Africa

Cows offered to keep Kenyan girls in school in Laikipia

Schoolgirls sit around a water tank in Laikipia county in northern Kenya
Image caption The governor hopes the gift of cows will convince fathers in Laikipia to keep their daughters at school

Cows will be given to fathers in northern Kenya if they ensure their daughters remain in school, a county governor has said.

The governor of Laikipia county, Joshua Irungu, told the BBC that nine animals would be offered to rural families.

Under Kenyan laws a parent who fails to take his child to school risks being imprisoned.

But child marriages are common among Kenya's pastoral communities, which often depend on a bride's dowry.

The BBC's Robert Kiptoo in the capital, Nairobi, says that the governor intends to start up a livestock breeding centre in the area in order to sustain the project.

Image caption Girls from pastoralist communities often marry when they are still teenagers

The county plans to fund the project with help from local stakeholders.

Mr Irungu said that the project is not an inducement but a way of empowering poor families so that they can afford to send their daughters to school.

He added that the county would also look at issues for boy students.

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