Samburu school principal who earned a global PhD

Principal of AIC Moi Girls’ Secondary School, Samburu Alice Gituru. The University of America conferred to her an honorary doctorate for outstanding leadership.

Photo credit: Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

  • The principal AIC Moi Girls Samburu was conferred an honorary doctorate by The University of America for her outstanding leadership.
  • In 2021, 58 girls from the school enrolled in various universities for diploma and degree courses.
  • One girl got pregnant twice, returned, sat her KCSE,, scored a C plus and now a student at Kenyatta University. 

The University of America recently conferred an honorary doctorate to the principal of AIC Moi Girls Samburu, Alice Gituru for her outstanding leadership. She was among six others who received the degree at AIC Kurget grounds Eldoret on April 23, 2022.

The institution is a public extra county girls’ boarding school located in Maralal Town, Kisiria Location, in Samburu County.

In 2021, 58 girls from the school enrolled in various universities for diploma and degree courses.

In an interview with Nation.africa, the principal shares some of her achievements and challenges.

“I moved to AIC Moi Girls in Samburu after my promotion by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), from Moi Forces Academy Lanet, in Nakuru where I was the deputy principal. My focus after getting to the Maralal was to ensure there is discipline in the school.

This has not been easy. I constantly engage parents in meetings in the presence of a translator. Still, I am grateful that they have been cooperative and always come to school whenever I call them. Thanks to their support, the girls are now focused and well behaved.

Development agenda

Infrastructure was also key in my development agenda when I arrived. Since 2015, we have built eight classrooms, one laboratory, a library, a dormitory, a modern gate, a deputy principal's house inside the school, and an extra ablution blocks for students and staff. We have also drilled water and expanded the dining area.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and beading are two cultural practices that threaten the education of the girl child in this region. We also struggle with cases of early pregnancies. Despite these challenges, I am determined to keep as many girls in school as possible.

Ms Gituru allows students who get pregnant to resume their studies after giving birth.

Photo credit: Photo | Pool

When the girls get pregnant, I always allow them to resume their studies after giving birth. And many usually post good results. One girl got pregnant twice and I let her return and sit her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). She managed to get a C plus. She is now enrolled at Kenyatta University. Cases like hers are the reason I never turn a girl away. 

Another problem we are currently experiencing is drought. Parents are no longer able to pay school fees because their animals have died. However, I do not dismiss the girls but allow the parents to pay in instalments when they can. 

I am big on building the esteem of the girls and expanding their view of life. Most of them are from the interior villages in Samburu County, where life conditions are harsh due to persistent drought. They do not know any life beyond herding that is why I ensure we have educational trips outside the county to areas like Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. I believe such trips have boosted their morale and kept them yearning to come back to school.

Getting the number of girls from 422 in 2015, to 700 has been a joint effort. I am grateful to the parent’s association and the board of management for their support in running the institution. The Ministry of Education and TSC have ensured we have enough teachers.

Moral, spiritual growth

The county government of Samburu and local leaders have also supported some girls with bursaries and scholarships. The AIC Church who are the sponsors, have contributed in the moral and spiritual growth of the girls.

My work is getting recognised, as was the case with The University of America, which I must admit, is very rewarding and encouraging.”

Beading is a Samburu culture where a Moran (a freshly circumcised warrior) who is closely related to a girl presents her with red beads as a sign that he has officially entered into a temporary sexual relationship with her. A house is erected by the girl’s mother to prove her consent for the relationship. Pregnancy is highly forbidden in such relationships and has to be terminated immediately despite the high risks involved.


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