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
I traveled to Kenya to help out MGEF and see their impact on the women of the Maasai community. I met so many amazing girls and young women who have been able to go to school because of this organization, as well as young schoolchildren who greatly benefit from their workshops. MGEF is truly an excellent organization.
The philosophy behind the MGEF is unique and inspiring. Every person that participates in the programs that MGEF offers, benefits in so many ways. The workshops educate, boys, girls and adults in healthcare, healthy life styles and nutrition, which in turn helps educate whole communities and generations of people. Girls are given support and encouragement to go to school beyond primary grades, so that they can become independent, successful adults. In turn the girls return to their communities in one capacity or another to help make it stronger. The girls have gone on to become teachers, nurses, lawyers, even doctors. The partnership between MGEF, the communities it has touched and the students is lifelong. Most importantly, the graduated students become mentors to the younger girls and the positive cycle continues.
MGEF provides education girls and keeps them from having to marry early and they have a chance to earn their own living. It is a great charity helping many girls.
Education, education, education. This is the ultimate answer to improving any life situation. Through the efforts of MSEF an affordable outreach has been made possible. An outreach that not only changes one life without a doubt, but definitely potentially a village. We are sponsoring a young woman to receive her Bachelors Degree in Education. She will return to her village and benefit many many people. Her return brings more than education - it brings a role model and hope. This affordable reach out is only possible because others dream. We are hoping to see this work only grow and grow through sponsorships and support. We are a small part of the dream.
I first became familar with the Maasai Girls Education Fund through my work in women's international development. I remember working with Barbara Lee Shaw, MGEF's President, to communicate the story of Simantoi Kilama, an MGEF graduate who is now earning a living as a nurse due to MGEF's support. Hearing Simantoi explain how she was using her income to buy shoes, supplies, and school uniforms for her family and children in her community made me realize just how impactful MGEF's work is: by investing in girls' education, MGEF is having a ripple effect on Maasai communities. It is improving the lives of far more than those of the graduates themselves. In addition to being such an impactful organization, MGEF enjoys the leadership of Barbara Lee Shaw, a dynamic and effective organizer and manager. Throughout my time volunteering, I've been continually amazed by Barbara's drive and creativity.
It is indeed a pleasure to write a review for Maasai Girls Education Fund. With over 35 years of professional and volunteer work with international organizations, I rank MGEF at the very top. The leadership is passionately committed to improving the lives of young women in the Maasai community which has a more limited access to education than the Kenyan national average. The program approach to educating students from primary through post secondary education to obtain a job is unique. Not only are the lives of the women affected, families and their community benefit. MGEF also conducts life skills workshops for the upper grades at primary schools. This program reflects the sincere commitment to educating an individual which in turn educates a community. Melanie Williams