On October 11, 2015, Kakenya Center for Excellence celebrated the International Day of the Girl (IDG) with many others around the globe. This year’s theme for IDG2015 – The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030 – recognized the importance of investing in adolescent girls’ empowerment and rights today and in the future. During the last 15 years, the global community has made significant progress in improving the lives of girls during early childhood, but there has been insufficient investment in addressing the challenges girls face when they enter adolescence. These challenges include obtaining quality secondary and higher education, avoiding child marriage, receiving information and services related to puberty and reproductive health, and protecting themselves against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and gender-based violence.
Kakenya Center for Excellence is part of the solution for girls. We tackle challenges facing girls of all ages with our comprehensive boarding school program for girls in the 4th-8th grade, our health and leadership education camps that have impacted thousands of additional girls from many schools, and our Network for Excellence that supports girls who have graduated from our school while they are in high school. Our approach is an important part of the gradual change in attitudes and the growing support for girls’ education in our village.
During our International Day of the Girl celebration, more than 450 girls from five regional schools joined us in a 5K march through the village, bringing their voices and energy throughout the Transmara. Businesses came to a standstill as the girls shouted messages such as, “Unite to end violence against women! Education for all! End child marriage! Educate me, don’t cut me!” The luncheon that followed on KCE’s campus gathered community leaders, parents, teachers, and students together for speeches, presentations and traditional dancing, which was a clear demonstration of strong participation from our greater community.
In addition to the festivities in Kenya, our girls’ voices were heard around the world at the United Nations celebration! We are delighted to share with you a poem written by four KCE students which was showcased at the 2015 Day of the Girl Summit in New York.
We are so proud that our students are using their voices to celebrate their own achievements, to advocate for the rights of all girls, and to increase awareness about the inequalities that girls face simply because they are girls.
Thank you for supporting our girls’ dreams and for supporting KCE’s direct services and our role in the broader community advocating for girls!
Communications Associate, Kakenya Center for Excellence
Weekend Educational Movies for Our Girls
By Wilkista Akinyi, KCE Program Officer, October 2014
When Penny Cooper visited Enoosaen as an international volunteer, she introduced something new for the girls. She called it “movie night.” This would be a weekly program that would have the girls watch a movie one night every week. We realized how much the girls really loved the program, because it gave them that rare opportunity to experience an entirely new entertainment media. It would also give them a conversation to engage on besides school work and the usual extra-curricular activity. For many students, movies was an entirely new experience.
Why start a movie program for the girls? It’s probably a better idea to spend that free time concentrating on additional class work or sports, and not watching movies! We believe the “movie program” is not only an entertainment tool but will also help improve our girls understanding and general knowledge.
The movie program is now run as a weekend evening activity. It is slotted on alternate weekends under the entertainment time. We also have decided to run it not merely as a ‘movie program’ but an ‘educational movie program’ where the girls get the exposure and excitement of watching while learning in the process. We try to make sure our movies don’t have a lengthy run time (maximum of 2 hours) so that the girls can get back to other weekend activities as scheduled. We source for movies and documentaries from a variety of topics including: history, geography, science, religious studies, talent management, emergent issues and motivational stories based on real life experiences or biographies.
Historical movies give the girls a chance to better understand issues such as independence, slavery and apartheid. Geographical movies or documentaries enhance knowledge on natural phenomena such earth quakes, storms to wildlife/nature protection and management.
Besides school work related movies or documentaries, we also want the girls to watch movies that touch on current and emerging issues in the society such as FGM and health awareness and safety. We are gathering a collection of great debates from local schools in Kenya that will be used to sharpen our students’ skills in public speaking. We are looking forward to starting internal school debate sessions for the students to apply the tactics learned. Our aim is to help our students build confidence and eloquence in public speaking. It will also enable them have a better mastery of discussion topics in their country.
With time, I have come to learn that the use of visuals enhances understanding. When kids see something, and link it to a topic they learned in class, then that knowledge remains in their minds. It is not about movies, it is about the impact that those movies have on our kids. That is why our staff is going the extra mile to source for relevant and interesting movies for our girls. Do drop us comments, ideas or suggestions on children friendly educational movies or documentaries that we should consider stocking in our movie library at firstname.lastname@example.org.