By , February 1, 2023 7:06 pm

The day Dansa burst into her home clutching a piece of paper, her life path changed direction completely.

In her hand, she held opportunity: an admission letter from Bishop Cavallera Girls High School. One of the best Secondary School for girls in the entire northern & upper eastern region.  This school represented the future Dansa had long chased in secret.

Growing up in the rural community of Sagante—where persistent drought has impoverished her community cattle, among most of the herders like Dansa’s family—marrying daughters off early serves a purpose beyond tradition. That’s what many were thinking about when they repeatedly shrugged off education as a waste of time, predicting that girls would drop out or get married prematurely.

But Dansa wanted more for her life—and so did her poor mother. Dansa’s mother understood firsthand the limiting effects of such thinking growing up among her people who seemingly don’t value education of girl child. Sympathizing with her daughter’s pleas to stay in school past Grade 8, she stood by her and worked to bring her dream come true.

It was against this backdrop that Dansa got an admission to one of her dream school and busted into happiness and joy which was only short-lived because of her mother incapacitation to see her through high school due to prevailing circumstances. Her uncle connected her to the scholarship office and it was double happiness for her after her name later appeared among the top in the final merit list of the 1st cohort to be enrolled on full scholarship.

This was coincidentally the year county government of Marsabit rolled out Secondary School Scholarship Program courtesy of H. E Governor Mohamed Ali.

 Four years later, she is now among the1st alumni that were celebrated not only for successfully completing her high school studies but also passing with flying colors and now just waiting to join university to pursue the career path of her choice. This brief Dansa’s Story resonate so well with the stories of many of her colleagues whose dream has been made possible because of this noble initiative by the 2nd Governor of the Marsabit County – The cradle of Mankind.


28th of January, 2023 witnessed yet again commissioning of 1040 students which form the 5th Cohort of the Marsabit County Education Fund beneficiaries – a bursary scheme which will take care of their four years high school fees offloading the burden from their struggling parents due to the effects of climate change compounded further by socio-economic hardship engulfing majority of the populace.

These are needy but bright students from across the length and breadth of the ASAL Marsabit County, competitively selected at Ward Level after their (KCPE) grade 8 examinations.

This noble and transformative initiative was first inaugurated in February 2019 for the pioneered class comprising of 247 boys and girls who had scored above 300 marks in their KCPE. Five years down the line, it has benefited 2650 students from very poor families and humble background. 

This year alone the county will spend over 143 million to cater for the 5th cohort and the other continuing students.

The launch of the 5th cohort was historical in that it was marked by celebration due to the colorful results posted by the pioneer class of 2019 in which 184 student made to university translating into over 80% success story. It was historical too since the occasion was officiated by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and further graced via Skype by Marsabit County Woman Representative Hon Canon Naomi Wako who expressed her gratitude to H. E governor Ali for initiating and sustaining this transformative initiative which has revolutionist education agenda in the County.

The 5th cohort is the largest in history since the inauguration of this initiative courtesy of the current Governor whose heart seems to beat for the poor (misleading cartels) factor notwithstanding– as he rightly alluded to in one of his speech as quoted below in this excerpt:-

“Some even advised me that since the former Governor built an Office in Marsabit town, I should build county offices in every other town so that I become more visible everywhere!
Up until now, I have refused to buy that definition of visibility and I have refused to heed such advices for a number of reasons:

Firstly; I hold the view that the best place for a leader to seek visibility is not on the streets BUT in people’s hearts. So, I will prefer to be visible in the hearts of the 460 families and young children who are here today than having my names printed on 460 structures across this County.”
 Governor Ali

True to his above conviction, this is a masterstroke initiative which has revived some rays of hope not only for 1040 new beneficiaries but equally for their respective parents and families.  And to date, just because of this single project, Governor Mohamed Ali is VISIBLE in the heart of over 6000 young scholars and their respective parents – a living legacy like no other in the history of northern Kenya. This huge jump in the enrolment this year was necessitated by the effect of the prolong drought that has already swept over 80% of livestock which was primarily the sources of livelihoods for many and the farming activities that has proven futile due to erratic and failed rainfall for the 5 consecutive seasons.

By the close of the launch ceremony of the 5th cohort, scholarship desk confirmed disbursement of over 360 million since inception of this initiative to finance education of 2,690 students from disadvantaged families making it one of the historical and life transforming scholarship in the region. 

As one of the best initiatives by county government, this program has attracted commendations and accolades from far and wide as well as from political friends and foes. It is an undisputedly one of the best gifts from Governor Ali whose ripple effects will be seen and loudly heard soon across the county when this budding scholars morphs into professionals and persons of substance to occupies their rightful spaces in the society.

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” G.K. Chesterton

Thank you and thumbs up H.E Governor Mohamud Ali for reaching into the souls of the society by making access to education for these budding, bright but needy learners who will definitely transform the lives of their respective community in fore-seeable future.

Diba Kosi Bilinga
Bilinga Is Information Scientist and Gender Advocate from the Northern Part of Kenya