Supporting Girls Education in Rural Kenya

by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.


It is already September, and our partners at the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) in Kenya are busy preparing for the new school year. The Nanyori Shelter Network, a group of six shelters for young girls that also serve as accredited high schools, is ready to receive 50 new students this year!
These students, the majority of whom have escaped early forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), will benefit from free schooling, shelter, support, vocational training, and health and human rights education. Through education, the IIN aims to end the cycle of poverty, gender inequality, and human rights abuses for Indigenous women and girls in Kenya.
To learn more about MADRE’s work with IIN and the Nanyori Shelter Network, watch this video:

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With our partner organization, the Indigenous Information Network, MADRE supports the Nanyori Shelter Network, a group of six shelters that feed and care for hundreds of girls who have escaped forced early marriage and FGM. Grateful Kenyan mothers have named these school shelters the “Nanyori” Network, which means “You Are Loved.”

The shelters also serve as boarding schools, providing girls from Indigenous communities in rural Kenya with a safe and protected environment to pursue their education.

Your support of this project will enable us to continue our crucial work with Kenyan girls. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to make your donation go even further, and donate today

In rural Kenya, Indigenous communities often do not have the resources to send their daughters to school. Instead, many girls are compelled into early marriages (sometimes as young as nine years old) and forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Nanyori Shelter Network is one of the few chances girls have to pursue secondary education in rural Kenya. With MADRE support, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) provides girls with safety, shelter and education. Girls receive crucial support and schooling from a network of women committed to their empowerment.

Lucy Mulenkei, founder of the IIN,  knows that education is critical to breaking the oppressive cycle of poverty amongst rural women and girls in Kenya. Currently, she is working on a project that will provide scholarships for girls with the desire—but not the resources—to attend school. She believes that graduating girls will return to their communities with the resources, knowledge and conviction to inspire others to follow similar paths.

“In the future, they can come and help others because some of us also grew up in such situations where we were educated by somebody. We grew up knowing that we were helped, so we have to help others. I do believe that the little you do can make a difference, no matter how small it is. It can always make a difference and change the people’s lives.”


MADRE is helping support the Nanyori Shelter Network, a group of six shelters in Kenya that feed and care for hundreds of girls who have escaped the cutting mat and forced marriage bed. Created by the Indigenous Information Network, MADRE's sister organization in Kenya, these shelters provide support and powerful incentive for girls to attend school. Hundreds of graduating girls will become teachers, nurses, social workers and lawyers who elevate entire communities.

Below, read stories from Kenyan women about the positive impact of the Nanyori Shelter Network in their communities.  

They call her “Gogo,” Swahili for grandmother

Pricilla Naisula Nangurai is the director of a school shelter in the Nanyori, or “You Are Loved” Network. Gogo has personally helped 702 young girls to escape harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation and early forced marriage. The first girl brought into the shelter is now 25 years old and is currently studying medicine in Nairobi.  Go, Gogo!

A remarkable little girl

“Rose” is 13 years old, but at age 8, she had the courage to run away from home to escape female genital mutilation and forced marriage. She found her way to Gogo’s shelter, where she’s been ever since. Rose is excelling in her studies at the shelter and wants to grow up to be a women’s doctor. Still, she worries for her two younger sisters at home. She wants to do anything she can to save them from being married before they can finish school.

A mother who wouldn’t give up

When Mary learned of her husband’s intention to marry off her young daughter, at first she felt hopeless. She remembered her own marriage at just 14 years old and giving up her dreams of becoming a teacher. She wanted to protect her daughter but couldn’t see an alternative—yet she wouldn’t give up. Then she found out about the Nanyori Network of girls’ school shelters. Mary brought her daughter there. Now, the young girl is safe and has the chance to learn. She, too, wants to become a teacher—and she’s well on her way!


Photo 1: At school, girls have the opportunity to concentrate on education and develop friendships

Photo 2: Students pose for a photograph taken by Natalia Caruso, MADRE’s Program Director

Photo 3: A water collection and filtration tank enables students to access clean water

Photo 4: A group of students head to class in the morning


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Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York, New York United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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