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Maasai Girls Education Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Civil Rights, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Fund Raising & Fund Distribution, Higher Education, Literacy, Women, Womens Rights

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.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 Tracey.MGEF

Board Member

Rating: 5

A bit about the Maasai Girls Education Fund, from the daughter of MGEF Founder, Barbara Lee Shaw The Maasai Girls Education Fund works to raise the status of Maasai women in Kenya and end poverty by educating girls, women, and the Maasai community. Our Scholarship Program sponsors Maasai girls from primary school through university who otherwise would not be in school. Our Community Education Program holds workshops for Maasai girls, boys, women, and men to focus on the cultural practices and beliefs that keep girls out of school. We work in partnership with a Community Based Organization that we co-founded and fund. It is managed by Maasai women, and includes a network of 43 women and 14 chiefs who volunteer throughout the area where we work. Scholarships Program: Since 2000, our Scholarships Program has sponsored 179 girls from pre-school to university. Many were rescued from child marriages as young as nine years old, and one from child labor. Three key policies: NUMBER 1: Our scholarships are based on need, not merit. They go to girls like: Jane Tulasha who was discovered when she was 8 years old selling food to construction workers to earn money for her family. She had never enrolled in school. Her sisters were married off at ages 12 and 14. She is now in the eighth grade. And Emily Namunyene, whose mother died when she was ten years old. She had just completed the second grade. Her father was so old that he was unable to take care of her so she was left in the care of an older sister and her husband. Her uncle refused to send her to school and had planned to marry her off when one of the Kajiado volunteers asked MGEF to save her. She has now graduated from the University of Nairobi with a certificate in International Studies. And Reson Mpatinae who was actually married off at 9 years old. With the help of women activists, she was rescued and brought to the Kajiado Adventist School which has a shelter for girls. Reson cannot go home. She is supported by MGEF, safely enrolled in boarding school. These are just a few stories of many, many more MGEF-supported girls whose parents simply cannot afford school fees. NUMBER 2: We do not drop students for any reason. Since our scholarships are based on need, we don’t know how our students will perform in school. Many of our students struggle throughout primary and secondary school. When they are having trouble, we mentor them, we encourage them, we stay with them, and they graduate and go on to vocational schools. Some even go to colleges and universities. Without exception, every single poor-performing student has excelled in post-secondary school, and all who have graduated are employed and self-sustaining. MGEF's graduation rate from primary school is 95% (compared to 29% of Kenya's general Maasai population); MGEF's transition rate from primary to secondary school is 98% (compared to 18%); MGEF's graduation rate from secondary school is 87% (versus 8%); MGEF's transition rate from secondary to postsecondary education is 95% (versus 3%); and MGEF's graduation rate from postsecondary enrollment is 97% (compared with

Donor

Rating: 5

They do wonderful work. I have attended a number of their events and am very impressed with their work. They do a lot with a very limited budget!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The maasai girl education fund are doing an amaizing work.I am a maasai girl myself i know and understand the struggles we go through...it has taken me alot to be in the universty now...mybe luck.i thank God for them and the hope they are giving to the maasai women in empowering them through education.Giving a maasai girl education is giving her the power to fight for herself and defence against the oppressing power...Many more years to the maasai girl education fund

Board Member

Rating: 5

MGEF is the only organization of its kind which pledges to stay with our students no matter what --- that means no GPA quotas or performance baselines, no limits on the number of degrees earned, no invasive or unrealistic standards of progression: just real support for dedicated students who are working hard to learn and improve their lives. That's material impact in a community. The business training workshops for women that MGEF organizes (in addition to its fantastic scholarship program) are an excellent example of our commitment to facilitating valuable women's education in any way we can, for every member of our communities who wants to pursue it. You will not find another organization of this kind that fulfills this commitment as effectively, or that serves its communities with greater impact.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Currently, I am sponsoring two girls in primary school, Catherine and Sein. It is wonderful to watch these girls progress in their schools and to see their enthusiasm for the opportunity for an education.
What I really like about the Maasai Girls Education Fund is not only do they provide the financial wherewithal, but also the support and encouragement to ensure the girls will be successful. They accomplish this with the MGEF staff and a network of volunteers on the ground in Kenya. This includes a cohort of MGEF college and university graduates who mentor and inspire the younger girls. In addition, MGEF supports the girls and their families though numerous workshops, where issues such as early marriage, teen pregnancy, FGM and HIV/AIDS are discussed.

Previous Stories
4

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor and I sponsored a student through MGEF; it is an amazing organization! Every dollar has a direct impact on improving lives. The young women who MGEF supports are inspiring both in the obstacles they have faced and the way they have persevered. MGEF connects directly with communities in need in a respectful, productive, and empathetic way to create real change. I can think of no other organization with a worthier goal, more committed staff, or more impressive impact.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with MGEF since its inception. The girl I sponsored now has a 2-year degree in early childhood education. She plans to continue to receive her 4-year degree. MGEF also does community development/education programs for the Maasai Tribe. They are a top notch nonprofit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Barbara Shaw would be proud to see how her daughter continues her legacy. Great work.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Maasai Girls Education Fund is an organisation filled with people of great dedication. Every time I meet one of them it amazes me what they do. Especially their founder, Barbara Lee Shaw was an incredible, inspiring woman that I would have loved to talk even more to.

Donor

Rating: 5

the Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) makes a huge difference in the lives of Maasai girls in Kajiado, Kenya. Through donations, the Fund provides scholarships to girls who would have no means to go to school. Since its beginning about 15 years ago, graduates have included teachers, nurses, hospitality workers, a doctor and a currently enrolled future lawyer. Impressive for girls who grew up in isolated mud huts, no electricity or running water, and before the Fund, no hope of a better life. MGEF works hard to ensure the girls have the means to get a job, and support themselves, and contribute to their community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was previously a friend of the charity and have since joined the Board of Directors. From the beginning I have been impressed by the impact this charity is making. As a non-profit professional, I can say honestly that the Maasai Girls Education Fund does it right. Lives are completely changed for the girls that we help, not only of the lives of the girls who are able to go to school, but their families and those in their community who benefit from their education.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am proud to have worked with Maasai Girls Education Fund for more than ten years and to be a sponsor of a Maasai student. What this small, effective organization has been able to do for Maasai girls and young women in Kenya is close to miraculous. Not only does the organization find and stick by girls in need of an education, often helping them escape early marriage and a life of poverty, it also works to educate all members of the Maasai community about why it is important to educate girls. Young women go on to higher education and eventually jobs, which, more often than not, involve giving back to their own communities. I could not recommend this organization more.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Maasai Girls Education Fund (MGEF) is a successful nonprofit that is helping women and girls achieve their dreams by funding education scholarships. One example is Gloria Mumeita Kotente who almost had to drop out of primary school because her family couldn't afford the school fees. Now she is studying to be a doctor! And, when she completes her medical training, she will be one of a handful of Maasai women physicians. You can support a student like Gloria or give to the general fund. Chris Jahnke

Donor

Rating: 5

Over the years, I have sponsored three girls' educations through Maasai Girls Education Fund. I love the work MGEF does to empower girls and young women which in turn builds more successful communities. This is an excellent organization run by people who genuinely care about those they serve. Highly recommend!

Board Member

Rating: 5

This well-established nonprofit does a great job in helping to significantly improve the lives of Maasai girls through education. The organization's holistic approach includes providing scholarships directly to girls, conducting Life Skills Workshops in the Maasai community for both children and adults, and conducting Women's Business Training programs for Maasai women. I strongly recommend this organization to all who are interested in promoting the education and economic independence of girls and women, especially in communities where traditional cultures have not valued or supported them.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They do great work promoting and providing education to girls of all ages. Really helps their communities

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am writing this as a relative of one of the beneficiary. Through them many girls from our community get to have the chance to go to school which is not usually a priority for most parents in our community. Having being orphaned at a young age, MGEF came through with my sister's education till she graduated with a university degree.

Keep up with the good work of empowering the Masai girl child.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

A remarkable charity, founded by a remarkable woman who saw an unmet need, the education of Maasai girls and young women, and resolved to do what she could to provide them with schooling and the life opportunities that education would open to them. The work is continued now by her daughter and granddaughter. This is a non-profit that has zero to do with the financial benefit or the personal fame and prestige of those who run it. This is all about helping girls and young women.

1 zarabott

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I spent a lot of time in Kenya witnessing the deeply impactful work that MGEF is doing for girls, women and their communities. I got to see the incredibly committed and passionate teams at work both at the office in Kajiado, Kenya and in Washington,D.C. They are tireless in their pursuit of continuing MGEF's vital mission. I saw young girls go from afraid, timid and out of school to strong, empowered and making top grades because of the scholarships they received from this organization. Their empowerment led to the empowerment of their communities as a whole. Amazing organization!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Barbara, Tracey, and Cassidy -- three generations of strong women making a difference in the lives of so many Maasai girls. I am proud to be associated with this group (as a sponsor). It is inspiring to see the passion and dedication of all involved in helping these girls find their voices! The smiles on the faces in Barbara's beautiful photos say it all.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This extraordinary organization was founded through the love and dedication of Barbara Shaw working with equally extraordinary Maasai leaders. I feel privileged to have met one of the 'girls' who is now training in medicine. MGEF changes lives, and through those lives improves the living conditions for all.