By Elizabeth Agutu,
It is a tragedy that 1 of 2 Kenyan girls will never attend school, 1.5 Million school aged children don’t attend school due to poverty, 67% of Kenyan women aged 20-24 with no education married as a child as opposed to 6% of women with secondary education or higher, 4% of girls are married by the age of 15, 23% of girls are married before the age of 18 and 13,000 girls drop out annually due to pregnancy. Every time I go to the field, I see the reality of these statistics which are preventable and solvable.
Education is fundamental in enlightening a nation. With education young girls make better decisions which not only impact on their lives but also on the wider community, the nation and the world.
Meet the young Lilly Okeyo from Kenya who is making a difference. When she founded Work Her Dream Organization (WHDO) in 2016, she had a vision of empowering and transforming the lives of girls in Kenya and Africa at large through promoting Education and Culture; improvement of Population and Reproductive health and mitigation of the impact of HIV/AIDs and Drug addiction among the girl child.
She dreams of an Africa where gender equity is at 100% especially in terms of access to resources for the betterment of the African community. In order to build her capacity to reach out to more girls and to empower communities in Kenya and in Africa, she walked for the girl child in Eldoret on 12th May 2018 and in Nairobi at Karura Forest she will be walking in August 2018.
Lilly Okeyo is who she is today because someone believed in her dreams and supported her through her undergraduate studies. She now paying it forward through WHDO by supporting young underprivileged girls through education. These girls will also pay it forward by supporting others and being agents of transformation within their communities and beyond and the cycle will continue.
While speaking to the Jubilant Stewards editor she said, “at WHDO we provide access to education and other learning materials to eligible girls and vulnerable children in the WHDO catchment areas by ensuring that these girls can get at least a meal a day through the schools’ feeding program. We have seen improvement in the lives of the girls we support especially in their academics, class attendance, participation in school activities, improved self image and a boost in their self confidence. We have also noted that these girls are actively participating in our mentorship and life skills program”.
She continued, “Through our programs we are transforming lives of young girls and their families for a better future and a better Africa. Currently we have 129 in the organization and we have distributed more than 10,000 sanitary towels to this date. This has helped to keep the girls in school and to address the challenge of teenage girls engaging in risky sexual activities in order to get some money for personal effects (including sanitary towels).”
They’re rolling out phase two in June 2018. However, they can’t do it alone. So, WHDO is calling upon friends and the general public to support them by supporting the WHDO Education program and awareness creation.
She added, “I would be happy to speak with you about experiences on the ground and share my professional expertise on the current intervention model on the best ways to identify, prevent and/solve the problem of poor access to education for Kenyan girls.”