Garissa County

Garissa County (formerly a part of North Eastern Province, along with Wajir and Mandera Counties) is located in eastern Kenya on the border with Somalia. With a total population of 923,000; it’s estimated to play host to 260,000 Somali refugees at the UNHCR camp Dadaab—the third largest in the world—who are fleeing the violence of Al Shabaab.

Even though it’s currently facing defeat in Somalia, Al Shabaab have become increasingly active in neighbouring Kenya. Terrorist attacks have occurred with increasing regularity since 2011 and schools are often attacked by Al Shabaab, especially if they are seen as educating girls or associated with ‘Western’ education.

Bridge works across Kenya and in communities in Kilifi, Lamu, Garissa, and Mombasa Counties—areas where Al Shabaab are known to be active. 

A mother stands outside of a Bridge school in Lamu County, Kenya

With the spectre of conflict hanging over the region, Bridge has not been immune to Al-Shabaab violence. 

In 2015 increased terrorist activity and threats saw the government close many public schools. Bridge, Bula Iftin in Garissa County was on high alert after locals warned Al-Shabaab were planning to attack the school. Bridge, Lamu suffered a similar fate with direct threats from the terrorist organisation. However, despite threats to individual schools, Bridge remained opened and continue to support the community at large. 

In fragile environments such as these, Bridge remains vigilant and determined in the face of potential violence to bring education to some of the most marginalised communities in Kenya.

By providing education here, we’re providing jobs for young men and women and an alternative future for children who grow up under the shadow of extremism. 

Further, by providing an education, we’re helping to stop the cycle of violence. Studies show that when educational inequality doubles the chances of conflict more than doubles. 

We take every step necessary to ensure the safety of our staff and pupils in our schools, especially in those areas conflict.