Girls in Maasai Kenya are at risk of child marriage and FGM. KCE, a primary girls boarding school for grades 4-8, combats these practices. Students are empowered and motivated to achieve their full potential. The leadership camp pairs KCE girls with girls from neighboring public schools. Along with health education, girls learn leadership concepts such as speaking up, and empowerment. The program also includes weekend trainings at neighboring schools for adolescent girls and boys.
Maasai girls are regularly married at the age of 12 after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM), considered a rite of passage into adulthood. The practice can lead to complications such as obstetric fistula and even death. With child marriage comes the expectation that girls will permanently leave school. Although KCE has had success in empowering its students, girls outside the KCE community are without empowerment tools for leadership and health education.
Forty schools send high-achieving girls with strong potential to be effective leaders. They also send girls from rigidly traditional Maasai families prone to put their daughters through FGM and child marriage. The camp teaches leadership skills, team building, and basic health education, from menstruation to STDs. A workshop on children's rights teaches at-risk girls to speak up and prevent harmful traditional practices. Mentoring relationships develop between KCE girls and guest participants.
The creation of a formalized leadership and health camp curriculum from this project's funding will serve not only the camp but also all grades of KCE when in session. Follow-up after each camp session ends is a key goal. We provide follow-up materials to all campers while monitoring each girl's progress as a changemaker in her community. KCE student mentors and their camp partners are strongly encouraged to meet during school vacations.