Rugusu Primary School

Project LocationMeru Central District, Kenya
Project TypeRural schools development

Rugusu Primary School

Lewa’s Education Department works with eight Primary and two Secondary Schools, all of which are situated on the Conservancy’s boundary. Lewa, like Tusk, realises that education is the key to long term change in Africa; and education which is influenced by conservation will go a long way to ensuring that communities learn how to develop in conjunction with their environment for the benefit of both. Providing logistical, development and funding support Lewa, with Tusk’s support, has enhanced the lives of over 10,000 children.

In Kenya the last decade has been characterized by increasing costs of education, reduction in the average earnings for Kenyans and consequently reduced enrolment levels in the schools. This has made it very difficult for poor rural families to see their children access education, even after the Kenyan Government promised free education for all Primary School children, in many areas the schools simply do not exist or are in a poor state of repair. The development of the Rugusu Primary School is one such school.

Rugusu Primary School

The community of Rugusu situated in the western boundary of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya is of diverse ethnicity with Meru, Kikuyu, Maasai and Turkana peoples living there. The community is poor; subsistence farming is the primary form of employment.

The school was started in 2002; managed by a local church it had an enrolment of 41 pupils taught by two teachers that were employed by the community. The community realised the need for a school in the area – at the time of inception there were very few in the area with children walking for long distances in search of education. The community donated six acres of land for the school. The first two classes (nursery and grade one) operated from the church buildings. After raising 200,000Ksh from within the community two further, sub standard, classes were constructed which at some point were partitioned to host two other classrooms. The Government registered the school as an official day school in 2007.

The school was in a serious state of disrepair. Enrolment was 250 children, working from five classrooms (two permanent and three semi-permanent). The classrooms were small, crowded and either made of timber or stone. There was no proper ablution block and there was simply a shack for the cook house – there was no kitchen or dining hall.

With support from the Safaricom Marathon the school has been transformed. The children now have proper furnished classrooms to work in, a new ablution block, a vegetable garden and there are plans to build a kitchen and dining room. Now with proper teaching facilities, food and a clean permanent water supply the enrolment of the school has increased and the children and their teachers are working in a clean, healthy environment.

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