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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

98 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

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the things I love about the Maasai Girls Education Fund is the fact of the amazingly high graduation rates our girls are achieving. Despite the fact that scholarships are awarded strictly on the basis of need, 95% of the girls entering primary school on an MGEG scholarship will graduate. 98% will continue on to high school, and of those, 87% will graduate. Even more amazing, 95% of our college grads will go on to either college or university, and 98% will earn either a 2-year certificate or a 4-year degree. A few even continue on and earn graduate degrees (we graduated our first doctor last summer)!

How are results like this possible? The answer is that it takes much more than a scholarship for tuition, books, uniform, etc. It takes the vigilant monitoring of each girl’s progress as well as of the schools they attend by the MGEF staff and a network of volunteers. It takes the volunteer efforts of the cohort of MGEF graduates inspiring and mentoring the girls following in their footsteps. And it takes a series of workshops that address the social issues that can impede the education of Maasai girls such as early marriage, teenage pregnancy, HIV and FGM. This is the comprehensive MGEF program that makes these outstanding graduation rates possible.

So if you are a person who might be thinking of helping out in a place like Kenya, but want to be sure your money will get results, the Maasai Girls Education Fund is the place for you.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love what this organization does -- supporting the education of young impoverished girls which allows them to escape the bonds of early marriage, teenage pregnancy and a life of drudgery. By the time they graduate from college or university they are nurses, teachers, administrators, researchers, and yes, even doctors and lawyers! These young women, now empowered to provide for themselves, give back by mentoring the girls following in their footsteps, helping to support their families and contributing to their communities.
It is an absolutely amazing process to watch!!

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Donor

Rating: 5

We have helped sponsor a little girl for several years now and what has so impressed us about the MGEF is that they never turn a child away. They always find a way to place every little girl that shows up on their doorstep and there are always more that are in need than expected. They are also dedicated to onsite visits to the many schools where the girls are placed to ensure that high educational standards are being consistently met and that the students are safe, happy and doing well in school. We regularly correspond with the little girl that we sponsor and are really honored to help support her. We trust that she has a promising future ahead of her and are confident that the MGEF will provide consistent ongoing support for her and her family. Thanks to MGEF for giving us this wonderful opportunity!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Maasai Girls Education Fund is a phenomenal non-profit. I was involved as a supporter and volunteer, then I joined the Board of Directors and recently started sponsoring a girl. Throughout each phase of my involvement I have been impressed with their dedication to their students. MGEF helps young Maasai girls get the education they deserve and serve the community in the long run by coming back with degrees and skills to provide for their family. MGEF has proven their ability to problem solve - involving the local community and the international community to create the best possible outcome for their students. I am proud to be a part of such a top notch charity.

Previous Stories

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

Maasai Girls Education Fund has been changing the lives of Maasai girls for over 18 years. They have worked with tribal men and women through lifestyle workshops to assure them of the value of educating their daughters. Many young girls and women have received full room and board to attend primary school near their villages and some have gone on to college and graduate education. In most cases, the girls return to their villages after graduation to better their communities. By attending school, these girls avoid early arranged marriages and are empowered to may decisions regarding their own futures. The small MGEF staff is committed to their cause and follows in the steps of MGEF's founder, Barbara Shaw, who knew that an education was the only way the Maasai women would gain independence.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

MGEF makes a difference in the lives of Maasai girls through primary and secondary education. This knowledge paves an enlightened path to the future for those girls the communities in which they return to.

Donor

Rating: 5

MGEF has transformed the lives of hundreds of Maasai girls, providing them opportunities for education, better health, deeper happiness and self-sufficiency. Each of these girls has then helped her family in innumerable ways, financially, materially, spiritually. But the thing I love most about MGEF is how happy everyone who touches it is -- there is a tremendous spirit of enthusiasm, good will, comeraderie, and nuturing, from the leadership of the brilliant founder, the late Barbara Shaw, to current leader Dr. Tracey Pyles, to all the staff and especially the girls themselves. I can wait to travel to Kenya next year to meet more of them!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a young woman and had the opportunity to visit a Maasai village in Kenya. The work that Maasai Girls Education Fund it is so important to give opportunities to girls to access to education it is a basic human right and in the case of girl it is crucial to empower them and their communities . We need more MGEF !! congratulations and keep going!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known Barbara the founder of Maasai Girls Education Fund for more than a decade and saw her love and commitment with the Maasai Girls. Her dedication and honesty transformed lives for good of many girls and their families. Then Tracey Barbara's daughter decided to continued her mother amazing legacy and honored her work. MGEF is the story of women helping women without borders and with no limits. I have contributed to MGEF not only because I know what the organization is capable of but also because the world is every day a better place due to their work.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Maasai Girls Education Fund is a brilliant oraganization. They have educated many young girls; a couple have gone on to become Doctors, and Nurses. I am proud to be a Doner for the MGEF.

Respectfully,

Michael Frizzell

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Maasai Girls Education Fund provides scholarships to Maasai girls who would otherwise not be able to go to school due to poverty or cultural barriers. And it further promotes systemic change through its Life Skills Workshops and Women's Business Training Workshops.
More than 13,000 Maasai men, women, girls and boys have attended MGEF's Life Skills Workshops and 300 Maasai women have gone through its Business Training Program. The combination of all three programs - Scholarships, Life Skills Workshops and Business Training Workshops is producing change and empowering Maasai women to become economically self-sufficient.

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.

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.

Writer

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.

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!