When students reach the end of secondary school, they take a national exam called the KCSE. The results of this exam determine if students are qualified to continue to a university or college, though not all who qualify can afford to attend. About the top 20% of students in Kenya qualify for university studies and the top 45% of students qualify for either college or university. 55% of students in Kenya must end their studies after secondary school.
In 2021, we began a partnership with Moi Girls Samburu Secondary School, a regional school that draws students from all over Samburu County – one of the most impoverished in the country and one with the highest rates of FGM and forced child marriage. Our goal is to protect girls from harmful cultural practices by keeping them in school, building their self-confidence, and giving them skills to reduce their dependence on others. Most girls in Samburu County are severely hampered by poverty. They are eager to learn, but are forced by poverty to drop out of school and marry old men. When we started offering school sponsorships, the girls wrote heartfelt letters of thanks – promising to study hard and make us proud so our support would not be in vain. They are making good on that promise, as these charts make clear!
In 2021 when we began the program, Moi Girls did worse than the country average (much worse for university but only slightly worse for college). But our graduating seniors (Form 4) in 2023 have shown a dramatic change – out of our 164 graduating students, 94% qualified for either college or university compared to 45% for Kenya as a whole! The results were so dramatic, Moi Girls School was even featured on the local news. Our girls did indeed make us proud!