Kakenya's Dream

The Kakenya Center for Excellence seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and to break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Maasai Kenya such as female genital cutting and early forced marriage. We believe in impacting one girl at a time, one community at a time, until all girls in Africa have the opportunities they need to thrive as individuals. These future women leaders will improve their communities, their nation, and the world.
Jul 9, 2014

KCE Training Program Hits the Road!

Our first group of boys at their training
Our first group of boys at their training

When I dreamed of building Kakenya Center for Excellence, I imagined a place where every girl in my village could receive an education, be free of FGM and early marriage, have room to build their own dreams for the future, and become change makers in Kenya. I wanted the next generation of leaders in my village, both girls and boys, to recognize the value of educated girls who can become equal partners in our community and world. My vision was that, as our students became more known and respected in our community, our model for educating all children would spread throughout the region.

Our Health and Leadership Training program began as a response to the high number of families in the region who were seeking spots for their daughters in our boarding school. Though we could only accept a small number into the school, I could not leave the rest behind. I wanted to find a way to reach all girls in the community with information about their rights, FGM, and early marriage as well as leadership and self defense skills. Our training program has allowed us to reach some of these girls by inviting them to our campus for week-long camps twice per year. After we launched the training program in 2011, its reputation spread quickly and demand for participation was more than we could accommodate.

I began to dream bigger. I decided to take our program on the road to schools around the region, allowing us to reach all girls attending those schools. On June 27th and 28th, Kakenya Center for Excellence held our first weekend Health and Leadership Training in a neighboring school. Hosted at Enkilority primary school, 106 girls and 80 boys from five nearby primary schools joined KCE trainers and staff for a two-day training seminar on a variety of topics including self esteem and leadership, FGM and early marriage, and sexuality and adolescence. The first day of training included our inaugural session for 6th and 7th grade boys. Trainers from the Nairobi-based group I'm Worth Defending worked with the boys who attended, stressing the importance that they join with girls to become a new generation of leaders that stands together on the principle of education for all and that protects the rights of children everywhere. Our goal is to reach 1,500 students this year through these monthly weekend training sessions. Plans are already underway for next month's "on the road" training!

Thank you so much for your support as we continue to dream bigger and reach more and more girls (and boys) throughout the Transmara region with critical skills and information. You are making a difference, and we are so grateful that you believe in our mission to change the paradigm for girls’ education in rural Kenya.

Learning outside
Learning outside
Listening carefully to the trainers
Listening carefully to the trainers
80 boys showed up!
80 boys showed up!

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Jul 3, 2014

The KCE Mentorship Program

Wilkista and some KCE students
Wilkista and some KCE students

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” - Maya Angelou

 With the passing of Maya Angelou this May, I have been moved to write this update about the vital importance of mentors in our KCE community. Since our inception in 2009, mentorship has been a strong and integral tenet of our program.

Our teachers and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that our students do well academically, emotionally, mentally and physically. In addition, KCE has developed partnerships with community members and organizations that motivate, inspire and engage our students to uncover their true potential and reach for their dreams.

 Last August, KCE began a mentorship program with the Global Give Back Circle, an international non-profit mentoring program that pairs young disadvantaged students with mentors.   Two amazing young college students from the University of Nairobi, Wilkista Akinyi and Vera Oreti, initiated the Kakenya Mentoring Program with Global Give Back Circle, bringing together students from several Kenyan universities and our KCE students. Throughout last year, all of our class 8 girls were paired with mentors from Kenyan universities.  Through online letters, students gained insight into the rewards and challenges of college. Wilkista described the program’s vision this way: “We wanted to share with them more about high school and university life, we wanted to empower them to dream big and walk their dreams, we wanted to be their older sisters who have defied all odds and gained access to quality education. We wanted to help them understand the true meaning of growing to become global citizens who can develop their communities and beyond.”

 In May 2014, our recent graduates returned to KCE for a two-day training program that was facilitated by Wilkista and the Global Give Back Circle women. Our graduates were happy to reunite on campus and to meet their mentors in person. Wilkista has stayed on this month to strengthen the mentorship program for our current 8th grade class and facilitate their upcoming field trip to Nairobi.

In the coming weeks, the high schools our graduates now attend will be hosting visiting days, and I am thrilled that many of our mentors will be traveling to visit their students during that time!  

 I cannot begin to emphasize the profound influence these mentors have had on our girls. These mentors are empowering our students to visualize a different future. Our girls are witnessing achievement and it is igniting their own passions.

Most importantly, their continued fellowship and guidance has said “I Believe In You” and for that, I am forever grateful.

Sincerely,

 

Kakenya

Apr 10, 2014

Health and Leadership Trainings are Going Strong!

Teamwork
Teamwork

It's hard to believe, but KCE's Health and Leadership Training program is now in its third year and has reached over 300 girls, 60% of whom travel from surrounding villages to participate in the camps in-depth health, leadership and experiential activities!

April and May will be especially busy this year!   In two short weeks we will be hosting our week-long training on KCE's campus.   We are excited to have law students from Strathmore University in Nairobi assisting with some of the leadership and professional development trainings at camp.  The law program at Strathmore requires all students to complete 200 hours of community service and we are thrilled to have these young women partnering with us. 

In an effort to reach more girls, KCE Health and Leadership trainings will "hit the road" this May by launching weekend programs throughout schools in our district with the goal of reaching 1,000 girls this year!

We look forward to sharing more information with you about our April and May programs and will send a detailed update in June.   Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Confidence & Self Esteem is Blossoming at KCE
Confidence & Self Esteem is Blossoming at KCE
Fun at KCE
Fun at KCE
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