About

Pokot

The Pokot society is governed through a series of age-grades. Group membership is determined by the age at which one undergoes initiation. For young men this occurs between the ages of fifteen and twenty, while for young women it usually occurs around the age of twelve. After initiation, young people are allowed to marry and are permitted to begin participating in local economic activities. Young men and women form close bonds with members of their initiation groups. These bonds serve for future political ties. When a man or woman reaches old age among Pokot, they are given a level of status and respect. Elders responsibilities include presiding over important community decisions, festivals and religious ceremonies.

The Pokot are predominantly pastoralists. They practice polygamy, early girl marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM). This puts girls at a disadvantage as her value is based only on her potential bride price. In addition to gender based violence, the Pokot are known cattle rustlers and have in possession illegal firearms to carry out their raids. The government has tried through military operations to disarm the community but with little success or cooperation.

COME UNITY has responded to these imbalances in gender development by partnering with two North Pokot secondary schools: Alale Girl's Secondary and St. Anne's Chelopoy. Through child sponsorship COME UNITY provides an opportunity for bright girls in the region to receive an education. By keeping the girls in school their chances of being sold as a child bride are lessened. During these formative years the girls build confidence and are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to be active and engaged women in their communities.

Both schools have also benefited through greenhouse projects. The project is aimed at creating sustainability for the ongoing education program. It exposes students and the community to new livelihood sources and teaches how to grow food in a dry and arid environment such as Pokot utilizing new farming techniques.

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