Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya

by Kakenya's Dream
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Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya
Fun at camp!
Fun at camp!

From August 19th through the 24th, Kakenya Center for Excellence hosted its fifth week-long Health and Leadership Training camp at our boarding school in Enoosaen.  Along with KCE's 6th and 7th graders, 60 girls from surrounding schools joined us for a week of training, bringing the total number to 120.  The campers were trained in female health, self defense, leadership skills and child rights.  As always, the week was filled with laughter, new friendships, plenty of singing and dancing, and positive change in the lives of the participants.  For girls joining us from other schools in the division, this was the first time they had experienced a supportive girls-only environment, designed to empower them to protect their bodies and minds as they reach the end of their primary school years. The girls enjoyed plenty of games and special activities as well, including a movie night and a night of traditional Maasai storytelling by local grandmothers.

We want to recognize our wonderful trainers, who engage with the girls, encourage them to ask questions, and deliver crucial information about their rights and bodies in fun, interactive ways.  Since we began the Health and Leadership Training program, sessions with I'm Worth Defending have been one of the girls'  favorite aspects of the camp.  This group comes to us from Nairobi and always brings enthusiasm, tons of energy, and a visable passion for their mission of teaching girls to protect themselves from sexual assault.  During our August camp, we partnered for the first time with the Center for the Study of Adolescence, also a Nairobi-based nonprofit.  CSA ran sessions on sexual and reproductive health for the campers, teaching them to make good choices that promote health and wellbeing.

Camp is one of our favorite times of the year at KCE.  Here is what some of the girls had to say at the end of the week when asked if the week had met their expectations:

"Yes, because there was fun and the teachers were honest and loving." -- Seenoi

 "Yes, because it has enabled and encouraged me to work hard until I achieve my goals." -- Nasieku

"Yes.  I wanted to learn how I can defend myself in certain situations." - Nenkoitoi

"Yes, because we were taught how to be leaders." - Juliet

Thank you for making these experiences possible for girls in rural Kenya!

Girls with I'm Worth Defending trainers
Girls with I'm Worth Defending trainers
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Friendships at Camp
Friendships at Camp

As we head into summer, many of us look back fondly on our summer camp experiences  -- adventures that took us out of our daily routine and into a place of discovery.  Studies have shown that camp provides children with experiences that cannot be duplicated in school.  Camp builds self-esteem, promotes community and friendship, and teaches leadership, critical thinking, and independence.  At camp, we are active.  We are encouraged to try new things, to look at life from a new perspective, and to truly engage in our surroundings.

Our Health and Leadership Camp provides girls with an experiential learning environment unlike anything else they have encountered. 

Maasai girls rarely have the opportunity to let loose and have fun with their peers.  With hours of chores awaiting them at home each day, girls who attend other schools in the surrounding community do not regularly benefit from the kind of supportive, girls-only environment we provide at KCE.  This August, we will host 60 girls in 6th and 7th grade from other schools at our week long camp.  These girls will join our KCE 6th and 7th graders, with all the campers living, eating, and learning together on our campus.   By bringing girls together from throughout the district, camp fosters new friendships, exploration of cultural differences, and a wider connection to community.

The Health and Leadership camp teaches the girls critical information on topics such as sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, leadership training, self defense, and legal rights.   Through hands-on activities, we leverage music, dance, athletics, writing, and art to draw out the girls’ imagination and innate desire to learn.  Most non-KCE girls have never experienced these learning techniques before, and it pulls them out of their comfort zone and teaches them to express themselves in new ways.

We know that camp is having a lasting impact on our campers and their communities:

“Camp has enabled and encouraged me to work hard until I achieve my goals.”  Nasieku, 13

“We learned more about FGM and we will go and tell our friends back at home.”  Shura, 13

 “The camp taught us about the girls’ rights and self defenses.” Evaline, 13

In 2014, we hope to expand the Health and Leadership Camp by reaching into new schools and communities so more girls can benefit from this unique opportunity.

Thank you for your continued support of our Health and Leadership Camps.  Have a wonderful summer!

Self Defense Training
Self Defense Training
Team Building
Team Building
Campers in Constant Motion!
Campers in Constant Motion!
Night time storytelling
Night time storytelling

Links:

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Campers on Graduation Day
Campers on Graduation Day

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others”

 In December, the Kakenya Center for Excellence hosted our first Health and Leadership Camp reunion.    At the closing ceremony, more than 250 girls, along with their families, teachers, and tribal elders, gathered together to celebrate and affirm their daughter’s achievements and success.    The ceremony was marked with skits by the girls, motivational speeches, traditional Maasai dancing, and a large feast.

It was an amazing gathering that demonstrated clearly the wisdom in an old African proverb.  “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others”

 In April 2011 the Kakenya Center Excellence began our Health and Leadership Camp as a way to extend opportunities to both KCE students and girls from throughout the Transmara West district with important information about topics such as female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual and reproductive health, child rights and leadership building.

 After four successful camps, we are starting to see the ripple effect that these girls are creating in their own communities.  As advocates of change, the girls are determined to teach their sisters, their friends, and their classmates about their bodies and their rights.

 When Shura was asked if the camp met her expectations, she replied, “Yes, because we learnt more about FGM and we will go and tell our friends back home.”  Another student replied, “I want to train girls that did not go to camp and teach them all I learned.”

 Sadly, in rural Kenya many girls continue to drop out of school by age 12 after undergoing FGM and are married off instead of continuing to pursue their dreams for the future.  However, mindsets are changing about these destructive cultural practices, and this change is reaching far and wide…  And it all starts with girls like Shura.

Thank you for your support of the Health and Leadership Camps.  Together we are training girls to become leaders throughout their community, the nation and the world.

Shura
Shura
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Our First Health & Leadership Graduation!
Our First Health & Leadership Graduation!

Last week our Health and Leadership Training kicked off with more than 100 girls from throughout the district joining 50 students from the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) for an exciting week of camp. All 157 girls stayed on the KCE campus where we integrated vital trainings and workshops with fun activities such as movie night, relay races, storytelling and dancing.

The first two days of camp centered on health topics such as female genital mutilation (FGM), HIV/AIDS, menstruation and hygiene,  and sex and sexuality. The workshops provided a safe space for girls to get accurate answers to some difficult questions and issues.

Days 3-5 were focused on self-defense and safety.  Once again, KCE partnered with  I'm Worth Defending, a Nairobi organization that focuses on self -defense and preparedness.  These trainers really engaged our girls and got them excited about protecting themselves and saying "NO" to assault and FGM.  During the camp, a woman in the market asked what was being taught at KCE.  "All I hear," she said "is No! No! No!"

Our last day of training was focused on leadership and the importance of education.  The girls learned about opportunities in our community and how to be successful in achieving their professional and personal goals.

The week culminated in our first Graduation ceremony, which brought together 230 past participants for a day of reflection and celebration.  Our campus was brimming with parents, teachers, and community leaders who all came to cheer on our daughters and applaud them for their accomplishments and success.

At a time of year when many girls are forced to partake in traditional circumcision ceremonies, this graduation highlighted what is possible when our girls are supported, educated, cherished and empowered.  It was a very moving rite of passage indeed.

What a Celebration!
What a Celebration!
Girls Enjoying Camp
Girls Enjoying Camp
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This week the students at the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) returned to school for the fall term.  With smiles on their faces, excitement in their voices, and determination in their hearts, 124 girls started a new term – a term that will keep them on the path toward achieving their dreams.

 As the new term kicked off, our teachers and staff are reminded of the girls in our district who do not have the same opportunities to learn and succeed.  With that in mind, we have diligently begun planning our next Health and Leadership Camp for the winter holiday. These leadership camps provide the Center with the opportunity to reach a wider circle of at-risk girls throughout our community.  With lifesaving workshops on health and wellness, and vital leadership trainings, we are providing girls with the tools to become strong leaders of our country and world. 

 We are excited to announce that we are planning to host two Health and Leadership Camps during winter break.  Our first camp will model the successful camps we have run in the past.  As in previous camps, we will pair KCE students with girls from other schools throughout the Transmara district.  This partnership enables KCE students to strengthen their leadership skills and creates a strong bond among the girls in our community.

 Our second gathering will introduce a new component to this program. We plan to hold a reunion for all girls that have participated in the past four camps.  This will bring together more than 300 girls to our campus!    We are committed to supporting our girls on an ongoing basis.  The reunion will enable us to gain insight into what lessons have worked, what can be improved and how these camps have made a difference in the girls’ lives.

 Most importantly, we hope the reunion will empower and inspire the girls.  We will hold the session at the time of year when the female genital cutting ceremony traditionally takes place, but our a ceremony will show that these girls are becoming women by empowering them rather than causing them harm. By reuniting hundreds of girls we will show the strength, power and unity that can be achieved by providing girls with tools to protect and love themselves.

 None of this, of course, could be achieved without the generous support of our friends.  On behalf of all the girls we serve, thank you for your continued support.

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Organization Information

Kakenya's Dream

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @KakenyasDream
Project Leader:
Kakenya Ntaiya
Founder
Arlington, VA United States
$26,093 raised of $35,000 goal
 
401 donations
$8,907 to go
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