An educated mind and a healthy body and soul are all necessary to truly empower a girl.
With extremely limited healthcare resources and education in our region, most people know very little about their bodies, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive health and the harmful effects of female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
These topics are also highly taboo, so they aren’t discussed in school or at home. This leads to higher rates of FGM, child marriage, unintended teenage pregnancy, school dropout, and cyclical intergenerational poverty.
It’s part of our mission to ensure our boarding school students have access to information about these things to advocate for themselves and make informed choices about their health.
To extend our reach into the wider community and support those we aren’t able to enroll in our schools, we’ve also created health programs that give youth and adults across southwestern Kenya access to health information, education, and resources.
Health & Leadership Training
Our Health and Leadership Training program, also known as the Jijue program, (which means “know yourself” in Swahili), is offered as weekly after-school workshops for six months each academic year. The trainings equip both our students and boys and girls in partner schools across southwestern Kenya with critical information about their bodies, health, legal rights, and life skills training.
Our team of skilled facilitators lead impactful and engaging sessions on gender equality, FGM and child marriage, sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health, self-defense, and life skills like leadership and self-advocacy. This program also teaches participants to share the information they’ve learned with their siblings, parents, and communities and empowers them to become partners in promoting gender equality and the end of violence and harmful practices committed against women and girls across Kenya. To date, trainings have been taught at 132 schools across Narok, Kisii, Migori, and Homa Bay counties.
Protect a Sister in Swahili
The onset of COVID-19 and the lockdowns that followed led to an alarming surge in unintended teen pregnancies across Kenya, largely due to increased sexual violence during girls’ isolation at home and girls being forced to resort to survival sex to meet their basic needs. In response, we launched the Linda Dada Campaign to raise awareness about this issue and reduce unplanned teen pregnancies by working with stakeholders across communities, including government officials, religious leaders, the media, parents, and youth.
The Linda Dada Campaign provides in-depth education through community-based workshops about sexual and reproductive health, safe sex practices, and healthy interpersonal relationships. The workshops also aim to combat stigma by encouraging more open communication around taboo topics related to the rise of teen pregnancy, including child marriage, FGM, and sexual violence. We also partnered with local media to disseminate this information via radio and television messaging to drive behavior change within the adolescent community.
It has long been a part of our dream to incorporate a youth-friendly health center on our KCE II campus, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, we knew we needed to speed up our timeline to meet our region’s dire healthcare needs.
In partnership with Jack Dorsey’s Start Small Foundation, we broke ground on our community’s first and only youth-friendly health clinic in 2022! Once operational, the clinic will serve both of our KCE boarding schools and the surrounding communities, providing basic healthcare, educational health resources, mental health support and counseling, stigma-free sexual and reproductive care, and an emergency hotline for reporting incidents of violence.
Your donations keep our girls healthy, safe, and empowered.