Arte Saman Dagane, Member of the Dadaab Response Association, Graduate of the Master of Education, York University

Abdullahi Yussuf Aden, Graduate of the Master of Education, York University Borderless Higher Education for Refugees Program

Executive summary:

This paper is a modified version of a Major Research Paper for the Master of Education degree at York University as part of the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project, which provides education to the community living in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. This collaborative paper investigates and discusses the causes and consequences of female student dropout in a secondary school in the Dadaab refugee camps. It adopted a qualitative research design, conducting individual interviews with four female participants: two currently in school and two who have dropped out. Family relationships, family education, household income, gendered traditions and school-related factors emerged as key factors influencing the decision to drop out or stay in school. Family members who encourage female students contribute to retention, while household financial difficulties, gendered traditions, and aspects of the school system such as a lack of female teachers contributes toward dropout. The structure of the education system, policies, practices and the role of the school, implementing organizations, and the community were emphasized. We conclude with recommendations for teachers, schools and NGOs: introducing cash payments to support families with girls in school, sensitizing the community about the significance of education for girls, involving parents and family members in girls’ education, setting up measures to monitor student attendance with regular follow-up, employing more female teachers in schools, establishing peer mentoring partnerships, and involving female learners in policy decisions.

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