Skip to content


Shianda is an area in Mumias East Constituency in Western Kenya on the road between Kakamega and Mumias. Shianda area consists of around 100 000 people. Compared to other areas in Kenya there is high population of people infected with HIV and AIDS, which leads to high number of orphans and vulnerable children. There are also many widows left due to HIV pandemic hence increasing wife inheritance.

The main problems in Shianda:

  • Poverty- most people are poor due to unemployment, low jobs opportunities, ignorance, lack of education and poor agricultural farming methods;
  • HIV and AIDS- HIV and AIDS prevalence is high due to increased immorality and cultural beliefs. Mortality rate is high due to: HIV and AIDS, malaria, pneumonia and other diseases. Also many illiterate young girls are commercial sex workers.
  • Drug and substance abuse- many youths engage themselves in taking drugs due to poor influence and idleness, what leads to robbery, school dropouts and immorality
  • Gender iniquality- Women are not treated equally to men, they are discriminated in the society due to the traditional culture which says that women are weak in the society and they should not be involved in any activity, except taking care of children and cooking food.

In Shianda, most of the parents are able to send their children to the primary school, but there are still families that are not able to afford the school uniform and other necessary items for their child to go to the school. In Shianda, the problem is that a lot of students, especially girls, drop out of primary school. After primary school some children are proceed to secondary schools. Majority cannot afford boarding schools and go to local day schools that are a government schools. Due to poor facilities at the school, the performance is low. Few children from rich families can afford to go to the better schools and get advantages due to the good facilities and better education quality.

Female children are the most disadvantaged people in the Shianda village society, as they are expected to be house-woman or to look for any kind of employment to get money to support their families. Women get often engaged to the commercial sex business and get contraction of Sexual Transmitted Disease or early pregnancy that cause their drop outs of school in the early age.

Some parents need their children’s help for harvesting and farming during the rainy season, so instead of sending them to school, they forced them to work in the neighboring farms.

The primary school (standard 1-8) is free and compulsory since 2002. The enrollment to standard one is about 75%, enrollment to the Secondary school is 25%.

In the primary school, the poor families are not able to buy all school necessities, including school uniform that is compulsory to have. Many parents cannot afford to pay for their children education in secondary school, tertiary/colleges.

Reasons for the School Drop outs in Shianda

  • Poverty– due to lack of school necessities, for instance school fees, stationeries and school attires, because many people are living under the poverty level.
  • Inadequate educational facilities i.e. schools necessities, poor staffing.
  • Early child labour – due to the bad financial situation in their families or due to the deaths of parents, many older children need to quit school and start working to feed their younger siblings.
  • Early pregnancies – young girls are often sent to look for money through commercial sex, which often causes early pregnancy.
  • Deaths of parents – many children lack guardians to take care of them; they are forced to stay out of school and to search for labour to cater for their needs.
  • Forced marriage – many girls at the age of 16-17 are forced to get married to the old men. Girls are disadvantaged in Siyanda’s society, because they are seen as an object of exchange to dowry.
  • Stigmatization – most HIV positive children are stigmatized by the teachers and students, they are seen as unwanted species in the school compounds and they are forced to stay at home to avoid segregations form their teachers and students.
  • Long distance – walking long distance to school and back every day demoralize children to continue with education.
Shianda village
Typical households in Shianda