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Kakenyas Dream

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: Kakenyas dreams mission is to advance the development of africa by creating transformational education, health and leadership initiatives designed to equip rural girls in expanding their horizons and realizing their full potential. See continuation schedule

Programs: Centers for excellence program: our centers for excellence are located in enoosaen, a rural village in southwestern kenya, and serve the regions most vulnerable and underprivileged girls. The program launched in 2009 with 30 students at our first school, kakenya center for excellence, and just one building on site for girls to learn and sleep in. Since then, this 4th-8th grade primary boarding school has grown into a transformative model that serves more than 180 students each year. 100% of our current students and alumnae are continuing their education, free from female genital mutilation (fgm) and early marriage. We are also in the process of constructing a second k-12 boarding school, scheduled to enroll its first class of 9th graders in may 2018. Kd is committed to providing our students with all the resources they need to excel, addressing the girls physical, social, and emotional needs. We believe education is the key to unlocking each girls unique potential. For this reason, we ensure our academics are held to an international standard. The school offers a variety of subjects needed for a girl to succeed in high school and beyond, including english, swahili, mathematics, and science. Our girls regularly score in the top 2% in their county, and in 2017 our average national exam score was 75 points higher than the national average. Our school is staffed with well-trained teachers and our 15:1 student to teacher ratio is half the national average of 31:1. As a boarding school, we enable the girls to spend more time on their studies, since many are tasked with household chores and childcare for younger siblings when at home. We offer a supportive environment in which they can continue learning outside of the classroom. We provide the girls with all their school needs, including uniforms, textbooks, learning materials, and three nutritious meals per day supplemented by fresh produce from our campus garden. We enhance the girls academic experiences with extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, field trips, and more. Finally, in order to overcome the significant challenges facing girls, especially socialized norms that seek to oppress women, we work hard to ensure our girls know they are capable, supported, and strong. From public speaking to self-defense, we teach girls a variety of skills to help them become independent and confident young women. The success of the kd boarding school has also highlighted gaps in the kenyan public education system. Currently, many of our students cannot even read and write when entering at grade 4 due to inadequate early childhood education. There is also a shortage of secondary schools around kenya; many of our 8th grade girls struggle to secure a high-quality high school placement. In our campaign for kakenyas dream, we want to address both problems by designing a complete kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum that offers a comprehensive knowledge base of stem, liberal arts, art, and music. In 2017, the funding for the centers for excellence was approximately $271,000. Health and leadership training program: in 2011, kd launched the health and leadership training program to reach more girls with vital health information, safety skills, and leadership training. In 2017, 1,700 youth from 50 different schools participated in our weekend and week-long trainings. Since 2011, we have trained more than 10,000 girls and boys across the county. In 2018 we are beginning a new peer-to-peer program to train recent college graduates on our curriculum so that they can deliver our trainings on a weekly basis across the county. The health and leadership trainings allow us to reach vulnerable girls outside our school with critical information at the time they are most at risk of undergoing fgm and child marriage. The program also fosters an inclusive relationship between kce students and girls in the surrounding region attending other schools. Twice each year kce invites 6th and 7th grade girls from more than 40 schools in the surrounding region to join our students at week-long camps. Throughout the week of training, participants learn how to protect themselves against harmful practices, gender-based violence and life-threatening diseases, to prepare themselves with an education and information about opportunities for a better future, and to promote accurate information and new ideas about sexual and reproductive health among their friends, families and communities. They practice leadership-related skills such as communication and assertiveness and are taught about their rights according to kenyan law. In 2014, our program expanded to reach both vulnerable girls and boys at schools throughout the county through monthly weekend trainings. These trainings are condensed versions of the weeklong training, available to all 6th-8th grade students from the participating schools. Trainers stress the importance that boys join with girls to become a new generation of leaders that stands together on the principle of education for all and that protects the rights of children everywhere. One of the most powerful aspects of these trainings is how far the information spreads. Each attendee takes the information they have learned and carries it home to their family members, friends, and other classmates. The campaign for kakenyas dream will widen the impact of this program by opening a year-round health clinic, increasing the number of workshops to double the current reach, and bringing this critical education to more than 500 regional schools. We will design a training and health system delivery model that can be replicated in schools and in partnership with government entities across kenya and africa. The 2017 funding for the health and leadership was approximately $103,700.

network for excellence: kds network for excellence was developed in 2013 as a way to continue to support our graduates as they transition from primary education at our boarding school to secondary education in different high schools around the country. In 2017, all 181 of our boarding school alumnae participated in our network for excellence. Our first class of kce girls, who entered our boarding school in 2009, completed secondary school in 2017, and the network for excellence will expand to provide support as they pursue post-secondary education options around the world in 2018. We are committed to supporting our girls from start to finish, ensuring that they have the tools they need to succeed throughout secondary school and beyond. In our students home communities, fewer than 50% of all girls are able to continue beyond primary school due to prohibitive costs and cultural expectations, with 15% receiving no education at all. Even for those who are able to attend high school, most schools have substandard curricula that do not prepare girls for continued education or successful careers. With this in mind, the network for excellence program includes five key components: mentorship, scholarships, academic support, continued leadership training, and college and career counseling. Through trainings at our campus in enoosaen during academic holidays, the girls maintain their connection to kd and our current kce students, providing them with the opportunity to bond with their college-aged mentors, to mentor current boarding school students, and to reconnect with their kd family. The support we provide through the network for excellence ensures that our primary school graduates can continue their education through high school, progress to university, and stay on a path to successful careers. The campaign for kakenyas dream will provide further financial support to offset or fully cover tuition and expenses for high schools, financial support to encourage alumnae to continue to college or technical college, training awards for leadership development courses offered through the network, and internship stipends for a gap year between high school graduation and college or career placement. The funding for the network for excellence in 2017 was approximately $202,500.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with the Kakenya Center for Excellence since November of 2010. I met KCE’s founder, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, at the Aspen Environmental Institute and was inspired by Kakenya’s story. Since then, we have worked together to develop programs for women and girls in her village in Enoosaen to improve access to education and economic opportunities.

Dr. Ntaiya is the living example of the positive change that can occurs from educating just one girl. Dr. Ntaiya was once shunned in her community for having the audacity to accept a scholarship to a U.S. college, instead of taking the usual path of becoming a wife at age 14. She is now seen as a leader, a hero, and a role-model among her people. Dads want their daughters to be like Kakenya, girls aspire to be her. Dr. Ntaiya has opened a world of possibilities for not only girls in her community, but for the entire community.

Having traveled to Enoosaen several times, and having spent time with the individuals in Kenya who provide leadership for the school, I continue to be impressed by the men and women who have the best interest of the organization at heart. There is a high degree of integrity, and I have seen first hand the impact that the Kakenya Center for Excellence has on girls who would not otherwise have the opportunity for a quality education.

We will continue to partner with Dr. Ntaiya and the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Despite the many obstacles that the school and Dr. Ntaiya have overcome to create the best learning environment for girls, there continues to be many challenges. Enoosaen is a subsistence farming community, the population is largely uneducated and poverty is quite high. Many girls will be graduating from KCE with a chance to attend high school. Without opportunities to earn income and without support from the broader community, many of these girls may not be able to pay the school fees necessary to continue with their education. Having looked into the eyes of many of the KCE girls, and having heard their dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, pilots and engineers, I personally, along with our organization, will continue to do everything in our power to provide the tools necessary to help them realize their dreams. Please consider getting more involved with this wonderful organization.

I look forward to KCE’s continued growth, and hope to see Kakenya’s model and our partnership expand to other communities in the future. After all, shouldn’t every child in the world have the opportunity to become their best self?

Ellyn Ito
Executive Director
Seeds to Sew International, Inc