Harvard University Innovation Conference

Last week one of our project managers Lovisa had the honor of presenting Women for Education at the Harvard University Women in Business Innovation Conference. The conference that has more than 100 attendees each year is a forum at which students from over 28 universities come together to present their respective companies and organisations for investors and fellow entrepreneurs. Lovisa presented our business model and our plans of expanding to help many more girls in the future. We are excited to spread our message of the importance of educating young women to students from such renowned universities and connect with charities and social enterprises from all around the world.

Great job, Lovisa!

New Team Members Sigrid and Ninna

Women for Education is excited to announce our two new team members – Sigrid Solvin and Ninna Thimmig who are both currently living in Nairobi! Ninna is specialized in HR and will be managing our mentorship program. Sigrid is a lawyer at the Government Offices of Sweden who will be in charge of our Kenyan legal work and will together with Ninna handle local activities in Kenya. Both Sigrid and Ninna are passionate about female empowerment and helping young women reach their full potential and we are sure they will contribute great things to Women for Education. We are so looking forward to working with them and exploring all the new opportunities that come with having team members working directly from Kenya!

It’s great to have you on board, Sigrid and Ninna!

Beatrice’s Internship

For the past two months one of our student’s Beatrice has been interning as a bookkeeper in the finance department of The Village Market. The Village Market is one of Eastern Africa’s largest shopping malls and entertainment complexes with over 150 stores.

As Beatrice is an Economics and Sociology student this internship has been relevant to and beneficial for her future career. She enjoys working with accounting and is happy for the opportunity to work for such a successful company that also has a commitment to supporting local handicraft businesses through weekly artisanal fairs.

”The internship has been of much help towards my academic and future experience towards finding job.”

She is now back at Egerton University to start her third academic year.

”I am happy and proud of the tireless efforts of the Women for Education group towards my university education. I am determined to always work hard and keep in touch with you.”

We are happy to have you in the program Beatrice, you are an inspiration to us all.

Meet our newest student Jacinta

We are very happy to announce the ambitious Jacinta, who is our second student to join the program this year. We were blown away on her interview when she told us about her determination to find her way to the university. After high school she started her own shop to get money for university fees and to support her family. Even though she ran the shop and have been working as a substitute teacher in primary schools it has not been enough to fund her education.

She is now studying Bachelor of Gender and Development at Kenyatta University. We are happy to support such an interesting subject and we have confidence in her future.

In Jacinta’s own words:

”I decided to pursue Gender and Development. Through gender studies I am able to analyse the needs of the society worldwide and come up with ideas to problem solving.”

She says the first weeks at Kenyatta University were confusing because the university area is huge (almost 80 000 students!) with many different offices. However, she loves the academic environment because it is filled with committed and ambitious people and everyone has been very helpful.

When Mikaela interviewed Jacinta in Mutomo in May she immediately knew that we needed to have Jacinta in the program.

”When she told me about how she as a young woman decided to start her own shop to save money for university and to support her family I knew she could do anything she set up her mind to do”

Jacinta, being able to sponsor you is a privilege for us. We are confident that you will do great things in the future and we will support you all the way.

Introducing Catherine!

We are very happy and proud to present an incredibly intelligent young woman, Catherine, who just joined the Women for Education program. This hardworking young woman from Mutomo, Kenya, has shown great academic achievements and determination throughout her life.

Mikaela from the WFE committee was very impressed by Catherine when she interviewed her in Mutomo:

”I immediately knew we wanted Catherine in the program when she entered the room with a confident and determined look in her eyes”

Since Catherine graduated high school she has been working in a computer shop and has been determined to save the money she needed to go to univeristy. In Catherine’s own words:
”I have never thought I would find myself at university. Being from a village where few girls make it to the university, I feel so happy and motivated that my goals are being achieved.”

Catherine will be studying IT, a subject Women for Education is very supportive of given the great opportunities in Kenya for IT graduates.

”Being an IT student, have realized that few girls go for this course. I’m in a class of 87 students, with less than 20 girls. As a woman, I feel that this will continue helping me learn how to be responsible. I am grateful to the Women for Education team for helping me to accept my place at university”

Catherine, we are very happy and proud to support you in your education and we believe you will achieve amazing things in the future!

Interview with our first graduate, Jackline!

This year our first student, Jackline Mumo, will be graduating! Jackline was in the first group of girls to enroll in the WFE program and has for the past four years been studying Food, Nutrition and Dietetics at Egerton University. Upon graduation Jackline looks forward to completing a one-year internship which enables her to obtain her practitioner license as a nutritionist. Of how WFE has helped her through her studies she says:

WFE has always been there for me, so concerned about my life, encouraging me to work hard through helping me to set goals on what I want to achieve in life and majorly through paying my university fees—I feel so loved and cared for. WFE has helped me in my personal growth; I am now a better person than I was before and so am so grateful.

Jackline also mentioned challenges and prejudice she faced at times studying nutrition.

The course is considered feminine because of the name food and so people associate food with females because they cook. It was a challenge because some of my friends doing other courses could criticize me that I came to university to learn cooking and so I could feel embarrassed. It could be because they didn’t understand what a nutrition course entails.

Jackline looks forward to joining the workforce and continuing to fight for women’s rights.

I am looking forward to mentoring lots of girls and to offer career guidance to help them realize their potential and be achievers in life […] and also to start paying the WFE loans so that the money can also benefit other girls the way it has benefited me.

Women for Education is so proud Jackline and we look forward to seeing what she will do in the future!

 

(Pictured: Jackline with her son Jayden)

Women for Education receives generous donation from Clifford Chance

Women for Education is delighted to announce that we have received a generous donation from Clifford Chance. Clifford Chance is an international law firm that gives its employees the opportunity to choose a charity for their Christmas gift every year. In 2017 WFE has been chosen as the Christmas Charity of Clifford Chance. Next to the donation, WFE also featured on the 2017 Christmas Card of Clifford Chance. Clifford Chance’s donation will go to further expanding the WFE program.

Learn more about Clifford Chance here.

Women for Education receives generous donation from Makaria

Women for Education is thrilled to announce that we have received a generous donation from the Makaria Foundation. Makaria is a Dutch charity foundation that grants financial support to individuals and organisations in the Netherlands as well as abroad. WFE will use Makaria’s charitable gift to fund the enrolment of more girls in our program.

Thank you Makaria!

 

(Pictured: Diana Hellen, Diana Jackline, Beatrice, Ebba our Chairwoman, Mikaela our Vice Chairwoman.)

Collaboration with Powerfans

Women for Education is excited to announce our new partnership with Powerfans!

Powerfans is a Swedish reseller of electricity and telecommunication contracts that shares a part of its revenue with a charity or sport association that its customers choose to support. Powerfans receives commissions from Swedish telecommunication companies such as Telia and Telenor and has generously pledged to share half of these commissions with Women for Education.

We look forward to starting a lasting and rewarding collaboration with Powerfans.

Learn more about Powerfans here. 

Leadership Workshop in Nairobi

Just before we left Nairobi we had a workshop with our fantastic students and mentors. The Women Leadership Hub team flew down from Europe to arrange a Dynamic Leadership Workshop with our mentors, students and even Mikaela from the WFE team got the chance to participate. 

Some of the students met their mentors for the first time. We realized how valuable the physical meeting is for the students and mentors to connect and get to know each other. 

The workshop started with the WLH team and the participants sharing their life stories. The focus was the main events and people who had contributed to becoming who you are. People shared stories of success and happiness but also stories of failure and trauma. It was a powerfulsession where many of the participants opened their hearts. Thanks to the trust built up within the group some even shared stories never shared before.

The stories varied from growing up in Sweden, to living in a war zone in Libya to struggling with school fees in Kenya. Understanding where everyone was from gave a better understanding of who they are now. No matter what the story or background were, everyone found they had something in common; they saw the value of empowering themselves through education. Education had been their beacon throughout their lives.

The sharing session was followed by exercises in smaller groups where everyone got the chance to see themselves through they eye of the other participants. What characteristics do people see when they meet you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? By getting new perspectives and giving each other feedback, the participants extended their self-awareness and identified their characteristics as leaders.

The second day focused more on identifying “change-leader” characteristics, learning how to impact others and successfully apply the principles of dynamic leadership in the participants everyday life. The group of participants varied both in experience and cultural background which gave the participants many interesting insights. However, there were many similarities and everyone was unified by their passion to empower women around them.

The WFE team are extremely grateful that the WLH team gave our mentors and students this opportunity. Everyone left the workshop with new friends, role models and hearts filled with new opportunities. We are already excited about planning next years’ workshop, perhaps in Sweden?

Thank you, Bo, Maria, Christine, Åsa, Jenny and Eva for hosting. Thank you, Pauline G, Pauline N, Penina, Lydiah, Winnie, Diana H, Diana J, Faith, Margret, Winnie, Jackline (and Jayden), Beatrice and Mikaela for participating in the workshop. Thank you, Ebba, Arjaa and Felix for being there!

Our chairwoman Ebba with her buddy Margret

Beatrice and Jackline

Diana Hellen with Åsa from the Women Leadership Hub

Christine and Maria from the Women Leadership Hub

Our chairwoman Ebba and vice-chairwoman Mikaela

From left to right: Eva, Bo, Christine, Maria, Jenny and Åsa

Top row left to right: Penninah, Faith, Pauline G., Lydiah, Ebba, Åsa, Mikaela, Maria, Jackline (with Jayden), Bo, Winnie K., Winnie, Jenny, Pauline N., Arjaa.
Bottom row left to right: Diana Jackline, Diana Hellen, Christine, Beatrice, Eva, Margret