2014 has continued to be an eventful year for MGEF. We are thrilled to share that we have surpassed our goal of providing community education to 8,300 Maasai people in Kenya. MGEF has now reached over 8,537 Maasai women, men, boys, and girls!
We do not, however, intend to stop there. As we continue to receive requests for Life Skills, Elders and Mother’s, and Women’s Business Training workshops from within communities throughout Kajiado County, we are fully committed to responding and providing these trainings.
In the last month, we have held two Life Skills workshops and two Elders and Mother’s workshops in the Central region of Kajiado County. Additionally, MGEF is continuing to grow its’ Women’s Business Training program with two new training cohorts begining in May and June in the Lorgosua and Ilbissil regions of Kenya.
On that note, we are happy and very grateful to welcome a new team member in Kenya. Margaret Mereyian will be assisting with programming in the Kajiado office and she will be sharing her vast experience and knowledge at our Women’s Business Trainings as the new educator and mentor.
We are very excited for the coming months, as we will be traveling to Kenya in July! Look out for photos, stories, and updates upon our return, and please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for on the ground updates while we’re there.Thank you for your support and for being a part of the MGEF family!
Thank you for all of your support in 2013 and for continuing to be a part of our work in 2014! This has been a busy couple of months for MGEF. As a result of your support, to date, we have reached over 7,980 Maasai girls, boys, women, and men through our Community Education Programs. These numbers will continue to increase as we schedule workshops throughout the coming year.
In November, I took a month-long trip to Kenya to meet with the MGEF Kajiado Team and MGEF students, attend Community Education Workshops, and network with government and nonprofit leaders in education. It was very exciting to see all of the progress being made.
Annual Mentoring Workshop
One of the most inspiring highlights of the trip was the annual two-day Mentoring Workshop that brings MGEF girls together to discuss health, good decision-making, career counseling, and other important topics. This year it was held December 4th-6th at the Kajiado Children’s Home. Over 50 MGEF girls from all over the County gathered to learn from strong, successful Maasai women and to build a sense of community and support.
Alumni Group Meeting
The Alumni Group also met during this time. This Group is MGEF’s vision for the future in which the resources and knowledge of strong, educated MGEF women will be utilized to give back to their communities and help to uplift others. The room was filled with teachers, a dentist, a doctor-to-be, and more. They discussed how they could give back to MGEF and it was decided that mentoring the younger girls would be a top priority moving forward, along with assisting with the Community Education Program. Many of them have already begun to fulfill that promise at our annual Mentoring Workshop where they taught sessions on health and career development. MGEF Alumna and medical school student, Gloria Mumeita Kotente, can be seen in the picture below teaching a session on teenage pregnancy and health.
Coming Up in 2014
We have a busy year planned! Workshops are currently underway in Kenya, with two Life Skills workshops already completed since the beginning of the year. In April, we’ll be heading to Kenya so keep an eye out for pictures and updates on our growing programs there!
All of us here at MGEF thank you for your commitment to the Maasai community and continued support of our work.
Thanks to your support, we have reached 1,700 Maasai girls, boys, women and men through our Community Education Programs in 2013 alone! Here are just a few of the highlights from an incredible year in Kenya:
Empowering a generation of Maasai womenIn August, 30 Maasai women completed an intensive 3-day business training, resulting in the launch of 10 new businesses. For 6 months, these women-led businesses will receive monitoring and support sessions from a skilled training facilitor. They will follow in the footsteps of our first business training cohort, a group of 30 women who successfully completed their 4th and final support session in early October. MGEF is so proud of these amazing and inspiring entrepreneurs!
Our team of Life Skills Workshop facilitators has grown!We are excited to announce that Caroline Kashinin, a recent nursing school graduate, and fellow alumna, Simantoi Kilama, are two of our newest Life Skills Workshop facilitators (see photos). Like Caroline, Simantoi brings to the table a wealth of experience as an HIV counselor at Jomo Kenyatta University. Both MGEF alumnae share a deep passion for educating and empowering girls by giving them the knowledge and tools they need to prevent teen pregnancy, early marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM). Click here to learn more about MGEF's Life Skills Workshop curriculum.
Next upBetween now and the end of December, MGEF will hold a total of 10 more Community Education Programs (2 Life Skills Workshops and 8 Elders and Mothers Workshops) and reach an estimated 1,000 additional Maasai people. Without your help, our work would not be possible, and we thank you again for believing in the MGEF mission. We look forward to bringing you updates in the New Year, and wish you a very happy holiday season!
Thanks to your support, 2013 has already been a momentous year for MGEF. While continuing to offer our award-winning Community Education Program, we've expanded our Women's Business Training so that even more Maasai women have the opportunity to earn an income. Check out all the details below:
Community Education Program
Between January-June 2013, MGEF organized three Elders & Mothers Workshops, as well as four Life Skills Workshops for girls and boys in the Kajiado County. Of the 594 total participants, a majority indicated that they would relinquish harmful customs, like early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), thereby enabling girls to stay in school.
Women’s Business Training
In March 2013, we held a Women’s Business Training for thirty Maasai women, resulting in ten new women-owned businesses in Kajiado, Kenya. An additional three trainings are slated for later this year, all coordinated by MGEF in partnership with Equity Bank. By the end of 2013, one-hundred and twenty women will be trained, leading to life-changing financial independence and greater opportunities for their daughters.
Thank you once again for your commitment to the Maasai community. Their success is made possible by your generosity and support. We look forward to sharing updates with you in the near future!
PS as an MGEF supporter, you are in good company:
This has been a groundbreaking year for MGEF. In February, we launched the Mothers Workshop, an expansion of our highly successful Community Education Program, which has now reached over 6,000 girls, boys, women, and men. In 2012, we also awarded scholarships to eleven new students and saw the MGEF Alumni Group take shape. From our many incredible stories, we have compiled our favorite moments from the past year. We invite you to read, watch, and discover what makes MGEF's work so special.
Engaging the Community
In 2012, nearly 400 women attended the inaugural Mothers Workshops, a program that addresses cultural barriers contributing to low enrollment and high drop-out rates among Maasai girls. We encourage participants to support their daughters by rejecting both child marriage and female genital mutilation, and by teaching girls how to protect themselves from pregnancy and HIV. Overwhelmingly, the attendees have accepted this challenge and committed themselves to uplifting the younger generation. Like all MGEF activities, the Mothers Workshops are led by a Maasai facilitator. We believe that positive change comes from within a community, and for this reason, MGEF partners with a well- respected, community-based organization led by Maasai women in Kajiado, Kenya.
On July 26, 2012, our partner organization, Maasai Girls Education Fund - Kajiado (MGEF Kajiado), received the East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG) Award for Community Philanthropy. Lucy Ntayia, Managing Director of MGEF Kajiado, and Kajiado board chair, Sophie Meeli, accepted the award in Entebbe, Uganda (see photo below). During the awards gala, EAAG played excerpts from our videos, which outline the programs we deliver to the Maasai community in Kajiado County, Kenya. If you haven't yet, we invite you to watch our newest video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jAZWAc8YpQ. We are thankful to EAAG for recognizing our hard work, and we congratulate the other deserving awardees. Our appreciation also goes to you, our supporters, who enable us every single day to carry out our programs. This award belongs to all of you.
Ending Child Marriage
MGEF has helped 115 girls go to school and achieve brighter futures. Like many of our students, we rescued Reson Mpatinae from early marriage, enrolled her in school, and are making sure that she has the support a girl needs in order to succeed. Now at 10 years of age and less than a year after her rescue, Reson is thriving in her new environment (see video below, Reson is on the left: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpmI0ry7OZ4). We look forward to watching Reson's dreams broaden and grow.
The scholarship Reson received from MGEF is part of a special promise we give to each and every sponsored student: our support and guidance through secondary school and post-secondary school. All of our college graduates are now skilled professionals in their fields, locally employed, and contributing to their families and communities. They are living proof of a universal truth: Educating women is the single, most effective way to improve their lives and the well-being of their communities.
This year has been particularly inspiring as we've watched our students learn, excel, and become role models themselves. In late 2011, MGEF alumni channeled their passion for education and formed the Alumni Group, a coalition of MGEF alumni and college students. Their mission: to empower other Maasai women and girls. While only a year old, the group has made a huge contribution to their community by mentoring rural primary school girls and providing them with sanitary pads. As in many parts of the world, impoverished girls miss twenty-five percent of school every year because they have no access to sanitary pads. Now, thanks to the MGEF Alumni Group, girls at four primary schools - Enchoro Esenteu, Paranae, Emurkea, and Iseuri - are able to attend without missing a single day.
On behalf of the Maasai community and the Maasai Girls Education Fund, I would like to thank Aid for Africa, Bethesda Emergency Associates, Dining for Women, Foundation Kids to School - Caren Van Egton Fund, Journey Charitable Foundation, Reverse the Course Foundation, Stiftung Kinder-Hilfe, Tides Foundation, and the many individuals whose generous support and commitment to Maasai girls' education have contributed to our success and the success of our students.
With gratitude and best wishes for the holiday season,
Barbara Lee Shaw, President
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