Nairobi, KENYA: Approximately 40 million East African children are at risk of dropping out of school and being displaced from their homes due to prolonged hunger, drought and conflict.
This is according to a report conducted by non- governmental organization (NGO) Save the Children .
The report shows that children as young as eight years are at risk of being exposed to abuse such as early marriage, trafficking and prostitution as well as being recruited by armed groups in the region.
It also shows that, the alternative means of survival taken by these children is a clear indication of a lost generation that has sacrificed the education in favour of a meal.
The report says that close to 21 million people across South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are currently facing food insecurity.
“Their livestock is reported dead or in the process of dying and their food stock was long eaten. Their savings is spent and their land parched or inaccessible because of fighting which spells a 36% increase over 2017.” reads part of the report.
The report also shows that malnutrition has soared, especially among children in South Sudan, whereby more than 1.1 million children under five are forecast to be malnourished in 2018, and double the number from the same time last year.
“In Somalia, only 30% of children are able to access learning opportunities which are less six times the number of people (500,000 vs. 83,000) who are in urgent need of food assistance in this year as compared to January 2017, and a half a million people remain in danger of slipping into famine.” reads another part.
According to the Ministry of Education in Kenya, on average three out of ten children are enrolled in school in the drought-prone areas of Wajir and Mandera. The situation is even harsh for girls whereby only two out of ten are enrolled and even fewer complete their education.
The situation results in schools closing due to lack of water and the few children enrolled; drop out to migrate with families in search of water and pasture.
In Ethiopia, according to the ministry of Education, 623 schools have shut since February 2017 because of the drought, pushing 388,529 children out of lessons, that’s about 51 schools a month shutting down
In this regard, Save the children is urgently appealing for funding to help keep children in school and to take schooling to the children who have already been forced to drop