Paving a New Path for Maasai Girls through Education

By Joanna Hoffman

February 5, 2014

Every year on February 6, the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) draws attention to FGM and for direct action to end this harmful practice. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 140 million girls and women have experienced FGM in their lifetime, and 3 million girls continue to be at risk each year. In 2012, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for an end to FGM, but this has been difficult to enforce due to deeply ingrained cultural traditions.

KCEMany girls in the Maasai community in Kenya undergo genital cutting, marry early, and drop out of school. This sets them on a path in which they have less access to the services and information they need to live long, healthy lives.  FGM has a lasting impact, leading to serious health complications and social stigmatization. Also, research shows that when girls leave school early, they are more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth, less likely to have healthy children, and less likely to send their children to school.

The Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) is working to turn this trend around for Maasai girls through education. As you may have seen in an earlier post, the school’s founder, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, is leading the way for change in her community. KCE is a boarding school for girls in grades 4-8, and provides girls with the tools needed to break the cycle of FGM and early marriage. KCE is currently raising funds on Catapult, the world’s first crowd-funding platform exclusively for projects benefiting girls and women. If funded, KCE will be able to sponsor 36 girls in the fifth grade to continue their education. The money raised will provide uniforms, food, books, supplies and personal care supplies for the girls.

Take Action Challenge

KCE has a little over two months to raise the funds they need to continue their incredible grassroots work. So far, they have raised 28 percent of their goal. Click here to learn more and to support KCE’s efforts!

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