Women and girls are key to a bright future for Africa, but education is critical to that potential. In the face of poverty and traditional cultural practices, most rural East African girls face the inevitability of a curtailed education. Though the enrollment rate of Kenyan and Tanzanian girls in primary school equals that of boys, they are far less likely to advance to secondary school.
Many girls also lack knowledge critical to protecting and managing their reproductive health, which too often results in disease, early pregnancy and increased risk of poor maternal and child health outcomes . These factors, coupled with a lack of fundamental skills to build economic security, lock girls in a cycle of dependency and poverty. Our Girls’ Advancement Program is changing this dynamic by eliminating the barriers that keep girls from advancing in school, and giving them the tools they need to become confident, self-sufficient women.
Girl’s Advancement (Wezesha Vijana) Program
We developed the Wezesha Vijana program as a comprehensive curriculum delivered in a school-based “safe space” to support and empower girls to be successful in school and life. The mentors participating in the program pilot chose the name Wezesha Vijana, which is Swahili for “Empower Ourselves”. Wezesha Vijana uniquely targets girls through tailored workshops that educate, empower and elevate their attendance and retention in school. These intended impacts are organized into three areas of a solution; Health Assets, Financial Assets and Social Assets.