Girls face many challenges in the Maasai community, where cultural traditions such as female genital mutilation and forced early marriage prevent girls from continuing their education.
Why we care: The Maasai community has the highest rate of child marriage in Kenya, with 90% of young girls undergoing FGM, getting married and dropping out of school, ending any hope of continuing to secondary school.
How we are solving this: Changing the paradigm for girls’ education and learning in rural Kenya.
Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) is the only primary boarding school for girls in Enoosaen, Kenya, with 155 students enrolled in grades 4 to 8. The school serves the area’s most vulnerable and underprivileged girls and focuses on academic excellence, health education, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. In December 2013, KCE will graduate its first class of eighth grade girls from our school. This is an exciting and critical juncture for these 19 young women and their families, as 90% of these graduates will have the opportunity to be the first female in their family to complete secondary school. As role models, these graduates are paving the way for younger classmates by showing their peers what can be accomplished with hard work and perseverance.
Our girls are excelling academically. In 2012 the KCE eighth grade girls ranked #1 in the Transmara district. We are determined to ensure that our 19 graduates have the necessary resources to continue their educational journey and forever change their life trajectory. This Catapult project will support our graduating class by funding the following initiatives:
Secondary school prospecting and trip to Nairobi: In addition to rigorous academics, KCE strives to enrich and broaden the girls’ knowledge through experiences outside the classroom. This fall our eighth grade girls will travel to Nairobi to visit the cultural and historic sites of the Kenyan capital. They will also visit secondary boarding schools throughout the area. This will be the first time any of our girls have been to a big city. The trip will truly be one of discovery, broadening their vision of the opportunities awaiting them as they continue on their path.
Graduation ceremony: KCE’s first graduation ceremony will take place in December 2013. It will bring together all the KCE students, their families, teachers, and community leaders for a day of reflection and celebration. Graduation will serve as an important symbol of what can be accomplished when girls are supported, educated, cherished and empowered. The celebration will highlight their accomplishments and recognize girls who stand out as leaders.
Ongoing academic support: Our girls will need continued financial, academic, and social support as they transition into their high school experience. We are preparing to provide them with the resources they will need in the future, including scholarships, mentoring, career advice, and tutoring services.