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Nov 5, 2018

From WISER Graduate to Medical Professional!

Jacklyne (WISER class of 2013)
Jacklyne (WISER class of 2013)

Five years ago, we celebrated the first class of graduates from the WISER Girls Secondary School. Four years ago, those graduates became some of the first girls in their communities to go to college.

This year? Those girls are college graduates who are among the top young professionals in Kenya.

Just a few weeks ago, the WISER team was delighted to welcome a group of alumni back to campus for a nostalgia-filled visit. These girls, Jacklyne, Margaret, and Millicent, are all WISER trailblazers – among the first to graduate from WISER and now, among the first WISER alumni to finish their college programs. All three girls are following a similar path, choosing careers in the medical field. Jacklyne is now working as a medical lab technician. Millicent and Margaret are both nurses. All of them have come a long way from where they began.

“It has been challenging,” said Margaret. “But I am not the former Margaret. I am a new Margaret. I have skills, I am well-equipped. I can do great things today, tomorrow, and in the future.”

This kind of confidence is exciting to see from a young nurse, as Kenya’s healthcare sector is woefully understaffed in rural regions. Having young, enthusiastic medical professionals like Margaret, Millicent, and Jacklyne on the horizon offers hope to many people across Kenya.

“You find that patients are many and nurses are few,” says Millicent. “You find that resources are limited, and it’s up to us to use the resources that you have… the community expects a lot from you.  But when you prosper, you become a role model.”

This is the core of a WISER success story. These young women come from a region of Kenya where no one expected them to finish eighth grade, let alone high school or college. They have faced countless barriers – poverty, gender-based violence, limited access to clean water, and more. And yet, Margaret, Millicent, and Jacklyne are thriving. And they come back to WISER to visit their old school and to visit their home communities. Because today, in the areas where these girls were raised, they have become heroes.

“In my home area, there’s only one other woman who has done my kind of work,” says Jacklyne. “So when I come through my area, people look at me and they call me daktari (doctor). They say that’s my name. The kids come to me and say ‘I will be a nurse! I will be like Jacklyne!’ There are people that say ‘Jacklyne is my hero.’”

These inspiring young women offer just a few examples of what can happen when you, the members of the Global WISER Family, support WISER on GlobalGiving. Thank you for your dedication and for making these long-term successes possible. You are helping the WISER team change the future for hundreds of girls and their communities!

Millicent and Margaret (both WISER class of 2013)
Millicent and Margaret (both WISER class of 2013)
Aug 8, 2018

Support Youth Leading the Way at WISER

If you were to walk onto WISER's campus on a typical weekday afternoon, you might see groups of students scattered around the school's main field. Seated in tight circles, girls come together with their peers to discuss difficult community issues. And at the helm of each circle? A young woman, a peer counselor, ready to lead the way. 

Youth leadership is more alive and thriving at WISER right now than it has ever been. In just the past six months:

  • WISER girls have led sexual and reproductive health workshops for hundreds of youth in Muhuru Bay
  • Girls are taking on peer-elected positions on campus ranging from "minister of dorm life" to student body president
  • A team of peer counselors is tackling major community challenges through weekly psychosocial support sessions 
  • Young WISER alumni returned to campus for our first-ever reunion to mentor and inspire their peers
  • Three girls have already been invited to attend the East African Girls Leadership Summit later this year

Putting youth in charge allows them to develop leadership skills, grow their self-confidence, and to put their expertise into practice as they address community issues. And growing and learning in this enviroment at WISER has incredible effects on young women. Take it from WISER alumna Mercy, who said recently, "I cant explain in words how much WISER has impacted my life. It made me believe in myself. It taught me to move through the world. WISER made that happen." 

We believe that kind of transformative impact for youth is worth celebrating - and we hope you do, too.

That's why we're excited to invite you to join WISER for GlobalGiving's Youth Week Campaign. This week, when you make a gift of any size to empower youth through WISER, you can help us earn access to thousands of dollars in bonus prizes. Plus, when you sign up for a monthly gift, your donation will be matched 100%! 

All you have to do is visit WISER's GlobalGiving page at the link below and help us celebrate the power of youth leadership by making a gift:

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-and-educate-wiser-girls-in-kenya/

When girls like Mercy and her peers are empowered as youth leaders, incredible change can happen. But opportunities to empower youth are only possible through your support. Thank you for believing, as we do at WISER, that youth leadership deserves to be supported and celebrated! 

Links:

Jul 27, 2018

The Power of Girls Leading Change

Josephine leads an SRH workshop for younger girls
Josephine leads an SRH workshop for younger girls

Earlier this year, we shared that the WISER girls had made it their mission to reduce early pregnancy in their community through sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education. We’re excited to say that in just the first six months of 2018, WISER girls have already reached more youth through SRH outreach than in all of last year! Way to go, girls!

WISER girl-led SRH outreach remains our fastest-growing program, as WISER girls take initiative and lead workshops with students in local schools, community members in local churches, and with their own families in their villages.

When girls act as SRH leaders, they are doing more than sharing critical health information; they are serving as role models and powerfully demonstrating that girls have the potential to solve community problems.

As WISER’s guidance and counselling leader, Nipher Okemwa, says, "When you see the WISER girls leading SRH, it's so inspiring to youth in the community. They see someone who is a leader, but also their peer -- that is someone who understands the challenges of Muhuru Bay and knows how to address them."

WISER’s girl-led SRH education sessions have already reached over 1,000 youth in 2018, and the WISER girls are just getting started as they continue to reach more youth across Muhuru Bay and beyond.

We’ll be celebrating the WISER girls’ impact and the incredible power of youth leadership during GlobalGiving’s Youth Week from August 6th to 12th. We hope you’ll join us by contributing to WISER and creating more opportunities like these for girls to lead change.

Thank you for making these stories of impact possible. We’re grateful to have you in the Global WISER Family, and we hope you’ll continue to champion the WISER girls during the fast-approaching Youth Week Campaign!

Debora proudly leads SRH outreach in a church
Debora proudly leads SRH outreach in a church
 
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