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Oct 11, 2016

Opening the "Window of Hope" for Girls in Kisumu!

NIGEE girls after completing a training
NIGEE girls after completing a training

“My window of a better life was shattered when I had to drop out of school because my mother couldn’t manage to pay my school fees. It worsened when I got pregnant and the man responsible denied any involvement and declined to take any responsibility” says Milka

During the period under review (August-October 2016) NIGEE continues to advance the Girls’ Empowerment Centre (GEC) within Kisumu:

  • Presently, 41 girls have been enrolled for vocational training and out of these, 7 were new recruits during this period. Mobilization has been slow and we have revamped our approach and started reaching more girls (see below).
  • Currently there are 30 girls enrolled in computer classes, 8 girls in hairdressing and 3 girls in tailoring
  • There are 6 girls at present boarding at our hostel which has a total capacity for 16 girls
  • The girls at the hostel were given a small space to use as a kitchen to cook their meals and provided with 2 jikos (charcoal stoves) and a 6kg gas burner.
  • There were an additional 4 girls who were hosted at the hostel while issues at home were being dealt with such as sexual harassment, gender violence and family conflict
  • A newly appointed Community Mobilizer, who is herself a past beneficiary of sponsorship by NIGEE's director, is using a peer to peer approach, has mobilized over 100 girls within the catchment area and they await enrollment in the coming months
  • We have also engaged a GEC Coordinator and a Training Coordinator - this will expand our training capacity, identify employment and internship opportunities in Kisumu County, and prepare the girls for the job market.
  • There are 3 volunteer tutors for computer, tailoring and hairdressing courses, who receive a small stipend for their services.
  • An intern from Japan stayed for 3 months, mobilizing girls, helping with the computer classes and teaching a component of the life skills class (Japanese Society & Cultural Practices)

Milka story

Milka today is a self-assured, independent 26 year old young woman. She is a partial orphan and a mother of a young boy. She is amongst the beneficiaries who successfully completed her secondary school education last year after joining the NIGEE scholarship program in 2013.

It was her inner strength and resilience that enabled her to never lose hope of completing her studies and seizing the opportunity when NIGEE presented it to her.

“I managed to complete my secondary school last year and joined the Girls Empowerment Centre where I finished the stage one on computer packages and hoping to join hairdressing after stage two of computer class, which will help me be employable and self-reliant “

Due to her courage, excitement and determination, currently Milka is also a validator employed by NIGEE, one of 9 extraordinary young women who were chosen to participate in another project helping girls in similar circumstances:

 “I share with the girls my life story and those who are hopeless like I was before NIGEE got me. I encourage them and help them view the world in a new angle and also boost their morale since NIGEE is here to help them overcome some of their problems”

Our NIGEE girls’ successes and willingness to give back to those in similar situations is concrete proof of our belief that education empowers young girls so they can be self-reliant, chart out their own destinies and live well within the society, the nation and the world.

“NIGEE has made me the woman I am today and I’m hoping to join college soon with the savings I have been making from the allowance I get from being a validator; and have also been sending some money to my mother for her upkeep and that of my son.”

Milka is also the Chairperson for the Girls Steering Committee, which is one of the governance structure in NIGEE. The committee spearheads designing of girl-led interventions to address emerging issues raised by the girls. She is a mother, a mentor and valued member of society, thanks to her changed attitude from haplessness to believing she can!

NIGEE beneficiary receiving her certificate
NIGEE beneficiary receiving her certificate
NIGEE beneficiary with her son at GEC
NIGEE beneficiary with her son at GEC
Hairdressing class ongoing at the GEC
Hairdressing class ongoing at the GEC
Dress-making class in progress at the GEC
Dress-making class in progress at the GEC
Beneficiaries at the GEC during practical session
Beneficiaries at the GEC during practical session
Jul 20, 2016

Giving girls 2nd chance through Empowerment!

Training on introduction to basic computer skills
Training on introduction to basic computer skills

During the period under review (May – July 2016), NIGEE finalized the Girls’ Empowerment Centre (GEC) within Kisumu.

  • Additional 20 girls from slums of Kisumu have been enrolled for vocational skills training. 10 are currently undergoing computer training, 10 are waiting to start hairdressing and dressmaking training. Training equipments and materials are available.
  • Awareness and demand creation was conducted through meetings organized by the Local Administration, chiefs and / assistant chiefs of the 4 major slums. The community has embraced the program and are willing to reach as many girls as possible.
  • Life skills and counselling sessions have are ongoing at the centre.
  • Established a small hostel within the GEC to offer boarding facilities for the girls.
  • Casual trainers for the vocational skills training at the GEC have been recruited.


The girls have continued to appreciate the donors who have made this project (GEC) a reality. The second group of computer class are soon graduating.  Below is a story of a new GEC beneficiary:


Belinda : ‘Down but not out!’

Belinda is 21 years old and she’s the first born in her family. She is amongst the beneficiaries who successfully completed their secondary school education last year after joining the NIGEE scholarship program in 2013. Her mother who was sole breadwinner passed on while she was still in primary school. They left with their father who wasn’t keen on supporting the family and didn’t believe in educating a girl - Putting food on the table was quite a challenge for them and on many occasions they went hungry. Belinda sat for her National Primary Examinations (KCPE) in 2010 and scored 311 marks out of the possible 500. She then joined Thurgem Secondary School in 2010, studied for one year and then dropped out due to lack of school fees since her father could not afford it. She stayed out of school for one year.

 “Life was very difficult in the year 2012 when I dropped out of school” narrates Belinda. Getting personal effects became a bigger challenge and she didn’t have an option so she opted to get involved with a man who could provide her basic needs like sanitary towels and other personal effect. In the event, she got pregnant during the relationship and the man refused to take responsibility for the pregnancy. To support her child she was forced to do manual work for people within her community to raise funds. It’s at this point that she got married to a man who promised to support her only to discover that the man had a first wife and she was therefore going to be the second wife. Two months into the marriage she found it unbearable and then she escaped.

In 2013, she was recruited as a beneficiary and she went back to school and sat for her secondary examinations (KCSE) last year and scored a C. “NIGEE changed my life and gave me a new perspective. I am now able to take care of my child,” she says.

Belinda currently benefits from the various programs offered by the GEC. For her, the GEC is a platform to explore boundless possibilities that will help her be a good role model for her child. “I thank NIGEE for empowering me and making me proud of myself,” she concludes.

She’s one of the beneficiaries to benefit from the new hostel facilities at the Girls’ Empowerment Centre since her family lives far from the centre and she has no relative in Kisumu.

A mobilization flyer for the GEC
A mobilization flyer for the GEC
NIGEE beneficiaries during a computer classes
NIGEE beneficiaries during a computer classes
New tailoring machines bought for GEC trainings
New tailoring machines bought for GEC trainings
The new tailoring class at GEC
The new tailoring class at GEC
Apr 20, 2016

Progress report for the Girls' Empowerment Centre

The Outer view of the Girls empowerment centre
The Outer view of the Girls empowerment centre

During the period under review (February – April 2016), NIGEE finalized the Girls’ Empowerment Centre (GEC) within Kisumu.

  The team conducted several activities during the period including:

  • Trained 14 NIGEE girls on data collection methods and beneficiary verification processes, and linked them with internship/job opportunities in other NIGEE project activities.
  • Advertised for vocational training opportunities at the GEC targeting teen mothers living in informal neighborhoods of Kisumu.
  • Advertised for casual trainers for the vocational skills training at the GEC.
  • Initiated partnership with Kisumu Gender Recovery Centre based at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu to support sexually abused girls.

The girls really appreciate the donors who have made this project (GEC) a reality. The first group will be graduating in the next quarter.  Below is a story of a GEC beneficiary:

Milka : A new lens to view the world’

Milka is a 26 years old partial orphan raised by her mother. She successfully completed secondary school education last year after joining the NIGEE scholarship program three years ago. Before NIGEE identified her she says, “I was hopeless and I had almost given up on life. My mother struggled to take me to school and when she couldn’t manage it anymore, I had to drop out. I got pregnant during the same year I dropped out of school,” she says. Milka wasn’t prepared for what would happen next. The man responsible for her pregnancy denied any involvement and she was on her own. She was devastated but that did not dampen her spirit.

I always wanted to go back to school and so when I later met a man who promised to take me back to school so that I could fulfill my dreams, I married him at the age of 14,” she explains. This however did not happen. “When I asked him about going back to school he became violent and sent me away with my son. I was shattered,” she laments.

She however picked up her pieces and figured out a new way to ensure she went back to school. She left her son with her mother and became a house help. “I agreed with my employer that she would save the money while I worked so that I could get back to school. But this was not to be,” she explains. “My mother and son became ill several times and I had to use my savings for their treatment. In the end I also developed health complications and had to quit the job,” Milka adds with tears rolling down. It is then that NIGEE identified her and took her back to school.

Currently Milka is a volunteer intern at NIGEE within a project supporting girls’ education. She also attends computer training sessions at the GEC and hopes to become a nurse once she gets a stable job to support her fees in a nursing school. Her parting shot: “NIGEE has given me hope and a second chance to become the person I’ve always wanted to be. I hope that in my lifetime I will also be able to empower someone else.

NIGEE beneficiaries during a computer training
NIGEE beneficiaries during a computer training
NIGEE beneficaries during computer class at GEC
NIGEE beneficaries during computer class at GEC
Staff receiving computers at the GEC
Staff receiving computers at the GEC
Computer training room at the GEC
Computer training room at the GEC
Training going on at the GEC
Training going on at the GEC
 
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