The effect of the Mungiki sect on access to education in Nyeri County, Kenya
Maingi, Sammy Muthoga
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The central problem of this study is that despite a lot of effort being exerted by stakeholders to achieve gender equity and equality in accessing quality education, a fundamentalist sect (Mungiki), that opposes modern formal education may hinder the youth from accessing benefits associated with formal education. The sect, in its teachings, refers to formal education as neo-colonialism. The sect advocates for a return to pre-colonial African literature and cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM). The sect hinders the young people from accessing education by either recruiting them into the sect or by causing insecurity in the areas in which it operates in. The purpose of this study was to establish the extent to which Mungiki Sect interferes with access to quality education by both genders in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the Education for All (EFA) goal. A combination of both quantitative and qualitative approaches in terms of descriptive survey and case study were used. Nyeri County was chosen as a case for study with both cluster and purposeful sampling methods being used to arrive at the type and number of respondents. Questionnaires, an interview guide and document analysis was used as methods of data collection. The data were further analyzed through the use of the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) and presented through frequency tables in form of percentages, means and/or standard deviations. The findings of the study show that Mungiki has caused school enrolment in the county to drop. The forced initiation into the sect and its teachings, the practice or threat of FGM, the taking of drugs and the insecurity caused by the sect members are the major challenges the county is facing in regard to interference with education. Based on these findings, it is recommended that the TSC should post well trained guidance and counselling teachers to schools to counsel students on dangers of joining retrogressive groups. Schools should use peer counsellors to mentor fellow students while stakeholders in education, who include the government and religious institutions, should come up with effective and decisive intervention measures to curb the emergence and/or the teachings of fundamentalist sects.