Leadership Training for Girls in Maasai Kenya

by Kakenya's Dream
Girls at the graduation ceremony
Girls at the graduation ceremony

Greetings from Enoosaen and all the girls and staff at the Kakenya Center for Excellence! We kicked off the New Year with renewed energy and gratitude for the transformational work that your support is making possible. Thank you for supporting our Health and Leadership program and for believing in our mission to change lives of vulnerable girls through education and empowermnet.

We ended 2016 with a fun-filled week of training at our boarding school campus in Enoosaen. More than 100 girls from the surrounding community joined our 6th and 7th graders for the immersive training experience, and, as always, it was a week of new friendships, skills building, and positive transformations. The week culminated in a year-end graduation celebration for all 300 girls who participated in the week-long camps in 2016. This graduation ceremony serves as an alternative rite of passage for our participants, held at a time when FGM ceremonies traditionally take place. We celebrate the girls' value and accomplishments, reinforcing their right to make their own choices about the future.

As we look forward to another year of learning and growth, we are especially excited about our plans for our weekend training program. Last year, we successfully expanded our reach to two new divisions, Kilgoris and Pirar. This allowed us to train students from 15 additional primary schools, bringing crucial information about sexual and reproductive health, female genital mutilation, gender equity, and child rights to girls and boys as they reach adolescence and begin to make some of the most important decisions in determining their future. In 2017, we will continue to partner with new schools in these divisions, reaching as many of the remaining 74 as possible!

We could not do any of this without wonderful supporters like you. Again, thank you for investing in marginalized girls and making a lasting difference in their lives!

Training session at KCE
Training session at KCE
Learning life skills
Learning life skills


Greetings from Enoosean,

Kakenya Center for Excellence(KCE) staff are busy preparing for the upcoming Health and Leadership training this week! We look forward to sharing our successes and challenges with you soon! In the meantime, we would like to remind you of how important educating girls is to global development.

KCE uses a holistic education model as a national development tool. The United Nations released their goals for global sustainable development by 2030; listing 17 goals that every nation must reach in order to obtain sustainable development. Goal number four is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning; including the equal access to education for girls.

Our health and leadership training uses an informal experiential learning approach to educate community members about the benefits of educating girls and the reasons to avoid harmful traditional practices of FGM and early forced marriage. The goal of our health and leadership training is to eradicate harmful cultural practices through community engagement. So far, we have educated 5,155 girls about their sexual and reproductive health and rights and 3,000 girls and boys from 55 neighboring schools have received transformative knowledge through our Health and Leadership Training.  One hundred percent of girls who have attended our boarding school have avoided the painful experience of FGM and early forced marriage.

KCE believes that a holistic education model is the most capable of achieving the United Nation’s goal number 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals; our Health and Leadership Training is an important part of this holistic approach to education.

Greetings from Enoosean:

Our Health and Leadership Trainings change lives. On June 25th, Kakenya Center for Excellence completed another successful Health and Leadership Training, adding another 358 youth to the more than 3,500 young people our trainings have already empowered through education. Our efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage through community engagement brings together students from neighboring schools and communities to discuss issues affecting girls’ education and health. This Health and Leadership Training was hosted by Olalui Primary School and brought together 173 teen girls and 185 teen boys from four nearby schools.

The two-day training was lead by members of I Am Worth Defending, a comprehensive sexual assault prevention organization for adolescents. Sessions were specially designed for the girls and boys based on their gender-specific training needs. The girls’ targeted training consisted of sex education courses that discussed adolescent sex and reproductive health.Girls were introduced to self-defense strategies and gender equality philosophies, empowering them to be assertive and set boundaries when interacting with their male counterparts.

The boys’ training aimed to create awareness and responsibility for the unique challenges facing girls. Their activities sought to challenge unequal power relations between males and females through the adoption of core rules and life skills geared towards behavior change. The guidelines challenged the participants through discussions and activities to trade harmful masculine practices for positive practices in favor of a gender-just society.

The goal of our Health and Leadership Training is to educate and engage the community in a conversation about violence against girls and women. Our hope is that the information received during training is transferred to the broader community. We assess our results through the personal successes of our students. These trainings express to all youth attending and the wider community that girls’ health and education matters while providing girls and boys with the knowledge and tools they need to combat gender-based violence.

Every aspect of these vital trainings is made possible by the generosity of donors, both large and small. Without the support of GlobalGiving, we would not be able to provide these services to the thousands of youth and their communities we serve in rural Kenya. Thanks to your continued involvement, our program will positively impact even more adolescents this coming year. Thank you! 

Campers are welcomed to camp
Campers are welcomed to camp

Greetings from Enoosaen!

I am excited to tell you about our most recent health and leadership camp, held this past April during school holidays. Now in its 6th year, the program has not only earned a solid reputation among neighboring school leaders, but it is also highly sought after by the teens themselves.

Each participating school sent three 6th grade students for the week of training, which, in addition to our 6th graders, brought our total number of participants to nearly 150. The size and duration of the camp requires us to prepare for the camp several weeks in advance and to hire extra cooks, guards, matrons, educators and counselors to facilitate. I’m grateful to the “behind the scenes” team who dedicated many hours ordering food and preparing for the opening day!

Our counselors arrived before camp began for a day of training. Most of our counselors are current high school students that have graduated from our boarding school and have personal experience with both our health and leadership camps and our health and leadership boarding school curriculum. These counselors are on the front lines with the campers, helping them navigate our campus, facilitating reflection time and spearheading games and events during downtime. I love watching the counselors take these young campers under their wings and create a supportive bond.

As always, we covered tough issues in our training sessions. Topics ranged from harassment and gender-based violence to legal rights on child marriage and FGM. We know that girls armed with accurate information about their bodies and sexual health will be better prepared to make safe and informed decisions in the future, so we have worked hard to create a health education program that is direct and straightforward. Our campers benefited from smaller group and individual counseling sessions that provided them with the safe space to voice their feelings, questions and concerns. This open communication allowed girls to seek help for some of the serious problems they are facing and for us to gauge the greatest needs of adolescent girls in the community.

Of course, camp also included down time for the girls to let loose and have fun with their peers. Soccer, races, games, storytelling and art projects were just some of the highlights.These camps are one of the most exciting, effective, and fun elements of our program, and we are so grateful for the supporters who partner with us to allow them to continue. Thank you for enabling us to spread our hopeful messages and important health and leadership information to girls who do not usually have access to such information.

Guidelines for Counselors
Guidelines for Counselors
Police share info on children
Police share info on children's rights

Our most recent Health and Leadership Camp in the Transmara District in Kenya filled 214 girls with anticipation and excitement as they arrived on campus for a week of both traditional camp activities and important learning experiences about their rights as girls.

In many ways, our Health and Leadership Camps, held in April and December, are similar to summer camps throughout the world. Hosted on our campus, our week-long holiday camps provide girls with a chance to come together to explore new ideas, make new friends and discover themselves at a critical time in their development. In Enoosaen, our camp is quite unique, providing girls not only with a fun holiday but with vital information about their sexual health, FGM, child marriage and its consequences, their legal rights and leadership skills.

During our December session, 25 alumnae from our KCE boarding school served as counselors at camp. These young women, now in grades 9-11 have a profound influence on the younger campers. Their self-assurance, knowledge and confidence are shining examples to younger campers of what can be achieved through working hard and continuing their education. I am forever grateful that our graduates return to take on these leadership roles at camp – inspiring the next generation of girls!

Each day, campers met informally in small groups to reflect on the day and discuss important issues. A highlight for campers was to listen to our high school counselors share stories about the expectations and realities of high school. The informal setting for these dialogues allowed campers to ask some tough questions of our counselors and to connect to older peers that inspire them to dream and reach for their goals.

Our workshops during camp are straightforward and honest about challenges girls face. Through hands on activities the girls learn life skills that can help them progress safely and confidently through high school and into adulthood.  

Of course, camp is not all lectures and lessons! Story telling, the talent show, “quiz night” and movie night provide a chance for the girls to relax and have fun. This year a group of volunteer coaches from Tag Rugby Trust coached the girls during our athletic time. The girls loved learning this new sport!

At the end of the week, we held our annual graduation ceremony for girls that have attended both our April and December camps. This milestone event is always a highlight of the year at KCE, bringing together community stakeholders such as parents, teachers, elders, and local officials to celebrate the achievement of our girls.

The music, award ceremony, prayer service and luncheon attracted both local and national media coverage!

Our camps fill a critical need in Kenya. December can be a dangerous time for young girls in Kenya, as it is the time of year when female genital mutilation ceremonies occur throughout the region. Our graduation ceremony provides the community with an alternative rite of passage that celebrates the dreams and success of these young women while sending a message that FGM will no longer be tolerated and revered as the only option for girls. This year the girls chose a “theme” for the graduation ceremony “I know my rights, a girl is an equal child”.

We first started the Health and Leadership Training program in 2011 to address the needs of thousands of girls in our district who need this vital training to learn about their rights and inspire their hope for the future. Our Health & Leadership Camps now reach 3,000 adolescents each year through our weekend trainings and week-long camps.   The growth of this program is a true testament to the need for accurate and reliable information on sexual health and legal rights for our youth. It is also a testament to the constant support we receive from supporters like you. Thank you!


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:
Jennica Sehorn
Washington, DC United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

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.