The Women for Change committee is focused on empowering women through education and supports the tertiary education of 78 Maasai women in Kenya and 4 in Sydney. All students come from the Transmara region in rural Kenya and are the first girls in their communities to receive tertiary education.
In the Transmara region, girls are normally educated to 12 before they are married – often to an older man with several wives. As their husband’s property, they are limited to domestic duties and subject to traditional practices such as genital mutilation, early marriage and teenage pregnancy. Educating girls is the key to changing these harmful cultural practices and helping to raise these communities out of poverty.
It is anticipated that girls with a tertiary education will become role models and leaders in their communities which will support change in the lives of these women, their families and the community. Dr Kakenya Ntaiya started this evolution when she founded her primary and secondary schools for girls in Transmara. The tertiary education of these Maasai girls at KCE which is supported by Women for Change will continue her extraordinary work. Across the community, women will begin to understand their legal rights as well as principles of general and reproductive health. Men will learn to value the contribution of these educated women in their communities.
Women for Change is committed to ensuring tertiary education remains within the reach of Maasai girls from KCE.
All funds raised by Women for Change are operationalised by KCE - a local charity that directly supports these young women. KCE was established by Dr Kakenya Ntaiya who is leading change in her traditional home having traded her body for an education. Learn about Kakenya’s story in her Ted Talk.
KCE covers the full student costs for the duration of each of the student’s studies. On average tertiary education in Kenya costs approx. $2,200 per year including fees, accommodation, learning resources, health care and incidentals. The project is also committed to ensuring that there are opportunities for tertiary education for graduates of Kakenya's school programs in the future.
Alumni of KCE can work to support the ongoing work of Dr Kakenya Ntaiya and KCE to stamp out genital mutilation, and decrease early marriage and teenage pregnancy. These future women leaders can also bring a focus on reproductive and paediatric health. They will bring capabilities, introduce technologies and provide support that will benefit other women in their community.
Change can also be achieved through working with the traditional male leaders of the community in the way that Dr Ntaiya has pioneered. A groundswell of women leaders will accelerate the rate of change through their strength of voice and their status as role models for girls in their community.
The first cohort of 23 tertiary educated students are due to complete their qualifications later this year. They will then enter the workforce, begin their careers and start to initiate change. The impact of the girls’ tertiary education will extend to their families and communities who will benefit financially and through broadened horizons. As role models and leaders the students can drive positive change in their communities. Case studies are used to share the impact of the project. For example Ann has 7 siblings, 2 of whom are already married and were unable to continue their studies for financial reasons. in January 2021, Ann started a Bachelor of Business/ IT in Mombasa. Linet is studying computer science at Western Sydney University and wants to bring technology to her rural community to improve people’s lives by connecting them to the employment and opportunities outside their village and district. In Linet’s words, “To see life beyond the horizon.” Additionally, WFC receives annual reporting from KCE which includes written reports reviewing the project, academic results and financial reports, spends and projections.
Women for Change (WFC), was established in 2016 with the mission to empower girls and women to become agents for change by providing access to tertiary education and a career path. Starting with a project in Kenya, WFC has developed a framework to support education and gender equality for underprivileged girls. This framework underpins the mandate of WFC to educate women, change community attitudes and facilitate leadership opportunities for women in the workforce and their communities. To achieve this, WFC supports educational programs for young disadvantaged women in developing countries, driving positive development in the empowerment of women, their families and their communities. WFC is a fundraising committee for the LBW Trust, a national, Australian charity working to support the tertiary education of students in cricket-playing, developing nations to empower them to change their futures and the future of their communities. WFC is governed by the LBW Trust. Funds are currently raised to support 1500 tertiary students in 8 countries (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Afghanistan and Indonesia) via 11 local NGO organisations. WFC is focused on supporting the tertiary students of Kakenya’s Centre for Excellence (KCE), a school for girls in rural Kenya. 78 young women are currently completing their tertiary studies and more students are enrolling in tertiary courses each year.