Gesrebke Primary School started in January 2015 and registered by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in November 2015. By the end of 2015, the school had only one classroom which provided space for class one and class two pupils. At the same time this classroom was used by teachers as a staff room. The early childhood development (ECD) pupils conducted their learning under a tree. The school had 80 pupils of which 20 pupils were girls. In April 2016, the number of children had increased to 155 and out of the total, 30 were girls. This increase in number of children is attributed to two interventions by Islamic Relief Kenya.
Under the school development project, Gesrebke primary school was selected as one of the needy schools to benefit from infrastructural development. Islamic Relief Kenya constructed a 30m3 water tank and two modern classrooms to serve the children of Gesrebke village. According to Mr. Ali Maalim Yussuf, the school head teacher, majority of the children in this village spend much of their time herding livestock as it is the practice with many children in the County of Mandera.At Gesrebke primary school, children attending school were learning in one mud walled classroom which was in very poor condition.
The old classroom that was used by both pupils and teachers at Gesrebke primary school
As a result of this intervention, children are learning in a better environment as the new classrooms are well ventilated, cool and are able to shield children from the rain during the rainy season. Additionally, both classrooms are installed with solar panels and pupils are able to spend more time learning in school.
Abdi Hassan, a class two pupil said, “We are happy because we have never thought of having solar lighting and new classrooms in our school.”
Another important reason why the school is able to retain children throughout the term is availability of water within the compound. Islamic Relief constructed a 30m3 water tank that is able to serve the school throughout the term and this gives children an opportunity to spend more time learning as opposed to walking longer distances searching for drinking water. The rain water harvesting system fixed on the roof of the classroom will enable the school save the funds allocated for purchase of water during rainy seasons and this money will be used to meet the costs of other essential needs of the pupils.
“Children are happy and upon completion of the two classrooms and availability of water, they prefer to continue learning because the environment is child friendly” Said Mr. Ali Yussuf, School Head Teacher.
To avoid conflicts between the school administration and community, the school board of management has held meetings with community leadership to sensitize community members on the need to protect the new structures in the school. It was made clear that the water belonged to the pupils and not the community that the community is to continue drawing water from the community earth pan which is located about a kilometer away. According to Mr. Ali Yussuf, the County government of Mandera is planning to construct one more classroom and an early childhood development (ECD), supported by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).