Wealth and Warriors: Adolescents in the Face of Drought in Turkana, Kenya


February 13, 2015

Although pastoralist communities are often the target of development interventions, little is known about the needs, aspirations and unique contributions of adolescent girls within these societies. As part of our larger thought leadership agenda to build resilience of communities and advance adolescents, Mercy Corps undertook formative research to investigate the lives of adolescent girls living in pastoralist communities in Turkana, Kenya — among the most poorly understood and harshest places to live.

The study examines day-to-day life for adolescents in pastoralist communities, in comparison to adolescents in communities that have transitioned out of pastoralism. In addition to highlighting some of the stark differences in roles and responsibilities, access to services — such as education — and marriage, the study also uncovered how shocks, such as drought, affect the lives of pastoralist girls, and how girls contribute towards household resilience in times of crisis.

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