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   Project to Promote ILO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal peoples Rights
                                 (PRO 169)

                                            Final Report

Picture 1 and 2: Turkana Chilren involved in Charcoal burning. Photo credit: Irene Leshore, Samburu Kenya

    Review of Existing Child Labour Initiatives, Experiences and Lessons
    Learned and Strategies for further interventions in selected Pastoralists
                            communities in Kenya

                                         Johnson Ole Kaunga

                                         Laikipia, Kenya
                                          March 2008

The study has been successfully conducted over a period of 1 year because of an overwhelming
interest and willingness from various stakeholders. I am particularly indebted to the Kenyan
indigenous peoples‟ communities, their institutions and organisations that continue to struggle
for their rightful place within the ever-changing national frameworks that always tend to relegate
and make their position overtly precarious in terms of their socio- cultural rights, livelihood and
their right to self development and determination, as per their individual and collective
aspirations, within the State. The International Labour Organisation, in partnership with
indigneosu peoples‟ organisations, has done great contribution and work to ameliorate the
situation. I am particularly indebted to the PRO 169 team in Geneva; to Ms Brigitte Feiring, Ms
Mangeye Terumalai and Ms Francesca Thornberry for their technical advise and administrative
support and for demonstrating a clear interest and commitment, over the years, to support and
address indigneosu peoples‟ concerns given the several limitations. I also would like to thank the
ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) team in Nairobi (Ms
Grace Banya, CTA, Ms Wangui, Senior Program officer, Mr Paschal Wambiya and Benard
Ikiura) for their technical and administrative inputs, support and for allowing me to us their

I would like to thank all of you who lent and shared your time, patience, knowledge, experiences
and incisive contributions, which not only shaped and sharpened my understanding on child
labour among the indigenous peoples, but went a step further to reflect and confirm your
conviction in addressing several issues that continue to marginalize these communities.

To you all, I offer my sincere gratitude and appreciations and I hope that your aspirations in life
will come to a reality.

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS                                                5

1.0    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                  6

2.0    RATIONALE AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY                             15

2.1 TERMS OF REFERENCE                                                   16
2.2. METHODOLOGY EMPLOYED BY THE STUDY                                   16
2.3. SELECTION OF STUDY AREAS                                            17

CHAPTER 1                                                                20

3.0    INTRODUCTION                                                      20

LABOUR                                                                   26

CHAPTER TWO                                                              26


4.1.    HERDING                                                          26
4.6    INDIGENOUS CHILDREN IN PROSTITUTION                               30
4.7    CHILDREN IN CONFLICT AREAS/SITUATION                              30

CHAPTER THREE                                                            32


5.1    ISIOLO DISTRICT                                                   32

CHAPTER FOUR                                                             43

CHAPTER SIX                                                     47

7.2   LOBBYING AND ADVOCACY                                     47


CHAPTER SEVEN                                                   49

Acronyms and Abbreviations

ILO         International Labour Organisation
CL          Child Labour

ITPs        Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

IPEC        International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour

PHGs        Pastoralists and Hunter- Gatherers

WFCL        Worst Forms of Child Labour

CBOs        Community Based Organisations

NGOs        Non- Governmental Organisation

GoK         Government of    Kenya

IPOs        Indigenous peoples organisations

1.0     Executive summary

Summary of key issues, observations and lessons learned on child labour interventions
among selected Kenyan ITPs.

Recent studies have shown that indigenous peoples1, the world over, stand a special risk in
relation to child labour, including the worst forms of child labour. This is, to a large extent, linked
to extreme levels of poverty among indigenous peoples, derived from previous and ongoing
dispossession of land and natural resources dispossessions, leading to social disruptions of their
livelihood and low levels of education. These, among other factors, add up as key “drivers” that
ensure that these communities continue to become a source of child labour within and beyond
indigenous peoples‟ territories2.

The livelihoods of indigenous peoples3 in Kenya (mainly pastoralists and hunter-gatherers) are by
and large, precarious and the survival options are increasingly becoming limited. To a large
extent, the national policy and legal frameworks are insensitive to the needs of these communities
and only add up to exclude and marginalize them further. The indigenous children fall in this
vicious trap and for sure, stand a high risk of becoming child labourers in one way or another.

It is against this background that the ILO Project on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (PRO 169)
in 2005 decided to commission three studies on the situation of child labour among indigenous
peoples in three different countries namely, Kenya, the Philippines and Guatemala. All the
studies were designed and undertaken by three experienced indigenous resource persons. The
overall aim and purpose was to establish whether and to what extent child labour and, in
particular, worst forms of child labour exist among these communities, and to capture and
document the indigenous peoples‟ own notion and understanding of child labour as well as its
causes and interventions. A specific objective of these study was to document challenges related
to access to basic education as a consequence of child labour and what innovative approaches, if
any, are being undertaken by the Government, indigenous peoples and other key players such as

  UN- Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, Second Session, New York, May 2003; High –Level Panel and
Dialogue on Indigenous Children and Youth, submission by ILO.
  The Kenyan coast is a tourist attraction and young Morans (warriors) from Samburu have been flocking into
Mombasa and Malindi to work as “beach boys” hoping that one day they will be able to raise money that will
enable them to rebuild their livelihood and identities back home through purchase of cows.
  The term indigenous peoples are used interchangeably with pastoralist and hunter-gatherers. In Kenya and in
Africa as whole, it is mostly these communities (not all) or people of their descent who have come forward to
identify themselves as indigenous peoples. Self –identification is defined by the ILO Convention 169 as an
important criterion in its statement of coverage.

ILO/IPEC to address these challenges and what experiences and lessons have been generated
over time.

i)      There is a weak data formation, generation and dissemination concerning
        communities claiming indigenous identity in Kenya. The existing data and
        information is inconsistent, disparate and in most instances lacking.
The 1998/99 Child Labour Report estimates that there are about 1.9 million child labourers in
Kenya of whom 34% are in commercial agriculture and fisheries, and 23.6% in subsistence
agriculture and 17.9% in the domestic sector4. The traditional forms of livelihood and traditional
occupations are not well defined and documented - implying that means that child labour among
Kenyan pastoralists and hunter-gatherers is not still remains “invisible” in national records.

This study acknowledges the fact that child labour, including its worst forms, do exist and, is on
the increase among the Kenyan indigenous communities5. The qualitative and quantitative data
formation and information necessary and important for informed decision making, planning
purposes and understanding of these communities is either completely lacking or, where it exists,
it is sketchy or unreliable. The lack of data coupled with lack of appropriate culturally sensitive
data and information collection procedures has to a large extent, contributed to and perpetuated
the limited knowledge, misinformation and stereotypes attached to these communities and their
livelihood systems at different levels of government and society. To a large extent, government
agencies and institutions are planning and acting based on stereotypes that are not relevant to the
cultures, livelihood and aspirations of pastoralists and hunter-gatherer communities. The child
labourers in these communities continue to be “missing in action” or “hidden and suffering faces
and souls” as they are not clearly and adequately reflected in national statistics, giving a false
image that child labour and its worst forms does not exist or is negligible amongst these

ii)     There is weak legal and policy framework/environment that defines and guides
        child labour initiatives. To a large extent, the policy makers and bureaucrats do

  Ministry of Labour and Human resource Development, National Draft Plan of Action for Time Bound
Programme on The Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour In Kenya, august 2004.
  Pastoralists and Hunter Gatherers Communities in Kenya as in other African countries have come forward to
demand their recognition as indigenous communities based on their continued marginalization, social and policy
discrimination, expropriation of and displacement from their ancestral lands, strong cultural and spiritual
attachment to their lands.

       not see any logic or reason to have special policy orientation for pastoralists or
       hunter gatherers and as such, the same approach is being advocated and practiced
       as that being applied in urban centres or among mainstream/settled
Generally, the legal and policy environment for enabling children to access and advance their
rights has been improved by a number of high-level policies and actions by the Government.
These include the recent enactment of the Children Act (2001). The Act dictates compulsory
education for all children. This has been strengthened by the pronouncement for free primary
education in 2003. However, there is no comprehensive strategy to address the question of
relevance of the curriculum and the entire education system to pastoralists and hunter-gatherers
livelihood systems. This has to a large extent contributed to low level of participation by
indigenous children in the formal education and will continue to hinder their participation and
retention in the formal education system. The study also confirms that indigenous          child
labourers are not, necessarily, benefiting from the free education policy, as the mainstream
thinking and policy makers at the national level otherwise assume.

The Kenyan government has ratified a number of international instruments such as the ILO
Convention on the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182) and The Minimum
Age Convention of Entry into Employment (No. 138).

With support from ILO/IPEC, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development, has
taken noble steps to formulate a policy namely the “Draft National Plan of Action for Time
Bound Programme on the Elimination of the worst Forms of Child Labour in Kenya”. However,
the elaboration and intervention of child labour policies and programmes among indigenous
peoples is still weak and misinformed by false assumptions regarding these communities.

Since 1992, Kenya has implemented about 72 actions programmes and other mini actions
programmes but none of these had targeted the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities.

The Government, on the whole has continued to show commitment to address child labour
issues. There is a Child Labour Division within the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource
Development and a top-level Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee has been established and

is chaired by the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home affairs and National
Heritage with the Ministry of Labour as the secretariat. This opens up opportunities for the
PHGs communities to lobby their child labour issues and concerns at a high level.

iii)    There is a weak media presence in these areas coupled with few and disperse
        advocacy and strategic interventions and initiatives. In most cases, the child
        labour and education initiatives are heavily dependent on external resources
        (NGOS, bilateral, and faith-based organisations). However, the free primary
        education policy is beginning to have positive effects but it is not sufficient in
        itself to stimulate interest for formal education among the pastoralists and hunter
        gatherers communities.
The pastoralists and hunter gatherers communities (PHGCs) have continued their struggle to
advance their rights and recognition at all levels of Kenyan society and to ensure that their
profile, human rights and development issues are integrated in the existing and new policy and
programme intervention frameworks.

There are few organisations addressing the issue of child labour among the indigenous peoples
and as such, there are in deed very few experiences to be shared. Most organisations are working
in urban centres, urban slums and commercial areas. This study strongly evidences that previous
studies and research initiatives on child labour have largely ignored indigenous communities.
This may be one reason why child labour interventions are few among in indigenous peoples‟
areas. It is, however, astonishing that child labour among the indigenous peoples is not the
subject of a research favourite. It could be part of the vicious cycle of social and policy exclusion
that continues to be persistent among the indigenous peoples the world over.

The UN agencies such as UNICEF and ILO have, of late, made some attempts to address child
labour among pastoralists‟ communities. The ILO, through IPEC is implementing a Programme
known as the Time Bound Programme on the elimination of Child Labour in 15 Kenyan
Districts6. The districts are said to be experiencing high incidences of worst forms of child labour.
Unfortunately, of the 15 districts, only one district (Samburu) is occupied by pastoralists. This
scenario reinforces the false image that there are minimal or low incidences of child labour or its
worst forms among pastoralists.

 Project Document: Supporting the National Plan of Action on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child
Labour in Kenya, ILO- IPEC/ Government of the United States of America, September 2004.

UNICEF has been active in a number of pastoralists districts, that have been hit by severe
drought and it has been implementing child survival and education initiatives in the north-eastern
and eastern parts of the country. The pastoralists led and managed NGOs/CBOs have taken a
deliberate lead to address broader human rights advocacy issues of engaging the Government for
policy change.

The media coverage of child labour and other issues among indigenous peoples has also been
weak and this confirms that the Kenyan media is still suffering from stereotypes and biases
against these communities. In most circumstances, the worst and emotional experiences; such as
conflicts, famine, tribal wars and massacres are among the issues that eventually make the
headlines in relation to these communities. The media has not critically examined the underlying
issues and factors that have led to minimal or decreasing school enrolment rates in the
pastoralists Districts, despite, the introduction of free primary education.

iv)     The Prevalence and the nature of child labour among Kenyan PHGs communities
        is not clearly documented and articulated in existing government policy

The 1998/99 child labour survey (later published in 2001) remains the most comprehensive and
consolidated data on nature and extent of child labour in Kenya. It gives the national picture on
the extent and distribution but it is still lacking in terms of disaggregated data on the number of
pastoralists children affected by child labour. Pastoralism is lumped up together with subsistence
agriculture. According to the draft National Policy on Child Labour, there are four main
economic sectors that are known to engage children in worst forms of child labour. These are
domestic service, commercial sex, agriculture (commercial, subsistence and pastoralism) and
street working children in informal sectors.

According to the child labour survey, the majority of working children (43.6%) belong to 10-14
age bracket and 30.1% in the age group of 15 to 17 years. The survey also informs that 79% of
children who acknowledge to have worked were engaged in family farms or enterprises in which
they didn‟t earn any pay.

Agriculture and related occupations account for the highest incidences of working children and
the traditional occupations of Kenyan indigenous peoples, which is mainly pastoralism and which

is labour intensive, is categorised under subsistence agriculture. The pastoralists‟ children are
engaged in domestic or commercialised forms of herding and it denies them the opportunity to
fully participate in the current education system as it conflicts with the traditional roles. The
increase in natural resource based conflicts and/or armed conflicts between different pastoralists
communities or clans o and/or between settled communities and pastoralists are leading to an
increased number of internally displaced peoples which, in turn, has led to an increased number
of working children. The children are also engaged in armed conflicts. The ongoing armed
conflicts between the Samburus and the Pokots has led to over 40 deaths of children 7 and the
displacement of families in their traditional lands leading to social stress, denial of livelihood
means and abuse of human rights. This has forced households to give away their children as child
labourers in hotels or to wealthy families and, even worse; adolescent girls have been forced to
engage in commercial sex work as means of making ends meet and to support their families in
rebuilding stable livelihoods.

v)         There are broader and wider issues at play: Poverty, Power and Politics of
           exclusion. Unless these and other issues such as rights to land and natural
           resources are addressed, traditional and culture-based occupations will continue
           to be seen as a problem by Kenyan mainstream communities (who form the bulk
           of decision makers and bureaucrats/policy makers).

In 1999, the National Poverty Eradication Plan (NPEP) was formulated backed by a number of
sectoral papers- based on the premise that over 56% of Kenyan population is struggling under
the yoke of poverty. This has been further worsened and complicated by the devastating effects
of HIV/AIDS pandemic and the ever-growing insecurity of both the human person and their
livelihood in the pastoralists‟ areas8.           The characteristics of poverty are dynamic, multi
dimensional and context specific. Poverty is widespread in Kenya but the pastoralists and hunter
–gatherer communities form a bulk of the poor.. Poverty among the pastoralists is as a result of
inefficient policies and prevalent resource-based conflicts among and between these
communities. Poverty is not just lack of productive resources and assets, but also a state of
powerlessness, lack of choices, lack of freedom, and non-recognition of traditional and culturally-
based livelihoods. Poverty manifests itself in different ways such as hunger, ill health, denial of
dignity, vulnerability, social and physical risks, season- based (droughts or disaster) lack of
    Different editions of the Daily Nation and the Standard Newspapers, March – august, 2006
    Republic Of Kenya: National Development Plan, 2002-08

opportunities of decision-making and insecurity of person as well as that of their livelihoods. In
Kenya, it is also imperative to note that poverty, as in other parts of the world, takes an ethnic
and cultural identity. Certain communities are excluded from decision-making powers because of
their political affiliations and ideologies, or are further marginalized due to their means of
livelihood and further driven beyond the threshold of survival by policies and laws that
criminalize their source and means of livelihoods. For example, pastoralists are not allowed to
graze their livestock in the forests during the dry seasons, however, the agricultural communities
are allowed to cultivate crops in the same forests on arrangement with the forest department.
This is against the principle of non-discrimination based on religion, culture, ethnicity, and
disability among others.

The growing levels of poverty has led to increased number of working children as a household
coping strategy to enable them to increase their income. However, child labour has led to
perpetual increase in children and households leading undignified lives.

The manifestations of poverty among the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities has not
been fully analysed and understood at the policy level. This had lead to several project aimed at
converting them into agricultural communities by making them settle. The process of in-depth
socio-cultural poverty analysis among these communities has been left mainly to the civil society,
although this responsibility lies mainly with the central government.

In Kenya, politics is a game of disempowering the poor and the weaker. This is where the women
and the marginalized communities, occasionally, find themselves in the loosing end and the
solutions proposed has been giving handouts. There is a serious and never –ending tendency to
manipulate institutions and government agencies for political purposes, which tends to
perpetuate ignorance and dependency by the poor on the powerful. This is equally true when it
comes to national resource allocation.

In conclusion, the Kenyan Government still has not formulated a national policy on pastoralism
and other traditional occupations, yet it directly supports over 6 millions persons.

v)     Culture and cultural identity forms a strong foundation for child development,
       community       development       and   value-based      development      of    the   society.

       Unfortunately, the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities continue to
       perceive the formal education and development emanating from it as a sure way to
       loose their culture and identity - a tool for dispossession of inherent cultural
       resources and life-skills. However, there are certain cultural practices that are
       detrimental to the pastoralists‟ women and the girl child. In view of the ongoing
       initiatives and practices the women and girls continue to occupy a lower ladder in
       decision-making and benefits sharing and in determining how the benefits are
It is worth noting that pastoralist and hunter-gatherers are patriarchal/patrilineal communities
and women are undermined and excluded from the traditional decision making and leadership
structures. The role of women in perpetuating culture and sustaining communal identity is,
however, recognized but when it comes to access and control over resources they remain a
subjugated segment of the community. Certain cultural practices like female genital mutilation
and early marriages further affect the welfare, rights and well-being of the indigenous women. It
is now a documented and accepted fact that certain cultural practices are harmful to the health
and rights of women. It is evident that certain communities attach certain cultural believes to
counting human beings i.e. the Maasai of east Africa believe it is bad omen and can lead to death
and when you ask a Maasai woman how many children she has; she will casually put it “I have
what God has given me”.

There are other categories of pastoralists that are subjugated, despised and do menial jobs for the
“pastoralists proper”- the peripatetic social groups such as the “Il kunono” (Blacksmiths) – who
live within and among the Samburu and the Rendile. The Rendile or Samburu proper cannot
marry from these social groups. They are despised and treated as a low caste. They provide
services such as cleansing ceremony for murderers, circumcision; and they produce spears etc.
that they sell to the pastoralists proper. This implies that indigneous or pastoralists communities
themselves are not homogenous as otherwise assumed by the civil society and Government.

vi)             There is weak and disjointed coordination and linkages between CSOs,
               Government institutions and faith-based organisations and it remains a
               challenge to generate, promote and sustain lessons learned. Moreover,
               there is weak lobbying for policy change at the national level.

Despite there being very few initiatives addressing child labour issues in pastoralists and hunter
gatherers Districts; the interventions remain disparate, intermittent or sporadic, heavily
depending on donor resources available and uncoordinated. These constraints, have not only
restricted the generation of knowledge and experiences with regard to child labour among the
indigenous peoples     but has also made these interventions invisible and unnoticed. The
indigenous peoples‟ organisations are increasingly drumming up civic engagement and
strategising on how to advance the recognition of their human, social-cultural, civil, development
and resource rights by the Government. However, the broad human rights agenda among these
groups/communities has not taken into account key issues such as child labour. The IPOs need
to include the child labour and other common vices in their advocacy and awareness creation
programs. The leaders of these IPOs are mainly male-led and decision-making processes are
male–dominated and controlled. The non-inclusion of child labour in their agenda may be a true
reflection of self-denial that indigenous communities attach to this issue. These communities still
want to be seen and understood as “untouched” by the globalisation processes and that their
cultural values and norms are still fully operational and they perceive that accepting that child
labour exist brings shame to the whole community.

2.0       Rationale and Background to the study

In 2005, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) International Programme on the
Elimination on Child Labour (IPEC) and the Project to Promote ILO Policy on Indigenous and
Tribal Peoples (PRO 169) undertook a joint initiative to explore and generate basic information
understanding and knowledge on the issue, extent and nature of child labour among the
indigenous peoples in selected target areas in Kenya, Guatemala and the Philippines. Renowned
resource persons from the three countries were commissioned to undertake overview studies and
to facilitate indigenous peoples‟ consultations and dialogue at the national level inform of

The outcome and findings of the studies and the deliberations emanating from the national
dialogue sessions were shared within the ILO and in May 2006, a panel discussions was organised
in New York during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues. This was a unique
opportunity to present and share information in broader manner, as the UN PFII, is the body
mandated to coordinate indigenous peoples‟ issues within the UN system.

The process led to the formulation and elaboration of flexible guidelines and basic approaches
for recognising and addressing child labour among indigenous peoples9 .

The specific study undertaken in Kenya in 2005 identified knowledge and information gaps that
needed further work. It was then seen as important and relevant to undertake additional work,
including the more in-depth study that has led to the present report, to leverage the work on
child labour on other broad human rights issues and activities that the ILO has been supporting
in Kenya since 2002. This work was undertaken in 2006-7 by the same consultant who did the
previous work leading to the elaboration of the guidelines.

    Handbook in Combating Child Labour among Indigenosu and Tribal Peoples, PRO 169 & IPEC, 2006.

2.1       Terms of Reference
The       consultant was engaged by PRO 169 to undertake a study that will help generate
information needed to fill the research gaps, strengthen the existing knowledge and broaden the
understanding of the notion of child labour among the indigenous communities in Kenya. The
consultant was given the following tasks;
          Designing a long term advocacy strategy to address child labour among the ITPs and
           raising the profile of ITPs child labour issues and concerns at the national level so as to
           motivate government, CSOs and UN agencies interest and actions;
          Use audio visual technology to document the nature, extent and different forms of child
           labour among selected indigenous communities in Kenya;
          Formulate a proposal for long term intervention for which funding would be sort under
           separate arrangements;
          Assist the IPEC-TBP project in Kenya by strengthening its design and interventions
          Present the outcomes of the overview study at the UNPFII session in New York in
2.2. Methodology employed by the Study
To be able to meet the above outputs and targets, the consultant had to use different methods
and approaches to generate, collect, analyse and present the information. The pastoralists and
hunter-gatherers live in remote areas with no well-formed road and communication network and
to be able to generate information, a lot of flexibility and public rapport are needed on the part of
the consultant. The consultant used the growing network of pastoralists and hunter-gatherers
organisations to collect information in the different geographical areas, visits were undertaken in
Marsabit, Laikipia, Kajiado, Garissa, Nairobi, Isiolo and Samburu districts. The desk review was
undertaken and district development plans for the target areas were “audited” not only to extract
relevant and specific information (such as population, poverty levels, number of schools,
enrolment rates) but also to identify intervention strategies being used by the different actors to
address the increasing poverty levels in pastoralists‟ areas.

The consultant used different opportunities presented by different advocacy and awareness
/information sharing processes organised such as community workshops, trainings, consultations
organised by these IPOs organisations and communities, at the national, provincial, districts and
community level.

Dupoto e Maa is an IPO organisation in Kajiado and has been implementing education and child
labour intervention projects for over 6 years and it invited the consultant to undertake the review
of their projects; this opportunity was used to generate information that helped to shape and
inform the study.

IMPACT has been active in Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Laikipia, implementing projects on
women‟s rights and broad human rights awareness, para legal training, training in gender-based
violence, youth empowerment. In this context,         it became very necessary to explore the
relationship between gender/domestic based violence, that is rampant among the indigenous
communities, and child labour.

The consultant also had the opportunity to attend a number of peace-building and reconciliation
meetings organised by CSOs, government agencies and faith-based organisations aimed at
facilitating dialogue between and among different pastoralists groups. The magnitude and trends
of natural resource based conflicts amongst the pastoralists is on the increase. The impact of
these conflicts on communities, in particular women and children, has reached unbearable level.
The conflicts are taking different turns and twists; women and children are increasingly being
exposed to risks of deaths, rapes and, even worse, being used as prime targets or shields. There
are a significant number of orphaned children and widows as a consequence and they all end up
being potential source of child labour.

The consultant also visited the selected areas and organised dialogue sessions with CSOs,
government agencies, private sectors, small business enterprises and international organisations
that are implementing different activities ranging from relief operations and drought intervention,
education, community health, water and sanitation. It was important to draw their attention to
the issue and establish what individual organisations or network are doing with regard to child
labour and if not, whether they have an interest in formulating interventions.
2.3. Selection of study areas
In Kenya, some pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities have strongly come forward to
claim their human rights, fundamental freedoms, right to development and land claims – fronting
the identity as “indigenous peoples”. The study areas were selected based on the diversity of
these communities, conceptual degree and level of marginalisation and alienation existing among
these communities, regional distribution and the differences exhibited by different social groups
within the different provinces or even within the same province. This was necessary in order to

   give a fair picture of the phenomenon of child labour at the national level as far as the pastoralists
   and hunter-gatherers are concerned and how different is it from the notion of child labour as
   understood and practiced by mainstream communities in rural areas and in urban areas.

   The Districts with high incidence of conflicts were also selected so as to develop a clear linkage
   and correlation between child labour and conflicts. In this case, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and
   Marsabit were selected as sample areas.

   Based on the above criteria the following districts were selected for an in-depth study, Garissa,
   Laikipia, Samburu, Tana River, Marsabit and Turkana.
   2.4. The Process of Data Collection and Information Gathering

   Focus Groups Discussions and interviews
   In all the study areas 5 focus group discussions (FGD) were planned, organised and facilitated.
   The FGDs were organised with different target groups so as to obtain information on their
   understanding and perception of child labour. The youth, women, urban-based indigenous
   people, pure pastoralists (wholly dependent on traditional livelihood of keeping livestock) and
   absentee livestock owners. Each FGD had 20– 25 participants between the age of 17 and 45. In
   Laikipia, Tana River, Marsabit, Garissa and Isiolo special FGDs were organised with socially
   discriminated groups seen and taken by mainstream pastoralists as of a lower caste. These social
   groups hardly talk in an open forum where all groups participate. This is an indication of them
   being dominated by majority groups and being despised because of their social origin or nature of
   work. They are blacksmiths who are identified by other pastoralists proper as “dirty, poor, a curse
   and with no etiquette”. It became important to establish a forum for them and they participated
   by voicing their concerns.
2.4.1. Informants interviews
   The consultant used the existing contacts at the districts level with indigenous peoples’
   organisations to solicit information on programs that are addressing the issue of education and
   child labour. Although there are few organisations and their information technology is less
   established in these areas they did, however, made efforts to share the information and
   experiences that they have accumulated overtime.

2.4.2. Desk reviews
This study benefited from an extensive literature review at the ILO/IPEC offices, ILO and other
websites on child labour, resource centers of certain indigneous             organisations and Kenya
Government publications . The Kenya Central Bureal of Stastics has been undertaking household

surveys and the consultant      also reviewed this with a view to extracting information on how
household-based data reflects on household social well being in reality. The Society for International
Development has also been a key player in terms of venturing into research on inequality in Kenya -
of which this study has enormously drawn from.
2.4.3. Direct field observations and informal sessions
In some areas, a direct observation approach was employed as it become very difficult and
challenging for individual community members to freely share information for fear of being
victimised by the administration or because they are themselves offering their children to labour
instead of enrolling them in schools. This particular strategy was employed in communities living on
the edge of renowned tourist destinations such Talek, Sekenani, Archers Post bordering the Maasai
Mara and the Samburu Game Reserve and also in Maralal, Merille, Laisamis, Ngaremara, Isiolo where
sexual exploitation of children is known to take place. The communities contacted found it to be of
great shame to be associated with such vices and would not want to divulge the information. 2.4.4.
Study check lists
The resource person visited selected districts and held dicussions with indviduals, organisaiton and
segments of the communities living in diffeent areas, with a view to assess on- going or phased-out
education and child labour interventions. The consultations were designed to be interactive and
responsive to the overall objective of the study and were intended to help understand the situation
and circumstances that motivate child labour among indigenous peoples in Kenya. The element of
time dictated which organisations and communities to be visited. Samburu District was visited on
request from the ILO/IPEC on the basis that it is one of the TBP 10 action District. ILO/IPEC
wanted some basic information and thoughts before beginning their TBP interventions in
2.5.2. Challenges and limitations of the study

   On the whole, there was a time constraint and as such, there were very limited community
   consultations and where the visits were undertaken, they were not adequate as not all
   communities were visited. There was a strong bias towards communities living close to the road.
   The study came at a time when the ILO/IPEC staffs were pretty busy and they felt that the study
   was an additional workload that was not included in their rolling annual work plans. While they
   endeavored to assist, it was obvious that they had divided attention. The reluctance to apply or
   use the term “indigenous peoples” is also not just for the government as widely believed, but also
   within the ILO.

   Generally, there are considerable research efforts and work committed to child labour in Kenya,
   but there is very limited information on pastoralists and actually none on hunter-gatherers. In
   some reports, nomadic communities are just mentioned.

      ILO/IPEC- International programme on the Elimination of Child Labour- Time Bound Programme –
   addressing Worst Forms Child Labour. Samburu is the only pastoralists district out of fifteen identified
   in Kenya.

Chapter 1

3.0    Introduction
Kenya is situated on the east coast of Africa. The population is estimated to be 32 million with
an annual growth rate of 2.4 %11. Life expectancy has declined from 57 years in 1990 to 46 years
in 200212. Kenya is divided into eight administrative provinces, which are further divided into 72
districts (there have been a number of new districts established but these have not been gazetted
or formalized and as such, the true number of districts is not established). Approximately 75-80
% of the total county land mass is designated as arid and semi arid lands and is home to the
Kenyan pastoralists and some hunter gatherers communities, who are claiming an indigenous
identity on the basis of what they perceive and experience as ongoing policy and social exclusion,
human rights abuses, social discrimination and institutionalised marginalisation. Kenya is a multi-
lingual and multi-cultural society. However, certain communities dominate the institutions of
policymaking, governance, decision-making and resource sharing to their own advantage and to
the chagrin of the other numerically small and not well to do communities. The pastoralists and
hunter-gatherers are among the Kenyan communities that feel they are not well-appreciated and
recognized as equal citizens and they have used diverse and different fora to express their dissent.

According to a joint study by the Society for International Development (SID), Ministry of
Planning and National Development, Kenya is among the top ten most unequal countries in the
world and fifth in Africa.13 The report further confirms that inequality is visible and a significant
phenomenon affecting individual, group and communal human rights, access to basic needs and
rights, the right to participation in decision-making processes. However, inequality has not been
strongly addressed or interrogated in the policy or scholarly discourse in Kenya.

The study also confirms that inequality plays a significant role and matters not only in economic
and social development but also in a number of ways. Excessive inequality breeds and
contributes to social instability, divisiveness, social and violent conflicts among others. The on-
going dispossession of traditional lands has contributed, to a large extent and among other
factors, to increased poverty, cultural disorientation and breakdown and social stress among the
pastoralists and hunter gatherers communities in Kenya.

   Projections from National Housing and Population census, 1999
   UNDP, world development Indicators database, April 2004
   SID, Pulling Apart, Facts and Figures on inequality in Kenya, 2004

Nationally, 56% of the Kenyan population live below the poverty line with the majority being in
the remote - rural areas.14 The government had set a target of reducing poverty by 20% in 2004
and a further 30% in 2010. These targets are far from being met for a number of reasons;
amongst them, complications being brought by HIV/AIDS that is tearing apart the most
productive segment of the population and unfavourable climatically conditions such as severe
droughts and, not least, increasing inequality countrywide. According to UNAIDS, there are 1.1
million children orphans as a consequence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, most of whom are
trying to make ends meet through child labour.15

The regions inhabited by pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities are among the poorest in
the country. For instance, 73.1% of the population in the North- Eastern Province live below the
poverty line as compared to 35.3 % in the Central Province, which is predominantly occupied by
agricultural communities. The study also raises serious concerns on matters related to gender
based and domestic violence, and conflict and how they are driving segments of society into
perpetual poverty. In fact, children constitute a large proportion of the Kenyan population with
40.6% of population being below the age of 14 years of age. The under -five mortality rate stands
at 122 per thousands and is on the increase. 16

The gap between the rich and the poor is huge and visible as one passes by different regions.
Available information indicates that there are about 1.3 million children who are economically
active and 2.2 million who are out of school and stand a potential risk of joining the employment
circle any moment. Most child labourers are in the age bracket of 12-17 years but it is not strange
to find children under ten in labour and out of school.

3.1     The Phenomenon of Child Labour in Kenya
It is estimated that 180 million children aged between 5-17 years are engaged in the worst forms
of child labour17. UNICEF further estimates that in developing countries, at least 250 million
children aged between 5-14 years have to work to make a living. Many more “are uncounted and
uncountable, they are everywhere but invisible, toiling as domestic servants behind the walls or
workshops, hidden from the view of plantations”18. The pastoralists and hunter-gatherer children
are not included in the accounted lot, not because they are hidden but simply because these

   GOK, Welfare Monitoring Report (2001), Central Bureau of Statistics.
   UNAIDS, Children on the Brinks, 2003
   UNDP, World Development Indicators Database, April 2004.
   ILO: A future without child Labour. Global report under the follow-up to the ILO declaration on fundamental
principles at work, 2002
   UNICEF; Beyond child Labour : Affirming rights., New York, 2001

communities are physically far removed from and excluded and have been ignored by most if not
all the studies undertaken for purposes of delineating and understanding child labour. These
studies have mainly concentrated on the urban centres. On the whole, the studies have given
more attention to child labour in commercial activities. The traditional occupations and
livelihood of indigenous peoples is to a large extent not recognized by the national policies and as
such by the bureaucrats. This makes it easy for child labour among these communities to be
ignored. The ILO/IPEC has funded most of the studies in Kenya and out of all these studies
undertaken so far, none gave attention to the indigenous children19. However, it is notable and
commendable that ILO/IPEC has supported about 95% of studies of child labour in Kenya.
This gives an indication of its overall commitment in addressing this vice.

The phenomenon of child labour is not new in Kenya and the world over. In most societies it is
widely and largely accepted and recognized as the means of mentoring and enabling children to
develop certain skills, to prepare them for certain roles in society and learn to be independent.
The scenario and circumstances in which child labour happens has changed leading to the
demand by world nations to interrogate and define different notions or facets of child labour.
There are now three accepted facets of child labour: child labour, child work and the Worst
Forms of Child Labour20. Child work is work done by children for purposes of socialisation and
normal development under supervision as long as it does not deprive them of their education and
other rights. Child labour is generally defined as work undertaken by children in the age group of
5-17 that prevents them from attending school and inhibits their general growth and/or
development. The worst forms of child labour is labour which takes the form of slavery or
bondage, prostitution or pornographic performance, drug trafficking or work which is likely to
harm the health, safety or morals of the child.
The ILO Convention No 182 sets out four „worst forms of child labour‟ to be tackled as a matter
of urgency. These are: Slavery or practices similar to slavery which include forced labour, bonded
labour and being sold or trafficked; child prostitution and pornography; hazardous works such as

     some of these documents reviewed include;
       a) 1991, Child labour in domestic and plantation settings in Kenya(by Onyango Philista). A report on
           sample surveys on child labour in Kenya submitted to ILO/IPEC
       b) 1996, evaluation of the employment potential of the graduates of the sinaga child labour force(by
           Ogwido, W O)

  Anti Slavery International: Child Domestic Workers, a Handbook on good practice in program interventions,

where the workplace is dangerous by definition; illicit activities.
ILO C 182 is accompanied by recommendation no 190 that give guidelines for implementation
and it does specify hazardous work to include „work which exposes children to physical,
psychological or sexual abuse and work in particularly difficult conditions such as work for long
hours or during the night or where the child unreasonably confined to the premises of the

The current National Development Plan 2002-2008, states that Child Labour is an “emerging and
disturbing phenomenon. That the impact of child labour both at the individual and national
levels, need to be evaluated seriously as it has adverse implications on the quality of future of
labour force”21. The plan suggests the free primary education as one of the strategies to address
the problem.

The 1998/99 child labour survey (later published in 2001) remains the most comprehensive and
consolidated data on nature and extent of child labour in Kenya. It gives the national picture on
the extent and distribution of the vice; however, it is still lacking in terms of disaggregated data
on the number of pastoralists children squarely affected by the vice. Pastoralism is lumped up
together with subsistence agriculture. According to the draft National Policy on the Child
Labour, there are four main economic sectors are known to engage children in worst forms of
child Labour. These are domestic service, commercial sex, agriculture (commercial, subsistence
and pastoralism) and street working children in informal sectors. It is important to note that child
labour is evident and existing in all sectors of life in Kenya, however, the above named have the
high proportion of child labourers.

The national data are given here below.
Sector                                                % Of working children
Commercial agriculture and fisheries                  34.0%
Subsistence agriculture and fisheries                 23.0%
Domestic and related services                         17.9%
Others                                                24.5%
Total                                                 100.0%

  Republic of Kenya: National Development Plan, 2002- 2008: Effective Management for the Sustainable
econmic growth and poverty Reduction.

Source: 1998/99 Child Labour Survey Report.

So, where are the working children- aiming on a moving target?

The Geographical distribution of working children is shown below.

Area/Province            All Children aged 5- Working          Children Percentage working
                         17 years („million)      Aged     5-17    years
Rural                    8.6                      1.7                      19.7
Urban                    2.3                      0.2                      9.0
Total                    10.9                     1.9                      17.4
Nairobi                  0.6                      0.06                     11.4
Central                  1.4                      0.24                     17.2
Coast                    0.8                      0.15                     19.0
Eastern                  1.8                      0.35                     19.1
North Eastern            0.3                      00.2                     9.1
Nyanza                   2.0                      0.30                     13.5
Rift valley              2.6                      0.50                     19.7
Western                  1.4                      0.30                     19.8

Source: 1998/99 Child Labour Survey

The national data formation does not clearly capture the nature and extent of child labour among
the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers communities.

The majority of children from pastoralists‟ communities are engaged in domestic herding. The
children have to work to contribute to household asset management (mainly livestock) and to
learn skills in indigenous traditional livelihood, traditional occupations and cultural heritage.
However, commercialized herding is on the increase just as much as poverty level. The orphaned
children and those from poor household are hired out to the well to do families and their parents
are paid in return. Due to the fact that the education system is not flexible and not sensitive to
indigenous peoples‟ needs and livelihood system, the herds‟ boys and girls, do miss out in the

education system. This trend is likely to increase, unless the main duty bearer, the government,
takes deliberate and decisive measures to make education relevant and adaptive to indigenous
livelihood. The indigenous communities are not homogenous in nature as mostly understood,
generalised and/or assumed by policy makers and development practitioners. There are some
historical concealed forms of discrimination based on social origin, descent and work practiced.
There are sub-tribes who are socially discriminated against, based on their descent and nature of
occupations or work such as social groups occupy a lower caste. Due to their extreme poverty,
they end up being the main providers of child labour. Such socially discriminated groups include
the Ilkunono, among the Samburu and Rendile, the Malakote and Muyoya communities in
Garissa and Tana River Districts. The Ogiek children are also employed by the mainstream
communities to work in tea plantations among other tasks. There is no single intervention
deliberately targeting these communities. They continue to be enormously voiceless and
dominated by other pastoralists‟ communities.

The indigenous communities have elaborate and powerful traditional customs, culture, value
systems & norms, traditional institutions of governance, indigenous technical knowledge- that
forms their heritage. Some cultural practices are known and do actually have negative effects on
the individual health and full enjoyment of equal rights. Certain cultural practices such as Female
Genital Mutilation (also known as excision, female Circumcision) and forced early marriages are
“entry points” or conduits that lead to increased child labour among girls. This practice is
common in almost all Kenyan communities that are claiming indigenous identity.

3.2       Social, Cultural and Gender dimension of child labour
The pastoralist communities have strong and deep-seated cultural beliefs, orientations and
practices that do form active and vibrant institutions of decision-making and governance.
Unfortunately, these systems and institutions tend, in most instances, to discriminate against
women and further advances to deny them certain rights. The notion of social – cultural practices
among the indigenous peoples is broad and complex as it includes a whole body of knowledge,
skills, traditional and human creativity and interaction with nature, arts of descriptions and
expressions, among many other attributes. Culture is not static despite being a strong source of
identity, medium of communications and representations22. In most indigenous communities,
culture gives insurmountable power to the male gender. The woman is in practice powerless and

     SIDA studies, (UD) NO 3: Discussing Women’s Empowerment- Theory and practice

   voiceless. Indigenous women are challenging this, however, they need more support, diverse
   skills, technical capacity and space to be able to articulate and advance their needs and
   aspirations. The number of organisations led by indigenous women is negligible and their
   participation in the development and decision-making processes is equally weak. However, some
   remarkable efforts are coming up but have lacked adequate resources to achieve more significant
   gains. The broad human rights agenda among these groups/communities has not taken into
   account key issues, such as child labour. The IPOs need to include child labour and other
   common vices in their advocacy and awareness creation programs. The leaders of these IPOs are
   mainly male-led and decision-making processes are male–dominated and controlled. The non-
   inclusion of child labour in their agenda maybe a true reflection of self-denial that indigenous
   communities attach to this issue. These communities still want to be seen and understood as
   “untouched” by the globalisation processes and that their cultural values and norms are still fully
   operational and they perceive that accepting that child labour exist brings shame to the whole

   Chapter Two

   4.      Major Forms of child Labour faced by Indigenous children

   4.1.    Herding
   Three forms of herding can be distinguished, customary, domestic and commercial herding. Here
   below, these are presented and discussed in further detail.

4.1.1      Customary herding
    Pastoralism is a labour intensive production and also a cultural way of life as well as an
   identity.Indigenous children contribute to the management of family assets and resources and
   also gain survival and life skills. Children (Boys and Girls) as young as 7-10 years look after
   calves and kids. Children between 10-18 age brackets look after mature livestock. However, this
   is also a critical age in terms of participating in the formal education systems.
   Almost all the households with livestock have some of their children retained at home (who do
   not go to school) to help in livestock management and domestic chores at home. It is only the
   elite pastoralists in gainful employment that can manage to send all of their children to school.
   Girls have to double up both of these functions; apart from looking after livestock, they are also
   supposed to fetch water and firewood – while looking after livestock. In the evening, the girls are

   supposed to bring in the livestock and firewood or water and, at home, they still have to give
   their mothers back up in terms of taking care of their siblings. In the consultations, the
   participants estimated that in most of the indigenous communities up to 60% of children are
   engaged in customary herding, which is part of community socialising.

   The poor households have to give their children, boys particularly, to the wealthier families as a
   form of gainful employment. These households or individuals pay a salary, normally to the
   parents of the child.

4.1.2     Domestic herding
    Due to decimation of household resources (livestock) by the recurrent droughts, more
   pastoralists are giving out their children to the well to do household and individual work as herds
   boys and the parents are paid directly. In Laikipia, Samburu and parts of Kajiado this practice is
   on the increase. The parent find it less stressful as the children are fed, are paid in kind (clothes
   and at times given livestock, and as such have a chance to rebuild their herds) thus reducing
   parental social load. These children are treated like employees, are cut off from their siblings and
   parents, denied time to play and have to work all day long under the scorching sun and under the
   risk of wildlife and, in places like North Kenya, under the risk of armed conflicts in form of
   bandits or cattle rustlers. They are working on their own while children looking after family
   livestock are normally accompanied by an adult.
   These children are denied education, work in stressful conditions and have at time to go long day
   without food as only one meal is provided for in the day. They are exposed to physical danger
   (wildlife), psychological stress and deprived of a right as child as these children have to assume
   adult roles.

   It is difficult to get the exact number of children employed as herds boys, but the poor
   enrollment rates in pastoralists areas give glaring evidence that more children are out of school.
   These are the pastoralists “innocent hidden faces” that the outside world knows very little about.
   In most cases, it is the children of single parents, particularly women that are trapped in this form
   of labour as, during the drought, they cannot move their livestock to far areas in search of
   pasture. As their livestock ends up being decimated by droughts, they have to look for means of
   survival by hiring their children out.

   The families displaced by conflicts and droughts are also highly susceptible of making their
   children work, as a strategy of re-building their livelihood.

4.1.3       Herding in commercial beef ranching
    In Laikipia where beef ranching is predominant, more pastoralists (adults) are being employed in
   the ranches as herdsmen and they move in the ranches to live with their children. Due to the
   heavy workload and in order to increase their income, some parents engage their children to help
   them and at the end of the year, the ranch owner pays some bonus to children. To evade the
   legal hurdles, ranchers do not reflect the children in their employment record (only the parents‟
   name) but they are aware and do know that the children are working and do not attend school.
   These ranches are exclusive and access to them is restricted and it is therfore difficult to estimate
   the number of affected children.

   Due to poverty, pastoralists children, for instance the Maasai and Samburu, are initiated at a
   tender age say, 12-15 years and once circumcised, they obtain National identification cards and
   end up being employed. The issuance of ID cards is authorized by local chiefs – who themselves
   are pastoralists and use circumcision as a basis of defining adulthood.

   4.2     Indigenous children working in the mining sector
    The sand harvesting, small-scale quarry mining and gypsum mining are popular economic
   activities in various pastoralists‟ areas. Young boys are casually employed to scoop sand and load
   it to the lorries. In the small-scale quarries they are employed to collect hardcore and in other
   areas they are engaged in digging the limestone or gypsum and loading it to the lorries. This is
   mainly happening in Laikipia, Kajiado and Narok – areas where the demand for sand is high
   because of construction in the urban centres.

    4.3    Indigenous children working in the tourism sector
    Pastoralists‟ areas are endowed with cultural and natural resources that make them worldwide
   renowned tourist attractions. The culture of the Maasai and Samburu has also been a riding force
   to the growth of tourism in Kenya. Young girls and boys living around the popular destination
   are being lured to work as tourist attraction –mainly as dancers. There is a high number of
   Samburu young Morans being trafficked into the Kenyan coast – to Mombasa and Malindi –
   where they are working as beach boys and dancers and owing to their illiteracy they are being
   exploited by villas and hotel owners.

4.4       Indigenous children working as domestic workers
Young pastoralists‟ girls and boys are working in urban centers as house helps and in hotels. Elite
pastoralists, living in major urban centers, prefer to employ young girls from their own
community to look after their children. In this way, they are assured or guaranteed of their
children learning the mother tongue. Boys are employed to work casually in rural hotels in areas
like Isiolo, Maralal, Marsabit among others.
The children work in tough condition and normally under paid and abused. They are not aware
of the rights and the urban environment is very intimidating and poverty back home, is a
constant reminder that motivates them to stay and work than go back and suffer. For instance, in
Merille, a small trading centre where mid way between Isiolo and Marsabit, you find children
between 14 and above working in hotels, washing dishes, fetching water for the hotel owner.
The chilren are mostly from single parents and also from the despised Il kunono(Blacksmith

4.5       Indigenous children working as security guards in urban centers
There is no official statistics of indigenous children working as security guards. However, there is
strong indications that the numbers are on the increase due to continued decline of pastoralist
production, conflicts, poverty and continued effects droughts.

Boys are seriously affected by this activity. They boys are initiated to “adulthood” at a tender age
of ranging between 10-15 and are expected to start rebuilding their identity and livelihood which,
to a larger extent, is defined and relates to livestock acquired. The traditional cattle raids are
increasingly becoming risky due to proliferation of small and light arms and stringent measures
by the Government. The new initiates are left with minimal options, including working as a
security guard. Due to their illiteracy they are in most cases exploited by their employers. A recent
incident in Mombasa, where 4 samburu brothers were killed in cold blood (while guarding an
international school-Braeburn) by gangsters, is one of the few reported cases. Many go
unreported. The community such as the Maasai and Samburu defines adulthood through
initiation and the holding an National identity card is a formal way of identifying adults. These
young initiates are normally approved by the chiefs to hold IDs yet; they have not attained the
required age to hold the Idenity Cards. Most Birth still take place at home and such birth
certificates remains a rare thing in the remote are

4.6    Indigenous children in prostitution
The continued conflicts and social disruption of pastoralists traditional livelihood has driven
some social groups to complete destitutions. They now live on the periphery of urban centers for
security and for easier access to relief efforts. Incidences of prostitution have been reported
among a section of Turkana living on the edge of Maralal in Samburu, Isiolo, Ngare mara and
Rumuruti. Owing to the increase of armed conflicts, this trend is likely to be on the increase.
Unfortunately, due to shame and risks of being despised by others, such practices are rarely

4.7    Children in conflict areas/situation
Resource-based armed conflicts are endemic in northern Kenya and herding children must be
armed with small arms/lights arms to be able to take care of the family livestock. North, eastern
and north rift of Kenya are particularly notorious of this. Due to the current on-going
pastoralists‟ disarmament by security forces, children are being used by parents to keep the arms
and evade arrest. The tribal conflicts among the pastoralists have displaced various households
pushing children to work as a basis of building the family life.

5.0    Major Causes of Child Labour

5.1    Lack of relevant and appropriate policies to support pastoralists‟ livelihood
The Kenyan Poverty Reduction Strategy paper (2000-2004), acknowledges and admits that the
nomadic pastoralism is the most prudent production system in the ecologically fragile rangelands
or Arid and Semi Arid lands (ASAL) of Kenya.
The traditional occupations of pastoralists and hunter –gathering are not formally recognized by
the state authorities and the existing development policies do not favour them. The mobility of
herds and peoples is a strategy employed by pastoralists to make rational use of the rangelands
resources. The official structures do not recognize or appreciate that logic and have not taken
deliberate efforts to ensure that the pastoralists have rights to access basic education and other
basic services as they move with their livestock. The educational policies are not adapted to their
traditional lifestyle and the curriculum is also far much removed from the reality of indigenous

5.2    Poverty
The Kenya Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper(2000-04) document the highest incidences of
poverty and the lowest levels of access to basic services, education, communication, health and
other basic services and infrastructure among the pastoralists communities. Owing to the
reduction of pastoralists grazing areas through displacement by military, conservation and other
state interest has meant the decline in the traditional occupations of indigenous peoples and
increased in extreme levels of poverty. This is further compounded by lack of support or
inadequate measures by the government to support pastoralists‟ survival options. This has
increased the number of destitute household who have no otherwise other than making their
children work as a strategy for them to re-build their livelihoods

5.3    Natural resource scarcity that is fueling resource based conflicts
Different indigenous people‟s communities are in serious conflict with other indigenous
communities, government, conservationists, mainstream communities etc as they compete for
natural resources. The armed conflicts- that are evident among the northern pastoralists groups
has led to displacement of weaker groups to urban centers in search of security and others
segments of affected social groups are involuntarily driven out of pastoralism. In such
circumstance, children become a source of income, through working, early marriages and for
survival prostitution is a common practice for instance, among the, Turkana living on the
periphery of Maralal (Loikas village), Isiolo(Ngare mara)

5.4    Harmful cultural practices
Female genital Mutilation, circumcision and early marriages contribute to child labour among the
indigenous communities and they remain a constant barrier to the realization of universal basic
education among these communities.

5.5    Social disruption of traditional livelihoods
Traditional livelihoods have been and continue to be disrupted through dispossessions of
ancestral lands, conflicts and inappropriate policies. These communities have no other tangible
life skills and will use their children as source of cheap labour as survival mechanism

5.6      HIV/AIDS
The number of children orphaned by hiv/aids is increasing and so is the number of children
who are working to be able to take care of their siblings and with the social disruptions of
traditional livelihoods, the social safety nets have been distorted and weakened to the level that
relatives tend to use orphans to look after their livestock, while their own kids go to school.

Chapter Three

6. Profiles and overview of child labour in selected Districts occupied by indigenous
peoples in Kenya

6.1      Isiolo District
Isiolo is one of the administrative districts of eastern province of Kenya and predominantly
pastoralists occupied. Geographically it is arid land, with the rains being scarce and unreliable.
The district covers an area of 25,605 square kilometres and is sub-divided into six administrative
divisions, which are further sub-divided into 17 locations. There is only one local authority in the
district, the Isiolo County Council, which is divided into fourteen wards. There are two
constituencies, and thus, two members of parliament in the district, which are Isiolo North and

The district is among the least populated. The population is also sparsely distributed. It has an
estimated population growth of 4.8% and in 2001. The population is projected to be about
133,000 in 2006. The high population growth is due to high immigration from the neighbouring
districts. The immigration is increased due to the aridity northwards and pastoralists‟
communities from these districts move southwards in search of pasture and water, while the
Meru population from the high agricultural potential Meru district continue to move in to exploit
the business potential in the district.

There are a number of communities residing in Isiolo, with the Borana pastoralists being the
dominant population and forming the power centres within the political and local government

   Around 50% of the population is youthful, being within 0-29 age bracket. According to the
   district development plan, it is estimated that the population in the primary school-going age of
   6-13 is 27,068 and the free education policy is expected to contribute in the development of more
   physical infrastructure.

   The rate of gainful employment is low and the main source of livelihood for a considerable
   proportion of the population, namely pastoralism, is on the decline. The dependency ratio is
   estimated at 100:116, which means that any given time there are 100 working people supporting
   116 dependents and the situation is expected to prevail. There is a need to evolve strategic means
   of investing in the population so as to ensure that their human resource capacity is enhanced so
   as to break this vicious cycle of dependency.
6.1.1.Affected indigenous communities
   The district is predominantly occupied by the Borana community, however, we also have other
   communities both indigenous and non indigenous. The Indigenous communities include the
   Samburu, Watta, and Turkana and others the influx of the Meru people from the neighbouring
   Meru district. The Borana are sub divided into clans, where political power and social influence
   are concentrated and spread in a hierarchy defined through traditional institutions of decision-
   making. Child labour is rampant among the clans and sub tribes such as the watta who find
   themselves at bottom of the order of hierarchy.
6.1.2. Types of child labour activities in Isiolo

   As stated elsewhere in this study, pinning down statistical evidence on the number of children
   engaged in different forms of child labour is, and will continue to be, challenging. During a
   national workshop to discuss Child Labour among the Indigenous peoples in Kenya, the
   participants from each district were asked to give an overview on the extent of child labour in
   their district. The information is based on the perception, observation and experience of the
   participants and does not draw from any specific study and as such, should not be considered to
   be the whole truth. The Matrix below also mentions the affected communities. A village called
   Ngare Mara was used as a study area to try and count the number of working children and the
   forms of child labour undertaken. The participants could not account for children who worked
   outside the district..

   Isiolo District (Ngare Mara Village on the Isiolo- Moyale Road)

   Form of Child Indigenous               Magnitude/extent Gender ratio             Age bracket of children
   Labour        community                of the form of %                          affected

                                     child labour
   Child           - Turkana, Somali 5%                          20% Boys (boys 12- 17 years of age
   Prostitution      and Borana      The          majority       used           by
                                     believed to be              perpetrators as
                                     settled      Turkana        pimps, brokers
                                     households         that     or connectors)
                                     have lost livestock         80%
                                     due to inter-ethnic
   Children       in Turkana, Somali 20%                         Mostly boys        14- 17 years
   armed conflicts   and Borana
   Child domestic Turkana, Borana 5%                             70% girls          9-17 years
   labour            and Somali      Mostly Turkana
   Hazardous work Turkana        and 10%-              sand      80% Boys           12-17
                     Borana          harvesting, working
                                     in motor vehicle jua
                                     Kali      workshops,
                                     loaders,      packing
                                     boys, pushing carts
                                     Turkana        mostly
   Herding (hired Turkana, Somali 15%                            70% Boys           12- 19 years
   labour)           and Borana
                                     The       participants
                                     considered that the
                                     children employed
                                     as     herders      are
                                     exposed to extreme,
                                     long and dangerous
                                     conditions of work
   Domestic          Turkana, Borana 15%                         60% of which       9- 17
   herding           and Somali
   (children used
   by own family)
   Children       in Turkana     and 2%                          Mostly boys        12-17
   tourism related Borana

6.1.3. Institutional profiles
    The study did make an attempt (not exhaustive) to establish an institutional profile of different
   organisations and actors who have projects addressing child labour and education within selected
   districts. The study went ahead to pin down the actual interventions and how it is beneficial to
   the indigenous children and their communities and what nature of challenges they face in the
   process of delivering the interventions.

Name        of             the Type of the Key activities and area of Challenges /lessons
Organisations                  Organisations coverage within the District
Ministry of Culture, Youth,    Governmental    Supports youth activities through the         Inadequate financial resources and
Gender and sports                              Youth Fund, registers and monitors the        tend to be concentrated in the urban
                                               work of several youth groups and              centres or settled communities living
                                               Community based organisation including        around the districts and divisional
                                               those that deal with vulnerable children.     centres. It lacks a rights-based
                                                                                             approach and it applies the approach
                                                                                             that is being used country- wide,
                                                                                             which does not really differentiate
                                                                                             between different form of livelihood
Office of the President (OP)   Governmental    The office of the President has been          The communities find the approaches
                                               instrumental in enforcing the Children        used by the OP repressive and this has
                                               Act. The Chiefs, District Officers,           made the community devise secretive
                                               Commissioners continue to be on the           strategies of organising marriage and
                                               frontline     of     promoting        and     female genital mutilation exercise. The
                                               disseminating the information on the          indigenous communities have their
                                               rights of the child. The right to             own traditional institutions of
                                               education has been their priority. They       governance and decision-making –
                                               have often arrested parents who have          whose      resolutions     are    more
                                               married off their daughters; make their       recognised and respected than those
                                               daughters undergo FGM or who keep             of the government. The ITPs continue
                                               their children back home to help in           to view governments interventions
                                               livestock management such as herding.         suspect given continuing suffering of
                                               The OP also administers several funds         the communities.
                                               such as Bursary for the poor children.
                                               The special programmes that addresses
                                               drought emergency.
Ministry of Education          Governmental    Mandated to provide teachers, formulate       They face challenges and severe
                                               education policies, making education          criticism of not having not made the
                                               accessible to all, formulate curriculum       curriculum cultural sensitive and
                                               and monitor the quality of education.         conclusive as it tends to favour
                                                                                             agricultural communities and mode of
                                                                                             production. The are few teachers from
                                                                                             nomadic communities and the those
                                                                                             from the mainstream communities do
                                                                                             not want to work in arid areas where
                                                                                             the indigenous communities do live
                                                                                             and as such the quality of education in
                                                                                             these areas have continue to dwindle.
Al Falah Foundation            Faith-based     Has been operation in the district over       Isiolo is predominantly Muslim
                               organisation    10 years and has been implementing            population and the organisation has
                                               education-based and related livelihood        used this as foundation for
                                               interventions, Mainly within the Isiolo       intervention. When literacy is assessed
                                               Town. Its main focus is Madrasa- early        using madrasa the literacy levels are
                                               childhood education based on Muslim           very high; close to 80% as compared
                                               faith.    They      also    have   health     to low levels when formal education is
                                               interventions, which are very important       used a basis for assessment. The
                                               for child survival and well being.            efforts are commendable but it is
                                                                                             limited to urban centres. Weak in
                                                                                             terms of using rights-based approach.
                                                                                             It is however a key player and
The Catholic Church            Faith-based     The catholic church is one single and         It is a very strong player, using rights-
                               organisations   strategic player in terms of promoting        based approaches and livelihood
                                               education and supporting the pastoralists     initiatives to address poverty and
                                               initiatives. The catholic is well spread in   powerless within the nomadic
                                               terms of out post churches/parishes,          communities. It is supporting
                                               satellites centres.                           education through construction of
                                               It is also managing and supporting            school, sponsoring of poor and
                                               tertiary institutions that has been           vulnerable children, supporting health

                                                         instrumental in developing trade skills       facilities, boarding schools and
                                                         among the nomadic youth                       community educations. It also has
                                                                                                       school for vulnerable children –
                                                                                                       Nomadic centre. The intervention has
                                                                                                       not necessarily led to reduction in
                                                                                                       child labour or increased in enrolment.
Anglican Church of Kenya-           Faith-based          Supporting livelihood initiatives in the      Isiolo being predominantly of Muslim
Christian community services        organisation         outskirts of Isiolo. Using faith as an        faith it has not had much impact
                                                         entry point.                                  compared to the catholic.
Action Aid                          International        Supports                community-based       Having supported child sponsorship
                                    NGO                  organisations by building their capacities    activities and relief activities for
                                                         to enable them to become strategic            decades, Action aid has realized that it
                                                         actors at the community level. It has         is rather difficult to achieve desired
                                                         supported over 20 CBO in the areas            change unless policies that recognise
                                                         over a period of over 15 years. It has        and support pastoralists‟ livelihoods
                                                         supported education-based interventions       are formulated. Advocacy and
                                                         in Merti, Sericho and Garbatulla              lobbying are key ingredients of its
                                                         Divions. Action aid is also a key player in   interventions at the national and
                                                         policy reform – it has been and               grassroots levels. The organisation is
                                                         continues to support and host the Elimu       one a strategic player and partner for
                                                         yetu coalition that is advocating for the     ITPs.
                                                         appropriate and relevant education for
                                                         nomadic children and other vulnerable
Organisation                        These          are   They all employ lobby and advocacy,           These diverse and several peoples
Waso Trust Land organisation        purposeful           human rights based approach strategies        organisations are young, have
Garba Tula Development              community-based      to ensure that the plight of their            inadequate technical capacity, have
organisation, pastoralists health   organised            communities. Charismatic indigenous           very limited resources to enable them
and education organisation,         founded       and    peoples, mostly male-led, lead them.          execute their task and some do
mandate the future, Ndungu          managed         by                                                 operate on an ad hoc basis. They lack
zangu     community,       Isiolo   indigenous                                                         have? skills in mobilising communities
women organisation, Friends of      peoples                                                            and local resources
Nomads International (FONI)         themselves.
 Indigenous institutions of         Indigenous           These institutions are strong and form
governance      and      decision   institutions    of   the foundation of governance among the
making – this include- Age set      governance and       ITPs. They are sustainable and enjoy
leaders, council of elders such     decision making      community wide support.
as oda amon the Borana age
set ceremony nies

          Marsabit is one of the thirteen districts in eastern province. It covers an area of 66,000 square
          Kilometres, including an area of 4,956 square kilometres. Administratively, the district is divided
          into six divisions, twenty-eight locations and sixty-five sub locations. Politically, Marsabit is
          divided into three constituencies and one local authority, Marsabit county council. A major
          proportion of the district is arid with only the Marsabit town forming the highland being the high
          potential areas.

          Due to extreme poverty, aridity and on-going social exclusion Marsabit has been and continue to
          be synonymous with natural resource-based conflicts that has of late escalated into armed
          inter/intra –community violence as they fight for pasture and water. This has led to the deaths of
          children and women.

Demographic and population Profile23
Projected Population size                               147,057
Population structure
No of males                                             73,700
No of female                                            73, 357
Female- Male Ratio                                      100:100
Youthful population (15-25 years bracket)               27,614
Total no of primary school going children               31,774
(6-13 years)
Children in secondary (14- 17)                          12,102
Labour                                                  65,891
Total number of households (house hold                  30,000 (4)
No. of child headed households                          5,640
Children in need of special protection                  485(250 of whom are female)
Absolute poverty                                        88.18%
Education facilities
Pre- schools (enrolment)                                81
Primary schools (total enrolment)                       47 (54% Boys and 38% Girls)
Teacher – student ratio                                 1- 36
Enrolment rates
 Secondary school                                       6

Source: ROK, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Marsabit development plan (2002-08)
The children comprise (0-19 years of age) 56.7 % of the population and the ratio of female to
male is 100:100.
The district experiences recurrent incidences of drought, that has led to the increase in natural
resource based conflicts.

Poverty is wide spread in the district. The District development plan states, “Poverty can be described
as a situation where by individual or households cannot afford basic food and non food items. Thus, they cannot
satisfy their needs such as food shelter, clothing, education and health for their children. Poverty can be classified
into three types; food poverty, overall poverty and hardcore poverty. Food poverty occurs where the population
cannot meet average cost of food requirement per person thereby falling below the rural poverty line. The food poor
forms 86% of the district population. The population that cannot meet the minimum cost of food and non-food
items for human life and fall below the national overall poverty line are considered to be absolute poor and they
comprise 88% of the district’s population. The hardcore poor is the social group that is unable to meet the non food
requirement after spending all their income on food alone. This forms 82% of the district population.
The data are based on the 2004 welfare monitoring survey. The district contributed 1.2 % of the
national poverty. This is one of the poorest districts in Kenya.
The above analysis on poverty does not consider other important elements such as access to
human rights, justice among others.

4.2.1      Forms of Child Labour in Marsabit:

The participants from Marsabit attending a national workshop to assess the child labour among
the pastoralists‟ communities mapped out Child labour as indicated below:

     Republic of Kenya: Ministry of Finance and Planning, Marsabit District Development plan(2002-2008)

Form of Child Indigenous             Extent of the Gender            Age bracket
labour        community              form of Child
Prostitution       Gabra, Turkana 5%               Female            10-16
                   and Borana
Children        in El Molo, Borana, 20%            Affects      both 7-16
armed conflicts Gabra, Turkana,                    Girls and Boys
or         related Rendille
Child Domestic Turkana,              10%           Mostly girls      7- 16
work               Rendille, Borana,
                   El molo
 Hazardous work Rendile, Borana, 15%               All affected      7-16
                   El         molo,
Herding (hired As above              25%
out labour)

Samburu district is situated on the Rift Valley and is divided into six administrative divisions, 30
locations and 92 sub divisions all with at total area coverage of 20,826 square kilometres.
Politically the districts has two constituencies and two local authorities namely Samburu county
council and Samburu town council. It has a population of 198, 000 but this cannot be taken to
be true given the influx of Rendille and Turkana due to drought and increasing conflicts in other
neighbouring districts.

6.3.1 Affected Communities

The Samburu are the predominant population but there are also the Ariaal(who came out as
result of inter-marriages between the Rendile and Samburu. They also know as Il turuiyia or Il
Masakara), Rendille and Turkana communities that have settled in the District. The Turkana have
settled in small settlement (slums) in major urban centres in the District. The Turkana, who form
a majority of internally displaced peoples as a consequence of conflict outside Samburu and they
have settled in Laikipia and Samburu. Having been dispossessed of their resources, the adults and
their children have been forced to take the menial jobs for survival. The Il Kunono
(Blacksmiths) are also mainly affected given their low status in society. The Samburu, Ariaal and
Rendile communities have their share of children engaged in child labour. The children from

          single – parents, children born of out of wedlock and orphans due to persistent armed conflicts
          are mostly affected.

          6.3.2   Forms of Child Labour

          Form of Child Affected               Magnitude %              Gender                   Age
          Labour           community
          Prostitution     Turkana,            5%                       Girls                    12-17
                           Samburu,         Il
                           Rendille, Ariaal
          Commercial       As above            10%                      Boys                     8-17
          Domestic         As above            25                       Boys and Girls           7-17
          Children      in As a bove           5%                       Mainly boys but 8-17
          domestic work                                                 considerable
                                                                        number         of
                                                                        Turkana,       Il
                                                                        Kunono       boys
          Children        in Do                  5%                     Mainly boys
          Children        in Do                  All those         in All                        All ages affected
          armed conflicts                        herding          are                            but mainly 6-17.

          6.3.3Institutional profile
Name        of        the Type of the Key activities and area of Challenges /lessons
Organisations              Organisations coverage within the District
Ministry of Culture, Youth,    Governmental    Supports youth activities through the       Inadequate financial resources and
Gender and sports                              Youth Fund, registers and monitors the      tend to be concentrated in the urban
                                               work of several youth groups and            centres or settled communities living
                                               Community based organisation including      around the districts and divisional
                                               those that deal with vulnerable children.   centres. It lacks a rights based
                                                                                           approach and it using the approach as
                                                                                           is being used country wide that does
                                                                                           not really differentiate between
                                                                                           different form of livelihood
Office of the President (OP)   Governmental    The office of the President has been        The communities find the approaches
                                               instrumental in enforcing the Children      used by the OP repressive and this has
                                               Act. The Chiefs, District Officers,         made the community devise secretive
                                               Commissioners continue to be on the         strategies of organising marriage and
                                               frontline     of    promoting       and     female genital mutilation exercise. The
                                               disseminating the information on the        indigenous communities have their
                                               rights of the child. The right to           own traditional institutions of
                                               education has been their priority. They     governance and decision-making –
                                               have often arrested parents who have        whose      resolutions     are    more
                                               married off their daughters; make their     recognised and respected than those
                                               daughters undergo FGM or who keep           of the government. The ITPs continue
                                               their children back home to help in         to view governments interventions
                                               livestock management such as herding.       suspect given continuing suffering of
                                               The OP also administers several funds       he communities.
                                               such as Bursary for the poor children.

                                                    The special programmes that addresses
                                                    drought emergency.
Ministry of Education          Governmental         Mandated     to    provide   Teachers,      They face challenge and severe
                                                    formulate education policies, making        criticism of having not made the
                                                    education accessible to all, formulate      curriculum cultural sensitive and
                                                    curriculum and monitor the quality of       conclusive as it tends to favour
                                                    education.                                  agricultural communities and mode of
                                                                                                production. The are few teachers from
                                                                                                nomadic communities and the those
                                                                                                from the mainstream communities do
                                                                                                not want to work in arid areas where
                                                                                                the indigenous communities do live
                                                                                                and as such the quality of education in
                                                                                                these areas have continue to dwindle.
The Catholic Church            Faith        based   The catholic church is one single and       It is a very strong player, using rights
                               organisations        strategic player in terms of promoting      based approaches and livelihood
                                                    education and supporting the pastoralists   initiatives to address poverty and
                                                    support initiatives. The catholic is well   powerless within the nomadic
                                                    spread in terms of out post                 communities. It is supporting
                                                    churches/parishes, satellites centres.      education through construction of
                                                    It is also managing and supporting          school, sponsoring of poor and
                                                    tertiary institutions that has been         vulnerable children, supporting health
                                                    instrumental in developing trade skills     facilities, boarding schools and
                                                    among the nomadic youth                     community educations. It also has
                                                                                                school for vulnerable children –
                                                                                                Nomadic centre. The intervention has
                                                                                                not necessarily reduction in child
                                                                                                labour or increased in enrolment.
Anglican Church of Kenya-      Faith        based   Supporting livelihood initiatives. Using    Not widely spread as the catholic
Christian community services   organisation         faith as an entry point.                    church
IPOs                           Indigenous     led   Awareness creation and building on the      The IPOs have limited capacity and
                               organisations        effects of child labour and importance of   constrained by resources
Samburu Child Labour project                        formal education

         Laikipia is a cosmopolitan district with the mainstream communities dominating the politics;
         public resources distribution and decision-making processes The pastoralists and hunter gatherer
         communities only form a meagre 10% of the District population, which is 367,000. The district
         is also the home of white-owned and managed commercial ranches and horticultural farms. The
         farms are catching on the poverty of the communities and are using it as a source of cheap labour
         and children have also not been left out as a way to increase household income.

         6.3.4 Affected community
         Laikipia is originally the ancestral home of the Laikipia Maasai. However, they and other ITPs
         now form a minority within the District. The rest include the Yaaku, who are hunter-gatherers,
         the Samburu, and pockets of Turkana and IL Kunono – who migrated to Laikipia and have never
         got trapped in the maze of poverty and have never moved back to their home –districts. They all
         form the bulk of the poor and as such their children have been forced to work as a strategy for
         household survival.

6.3.5 Forms of Child Labour
Form of child Affected               Magnitude/extent Gender                    Age
Labour            community          of child labour
Children       in Laikipia maasai, 2%                 Mostly girls but          12- 18
prostitution      Turkana, pokot,                     boys are used by
                  Il        kunono,                   the perpetrators
                  Samburu, Yaaku                      for easy access
                                                      to girls
Children       in Samburu, Pokot 5%                   Mostly       boys         8-18
armed conflict    and Laikipia                        engaged         in
                                                      herding       and
                                                      have     to    be
                                                      armed due to the
                                                      increase in cattle
Children       in Samburu,        Il 10%              Mostly girls              7-18
domestic work     kunono, yaaku,
                  laikipia Maasai
Hazardous work Laikipia Maasai       1%               Boys                      12-18
Herding           Laikipia Maasai, 20%                Boys                      10-18
                  Pokots,         Il
Tourism           Laikipia           0.5 %            Boys and girls            10-18

Tana River
 Tana River is one of the Kenyan Districts in the Coast province. It has a population of 188,464.
The main activities include crop farming, livestock keeping, mixed farming and small enterprises.
The district is categorised among the poorest in the country with a population of over 80% living
below the poverty line, most of which are pastoralists. It is ranked among the ten top poorest
districts countrywide.

Due to scarcity of natural resources, on which indigenous communities are dependent , there has
been an increase in bloody conflicts among indigenous communities such as the Waardei, the
Oromo and also with the farming communities such as the Pokomo. There is increase and
intense competition for water and pasture. The Tana River Development Authority, a
Government parastatal, has taken up a sugarcane growing project in one of the swamps used by
pastoralists during the dry seasons and it has raised conflicts, which remains unresolved.

6.3.6 Affected Communities
The ITPs found in the ditrict include the Oromo, Waardei, Muyoyas, Malakote, Sanye and the
Waya. The Oromo and Waardei are mainly pastoralists. The malakote and Muyoya are more or
less despised by the pastoralists are known to do the menial jobs.

Kajiado District is situated in the southern part of Kenya and in the Rift valley province of
Kenya. The whole District is approximately 21,000 sq. Km. There are 7 administrative Divisions
and 46 locations. Politically, the District is divided into three constituencies and two local
authorities. Ecologically, the district is categorised as semi-arid and is inhabited by Maasai
pastoralists. For approximately two years, the area has experienced a severe drought that has
decimated livestock, weakened and reduced household human & social capital including
livelihood options.

ajiado District is bearing a heavy and uncontrolled influx of immigrants from other areas. It is
increasingly becoming an unplanned buffer zone for Nairobi. These unravelling social processes
have a strong linkage with Child labour, including its worst forms. The on going land
dispossession in Kajiado does mean that more and more Maasai households will be enter into the
bracket of the extreme poor and their children will be trapped into the vicious cycle of poverty
and will have to work as a measure of support their families.
According to the “Geographic Dimension of Well-being in Kenya- Who and where are the
poor”, a study by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of planning and National
Development, 2004, Kajiado North Constituency, Kajiado central and Kajiado North has,
respectively, approximately 40%, 48% and 50% proportions of the population as forming the
poor and out of 210 constituencies they are ranked as 144, 145 and 146, where the most poor
constituency is ranked as number 210.

Chapter four

Chapter Five
7.0    Challenges in addressing Child Labour among the Indigenous peoples

7.1            Self -Denial at the household and community level.
There is denial of the existence of the vice. This is normally backed by traditional norms –that
children have to learn to work so as to be self dependent. Prostituion, worldwide is a shameful
and attached with lots of stigma and its is very difficult for parents who have suffered destitution
as a consquence of drought or conflicts, to accept that child labour exist. The Indigenous
communities, particularly the elderly bracket, have increasingly found it a challenge to understand
and accept that traditional insitutions and goverance are falling apart or have limited capcity to
address new emerging challenges andn thus, they would require new strategies and mechanisms
to address these challenges.
7.2            Lack of awareness and information on the use and application existing of
legal and policy frameworks by the IPOs and communities.
There is very low awareness on child Labour, both at the community and at the civil society level.
Organizations fear of getting into loggerhead with communities and as such loosing credibility as
a community sensitive organization. They are not aware of the standards and local laws that
protect children. The Government has employed a strategy of arrest and prosecute parents who
offer their children to work intstead of engaging dialogue with the corncened the communities.
7.3            Cultural, livelihood and traditional challenges
FGM and early marriages and circumcision. There is conflict on the definition of child through
the eye of an indigenous community and formal and legal system. Traditional system uses
initiation ceremonies as a cutline between childhood and adulthood. This makes it difficult to
identify and support the affected children, as the community does not necessarily, consider them
as children. A case in point is the initiative of Dupoto e Maa, in Kajiado District, initiative on
child labour and how it presents diverse challenges as far as education is concerned, the Kajiado
Maasai remain largely ignorant on the issues. The community tend to look at the short benefits
accrued from child labour other than long term benefits derived from education. The community
cultural perception and understanding of child labour is still entrenched in the life learning, life
skills, cultural values and norms – that forms and informs the larger part of the community. It
has to be noted that livestock management and production are very expensive, veterinary drugs,
labour and other inputs, not to mention pasture and water, are hard to come by and pastoralists
are trying all possible means to cut down the costs. Unfortunately, most if not, all find it difficult
and/or impossible to cut costs on other factors other labour, and they do this by retaining their
own children to look after the livestock. It would be said that limited livelihoods among the
pastoralists is increasingly making the pastoralists walk on a tight rope in terms of decision

making with regard to survival avenues. Short term survival options are competing with long
terms benefits.

7.4            Increasing levels of poverty
There is a lack of appropriate and relevant education and learning opportunities coupled with
lack of awareness or minimal awareness on child labour – including legal as well as social aspects
and community understanding of the issues involved, there makes it difficlut to addresses the
undeerlying causes and/or challenges posed by child labour . There is a weak knowledge and
institutional base to address child labour among the pastoralists. Few organizations have
knowledge and experience working with pastoralists on other broader issues let alone child
labour. The IPOs themselves have broad practical expriences on IKP but lack the technical know
how and other resources to intervene in a meaningful way.
The increasing poverty trends among the ITPs will continue to hamper efforts to address child
labour. While child labour is one overriding factor that contributes to child labour by excluding
children from education, abusing their rights to childhood, good health and against exploitation
and thus, reducing their chances of realising their individual and communal full potential, the
community perceives child labour a means to “bring food to the table and consequently and
reduce poverty”. This view is held strong and will require concerted, collective, strategic efforts
and considerable amount of time to be invested on a longer term basis in awareness building.

There are different manifestations of poverty and all of which must be addressed. The cultural
dimension of poverty for instance among the Maasai is very different from the World Bank
acclaimed and monetary understanding of the same. Lack of children is considered, among other
factors, as the foundation of poverty. Having livestock, good social relations, children and
respecting and adhering to cultural values and practices is a strong indicator of lack of perceived
poverty among the Maasai- “Enkishon” – a general well being. Interestingly, the same household
would consider itself as poor simply because they have money and do not wear mainstream

Considering this view of well being or poverty into serious consideration, it then emerges that,
having wealth among the Maasai can also contribute to increased child labour and non
participation to education by Maasai children. Most well to do households, tend to hold their
children from attending school and would rather invest in the God-given well being commonly
referred by community as “Enkishon Enkai”(God Grace). The Maasai indigenous notion of
poverty can be summarised by this statement by an elder during a constitutional review process
in 2005; “the land is the heart of the Maasai community and the cow is its soul”.

It then can be concluded that poverty is widespread among the ITPs but it is not a reason
sufficient enough and by itself, for non participation of a majority of Maasai children in school.
In most circumstances it is the children of those without livestock, and such poor, who tend to
work hard to ensure that their children attend school.

7.5             National Policies- Education policies
The curriculum is not sensitive, relevant, and appropriate and is in conflicts with indigenous
peoples lifestyles. These tend to encourage drop out, poor performance and disinterest. The
national policy frameworks has still not accepted that traditional livelihoods are part of Kenyan
social and economic mainstay and as such, existing and evolved policies still continue to
undermine pastoralism as a legitimate form of livelihood. This has made it difficult for ITPs who
consider most of the policies as detrimental to their livelihood and social life.

7.6     Growing/increasing conflicts including the disruptions of traditional livelihood.
Natural resource based conflict are on the increase among and more Indigenous communities
will be driven out of their lifestyles and homelands – living them as destitutes and children will
surely work
The frequent and unpredictable drought and its effects takes heavy toll on pastoralists‟
livelihood. On a number of occastion the drought has been declared a National disaster and most
rural communities; particularly the pastoralists are supported with food relief supplies . The way
of social of life were disrupted, they lost over 67%24 of their livestock and as a consequence, most
they could not afford to pay school fees or even to provide the basic of necessities.

This led to the decline of enrolment, participation and performance among a number of schools.
It is estimated that it will take close to 15 years for the pastoralists in Kenya to rebuild their
livestock and livelihoods- if favourable conditions continue to apply. This highly unlikely as it is
predicted that intermittent spells of are likely to drought and very minimal efforts are being
undertaken national wide by the Government and other agencies to assist these communities.
It is therefore, be foreseen, that community contribution in education and support of school
construction will be minimal, unless, alternatives approaches to income/wealth generation
initiatives and deliberate initiatives to enable the pastoralists re-build their livelihood as a long
term strategy to make them confident and able to contribute to education.

However, and as it stands now, more children of most affected households, will stream back to
child labour, mostly as herds boys and the same is expected of girls, who will either be wedded of
as strategy for the poor household to get dowry in form of livestock and as such use the
opportunity to rebuild their stock or drop out of school in favour of the Boy child- who most
Maasai household continue to argue that, is great value as compared to a girl.

7.7             Limited disaggregated data and information about the pastoralists

  Office of the President, Arid Land Resources Management programme National Drought Situation,

There is need to have data on IPs children and communities so as to have deep understanding on
the extent and trends of the problem. Due to the non existence of such data, it has been difficult
to ascertain the severity of the problem. The IPOs can diffuse these problems by collecting

7.8       Land loss through different means and strategies
The selling of Land among the Maasai of Kajiado and the Leasing of the Land on the periphery
on the Maasai Mara by the Narok Maasai has reached its threshold and a number of households,
particularly children, find themselves having been disinherited and dispossessed of their land and
resource rights by their parents- mostly fathers. The tendency is that the parents (mostly fathers)
sell the land (through brokers) and engage in drinking sprees and end up being conned by
commercial sex workers, relatives and land buying brokers and companies. Most of these men
are illiterate and have no basic knowledge on land selling laws, procedure and valuing. They end
up being conned and due to frustrations, shame and ridicule they end up in urban centres to
escape the reality of the village life. The children and the rest of the families are evicted. These
children end up working. This will continue to be a single most challenge on a daily basis among
the Kajiado Maasai.

When the Maasai sell their land they buy more livestock but with a diminishing resource base
they end up being decmated during the drought. The children are left with nothing to do and end
uo being employed as herds boys and domestic workers.

Narok District is home to the world renowned tourist destination; the Maasai Mara. This is also
predominantly, Maasai. The Government has slapped a ban on any further development of
tourist lodges in the Mara and as such, private developers are streaming to the communities
neighbouring, with sole goal of leasing land for erect tented camp. As it stands, 90% of land
neigbouring the Maasai mara game reserve has been leased out to tour operators and children,
mainly young morans, are now busy entertaining the Tourists. Tourism will remain a serious
threat to maasai livelihood.

The number of children orphaned by hiv/aids is increasing and so is the number of children
who are working to be able to take care of their siblings and with the social disruptions of
traditional livelihoods, the social safety nets have been distorted and weakened to the level that
relatives tend to use orphans to look after their livestock, while their own kids go to school.

Chapter six

8.0       Recommendations and strategies for Interventions

7.1       Community Awareness and Capacity Building on Child Labour and its Effects
This will need to be undertaken at national, community and civil society level. Awareness on
child labour in general, WFCL, domestic labour, international and national laws and standards
that prohibit child labour.

8.2       Lobbying and advocacy
         Lobbying the Ministry of education to formulate education policies and programmes
          relevant to indigenous peoples.
         Lobby the Ministry of National Heritage to draw serious attention to the importance of
          registering children on birth
         Lobby and create awareness in communities on the consequences of child labour, FGM
          and early marriages and other cultural practices demean children and their future.
         Lobby government to formulate policies that are supportive to pastoral livelihoods and to
          provide adequate relief during the time of conflicts.
         Lobby NGOs to mainstream child labour in their normal human rights advocacy and
          commuhnity development interventions
         Lobby UN agencies to support indigenous peoples organization in addressing child
         Lobby the media to highlight the plight of indigenous children
         Lobby MPs so as to secure financial resources from the devolved Fund such as the
          consitituency Development Fund to be used in addressing Child Labour

8.3       Develop a knowledge based on IPOs(Indiegnous peoples organisations) working
on issues of CL (child labour)
There is no directory of IPOs and programmes specifically working on child labour among
indigenous peoples and as such there is no networking, cross learning and synergy building
between and among organizations. This could also develop into a serious lobby group.

8.4       Employ a rights-based approach

It is important and imperative to use a rights-based approach, based on indigenous children‟s
individul and collective rights, in the process of creating awareness on the right to education and
other related rights for indigenous children. The advocacy campaing on human rights violations
and exclusion being advanced by the IPOs organisations should include the children‟s rights to
good health, culture, education and development. The approach should employ a social dialogue
process of engagement with ITPs communities.             The community-based organisations are
powerful community driven and managed organisations and it is of great importance to build
their capacity so as to enable them to become effective and effecient in advancing the children‟s

8.5       Unique initiatives need be supported by the ILO, Government and others
The shepherds mobile education and girl child rescue centres are so far the only documented
unique approach to addressing education challenges among indigenous peoples and that ensures
that the children also retain their traditional lifestyles. This is happening in Samburu and Laikipia.
It needs to be supported as a good practice to be replicated elsewhere.

8.6       Support destitute household to rebuild their livelihood
It is important that poor households are supported to rebuild their livelihood in the best way as a
strategy to get children out work. Unless this is done, children will continue to be engaged in
child labour and they will be, mainly, from poor households.

Chapter seven

9.0    Main elements, strategies, objectives and activities for a project to address child
labour among indigenous peoples in Kenya.

9.1     Strategy for interventions
Based on the sited problems and challenges, it is important to propose long-term strategies and
approaches that can ameliorate the child labour among the ITPs in Kenya. The strategies
proposed will be instrumental in making the GoK achieve its own development goals as set in
the National Development Plan and the Millennium Development Goals. It will be strategic to
lobby the GOK, the private sector and the donor community to facilitate policy change that is
favourable to ITPs. Most bureaucrats in the GOK suffer from “perception traps” about
pastoralists and hunter-gatherers and their traditional livelihoods.

It is also proposed that direct support be availed to ITPs through their indigenous peoples‟
organisations. The community targeted and driven development efforts to combat indigenous
child labour are more sustainable and are expected to generate experiences and lessons that will
be used to reduce the information gaps that now exist in different communities and which the
government is unable to provide and thus cannot plan adequately. If child labour interventions
have to be sustainable and bear positive results then they have to be Community based and
owned and they have to be flexible so as to take into account community livelihood culture and

 A community-based monitoring and self-evaluation system on the extent of child labour should
be designed to complement on-going efforts such as work being undertaken by nascent
community based organizations, for example umoja women group in Archers post , Samburu..
The system should aim at assessing the actual number of children engaged in different forms for
child labour and how many are being withdrawn in a progressive manner and what strategy works
best. A database to track down the best practices, lessons learned, the direct and indirect
beneficiaries will be established and will be improved from time to time based on our individual
community experience.

Another major intervention strategy should address social protection. A stream of activities with
social and rights protection measures are proposed for implementation to provide viable avenues
and alternatives to children who are in risk of child labour and those withdrawn from work.
These will include awareness raising about child labour and its effects on children, formal and
non formal education, vocational education, economic empowerment for destitute household
and support and counselling to affected children.

A down stream and up stream long term advocacy and campaign strategy is proposed. The ILO
PRO 169 and IPEC manual should be used to guide these processes. The use of child labour as
means of socialisation and learning is still widely acceptable in all ITPs communities and only a
culture sensitive strategies can work, as they tend to build dialogue and more acceptances among
the same communities.

A multi stakeholder and institutional involvement and approach is sustainable and viable on a
long-term basis. Some of the key stakeholders that must be involved will include:

Key stakeholder                                     Key roles
Children                                                        -   Must be taught and know their rights and
                                                                    understand the benefits of education
                                                                -   Establish peer support forums
                                                                -   Child to child support workshops and interaction
                                                                    at the household and community level
                                                                -   Participate in planning and design of

Parents                                                         -   Should learn more on free education policy and
                                                                    children‟s‟ rights as per the CRC and CRA
                                                                -   Understand their role in enabling and building a
                                                                    environment that responds to children‟s needs
                                                                    and rights
                                                                -   Participate in cultural and bilingual education
                                                                -   Participate and take leadership of the project and
                                                                    school committees
                                                                -   Advise the GOK on what curriculum should
Faith-based organisations                                       -   Provide family support, guidance, direct support
                                                                    in education
                                                                -   Include awareness on child labour in their
                                                                    spiritual programs
Media                                                           -   Document the effects of child labour to ITP
                                                                -   Doing special features and documentaries on
                                                                    ITP child labour
NGOs/CBOs /IPOs                                                 -   Implement direct support projects
                                                                -   Raise the awareness on CL
                                                                -   Identify working children
                                                                -   Engage communities
                                                                -   Collect and disseminate the information
                                                                -   Lobby the GoK and Donors
                                                                -   Monitor project
Government                                                      -   Formulate and implement policies that are
                                                                    culture –sensitive
                                                                -   Provide legal support for affected families
                                                                -   Provide free education and where needed
                                                                    bilingual education
                                                                -   Train teachers
                                                                -   Provide financial support
ILO                                                             -   Train and build the capacity of communities,
                                                                    government and NGOs on international
                                                                    standards on Child Labour and ITPs
                                                                -   Direct support to Government and also NGOs
                                                                -   Technical support to organisations that are
                                                                    implementing CL activities
                                                                -   Assist in lobby and advocacy
                                                                -   Support efforts on policy change
Private sectors                                                 -   Involved communities so that children are not
                                                                    employed. The prvitae sector is supporting a
                                                                    number of proje cts such as Undugu sociey so
                                                                    that children develop skills and get decent
                                                                    employment after school. The recover working
                                                                    or street children and train them,
                                                                -   Create awareness in the work place on child
                                                                    labour .
Indigenous/Traditional institutions of Governance               -   These includes; age set leaders, traditional
                                                                    leaders, opinion, spiritual leaders Must be
                                                                    involved and engaged in planning as these
                                                                    institutions regulate day to day operations of the
                                                                    ITPs communities.                               50
9.2   Strategies
      9.2.1 Create and promote community awareness, social mobilisation and
             dialogue at the community level
      9.2.2 Strengthen downstream and upstream lobby and advocacy targeting at
             GoK institutions, communities and the private sector s
      9.2.3 Build and/or strengthen the knowledge base and the capacity of IPOs to
             enable them to implement child labour interventions
      9.2.4 Build the organisational and institutional capacities of rural based, village
             based IPOs to enable them to lobby and advance the rights of indigenous
      9.2.5 Promote culture-based enterprises particularly for widowed women as a
             strategy of rebuilding their livelihoods
      9.2.6 Develop and promote relevant and appropriate vocational/tertiary skills
             to enable youth who have fallen off or out of traditional occupations to
             reconstruct their livelihood and support their households
      9.2.7 Develop a community based monitoring and self-evaluations project.

9.3   Strategic Objectives
      9.3.1 Work towards the progressive elimination of the WFCL through the
             establishment of a strong social foundation to address all other forms of
             child labour in selected ITPs districts.
      9.3.2 Support and strengthen the creation of an enabling and conducive policy
             environment necessary to the elimination of the WFCL among the ITPs.
      9.3.3 Promote interventions that aim at reducing the risks and incidence of
             WFCL among the highly vulnerable groups among the ITPs at the district
      9.3.4 Strengthen the technical and managerial capacities of IPOs, ITPs and local
             organisations/communities that are addressing CL among the ITPs.
      9.3.5 Promote economic empowerment for ITPs with special attention to most
             vulnerable groups such as widowed women, single mothers, people living
             with HIV/AIDS.
      9.3.6 Promote media action and coverage to create more public awareness and
             understanding on ITPs child labour
      9.3.7 Promote community mobilisation and awareness raising at the
             community level.
      9.3.8 Support direct activities that directly benefit the community in terms of
             withdrawing children from CL.

9.4   Activities
      9.4.1 Organise and facilitate consultations and planning meetings with key
              stakeholders at the national, district and community levels. The rights-
              based approach should be used.
      9.4.2 Develop a National Advocacy and Lobbying Action Plan incorporating
              national and district organisations.
      9.4.3 Support community-based organisations to undertake action research that
              can help in generating data that can help in filing capacity gaps.
      9.4.4 Create awareness on the ILO standards and national legislation on child
      9.4.5 Organise and facilitate lobby and advocacy seminars, meetings and
              workshops aimed at creating awareness and building capacity in relations
              to child labour.
      9.4.6 Support community-driven economic enterprises that addresses and
              promotes poverty alleviations among ITPs based on vulnerability
       9.4.7 Promote activities that prevent and/or withdraw ITPs children from child
              labour through educational alternatives.
      9.4.8 Identify and support ITPs children in vocational trainings and skills
      9.4.9 Capacity building at the district levels.
      9.4.10 Formulate a community- based monitoring and evaluation, incorporating
              knowledge sharing and dissemination strategies.
      9.4.11 Support innovative and creative interventions that use non-formal
              approach to education for ITPs children such as mobile schools that use
              bilingual learning approaches.

9.5   Expected Results
      9.5.1 Concerted district based efforts to address WFCL among the ITPs
      9.5.2 Improved knowledge base, awareness and technical capacity of IPOs and
             communities that is necessary for the design, intervention and monitoring
             of child labour.
      9.5.3 Key stakeholders identified are organised in the process of addressing CL.
      9.5.4 Improved awareness, application and use of the ILO international
             standards on CL and ITPs at the Governmental, private and community
      9.5.5 Formulation and adoption of national policies that are sensitive to ITPs
             traditional livelihoods.
      9.5.6 Inputs provided for direct support to needy households
      9.5.7 Readily available up to date data and information on ITPs children
             engaged in CL and the number withdrawn.
      9.5.8 Reduced vulnerability of ITPs household as a consequence of drought,
             conflicts and other social shocks.
      9.5.9 National and district advocacy plans against ITPs CL adopted and
             mainstreamed in the IPOs, government plans and actions.
      9.5.10 Increased media coverage on ITPs child labour issues and concerns.

      9.5.11 Increased networking and cooperation between the Gok and IPOs and

Appendix I
Characteristics of Indigenous peoples in Kenya25
It is important to look into some of the characteristics and challenges facing these communities
in order to be able to understand their plight and why is necessary and important to target as
specific target group.
        Traditional occupations and cultural way of livelihoods- pastoralism, hunting and
         gathering. They claim ancestry to specific lands before interference by colonial and
         independent governments
        Voluntary perpetuation of their Cultures and traditional lifestyles which are distinct from
         that of the dominant and mainstream societies
        That these unique cultures and heritage are not recognized, appreciated and promoted by
         the authorities and as such are threatened and moving towards extinction
        They, to a larger extent, are dependent on their traditional lands and natural resources for
         their sustenance and owing to continued expropriation of this lands-their livelihood are
         on the decline
        They suffer from policy and social exclusion emanating from unique forms of
         discrimination by planners, bureaucrats
        They suffer from various forms of marginalization – worse being their conscious and
         planned marginalization as a strategy by state bureaucrats to frustrate them and force
         them to be assimilated into the mainstream- until they “become like us”.
        Assimilationist policies and social reforms and programmes
        Past and on going subjugation and domination by others -through state structures-
         military, policies and practices, politics, formal education, commercialization of their
         cultures, heritage
        Serious violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms

  African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights: Report of the African Commission’s Working Group of
Experts on Indigenous populations/communities, 2005

      Continued dispossession of and displacement from ancestral lands and land based natural
      High levels of illiteracy, extreme levels of poverty, hunger, frustrations and inadequate
       social services- health
      They are in most instances misunderstood by dominant societies, governments and
They are identified and associated with conflicts – in circumstances- related to declining natural
resource base


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