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Research report

Girls' education in pastoral communities

Adella Raymond

Winner of the 2014 'Tim Morris Award', this report by Adella Raymond, focuses on the particularly challenging situation facing women and girls in pastoral communities and the marginalisation they suffer.

Despite the focus on girls' education in the Millennium Development Goals, there remain a huge number of girls out of education, a situation which, although improving, is still a significant concern in Tanzania (especially at secondary level).

This research has three main areas of focus:

  • Community members' attitudes to girls' participation in formal education.
  • The aspirations that parents and girls themselves hold for participation in formal education.
  • Perceived impediments to girls' participation in education.

In order to investigate these three areas, an ethnographic approach was adopted which involved the research team spending a period of time in the field, living with members of the Maasai community in rural Monduli, Tanzania. Observations and interviews were undertaken with a range of community members.

The research makes a number of key recommendations:

  • The Tanzanian government and other educational stakeholders should strive to develop further understanding of pastoral communities' situation in relation to their beliefs and norms, helping to inform a better solution to the inclusion of girls in the provision of education.
  • Traditional leaders should be more closely involved at district level in order to help the government to engage with pastoral community parents.
  • Community women should be provided with adult education in order to educate them to use available resources to change their situation; and with some form of economic empowerment to enhance their agency in providing for their family's needs and in supporting girls' education.

Tim Morris (1982-2012) was dedicated to providing education to those less fortunate in the developing world. As a key player in CfBT's Business Development department (now Education Development Trust's Development Centre), Tim was instrumental in designing and providing education and employment opportunities for the world's most disadvantaged people. Tim's experience in international education and economics led to the completion of his Masters in Educational Planning, Economics and International Development at the Institute of Education. Tim's dream was to use this foundation to launch his career on aid projects in the developing world. However, Tim was just 29 when his life was tragically cut short by cancer. His unwavering passion and dedication to improve education for public benefit worldwide is why CfBT Education Trust set up the Tim Morris Award in his name. While Tim is now unable to continue working to help those most in need, his legacy will continue to make a difference.

Launched in May 2012, Education Development Trust's Tim Morris Award offers £2,000 in financial support to a PhD or MPhil student in the field of Education or International Development. The award's aim is to support field research in a developing country.