The girls in our community have plenty of potential and through empowerment and community support, they can reach great heights. Through school visits and one-on-one's, we build a safe environment for girls to find their own solutions to obstacles in order to reach this full potential. We focus on building confidence, leadership skills, life skills that are specific to our community, and female health education. Our engagement is done through curriculum and group mentoring, as well as one-on-one engagement with local girls ages 11-18.
The women in our community are working hard to establish financial independence. With our microfinance program, women borrow among their group and continue to circulate the money throughout, being able to establish their own financial ventures. To begin the program, the women go through a seven-week financial management education program and proceed to join a three year term microfinance group. New groups are then formed through the interest contributions of current groups because empowered women, empower women.
In the Works
Being male-dominated fields, STEM subjects are often only pursued by the male students in our community. This is why we are starting an all-girls school with a curriculum focused on STEM, to encourage our girls to explore these fields despite what people lead them to believe. The girls will learn tangible skills in the STEM field that are often limited to boys, such as electrical engineering and mechanics. The computer lab will also be used after hours for other students in Vihiga to access for study.
Training women in vocational occupations such as catering and tailoring allows many women to get better-paid positions as well as have the training and support to better protect them from being under-valued and under-paid. These careers will allow local skills to increase and for our women to increase their financial independence, which directly contributes to better quality of life in Vihiga County.
In order to be more sustainable in our work, we have a number of income-generating programs starting in order cover a portion of the costs of our community initiatives. Our programs include: tea farming, a bakery and tailoring shop resulting from the vocational training program. Not only will this allow Malkia Foundation to support our own work and our own community, it will create jobs for local women.