Voices of North Mara Youth: We are advancing
Ingwe and Bwirege secondary schools peace clubs students claim to have improved confidence in conducting interviews with parents, local leaders, children and youth living in the villages surrounding North Mara Gold Mine.
A total of 80 students have since June this year been collecting information aimed at transforming conflicts and saving school children working in artisanal and small scale mining areas .
The project known as Youth in Transformation of Conflict in Artisanal and Small- Scale Mining (YTCASM) is being coordinated by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), non-profit international organization supporting conflict transformation in the seven villages surrounding the North Mara Mine.
“To be honest this project has been very helpful to me. First, I am confident in conducting interviews and I can now work as a journalist and a researcher. This project has proved girls are capable of doing great things in the community “, Ghati Mahenye a Form three students from Bwirege secondary school peace club said in an interview with the Voice of North Mara Youth blog yesterday.
Ghati said, in recent weeks she conducted two studies on community’s perception towards children working in artisanal and small scale mining and effects of artisanal and small-scale mining to students.
“We met many children working in artisanal and small scale mining. They are ready to go back to school but some are worried to talk to us thinking we have been sent by the police force”, the 18 old- year girl said.
However, the good news is, many parents have welcomed the project hoping that, it will help decrease the number of school children involved in artisanal and small-scale mining activities.
“Parents are happy with the project and are free to talk to us without any problem”, Samson John (19) a Form three student from Ingwe secondary school peace club said.
Ms. Gloria Itembe another form three student from Ingwe secondary school peace club said. “Currently, I am able to formulate questionnaires and conduct research. Recently, I have conducted two researches namely, the reasons that lead school children to be involved in artisanal and small-scale mining activities and the effects of artisanal and small scale mining to youth”.
In June this year, the students received an intensive training on research and journalism techniques under the project.
They have also been provided with modern data collection working equipments. The students collect information under close supervision of teachers who are guardians of the peace clubs.
The two public secondary schools accommodate several hundreds of students hailing mostly from low income families.