Thank you for your donations!
We are pleased to report that all of the Maasai 72 remain under the protection of our program.
We have attached an oversight report below so that you can see how we track this project. Our early warning safety net is working. We continue to receive word whenever a Maasai girl is threatened so we are able to take quick action
This report is divided up in three parts.
I. The story of Mary K. Each of the girls we support is a unique and brave girl with a story of her own.
II. Global Roots Declares War Against FGM…included here is our five year plan to end Female Genital Mutilation among the Maasai.
III. Oversight Report.
IV. Early Warning Safety Net.
V. Donation tracking. Read the correspondence between a major Global Roots donor and our Nairobi-based transparency officer, "AK".
VI. Portrait of a Maasai girl by Paige Hval.
Part 1. Mary K. — the second Maasai girl taken in by Carole in 2009. (see photo 1) Mary’s story is told in its entirety below. Funds collected at Global Giving this year will help pay for the boarding school fees of 72 Maasai school girls and the cost of college for the first four graduates of the Maasai 72, including Mary.
We believe that Mary K. will become a leader in the fight to end FGM among the Maasai for all time.
Mary was just 12 when she ran away from home but she knew she had the legal right to attend primary school and that both forced marriage and female genital mutilation are against the law in Kenya.
On the night of her cutting and imminent marriage to man four times her age, Mary ran out of her minyatta and across the Maasai Mara to see the protection of Carole N., a brave Maasai mother of three who risked her own life to create a rescue center for “the Maasai 72”. Globalroots.org remains the only international charity supporting Carole in her work.
The story of Mary K. — YOU WILL FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE 21ST CENTURY.
Mary K., age 17 and in her senior year of high school, is from a typical Maasai family, where her father is polygamous with at least 5 wives and a total of 34 children.
Unlike her brothers, Mary K. and two of her sisters were denied an opportunity to continue with their schooling after primary school. The reason? According to Maasai tradition their main duty was to be married off so as to bring further wealth and honor to the family. Education was not considered a priority for these soon-to-be brides. In fact, in the case of Mary, it was already clear she knew too much.
Around this time Mary learned of the activities of Caroline N., a fearless and strong-willed campaigner for the rights of Maasai girls. Caroline happened to be at her local police station a few months earlier when the officer on duty refused to protect another Maasai girl (the first of the Maasai 72) from the threat of FGM. When Carole (an FMG survivor who had refused to let her two daughters suffer the same archaic surgery by razor blade) took the girl into her arms, a thug from the girls tribe beat her.
Carole did not budge. As she was being beaten, she screamed threats at the officer on duty. FGM is a crime in Kenya and the UN considers to be one of the top Human Rights Crimes committed against women in the world.
The officer buckled and gave custody of the girl to Caroline. Word of Caroline’s heroics (and heresy among most Maasai males) spread across the savannah like a giant grass fire.
Mary left her home in the cover of darkness on an epic journey to find Caroline. She wandered across the savannah grassland of the Maasai Mara to a small village where one of the locals happened to know the name of the village where Carole was from.
Mary continued to walk. She did not have shoes. She walked 26 miles until she entered the safety of Caroline’s compound. Three years later, Caroline confided in out ED that she could not turn Mary away.
“I had already taken in two girls and I didn’t know how I could feed them. But there was something in Mary’s eyes that changed my mind.”
Caroline took Mary under her wing at her budding rescue center.
The same year Mary’s elder sister Naomi also managed to escape an attempt to forcibly marry her off, sustaining a serious injury to her foot in the process. Caroline took her in, too. Unfortunately, due to the injury and successive bouts of ill health, Naomi was unable to attend school on a regular basis and ended up dropping two classes behind Mary.
Last year yet another of Mary’s sisters, Elizabeth, who had been taken out of school so as to look after the family’s livestock, was also taken in by the rescue center.
It will be four years since Mary joined Caroline’s home and this year she will sit for her final high school exams. During her time at school she has excelled in both academic and extracurricular activities and she was even appointed “captain of games” games. She is an avid runner and soccer player. Nothing could be more Nike or Mia Hamm than this!
Her favorite subjects include foreign languages, history and “Christianity”. Mary believes that nothing but God could have protected her during her epic plight.
Mary’s ambition is to become a lawyer so as to ably defend the rights of Maasai women and girls.
The attached portrait was painted by a 16 year old artist Paige H. The painting attracted the interest of the Nike Foundation and 100% of the funds given to the program by Nike went to pay school costs for Mary. Paige has since painted another
Part II. Global Roots Declares War Against FGM
“War” is a strong word but we feel strongly that it is time to take a different course of action if we truly want to enable our Maasai partners to end FGM among Maasai.
We have come to believe that this human rights crime can’t be stopped without legal enforcement.
The UN and the government of Kenya have declared FGM a crime against humanity that should be punishable by a prison sentence.
If this is true, then why did the chief of a Maasai village agree to meet with a Global Roots film crew to publicly speak out in support of FGM and why did he so readily introduce us to the woman who does the cutting in his village? You can watch this interview in our short film on the subject.
Many authorities claim that FGM has gone into hiding and that it can’t be stopped for this reason. This is not true. FGM is simply not enforced.
Alas, our local hero Carole N. threatened to turn a police officer over to justice when he refused to protect the first of the Maasai 72 in 2009.
We learned from this incident that we have the ear of the local police.
We are now strengthening our ties with local police chiefs and the few Maasai leaders who have sent threatened girls into police protection. As you may or may not know from reading past project reports, the police have been calling the woman we support (Carole Nangeya) for help and she has now taken in 72 girls.
Global Roots does not take girls from their homes. These girls run away on their own at 12 years old when they learn their human rights are about to be violated.
We have formed a union with more than 16 schoolmasters who want to end FGM among the Maasai.
Thank you for your support! Your donations have helped us to keep each of the Maasai 72 protected.
Here is our five year plan to end this archaic tradition once and for all.
Desired outcome: end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among the Maasai in five years.
Kenyan partners: Carole N. (Maasai mother, FGM survivor, protector of 72 threatened Maasai), Anthony K, Global Roots Transparency Officer (former photographer for Transparency International), Lucy O, manager, Global Roots Kenya, Kenyan School Masters and Regional Police chiefs. Admin support: Global Roots USA.
Strategy: build on past success (72 girls protected from FGM across the Maasai Mara and TransMara regions) by creating “Girls Gardens” at 16 Maasai Elementary Schools. Our garden program will protect an estimated 1,600 Maasai girls from FGM and it will become the talk of Kenya and neighboring Tanzania. A dance troupe composed of 20 of the Maasai 72 will travel from village to village spreading the message “Say no to FGM because the law is with you”. The play heralds the benefits to any Maasai family that opts to not cut their daughters and the prison sentence that awaits those who do.
Key to Success: we have already proven that school masters will partner with us. It’s in their interest to keep Maasai girls in school. Maasai girls outperform other students so they raise the bar of literacy thus keeping the school masters employed. Why do Maasai girls do so well? It’s simple: they all know a life of slavery awaits them if they drop out of school. Few young girls understand the physical implications of FGM. They just know that staying in school is the only way to become a self actualized and powerful woman.
Measurement data: we will create a tracking system for each Maasai school in the program with monthly checks. A Global Roots surveillance team (led by GR Kenyan officers in conjunction with provincial police will investigate the disappearance of any girl. All parents who violate the agreement will be arrested and jailed. FGM is illegal in Kenya and it is considered a human rights crime by the UN. Our program finances the muscle of enforcement that does not currently exist in Kenya.
How our program works: Maasai parents will rush to enter their daughters into our food program in order to receive a weekly supply of vegetables for the family kitchen. Our vegetables will be grown in drip-system greenhouses behind each participating school. We have already proven that our greenhouses (large white structures) keep elephants and other big game way. No elephant has ever come within 50 meters of our current vegetable gardens in southeastern Kenya. The threat of elephant attack, crop trampling and water source destruction is the main reason the Maasai people’s current diet is incomplete.
The media will be informed whenever a Maasai family breaks from the program to cut a child. The parents will go to jail and the saved girl will join the girls we are already protecting.
Part III. Oversight Report — from our transparency officer on the ground in Kenya.
“I paid the US$ 1,700 to two more schools hosting our girls. 67% of the funds went to Christ The King Academy, where most of the girls school. The priest who was previously in overall charge has been transferred to another diocese. Carole had a very good relationship him and he was flexible regarding the payment of fees. The new headmistress is far less charitable so I was relieved that the funds arrived in time!
Olo Piki Dongoe primary school is in Transmara and they got the balance of the funds. The Kenya shilling has depreciated to Kshs. 88 to the dollar, so we are managing to get the money to stretch a little more.
Needless to say Carole was greatly relieved as some of the pressure on her has reduced. Once again she asked me to pass on her most profuse thanks. Her current game plan is to appeal for funding from some of the Maasai group ranches, while also continuing to apply for bursaries from the local government.
Part IV Early Warning Safety Net — AK sent the following email to the USA headquarters.
I received a call from Carole this morning. She has desperately been looking for money to pay the fees for the 7 girls joining high school this year. She says her payments from the garbage collection contract have been delayed yet again. She has only been able to raise enough for the back to school shopping, wash basins, towels, toiletries etc.
As the girls who are the only ones left at home right now are getting restless and will probably lose their places anyway in the schools they had selected, she proposed calling the headmistress at Enoosaen, to request her to accept the girls, with the promise that their fees will be forwarded in due time.
She had misplaced the headmistresses number and requested me to give it to her.
After a while she called back and confirmed that the headmistress had agreed to take in the 7 girls. As GR has established an element of trust with the headmistress, Carole was able to convince her that the financial commitment would be honored.
Carole had earlier suggested that she take a soft loan from her friends to pay for the fees. She has done it before and it entails her repaying the cash with interest. I advised her not to take up that option until I had consulted with you. It would have been rather tricky to account for the funds in this manner.
I am glad that she finally decided on the Enoosaen school option.
Hi. I paid the fees for Carole's as soon as I received the cash last week. Carole was very relieved and appreciative. She asked me to inform you that as she can't reward you materially, her and the girls have placed you in their prayers. This is includes all of the donors at Global Giving.
As instructed I am still holding on to the balance of US$ 500 in case of any emergency.
Part V. Donation Tracking. See photo 2.
Whenever we receive a major donation for the Maaasai 72, we send proof that we actually spent donated funds on target.
All donations made to Global Giving automatically receive quarterly updates.
Attached please receive a copy of the bank deposit slip for the Kenya shillings equivalent of US$ 1,200 paid into the school account of Enosaen Girls Secondary School.
This payment includes your donation of US$ 1,000 to Global Roots and is part of the US$ 1,700 forwarded by Global Roots for payment to the various schools the rescue girls attend.
In the bottom third of the deposit slip are the names of the 7 girls for whom this payment will go towards paying school fees for.
Your contribution is highly appreciated.
With thanks and kindest regards,
Reply from donor:
Thank you so much for showing me the receipt for school fees. It is so important to see that donations made go directly to supporting these girls.
I visited the Maasai Mara 2 years ago and hope to return one day.
Thank you for helping Carol and the girls through your work.
Part VI Portrait of a Maasai girl by Paige H. (see photo 3)
This amazing portrait prompted a prominent American business person to donate 10K to our efforts.
The artist, 17-year-old Paige Hval of Portland, Oregon, is at it again. Her next masterpiece will surely raise ever more funds that will be used to protect the Maasai 72 from Female Genital Mutilation. Thank you Paige!