When the Honorable Sarah Korere was first elected as a member of Parliament for Laikipia County, she noticed a large area where there were no schools. Other members of government told her it was due to political insecurity in the region.
But Hon. Korere felt it was their responsibility as the government to provide education to the people, no matter what. “I realized that you can bring people together, and being united will achieve more than being divided,” she said.
And so the dream for the Amani School, named for the word “peace” in Kiswahili, was born.
Hon. Korere knew that support from Loisaba Conservancy had transformed Ewaso primary and secondary schools on its eastern border, so she approached them about creating the new school on its western flank. With seed funding from the Loisaba Community Trust and Hon. Korere’s Development Fund, as well as a significant financial boost from TNC’s Africa Affinity Group for Women and Girls, the school opened its doors to 89 students in January 2021.
The Amani School now bursts with energy from nearly 200 students from many ethnic backgrounds, many of whom would otherwise not be receiving an education.
For years, 13-year-old Eunice Shaila spent four hours a day walking to the next nearest school and back. “I used to take a bath and get ready for school when it was still dark outside so that I could leave at 6 a.m.,” she said. “Now it takes me two minutes to get to school.”
Educating children, especially girls, is a critical component in changing such practices as early marriage, cattle rustling, and banditry—and in promoting the peace and stability that can help generate conservation progress and community benefits. Conflict is not just an issue for people, it’s one of the biggest threats to the area’s iconic wildlife.
“When children are given an opportunity to interact with other tribes early in life at school, they will grow up breaking those tribal barriers,” Hon. Korere said. “Parents also have an opportunity to mingle and to take care of their children in one location. This will all have a long-lasting impact for peaceful coexistence in the area.”