Enoosaen is a Maasai village of about 10,000 people located in the Transmara District of southwestern Kenya, about 250 miles west of Nairobi. It is a fairly remote area; after leaving the paved road in the town of Kilgoris, one must travel 20 miles of rough dirt road to get to the town center. The village is spread out amongst the rolling hills, where villagers live on small family farms. While cattle herding is still the focus of this Maasai community, unlike other Maasai villages throughout Kenya, this community also practices subsistence farming. Because of overpopulation and the introduction of farming into this community, once-forested land is now heavily farmed, producing primarily maize, beans and sugar cane. The area is blessed with ample spring-fed water and a rotary project now brings that water directly to the town center. While electricity exists in the town center, it is rather inconsistent and undependable.
The KCE campus is a dynamic and robust learning environment . Built on acreage donated by community elders, the first two-story structure went up in 2009 and became the anchor classroom building for the new school. In 2011, a dormitory was built and electricity was installed, creating a safe place for the girls to live. The dormitory provides the girls with a modern and comfortable environment. In 2015 our campus will grow tremendously. The plans include: an additonal dormitory for girls, new housing accomodations for teachers, a library, additional classrooms, quiet office space for teachers and a dining hall.
When Kakenya first spoke with village elders about building a school just for girls, she was met with a lack of understanding and strong resistance as to the value of such an endeavor. But Kakenya persisted, and today, not only is a school up and running, but the number of girls applying to KCE has more than tripled. Girls come from all parts of the region – many of them brought by their fathers or grandfathers. As one Maasai father said, “Culturally, girls aren’t supposed to inherit anything from the family. I want, while I am alive, for my daughter to inherit an education from me.”
Guided by quality teachers and benefiting from class sizes that are one third the size of those found in other local schools, the girls are discovering their abilities to soar academically. They strive for mastery, and climbing test scores are a testament to current success. Being a public school, they follow the government curriculum, but unlike most local schools, teachers encourage active learning and student engagement. Arts, technology, athletics, and extra-curriculars round-out the crosscutting program. While academics are the cornerstone of KCE’s work, imperative to the mission are innovative and ground-breaking programs for the girls in leadership building, health and preservation of cultures.
When the campus is finished, there will be eight buildings in all: two classroom buildings, dormitory housing for 200 students, a library, an administration building, a teachers’ house, a guesthouse, and a kitchen with a dining hall that serves as a multi-purpose room. The grounds will be abundantly planted with fruit and indigenous trees. There will be both play and learning areas, performance spaces and sports fields. The school garden, which is already tilled and planted, will be growing maize, beans and a variety of healthy vegetables for the cook to use in school meals. The school was put on the electrical grid in 2011, but local power is inconsistent and not dependable. The solar electrification system was installed in May 2013.