developing countries. The Majority of the early literatures in gender and education were concerned with girls’ access to schooling and economic outcomes in the labour market (Elliot and Kelly, 1980).

Women’s education and the right to health was top of the agenda at the UN Beijing Conference in September 1995, which reasserted women’s right to education, health, and restated their continuing disadvantages in these sectors. However, during the mid-decade review of ‘Schooling for All’ in Amman Conference at Jomtien in 1996, it was noted with dismay that disparities in girls’ access to schooling persisted despite the steady rise in primary enrolments world-wide since Jomtien, (Heward and Bunwaree, 1999).

The UN conference in Cairo in 1994 on population focus on several approaches to controlling population growth around the world, including birth control measures. Girls’ education was seen as key to any birth control efforts and reduction in fertility rates. Hillary Clinton, in her speech in March 1995 at the UN Conference on Poverty in Copenhagen, announced support from the USA to the tune of $100 million over ten years to be invested in girls’ education as a means of reducing poverty by lowering fertility, improving child health and raising women’s incomes. This link between education, the health of women and development is captured aptly in a World Bank policy paper entitled ‘Enhancing Women’s Participation in Economic Development’ (July 1994). In the paper, the World Bank Chief Economist, Lawrence Summers, in 1993 argues that:


[1] The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals to be achieved by the year 2015. The MDGs are based on actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations, and signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Goal 2 of the MDGs is to achieve universal primary education, and Goals 3 is to promote gender equality and empower women etc (UNDP, 2008).

[2] Tuareg and Fulani were found in Western Sahara.

[3] Is the largest pastoral zone in Africa with vegetation running from the Atlantic coast in Senegal and Mauritania, across Mali, Niger and Chad to the Nile Valley in Sudan, known as the Sahel, or ‘shore’ in Arabic. It was the first vegetation encountered by the Arabic travellers crossing the Sahara in the ninth to the twelfth centuries (Smith 1992:131).

[4] Are the children of pastoralist, who herd a complex mixture of cattle, goats, sheep, and donkeys in habitats that ranged from grasslands to bushland and open woodland, from sandy lowland scrubs to loamy highland pastures and often mixed with other subsistence strategies like cultivation, hunting, gathering, fishing, and wages labor, etc. (Galaty and Johnson 1990 cited in Fratkin et al., 1994:185; Hodgson, 2000:6).

Excerpt out of 59 pages


Pastoralists Girls' Education in Africa: A Study of Emusoi Center in Northern Tanzania
University of Birmingham  (School of Government and Society (formerly School of Public Policy))
Rural Development (International)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
1167 KB
Girls' Education in Africa, Pastoralists Girls' Education in Africa, Maasai Girls' Education, Maasai, Girls Education
Quote paper
MSc. Musa Argungu Muhammad (Author), 2008, Pastoralists Girls' Education in Africa: A Study of Emusoi Center in Northern Tanzania, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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