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Girls’ school offering hope to victims of FGM in West Pokot

A school in West Pokot County is rekindling the dreams of girls whose future was under existential threat from retrogressive cultural rites.

Located in among the most remote parts of the county, TIPET girls’ secondary school is presenting a second chance for girls escaping female genital mutilation and child marriages.

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The school has seen several young girls, who would have dropped out due to lack of school fees, seek refuge at the institution despite its infrastructural challenges.

For Effie Mugalo, the principal at AGC Tipet Girls Secondary School, theirs is a mission to give underprivileged girls from remote parts of the county as chance to pursue their dreams.

Effie says since the inception of the school a few years ago, several girls who had been forced into marriages are running into the institution that now boasts of 150 students from various regions, including Kacheliba, Kasei and Makutano. However, inadequate funding and administrative challenges are hindering the school’s ability to effectively fulfill its crucial role.

She says students face numerous obstacles, starting with the lack of birth certificates, which affects the funding allocation by the National government since the majority of the students are required to register through NEMIS.

The school has only three TSC teachers and volunteer teachers fill the gap, but financial constraints prevent the hiring of additional qualified educators.

The school now forced to use incomplete classrooms which double as makeshift dormitories at night.

Albert Loshamerr, the deputy principal, emphasizes the school’s exclusion from co-curricular activities due to logistical challenges even he lauded the community for supporting efforts by the school to scout for girls around the region to come back to school.

For those rescued from retrogressive cultural practices, their narratives as graphical as are disturbing.

For Lilian Cherop, a form one student at the school, her troubled began when her parents forced her into marrying a man from neighboring Uganda. She would find solace at the school which has now offered a respite.

Her plight mirrors that of Vivian Cheruto, another student at the school, who now want more efforts towards protecting girls from early marriages and related vices.

Steve Aengwo
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