“A girl child is like a slave to man! A girl child does not have right to education”
Norbert Kirop Kitum at the school he built in West Pokot County
Despite living in a remote part of the country where access to the internet is very limited, he communicates as regularly as possible with A World at School to update us on the advocacy work he’s doing in his community.
Four years ago, he helped to establish a primary school in his local area and recently he led a campaign to ensure that food meant for government school feeding programmes reaches rural schools more consistently.
A passionate advocate for gender equality and equal access to education, Norbert has written this poem, To Pokot Girl, addressed to the girls of West Pokot County.
To Pokot Girl
I write about you Pokot Girl. This is because of my unending love to you. My heart pains. My heart cries because of what befalls you in this community. You are innocent, very innocent and beautiful.
God’s creature made and placed in a harsh Pokot culture, a culture that has enslaved you. From birth to your old age, you are violated and violated.
Right when you were conceived, the community never wanted you, even your mother wanted to have a boy to please your father. Never worry, God wants and loves you.
Did you know that your mother underwent battering and beating when she was carrying you in the womb? Did you know that your mum did all the heavy duties while your dad was sleeping at the Kokwo?
Did you know that you were born at home and your mother never got good medical care?
Gender abuse in Pokot is something that pains me. Girl-child growth and development is a survival of the fittest. A girl-child is a hunted creature with masculinity towering high above her.
A girl-child faces so many inequalities. What the future holds I cannot say.
From the age of one year old, girl children are taught how to hold and rear babies, they are called bad names, they are referred to as Koko Lokorot, Koko Lowialan (“wife to so and so”).
From the age of five years old they look after goats or cows. They undergo FGM. They get married to an old man by force.
Jaribu leta nyenye ni viboko. A girl child cannot choose who to marry! A girl child is like a slave to man! A girl child does not have right to education! A girl child does not have a right to have boyfriend!….the list is long. Pokot Girl, I stand firm with you.
I write about you Pokot Girl.