Maasai Girls Education Fund

Rating: 5 stars   60 reviews

Address:

5800 MacArthur Blvd Nw Washington DC 20016 USA

Mission:

In Kenya, Maasai women have one of the lowest literacy rates in the country due to poverty and social and cultural institutions that deny women the right to an education. MGEF is working to economically empower Maasai women by educating girls and women, and the Maasai Community.

Programs:

Scholarships: mgef provides scholarships to needy girls in kajiado county, kenya, from primary school through university.

workshops: mgef organizes life skills workshops for girls and boys in primary schools to address the social factors and cultural beliefs that prevent girls from getting an education, including early marriage, teen pregnancy, female genital cutting, and hiv; mgef provides business training workshops to rural maasai women; mgef holds community workshops for chiefs, elders, and their wives to reduce early marriage, teen pregnancy, female genital cutting, and the spread of hiv.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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(202) 237-0535
maasaigirlseducation.org

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Reviews for Maasai Girls Education Fund

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

8 people found this review helpful

My mother, Barbara Lee Shaw, founded the Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) in 2000. She died of cancer in 2013, and I, an Emergency Physician in the Washington, DC area, am proud to inherit the honor of her legacy.
MGEF primarily puts Maasai girls and young women through school who would otherwise not have a chance at education. Most would instead be forced into early marriage (we have rescued girls as young as nine years old from marriage). Our mission is to improve the literacy, health, and economic well-being of Maasai women in Kenya and their families through the education of girls and their communities. To this end, we also conduct Maasai Community and Women's Business Training Workshops (which include start-up loans), but our first commitment is to sponsoring Maasai girls in school. We support our students in all ways, and we see them through to the highest level of achievement their abilities and ambition allow.
All MGEF scholarships are purely need based, and we currently have more than 100 girls in school. Since 2000, we have graduated nearly 50 more--strong, young Maasai women now, and role models for others as they return to their communities to work as teachers, nurses, and business owners, to name a few of their chosen professions. Many more scholarship students are on the verge of their own graduations and success. One MGEF scholarship recipient for the last 9 years, for example, is about to enter her final year of medical school at the University of Nairobi School of Medicine. Another young Maasai woman, supported by MGEF since 2002, has just started law school, also in Nairobi, Kenya.
I am proud of my mother, her life's work, and all she created in MGEF that inspires and helps others become all they can be and that they deserve the chance to become. Barbara Shaw loved her Maasai sisters, her daughters, her friends--and, in making her vision my own, I am committed to keeping MGEF the personal, just, efficient, culturally respectful, and incredibly effective organization she created it to be. MaasaiGirlsEducation.org

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help it grow and to share its effective model with other communities where girls' education is still a challenge to achieve.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with MGEF as a donor since it started more than a decade ago, and never has money been better spent. I have met the girls who benefit from MGEF sponsorship, and seen them change from shy, deferential girls into strong, confident, self-empowered young women who believe in themselves. Thanks to MGEF's efforts, Maasai mothers are seeing their daughters respected and admired for their abilities, their independence, their education--for qualities they themselves never believed possible for a woman in their society. Younger sisters and neighbors have role models in the young women MGEF has supported. Even fathers who once refused to speak to daughters who ran away and were sheltered in schools paid for by MGEF are now seeing the benefits of educating their daughters, as their daughters return to their Maasai communities and provide for their families financially in amounts never previously equaled. These same fathers who once were ashamed of their daughters for seeking an education are now commanding their sons to educate their daughters! Because of the Maasai Girls Education Fund's vision and commitment, many, many lives are changing for the better. I will continue to support the MGEF's mission without question, and recommend it to anyone wanting to help make a real difference in the world.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I'm proud to serve on the board of an organization committed to helping Maasai girls and their families achieve financial security. Building on a 15-year track record of success, we now have many students who are ready to further their education beyond high school pursuing degrees in medicine, teaching, and law. I hope you will consider sponsoring a young Maasai woman who would like to continue her studies. With your help we can make dreams come true.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

A development professional once told me that the most effective way to achieve development in an African country is to educate the girls. And that is exactly what MGEF does. When you educate a girl, she develops the skills to earn a living and help support her family. Her knowledge and industry also brings economic benefits as well as new ideas to her village. And the educated young woman herself becomes a role model for the girls who follow her. I believe MGEF does wonderful work. Its work is "on the ground" -- it is culturally sensitive in its dealing with parents, village elders, gender issues, etc. -- and it provides Maasai girls in Kenya an alternative to marriage at the age of eleven or twelve and a life of poverty.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have watched girls starting in first grade, continuing their education through high school and then college or vocational schools, creating careers and professions for themselves that they never would have had without MGEF. It is inspiring.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

MGEF needs more funding so that it can support the education of more girls.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I feel good about being associated with an organization that does such good work.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Staff and volunteers are all nice people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make a positive and significant difference in the economic and cultural life of Kenyans.

Ways to make it better...

My experience has been fine.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Need more publicity to generate more funding so that it can increase the extent and scope of its work.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been associated with this charity for more than 10 years. I have listened and watched as Barbara Shaw, the driving force for this organization, dealt with governmental obstacles, cultural differences, prejudice against girls and women to ensure an organization that would support girls to obtain education and/or training that would provide the skills needed to earn money, return to their community to provided needed services, thereby increasing the economic, health, and education opportunities in their own community. The girls receive scholarships with the expectation that they will help other girls to realize they do not have to marry at age 13, but have other options. I have seen one girl return to her community as a nurse, providing needed health care, and raising the standard of living for her parents and other relatives. This organization works hard to keep the girls in school and find the best educational or vocational training that will lead to economic independence.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

working with the data that identifies efforts to recruit, retain and educate girls. reviewed financial records noting that all funds from individual donations are used to educate girls.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not make any major changes. Changes might include finding funding sources for salaries to run the organization. Currently, the director and others are volunteers.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the girls express their gratitude to receive an education and a chance to go to college.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

happy to be able to help provide educational opportunities for girls who otherwise would not go to school, and especially happy to prevent early marriages.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Replicate the model currently in effecto to empower girls and women in Kenya

Ways to make it better...

N/A

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finding and obtaining funds to support administrative activities. Currrently those activities are provided on a volunteer basis, mainly by the founder and executive director of MGEF.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This is the most effective organization to empower girls and women towards economic independence that I have been able to find through the internet or other information.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Our family has been supporting the Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) since its inception by sponsoring the education fees for several of its participants, girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. MGEF, and its director, Barbara Shaw, have not only enabled the education of dozens of girls, including several who have now graduated from school and have productive jobs in their communities, but have also successfully made inroads into changing the mindset of the Maasai to support women's education and to recognize the positive ramifications of women's education on families and community welfare. We highly recommend supporting this organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my family by supporting several girls' education.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

 
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