Educating young women and preparing them for decent employment will
not only improve their lives but the socio-economic status of their families,
communities, and country. In order to make systematic changes, the program
will start by looking at the barriers to girls’ education and employment in Kenya,
particularly those related to attitudes, beliefs, and low investment in education.
train 10,000 marginalized secondary school girls aged 15-19 years from 100 schools located in various counties in Kenya to gain skills necessary for complete their education and transition into the labour market and/or further education.
This will be achieved through
- Trainings in life skills and career guidance
- Sensitization and capacity building of community in view of addressing barriers to girl child education ,
- Creation of clubs at school level,
- Organizing annual symposiums and linking them to comprehensive online tools via the Youth Works online portal.
The training will focus on Life skills, career readiness and ICT coupled with community awareness and sensitization activities focused on addressing barriers to girl-child education in Kenya.
Background and Need
In Kenya, the estimated cost of girls leaving secondary school early is 47.6 percent of GDP and increasing secondary school completion for girls in Kenya would add US$27 billion to the economy over the girls’ lifetime. Educating young women and preparing them for decent employment will not only improve their lives but the socio-economic status of their families, communities, and country. In order to make systematic changes, the program will start by looking at the barriers to girls’ education and employment in Kenya, particularly those related to attitudes, beliefs, and low investment in education.
The Government of Kenya has taken steps to improve the education system, however, geographic and gender disparities exist, particularly at the rural secondary school level. Kenya ranks 107 out of 136 countries on the Gender Gap Report for education attainment. In 2010, secondary school gross enrolment was 50 percent for boys and 46 percent for girls, compared to primary school completion rates of 61 percent and 58 percent, respectively. The decline in girls’ enrolment between primary and secondary school is in part due to indigenous, religious, and cultural values that prioritize boys’ education; poverty; early marriage; pregnancy; traditional practices (such as female genital mutilation); gender-based violence in school and en route to schools; and the focus on the girls’ role in childcare and household chores.
In rural areas, most communities are dominated by paternalistic traditions that contribute to low levels of enrolment and retention at the secondary school level for young women. The program will target two marginalized counties in the arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya: Machakos, and Trans Nzoia , which are characterized by periodic droughts and famines. These communities operate under harsh climatic conditions and suffer from high levels of poverty due to food insecurity and conflict, negatively impact the provision of social services, particularly education. IYF’s Kenyan partner, African Centre for Women and Information Communications and Technology (ACWICT), will leverage existing relationships in these communities as well as the local and national government to ensure the proper identification of marginalized girls in the selected counties.
Supply side barriers for girls include secondary school-related fees( such as supplies and iniforms)place significant burden on low income families while poor infrastructure, physical access, and low quality instruction perpetuate the perception that it is more cost-effective for young women to stay home, engage in the workforce, or marry. In the rural areas where this program will operate, girls must travel a significant distance, often over an hour, to attend school, which poses security concerns and reduces the time available for household duties. Demand side barriers such as attitudes and traditions that prioritize boys’ education and focus on the girls contribution to domestic chores; lack of information on the importance of educating girls; limited female teachers and roles models; low exposure to employment opportunities in rural areas; pregnancy; and traditional practices, such as early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), all contribute to low completion rates.
In addition a number of other factors need to change, including: improved teacher training and materials that are gender balanced and support the girl child; access to female appropriate jobs and complementary skills trainings; and an increased number of mentors, role models, and associations for young girls. Teachers, particularly females, play a critical role in supporting the development of young women in Kenya—serving as role models, providing access to materials, resources, and helping families feel more confident in their girls’ security.
The ACWICT Education program encompasses five components:
2. Career counselling
3. Community outreach
5. Linking to online tools including the Microsoft code.org portal and ACWICTs career source book.
Partnerships with Ministry Of Education
ACWICT has existing relationship and partnership agreement with the Ministry of Education and has developed a working relationship over the years with other related ministries such as Ministry of ICT. ACWICT hosts regular meetings with stakeholders and the Ministry of Education for joint implementation planning, and selection of schools based the criteria that has been defined by the program.
Once the MoU is signed, a meeting for the Principals and a lead Teacher from each school is held to set selection criteria and identify 100 marginalized girls within each of the 100 schools to participate in the program.
ACWICT County program officers regularly host cluster based sensitization workshops for cluster-based school management committees to educate school administration and parents on the objectives and purpose of the program.
- A total of 240 Teachers have been trained as Trainers of Trainees in;
1. Life skills
3. Coding for employability skills
4. Career guidance course and
5. How to improve learning outcomes
6. Addressing issues affecting girl child education in Kenya
The teachers will be expected to establish Girls Clubs in their respective schools to train participants on life skills and career guidance as well as connecting them to the Youth Works Portal.
Community outreach activities such as radio programming, seminars during community meetings, school open day forums and peer educator outreach activities will be used to increase their capacity to support marginalized girls complete secondary education and gain employment or transit to higher education.
Career guidance & Mentorship
The project will also identify successful role model who is an alumni from each school to visit and mentor the girls within their schools.
One Female alumni business woman or professional in the school will be expected to serve as a mentor and role model to the girls; guiding and supporting them on the use of the online portal to access resources, career and professional development.
During club days, the female teachers also invite guest speakers selected from successful members of the community or retired professionals.
In addition, ACWICT creates documentaries of successful women in different fields which will be made available the girls through their clubs. As part of the mentoring process, ACWICT organizes mentorship and career guidance Annual Symposiums to provide the marginalized girls a platform to share and exchange their experiences with the program and its impact on their education and lives.
ACWICT commends the participants for staying disciplined throughout the training and giving it the seriousness it deserves.