LILIAN CHEPTOO KIBET: SHE EMPOWERS WEST POKOT WOMEN

She has spear­headed a pro­ject to en­sure more girls get for­mal ed­u­ca­tion. Most im­por­tantly, she has trans­formed the lives of fam­i­lies through an ini­tia­tive known as Op­er­a­tion On­doa Nyasi.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - MATHEWS NDANYI @math­ews_n­danyi

LILIAN Cheptoo Tomitom Kibet is among the few women pro­fes­sion­als from the Pokot com­mu­nity.

She has braved many odds, in­clud­ing es­cap­ing fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion, to rise in life and even aspire for po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in West Pokot.

In Pokot, she is pop­u­larly known as ‘Lily Che­p­ochep­kai’, her clan name that is be­lieved to come with many bless­ings, in­clud­ing lead­er­ship.

She is a woman of rare courage and her self-de­ter­mi­na­tion led her to re­sign her job at the Univer­sity of El­doret to ven­ture into pol­i­tics.

She has been se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tor at the Univer­sity of El­doret but now she wants to be the next West Pokot woman rep­re­sen­ta­tive in 2017 through the Ju­bilee Party.

Born and brought up in the semi-arid Pokot vil­lages, Lily Che­p­ochep­kai wants to “re­turn home” to give back to her com­mu­nity through ini­tia­tives that seek to sup­port girl- child ed­u­ca­tion and trans­form the lives of women.

She has spear­headed a trans­for­ma­tional pro­ject to en­sure more girls ac­cess for­mal ed­u­ca­tion. Most im­por­tantly, she has trans­formed the lives of fam­i­lies through an ini­tia­tive known as Op­er­a­tion On­doa Nyasi.

Eight years ago she ini­ti­ated a pro­ject to mo­bilise women into wel­fare groups. The aim was to raise funds for each other to buy 20 iron sheets for ev­ery home to put up a mod­ern iron­roofed house in­stead of grass-thatched huts.

Few girls tran­sit from pri­mary to sec­ondary schools in the re­gion and much fewer of them man­age to ac­cess univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion.

“I have al­ready done a bit of help­ing my com­mu­nity out of the chal­lenges we face, es­pe­cially women, but, if given the chance in lead­er­ship, I want to whole­somely help to deal with poverty and un­der­de­vel­op­ment in Pokot,” she says.

Born in Kache­liba, Cheptoo was lucky that her par­ents, who are op­posed to FGM and early mar­riage, sup­ported her through­out to ac­cess ed­u­ca­tion.

“I saw many of my friends go through FGM and then forced to drop out of school to get mar­ried. I re­fused all ap­proaches and, luck­ily, my par­ents stood with me,” she says.

She joined up with other elites from the same area and they formed the Dove Aca­demic and Peace Star Out­reach (Dapso) to mo­bilise the com­mu­nity for de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes.

To em­pha­sise her de­sire to bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion in the area, Cheptoo started her own schools known as the Town­view School, which she uses to ex­plain to the lo­cals the need for qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion.

FEW GIRLS TRAN­SIT FROM PRI­MARY TO SEC­ONDARY SCHOOLS IN THE RE­GION AND MUCH FEWER OF THEM MAN­AGE TO AC­CESS UNIVER­SITY ED­U­CA­TION

Ahmed Cha­l­abi Iraqi politi­cian Do not seek to find a rea­son why elec­tions are not pos­si­ble. Seek to make them pos­si­ble, and they will be pos­si­ble.

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