The Pokot values.
The Pokot are enduring people, able to live with very little. Their society is well organized around their tradition and the authority of the elders .There is tight control of misbehavior (eg adultery, stealing, killings). The roles of women and men are clearly defined. Women in the past did not play an important role in the public eye, but they did influence their husbands and children. Nowadays, they have a greater say in public meetings, though they still remain second class citizens. They have high esteem for their family and off springs, though in competition with their appreciation of cattle. There is increasing acceptance of God in their lives, as the one who provides and cares for his creatures. They enjoy prayers from Christians, but do not care much for morals outside their traditions. The Pokot value livestock and will do anything to defend or protect them from the neighboring tribe.
Diseases and lack of health facilities.
The harsh environment of the area, the cultural practice regarding livestock’s and poor agriculture makes it impossible to have reliable sources of food; its scarcity is a common occurrence. Diseases continue being on the increase as the virus of malaria, typhus, HIV keeps on becoming resistant. In fact infant mortality is still very high in areas where WMK is concentrating its efforts eg Kamanau, Nyangaita, Lomut and Kakleshon, but it has reduced in other areas thanks to mother and child clinics. Many women still give birth in their homes with the help of traditional birth attendants, majority of whom are untrained and not equipped with the necessary knowledge. The security in Pokot remains defective because of cattle raiding and stealing with the neighboring tribes. The police cannot do much and army operations to has failed to retrieve illegal arms from the people.
Many Pokot also travel along distance to find water for their cattle and for home use. Many travel an average of five kilometer (5km) to find water. At Nyangaita, a population of more than 10,000 people share one borehole built by the famous televangelist TD Jakes from the USA. Very early in the morning, it is common to see children and young men queuing with their livestock’s and jerry cans. Many women also travel along distance to get at least 20 liters of water for their families. Another problem in Pokot is the issue of alcohol. Alcohol dependency has become a serious problem for many Pokot including women. Thanks to YWAM and WMK outreach teams, the community is slowly beginning to understand the serious dangers of alcohol abuse. The community is slowly beginning to embrace a life of Godliness as a model of true Christianity.
The FGM culture
Besides in their culture, there are practices that need updating to push aside whatever is harmful to the people. The practice of FGM denies the woman her fundamental human rights and contributes in the shuttering of many dreams. It portrays the woman as the second class citizen of their own country. People need to jump over the taboos that envelop some topics in order to deal with them in an efficient way. This is very true on matters pertaining to gender relations and improvement of the conditions of women.
In Pokot, the youths are challenged by the lack of jobs . Illiteracy has contributed significantly but also the high value placed on livestock’s has contributed. Many children drop out of school to look after livestock’s and therefore they are limited in capacity and ability to perform in different jobs.
Marginalization has also contributed to the lack of jobs since the region lacks proper infrastructure despite the availability of resources. There is need to construct youth and village polytechnics to train on different practical areas of study.
Early marriages and need for formal education.
Many girls in Pokot as young as 10 years old are married off against their wish as soon as they undergo the FGM. A circumcised girl is considered fit for marriage and qualified to look after her own children. Many girls have dropped out of school due to pressure from their parents. Young boys also drop out of school to take care of their family livestock’s leading to high rate of illiteracy. WMK aims to mentor the young boys and girls through our mentorship programmes that will be launched soon. We welcome mentors from all the corners of the globe who are interested in joining the programme. WMK will also continue to partner with schools in the feeding programme and child sponsorship programme targeting needy schools and children. Please feel free to contact the programme manager for more information on how you can partner with us.