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Girls in Kenya: scholarships and safeguarding

01 February 2018

Our life-changing work in Kenya continues as our latest interventions – scholarships for the most vulnerable and specialist safeguarding training – take immediate and powerful effect.

Through the UK-funded Girls' Education Challenge, we are working with girls, schools and communities in Kenya's Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) as well as in urban slums to ensure that more girls transition onto secondary school or an alternative vocational pathway.

Scholarships for the most vulnerable

The latest project milestone has seen some 1,200 pupils receive a Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu (how the programme is known locally meaning 'let all girls succeed' in Swahili) scholarship. The scholarships have been awarded to the most vulnerable students – orphans, the disabled and those living in extreme poverty. All applications were vetted and to be eligible, applicants had to have attained a minimum secondary entry score at the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). The scholarships are complemented by other project activities such as the provision of back-to-school kits containing uniform, toiletries and other basic necessities, and grants to enable households and communities to kickstart income-generating projects to support girls’ education.

Child protection champions

Another recent intervention has been to train a cohort of safeguarding professionals. These safeguarding champions will act as trainers of trainers to spearhead the integration of child protection principles across the project's reach. The training was informed by an extensive mapping exercise conducted across all of the eight project counties which exposed structural and systemic weaknesses that often lead to child abuse and neglect – to which girls are particularly vulnerable.

'As with our first programme, Wasichana Wote Wasome – let all girls learn in Swahili – we are adopting a holistic approach to ensure that we embed long-term culture change,' explains Mark Rotich, Project Director. 'We can't just address one element and expect to fix the problem. Scholarships and specialist safeguarding training are part of a comprehensive and coordinated approach that includes activity as diverse as community conversations, health clubs, teacher training and leadership development. We work closely with government agencies and other key stakeholders and as a result, we have made great strides in changing attitudes. Our work has meant that a generation of girls has benefited from basic education and has the choice to further their studies and this in turn will affect subsequent generations.'

Find out more about our Girls' Education Challenge work in Kenya.

Education Development Trust is transforming the lives of girls in Kenya through the Girls' Education Challenge