Education
 Kenya
Project #5574

Support girls' primary education in Maasai Kenya

by Kakenya's Dream

Hello from Enoosaen and from all our girls at the Kakenya Center for Excellence!

Our year is off to a great start, with 186 students in grades 4-8 -- the largest study body we have ever had! In January, we welcomed our new class of fourth graders into the KCE family. They were all equipped with uniforms and learning materials and are now settled into life at our school. We are so excited to see their transformation as they grow in confidence and knowledge in a nurturing, all-girls environment. 

After a short mid-term break, the girls returned to campus this week and are back in their daily academic and extracurricular routines. We are especially looking forward to two exciting upcoming events in the second half of the term. First, our brand new school library is nearing completion, which will give the girls a quiet place to study provide a new home for our supply of literature. Second, the season of athletic competitions has begun, and our girls are doing very well in volleyball and netball. They are heading to regional competitions next week, and we can’t wait to cheer them on!

Last week, on March 8th, our girls in Enoosaen joined with women and men around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day. They marked the occasion by sharing their hopes and dreams for the year 2030. We are so inspired by their personal ambitions and also for their vision for a better world – one of equal opportunity and dignity for all. As our friends and supporters, we wanted to share some of these dreams with you. Your support is making it possible for our girls to dream big and to believe that they can achieve their goals. 

Thank you, as always, for believing in our mission to transform the lives of vulnerable girls through education!

Links:

Girls adding responses to the IDG banner
Girls adding responses to the IDG banner

With the holidays upon us, I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I reflect on the amazing support you have given to our girls. 100% have avoided female genital mutilation, remained unmarried, and stayed in school. Thanks to you, hundreds of girls are receiving the life-changing education they need to achieve their dreams, lift up their families, and transform the world.

The difference you’re making in the lives of our girls was shining brighter than ever on the International Day of the Girl. Every year on October 11th, communities and organizations around the world celebrate this special day. In our community, parents and friends gathered at the school to celebrate with our girls. In addition to singing, dancing, and eating together to honor the day, we also asked our girls to complete the statement “I am a girl, I have the power to…” Here’s what they said: 

“I am a girl; I have the power to be educated.”

“I am a girl; I have the power to fight for the rights of girls to be educated in society.”

“I am a girl; I have the power to be the President of Kenya.”

“I am a girl; I have the power to change my society.”

Thanks to your support, our girls not only dream of making the world a better place; they know they have the power to do it. We are preparing to begin a new school year in January and to welcome a new group of girls who will soon benefit from the education and empowerment made possible by your generosity. 

On November 15th and 16th, hundreds of rising fourth grade girls came with their guardians to the Kakenya Center for Excellence boarding school for enrollment. The girls represented over a dozen schools and localities. The enrollment process involves an assessment test, interviews with the girls and their family, and gathering official information about the girl and her academic record. This year, 40 girls were selected based on need and academic ability to attend the school in January 2017. We are so excited to see their lives transformed!

Happy holidays to you and your family, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us transform the lives of girls in rural Kenya.

A prospective student waiting for her interview
A prospective student waiting for her interview
Welcoming remarks at the start of enrollment day
Welcoming remarks at the start of enrollment day

Links:

Naanyu
Naanyu

Last week, our girls returned from their August break to find their classrooms and dormitories illuminated by solar energy, thanks to our partnership with We Share Solar! We continue to support girl’s primary education in Maasai Kenya through strategic partnerships aimed at improving the quality of education we provide. Each We Share Solar Suitcase includes high-efficiency LED lighting, a universal cell phone charger and outlets for 12V DC devices. This new source of clean, stable and renewable electricity will ensure our girls can study and feel safe at any hour of the day.

This exciting new addition to campus comes just in time for our eighth grade girls to start preparing for the national exam in November. Students, teachers and staff alike are all working hard to ensure our girls have the knowledge they need to perform well and continue achieving their dreams. Our holistic education model continues to produce some the highest test scores in the nation; last year, our average test score was 340, compared to the national average of 180. Eighth-grader and class president Naanyu says she is studying hard so that she may get into a top high school and eventually become a doctor. “Kakenya built a school for the community,” she says, “I want to be a doctor and build a hospital for my community too.”

At KCE, improving women and girls’ access to resources, like power and knowledge, so that they may achieve their dreams and improve their communities is at the center of our mission. Thanks to our partners, like We Share Solar, and the essential support of donors like you around the world, we are bringing these essential tools to the girls who need it most.

Our girls admire a new solar-powered lightbulb
Our girls admire a new solar-powered lightbulb
Boat ride on the lake
Boat ride on the lake

KCE is committed to providing our girls with opportunities for exploration outside of the classroom as an integral component of their education. Each academic year, every class of girls takes a field trip outside of the village to visit another part of Kenya. This is a way to enhance their classroom learning in subjects like social studies and science by giving them tangible experiences to bring their learning to life.

Early one morning this spring, 37 sixth graders and 10 staff, teachers and parents embarked on our annual 6th grade field trip from rural Enoosaen to the port city of Kisumu. Located in the greater Lake Victoria basin, Kisumu is a 4-hour bus ride from Enoosaen through the fertile Kano and Ahero plains. Believed to be one of the oldest settlements and trading ports in Kenya, the city of Kisumu is now the third largest city in Kenya. Kisumu is a central hub with bustling city life and a striking range of scenery, exotic wildlife and beautiful beaches.

The day was filled with many “firsts” for our girls as they explored the largest city in the Nyanza region of Kenya.The first stop of the day was the Kisumu airport. Our girls watched passenger planes take off and land and witnessed the work of air traffic controllers as they managed air traffic operations. At the adjoining weather station, the girls learned about the functions of weather instruments and the science of meteorology. The opportunity to see airplanes up close rather than from a great distance was fun for the girls. We definitely now have some budding pilots in our 6th grade class!

The next stop, Lwang’Ni beach and the shores of Lake Victoria, was perhaps the most popular stop of the day. Coming from the pastoral village of Enoosaen, experiencing such a large body of water was an eye opener! At Lwang’Ni beach, the girls loved watching the famous fishermen arriving with fresh caught fish. The highlight of the visit was a motor-boat ride where the girls enjoyed the lake breeze. The visit to the larger port provided our girls with the opportunity to see the commercial docks. We were lucky enough to witness a Tanzanian ship coming to dock. The dockmaster was kind and knowledgeable and took the girls through the functions of the docks and the various vessels. The girls were even treated to a rare tour inside a private passenger ship to get the real feel of travelling by water on a large ship!

Later on, the girls experienced the Maasai lions, African leopards and Sitantunga antelopes at Kisumu Impala Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a real gem — and our girls were in awe of the breathtaking views of Lake Victoria and the nature trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the natural habitat. The sanctuary staff demonstrated their appreciation for wildlife and instilled the importance of conservation efforts with our girls.The last visit of the day was to the Kisumu Museum where the focus was on the history of the Luo people, their homesteads and traditional artifacts.

Our annual field trips open our students to new perspectives, expanding their awareness of their larger community, and letting them connect the dots between the classroom and real life experiences.We are so grateful, as always, for individuals like you that help to make these hands-on experiences possible for our girls! 

Watching the airplanes take off and land
Watching the airplanes take off and land
Group photo in front of Lake Victoria
Group photo in front of Lake Victoria
Checking out the wildlife
Checking out the wildlife

Links:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to share our celebration of our 8th graders’ national exam results and their send off to their first year of high school. The shining smiles of students and beaming faces of proud parents lit up our campus in February as we gathered together to celebrate the graduating class of 2015.

The celebration, which included a shared meal, dancing, and an award ceremony, celebrated the amazing progress and accomplishments of these young women over the past four years and their stellar performance on the National Exams. Our teachers provided encouragement and reassurance to the girls as they started high school. Our tribal elders reminded our girls to remember their community as they forge ahead.

The scores tell the story behind our celebration

There was indeed a great deal to celebrate for our 8th graders as they ended one chapter and began another. In Kenya, all 8th grade students take the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education (KCPE) that determines high school placement. Students spend a considerable amount of time throughout their primary education preparing for this rigorous test with the dream of scoring 300 or above, which guarantees admission into a Kenyan National secondary school.

I’m proud to announce that every single student from the class of 2015 scored above the national average. This amazing accomplishment cannot be overstated. Our girls have a set a new standard of excellence at our school.

  • Our top student scored 385 marks (out of 500).
  • More than a third of the students scored above 350, the score needed for placement in Kenya’s most selective high schools.
  • 92% of our students scored over 300 points, the score needed for placement in our national schools.
  • The class of 2015 scored an average of 11 points higher than the class of 2014.

 

High school placement is the next hurdle

After exam results were announced, the high school application and enrollment process began. While high school placement is stressful for all families, we know that it is an even bigger hurdle for families who are going through this process for the first time. KCE works hand in hand with all of our families to navigate the placement process.

This year, the shortage of high school slots, including a shortage of national schools, was especially challenging this year, related to government quotas, an overcrowded educational system, and insufficient funding.

Although our girls far outperformed their peers in the district, only 6 of our 40 students were initially placed in high performing national high schools. This was unacceptable. We mobilized to enroll all 40 graduates in National and County-level schools. I commend my team on the ground in Kenya for their leadership, determination and pure grit in visiting multiple schools each day and traveling long distances to make it happen.

This year’s high school enrollment process underscored the urgent and growing need for academically rigorous high schools in Kenya. We are even more committed to building a new high school in Enoosaen that will ensure our girls are able to remain in a high quality school and reach their full potential. By 2018, we plan to begin enrolling our first class of high school students at a new K-12 school near our current campus.

As the class of 2015 embarks on their new journey, we are confident that KCE has prepared them for the challenges that lie ahead. These young women are no longer limited by the boundaries facing so many other girls in Kenya and around the world.

Be on the lookout for these girls as they make changes in their own lives and our world!

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Kakenya's Dream

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.kakenyasdream.org
Project Leader:
Kakenya Ntaiya
Founder
McLean, VA United States
$9,237 raised of $20,000 goal
 
194 donations
$10,763 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.