Education
 Kenya
Project #7044

Educate girls and fight poverty in Kenya

by Women's Global Education Project
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Aniceta with recent WGEP graduate Caroline
Aniceta with recent WGEP graduate Caroline

WGEP Kenya Program Director Aniceta has been a tireless champion of girls' and women's rights for over 20 years. Please enjoy the following interview WGEP recorded during our recent trip to Kenya:

WGEP: In your 20+ years of advocacy work, what has been your greatest success?

Aniceta: My greatest success is to have helped in changing minds and attitudes. Before we began our work, harmful cultural practices that prevented girls from pursuing education were very prevalent. Since we have been working in Tharaka, we have seen a great reduction in rates of FGM/C (female genital cutting) in the region. This has resulted in more girls attending and graduating from school.

WGEP: What has been your greatest challenge? 

Aniceta: Our efforts have received a great amount of opposition from within different communities. The communities in which we work have very strong and deeply held traditions, so people are very reluctant to change and suspicious of those who hope to make change. At times the opposition has been so strong and demoralizing that I wanted to quit, but I just remind myself that I am doing this work for girls who cannot voice what they need. I am giving them a voice.

WGEP: How have you seen things change for women and girls?

Aniceta: Although there is much work still to be done, circumstances are better now for women and girls. More girls are in school and are performing well in school. There has also been a change in attitudes regarding girls' abilities and potential. Girls dream of becoming pilots, doctors and lawyers and they are supported because more people now understand that it is one's dedication and effort that determine their success, rather than their gender.

Links:

Melody
Melody's family & TWWP Director Aniceta Kiriga

Melody is a recent high school graduate who became a WGEP scholar in 2009. She also participated in our Alternative Rite of Passage program (ARP) to counter genital cutting in 2010. Melody lives on a farm with her two aunts and younger cousin, Terry. After her positive experience with the ARP program, Melody encouraged Terry to participate, which she did in 2012. Melody's mother works on a farm in a neighboring town to be able to support her family. "My mother is my biggest inspiration. She tells me that she's proud of me every day."

This past year, Melody sat for her final high school exam, the results of which will determine where she will be accepted into university. While awaiting her results, Melody is taking computer classes five days per week. These classes are offered at the office of our Kenya partner, Tharaka Women's Welfare Program (TWWP). As part of these classes, Melody will receive IT certification through an online course offered by a local university. This will help grow her skill set and resume while she awaits her test results.

Melody hopes to continue her education and become an attorney. With her bright mind and hardworking nature, we are sure she will achieve all of her goals!

Thank you for supporting WGEP scholars like Melody!

Links:

In this season of giving and gratitude, we would like to share a letter of thanks we received from WGEP Kenya scholar Jacklyn:

I joined the program in 8th grade after my parents separated. My three siblings and I were left under the care of our mother who is a farmer. She depends on the rains for a good yield, which is very difficult with the frequent droughts and problems with pests and disease. Thanks to your support, I was able to stay in school and receive tutoring that helped me pass my final high school exam. I am now studying at Egerton University, a public university in Kenya, where I am working towards a degree in Economics and Statistics.

I am grateful to the program for enabling me to be the person I am today. It is through your support that I completed my secondary education and made it to university. The program has enabled me to be self-empowered as a young woman in today’s society where there are many challenges to face and tackle.

I appreciate the program for continuing to pay for my school fees. I promise to work tirelessly and never let you down. I wish to go on with my Masters in Economics after I am through with my degree course. I like talking to students whenever I get a chance and with a course in guidance and counselling, I can be able to get out and talk to students in the community and the community at large. I want to be a role model to the society, especially to girls and women for them to believe in their potentials and for the society to believe that, by educating one woman, you educate the whole community.

I promise never to forget the program, even when I am through with my studies. I appreciate your continued support.  

Yours sincerely,

Jacklyn

Links:

Kamatumo Club students during their tour
Kamatumo Club students during their tour

Girls and Boys Molding Clubs are one of the many complementary interventions WGEP provides to keep students in school. These clubs provide an opportunity for boys and girls to learn about and discuss topics such as children’s right to education, development, parental care and protection against harmful practices and abuse.

Over 600 girls and boys from 9 different schools in the Tharaka region of Kenya participate in these clubs each year. Club members have recently undertaken new projects to raise funds for their clubs. Projects include rearing chickens and sheep and harvesting mung beans to generate income.

Using funds generated from their projects, Molding Club members from Kamatumo Primary School were able to visit the Alpajeta Animal Conservancy. They saw elephants, rhinos, giraffes, chimpanzees and many other wild animals. The children loved this trip so much that they are inspired to work even harder next year to raise enough money to visit Mombasa. They say they want to see the ocean!

Club members learn about animal morphology
Club members learn about animal morphology

Links:

Purity in class
Purity in class

Below is a letter we received from Purity, a former WGEP Kenya scholar who is now working toward a degree in accounting:

My name is Purity and I am glad to share my life history and experience with you up to now. I was born in 1996, began my primary education in the year 2001 and completed in 2009.

After my primary education, I began secondary school in 2010. In the year 2011 I became a beneficiary of the Sisters to School program. I sincerely say that I am greatly indebted to the organization for the support you offered to me. You paid my school fees and provided me with the personal items that I required. These really helped me to have a comfortable and easy time in school since my parents could not meet all of my needs.

Also, I must add that the counseling mental care provided every year really helped me to cope with life in and outside of school, especially when I took my exam in 2013.

I am now working as the secretary at Gatue Secondary School, working toward my mission of being an accountant {CPA} and working in mass media.

Lastly, let me again say thanks and best of luck as you move forward changing the lives of the needy and of society in general.

Yours,

Purity

You have made an individual impact on Purity's life and on the lives of hundreds of other young women in Kenya. On behalf of Purity and all of our scholars, we thank you!

 

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Organization Information

Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.womensglobal.org
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Founder
Oak Park, IL United States
$3,845 raised of $50,000 goal
 
62 donations
$46,155 to go
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