Lucy and Sophie receiving the EAAG Award
Last month, MGEF staff traveled to Kenya and had the opportunity to attend Elders and Mothers Workshops. While in separate sessions, the men and women learned about the challenges their daughters face when pursuing an education, as well as the strategies they can use to help overcome these challenges.
One persistent issue is that of a girl’s monthly menstruation, which causes girls to miss one-third of every school year for lack of sanitary pads, impeding their ability to perform at the level of their male classmates. The Maasai mothers had no idea that sanitary pads existed. The female facilitator demonstrated their function and how to use them, so that mothers were empowered to pass the information to their daughters and to help girls access them.
Another noteworthy development in the Mothers Workshop was the agreement among Maasai women to build larger homes that would accommodate their teenage daughters. In Maasai culture, a girl who has reached sexual maturity is not allowed to stay in the same dwelling as her father. Instead, she is left to seek shelter from anyone who offers it, which correlates to higher rates of STDs, teen pregnancy and HIV. By vowing to construct bigger houses, Maasai mothers will be safeguarding their daughters from early sexuality and the many risks associated with it.
With all these amazing stories from Kenya, it is appropriate that we end with a hardy congratulations to the MGEF Kajiado team. On July 26th, 2012, the Managing Director of MGEF Kajiado (Lucy Ntayia) and Chair of the Kajiado Board (Sophie Meeli) were presented with the Community Philanthropy Award from the East Africa Grantmakers Association (EAAG). We are fortunate to work with such talented, smart, and dedicated people, and cannot think of a more worthy recipient!