Life in the dry arid northlands is extreme. Following a devastating drought and followed by the floods of the El-Nino rains in 1996/97, the Samburu women of Kiltamany village in Westgate Conservancy on the periphery of Samburu National Reserve, formed the Kiltamany Women’s Group.
Working closely with the Samburu Intrepids Camp, the women – many who have never attended school and are illiterate – were helped to develop proposals for what they needed. On top of the agenda was a need for a primary school. The village has about 32 households – exact population numbers are yet to be determined.
From a group of children being taught under the shade of a tree, the villagers began to build the village school in 1996 with assistance from Samburu Intrepids and its guests. Today, Kiltamany Primary School boasts seven classrooms for each year, an administration block complete with a library; teacher’s quarters and a kitchen where every child pops in for lunch. The class for Year 8 is ready and the first batch of pupils will be admitted in 2013. A girls’ dormitory for the village girls is nearly complete to encourage the girl-child education in a culture where girls are married off early. The Heritage group will assist with scholarships for the girls.
The women’s group liaises with other self-help groups in the region. Many are now trained as accountants to keep tally of their enterprising businesses such as the bead-work and dealing in livestock. With the profits and help of well-wishers, they have also invested in a banda that serves as a church, meeting place and a shop, solar panel and a borehole, making the village almost self-sustaining.
In the absence of a medical dispensary
“Our lives have changed for the better,” comments Nolkutoip Lekerpes the group’s spokes woman.
Volleyball: 2011 played against Archer’s Post and won both junior and senior local leagues
Safaricom Marathon Runners: two from Kiltamany Primary School at Lewa Downs Conservancy – they were amongst the top ten.
The Kenya National Music and Drama Festival: Since 2009, the school has won the most prizes in the area.
In the absence of any health facility, a nurse from Samburu Intrepids visits the village once a week and in case of emergency, the villagers can call the manager. The Camp also provides for sterile equipment such as gloves to assist with the traditional rite of circumcision.