East African Women’s Leadership Initiative – April Update on the Kenyan Students

East African Women’s Leadership Initiative – April Update on the Kenyan Students

Elizabeth speaking to rescued girls at the safe house

April has been a busy and productive month for the Kenyan students in the East African Young Women’s Leadership Initiative.

The Kenyan students spent six weeks completing a basic computer course at Lewisa College of Professional Studies in Ngong. They had a great time learning how to type, use Microsoft Office, email, and the internet (both the Kenyan and Tanzanian girls are from rural areas and have no formal interaction with computers). Joyce emailed us expressing her excitement, “…computer courses are so interesting and we are computer literate now!”.

Before college and university start in the fall, the Kenyan girls are also spending their time interning, some at different organizations than earlier this year. Hellen will be interning at Compassion International, Elizabeth at Olosho-Oibor Girls Rescue Center, Ann at Naretoi Girls Program, Joyce at Kakenya Girls Rescue Center, and Sabina at Oloolua Child Development Project.

The girls also spent a weekend at the Olosho-Oibor Girls Rescue Center, a safe house and school created by one of the Initiative’s partner, SIMOO. The rescue center houses and educates girls ages ten to seventeen years rescued from forced early marriages, female genital mutilation, and other related incidents, most from Maasai communities. The experience was truly wonderful for the Kenyan girls. They were able to interact and mentor others while understanding firsthand the challenges many Maasai girls face. Each of the Kenyan girls befriended at least two younger girls and will continue to mentor them, encouraging their mentees to work hard and achieve their goals, something the Kenyan girls have learned through their involvement with the East African Girls Leadership Initiative.

The Kenyan girls also spent time with a lecturer at KCA Nairobi University. These counseling sessions were very helpful and a great opportunity to reflect on their academic performance and the best possible career choices to pursue.

The Kenyan girls have decided what courses they want to study and have applied to intermediary college or university. This is truly an accomplishment considering most Maasai girls do not even finish secondary school. They’ve decided to study:

Sabina: Gender, Poverty, and Development at Egerton University Gender Institute
Hellen: Gender, Poverty, and Development at Egerton University Gender Institute
Elizabeth: Peace and Environmental Studies at University of Nairobi
Ann: Sustainable Agriculture at Moi University, Chepkoilel campus
Joyce: Communication and Development at Daystar University

It is truly exciting that the Kenyan girls are pursuing coursework that resonates with the East African Girls’ Initiative’s goals of creating future women leaders of the Maasai community and advocates for climate change and indigenous people. The Kenyan girls have a bright future ahead of them and it is great to see their progress.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Salau