Desert Children Development Programme
managed by J. Kimemia
Desert Children Development Programme (DechDep) is a non governmental organization (`NGO) based in Kurkum in the Northern part of Kenya. It is located approximately 100 kilometres west of Marsabit town and 15 kilometres west of the Chalbi Desert.
The DechDep reaches out to children whose parents are not able to take them to school due to poverty, remoteness, and availability of schools.
Our mission is to raise a God fearing generation free from cultural and traditional practices to a literate, healthy and independent community.
The inhabitants are Rendille communities who are nomadic Cushites who keep Camels, sheep and goats. The population of Rendille community is about 60,000 (2009 population census). In Kurkum they are about 1000 in population.
The Rendille people are nomadic pastoralists who occupy the vast semi arid and arid lands of Northern Kenya. Daily temperatures range from highs of 44oC and lows of 15oC. The area can be agriculturally productive if irrigated.
They are polygamous and practice child marriage. Young girls are married as early as 8 years old. Girls down in beautiful beads and dress scantily since to them nakedness is from waist downwards. The boys are traditionally circumcised after every 14 years. The boys and girls usually stay in the grazing field called FOR A during the very dry periods, while the elderly stay in Manyattas.
The area has many challenges in terms of; tribal conflict involving cattle rustling between the neighbouring communities, the communication barrier of the locals since they can only speak the Rendille language and not the national language Kiswahili or English. The community depends on relief food provided by the government and other relief agencies like the Red Cross and the World Food Programme. There are no medical facilities available within the area. There are no good roads and public means of communication. 97% of the population of the population is illiterate. The only primary school is upto class 2 with very scanty resources. There is no sanitation; all the inhabitants use the bush to defeacate. There is no good drinking water since the underground water is polluted with high concentration of minerals like arsenic compounds which have been found to carcinogenic. Shallow wells a long the seasonal rivers have low concentration of minerals thus provided the only source of water which is not treated either.
We need to rehabilitate young girls who are married off by their parents to school.
Train the community on basic good health and hygiene to reduce disease incidences in the community.
Introduces income generating activities to raise the livelihoods of the community and create independence from relief food.