The Academy for Girls: An Agent of Change
The Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school focused on serving the most vulnerable underprivileged Maasai girls. The first primary girls’ school in the region, the academy focuses on academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development. Located in Keyian division of the Trans Mara district of Kenya, the Center opened in May 2009 with 32 students. The Center enrolled an additional 31 students in January 2010 in fourth grade. Our goal is eventually to enroll 150 students in grades four to eight.
Each grade in the school has its own classroom. The students are instructed in eight standard subjects – English, Swahili, math, science, geography/history, religion, the arts, and physical education. A health course will soon focus on educating the girls on female genital cutting, menstrual cycles, and sexual and reproductive health. The aim of this portion of the curriculum is to improve the girls’ awareness of HIV/AIDS and their roles and negotiating power in future sexual relationships.
Currently in the development stage is a unique feature of the academy - a leadership training program. Besides instruction in effective strategies for leadership, girls will get firsthand experience through student councils, student-run extracurricular activities, and community outreach. Living in this environment of personal involvement promotes self-confidence, something many girls may experience for the first time. The resulting empowerment will encourage the girls to speak up for their convictions and to assist in development of programs in their school and their communities.
Preservation of Culture
In addition to academic and leadership instruction, the school also promotes the preservation of non-destructive cultural and domestic values. Girls are taught the life skills of their villages so that their connection to their homes is maintained and strengthened, contributing to family traditions and productivity. Through education, they learn about the latest ways to improve their farms, the health of their cows, and their homes. Benefits to their families will be immediate.
Summer Leadership Workshops
The Kakenya Center for Excellence is committed to providing resources to every girl in the surrounding community. To that end, all girls will have the opportunity to attend summer leadership workshops starting in 2011. These programs will foster an inclusive relationship between regular students and local girls in the region