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KENYA: Kenyan Honoured for Raising Funds

Pupils at Bamba Primary School in Ganze, Kilifi District, queue for food on Monday. Schools in Ganze constituency, the poorest in Kenya, depend on the school feeding programme to keep pupils in School.  Photo/ GEORGE KIKAMI
A Kenyan woman who is raising $1 million (Sh62 million) to build a girls’ boarding school in her village was honoured by US First Lady Laura Bush at a Washington gala. 

Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO dedicated to empowering women around the world, bestowed its Rising Voices Award on Kakenya Ntaiya from Enoosaen in Trans Mara District. 

The prize is given to “women to look out for in the future,” Ms Ntaiya explained.

“I feel very humbled, excited and blessed to be recognised in this way,” she said in an interview.

Senator Hillary Clinton and actress Angelina Jolie also attended the ceremony at the Kennedy Centre on Monday night.

Ms Ntaiya, 29, plans to return home this summer from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, where she is working towards a PhD in Education. 

She said she will seek assistance from the Community Development Fund and international foundations in Nairobi for her school project, for which she has so far raised $100,000 (Sh6.2 million) in the US.

“I want the school to be a place where girls can be empowered, can be told about female genital mutilation and the consequences of being married early,” Ms Ntaiya said in an interview prior to receiving her award.

Ms Ntaiya herself was engaged at age five and underwent female circumcision a few years later. She persuaded her father to allow her to finish secondary school. 

She then won approval from Enoosaen elders to attend university in the United States, with the entire village helping to pay for her journey. Ms Ntaiya had pledged to use her education to benefit Enoosaen.

Rural Kenya 

She views the school she hopes to build as a potential model that could be adopted throughout rural Kenya.

Maasai girls do not always receive equal attention in co-educational schools because “the teachers know the girls will soon be married off anyway,” Ms Ntaiya noted.

SOURCE: Saturday Nation

AUTHOR: Kevin J. Kelley

URL: Click here

DATE: 18/04/2008

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