Our first group of boys at their training
When I dreamed of building Kakenya Center for Excellence, I imagined a place where every girl in my village could receive an education, be free of FGM and early marriage, have room to build their own dreams for the future, and become change makers in Kenya. I wanted the next generation of leaders in my village, both girls and boys, to recognize the value of educated girls who can become equal partners in our community and world. My vision was that, as our students became more known and respected in our community, our model for educating all children would spread throughout the region.
Our Health and Leadership Training program began as a response to the high number of families in the region who were seeking spots for their daughters in our boarding school. Though we could only accept a small number into the school, I could not leave the rest behind. I wanted to find a way to reach all girls in the community with information about their rights, FGM, and early marriage as well as leadership and self defense skills. Our training program has allowed us to reach some of these girls by inviting them to our campus for week-long camps twice per year. After we launched the training program in 2011, its reputation spread quickly and demand for participation was more than we could accommodate.
I began to dream bigger. I decided to take our program on the road to schools around the region, allowing us to reach all girls attending those schools. On June 27th and 28th, Kakenya Center for Excellence held our first weekend Health and Leadership Training in a neighboring school. Hosted at Enkilority primary school, 106 girls and 80 boys from five nearby primary schools joined KCE trainers and staff for a two-day training seminar on a variety of topics including self esteem and leadership, FGM and early marriage, and sexuality and adolescence. The first day of training included our inaugural session for 6th and 7th grade boys. Trainers from the Nairobi-based group I'm Worth Defending worked with the boys who attended, stressing the importance that they join with girls to become a new generation of leaders that stands together on the principle of education for all and that protects the rights of children everywhere. Our goal is to reach 1,500 students this year through these monthly weekend training sessions. Plans are already underway for next month's "on the road" training!
Thank you so much for your support as we continue to dream bigger and reach more and more girls (and boys) throughout the Transmara region with critical skills and information. You are making a difference, and we are so grateful that you believe in our mission to change the paradigm for girls’ education in rural Kenya.
Listening carefully to the trainers
80 boys showed up!