2017 Grants

Empowering Girls and Young Women, Kenya

In 2017, The Riley Orton Foundation, Kenya, was the focus for our Gala event. It was highly successful and we met all our funding goals. 


The slums of Kenya are inimical to girls and women. There are no services, few jobs, and most households on Obamba slums are women-headed, single parent families. Voilence against women in rampant. It is not an uncommon sight to see school girls in uniform prostituting themselves for food after school. Many of these girls are ignorant of their own reproductive systems, have no idea of the dangers of early teen pregnancy, or how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. Hence 95% of those HIV positive in Kenya are girls. School work is impeded by domestic roles for girls, especially walking long distances twice daily for water. (Learn more here about our 2018 project). They can’t afford sanitary products so they miss up to 60 school days per year, which puts them behind and discourages them. Hence we compiled a “wish list” of programs to be funded at the Gala. We exceeded our wildest dreams and funded these projects.


1. The Smart Girls Program, which engages vulnerable primary and high school girls aged 10 to 19 years old in activities that develop their social, emotional, and leadership skills. Through group counselling sessions, the girls are empowered with the skills necessary to combat both the psychological and physical issues they face in their daily lives that could adversely affect their education [Link to https://www.maendeleohub.org/maendeleo-playscape--farm.html].


2. The Maendaleo Community Hub, a recently built home for a collection of community projects.

The first facility provided was the addition of a room to the hub to be equipped as a Hairdressing Training Salon. Hairdressing is a well- paid profession in Kenya. The salon is now operative.

Secondly, the Gala provided a facilitator and books, as well as sun protection for outdoor seminars for the out-of-school girls’ vocational and entrepreneurship training at MHub.


3. Akili Primary Girls’ Boarding School

Enough money was raised to paid for:

  • two additional teachers at Akili School for Girls plus school books 

  • sanitary products, an internet connection 

  • hardware and peripherals for the computer lab

  • three capacity building workshops for teachers

  • quarterly medical checks as many of these primary girls are HIV positive or suffering from PTS anxiety.

  • holidays board and accommodation for at-risk girls.


Some  Akili girls are at-risk in their community. to be safe, they need to stay in school during the holidays in April, August, Nov and December. Catherine lives with her drunk dad with whom she shares a single roomed house. She has reported that her dad touches her inappropriately at night as she sleeps. Harriet lives with her dad in Obunga too. Because he abuses alcohol, she ends up moving from house to house in the slum, sometimes living in all-male households. Valentine is HIV positive

and lives with her dad and a step mother who abuses her when she is home. There are several such cases and the school founders believe it is their duty to protect these girls and hence shield them from possible rape or sexual harassment. Having them in school during school breaks and allowing their parents to visit them will help ensure that they are safe.

Read Vanessa's First E-Book

She's even inserted a Narrative in English and Swahili

Income support for women to send their daughters to pre-school, India

The aim of the project was to improve the educational status of poor Tribal Dalit girls in K.M. Johnny Memorial Nursery and Primary School to meet the millennium development goals and empower the children’s mothers for their overall development and self-reliance. We were very excited as this project as this our fourth village project of this nature with our project partners and this particular one was initiated by the village women who had seen the impact of the program in the other villages.


Dalit and tribal families in India are the poorest of the poor. Illiteracy rates are far higher than the general population, the majority of adults are also illiterate and work in the most menial jobs. Prejudice against girls is rife. When combined with extreme poverty and the need to provide a dowry, the drive to take girls out of school to work for their own dowries is very strong. This is despite education being compulsory.


Hence this project to select 50 dalit girls for education in a private, English language school and offer income support to their mothers. This support is the gift of a milking goat. By providing a milking goat for each child’s mother, the’s family nutrition will be improved, plus the goat provides foodstuffs and animals for sale. Therefore, the family’s income improvement is sustainable.

The girls receive free tuition for the first year, after which their mothers receive their goat, which has been the incentive for them to commit to their daughter’s education. Once their income is increasing, they will be mentored re savings and budgeting. Then they will pay a small fee to the school but their children’s fees will be highly subsidised.


The Impact

  1. 50 dalit and/or tribal girls will benefit from a full, uninterrupted education which improves their job prospects immensely.

  2. Economic status of the families are permanently improved.

  3. Raised awareness in the wider community of the need for increased financial support for tribal children and dalit girls.

Empowering Tanzanian Girls Through Education (via Global Giving

The primary goal of this ongoing project is to free girls from harmful traditional practices and attitudes that deny them education, while exposing them to abuse such a Female Genital Mutilation, child labour and child marriage, early teen pregnancies (with their appalling maternal and infant mortality rates), and from HIV/AIDS, which is often the result of rape.

Our second goal is to disrupt the poverty cycle. Extreme poverty, perpetuated by gender stereotypes, excludes girls from school. Yet educating girls is the most efficient way of ending poverty. It takes a long view to keep your daughter at school when the family can be enriched by "bride wealth", the payment of cattle to the father. This reduces the young girls to the status of chattels, and the younger the bride, the more likely she is to experience abuse and death in childbirth. Repeat for the next generation



By facilitating Maasai women's action groups, providing girls & young women with educational opportunities and by raising awareness about the benefits of educating girls, the project makes girls' education possible for poor families as it raises awareness and critical understanding of women's and girls rights and their role in development (e.g. through studies, talks by experienced guest speakers, meetings, and encouraging Maasai women to talk openly).


Long-Term Impact

The long terms benefits for 1500 girls and young women 7-25 are a) reducing poverty in the province because every year of formal education boosts the GDP; b) helps prevent child labour, child marriages & early child pregnancies; and c) improved health due to fewer deaths in childbirth prior to 16 and a reduction in the risks of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. Every year in secondary school reduced a girl's risk of HIV infection by 12%.

Transform the lives of up to 600 orphaned girls, Kenya Women Without Border (via Global Giving)

In Bungoma County, situated in the Western part of Kenya, 117,000 children aged 8-15 are orphans. That's 9% of the population that simply has no future. We intend to change that for 600 girls & young women, by encouraging both formal and informal education whilst empowering participants to avoid the risks of early pregnancies, early marriages and female genital mutilation. The goal is for them to commit to their education and become capable of investing in capital resources.


A toxic mix of poverty, tradition and the ravages of HIV/AIDs in Kenya has resulted in a country where women, especially girls, are vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and the dangers of child marriage, early teen pregnancies (which prove fatal annually to 70,000 girls globally), Female Genital Mutilation. Because of these factors, only 45% of girls complete primary school. For orphans, the future is just not bleak, it's non-existent


This project will recruit 600 marginalised orphan girls in communities to keep them in school and later learn a trade. Three Income Generating Associations will be established for their caregivers. In stage 1, School expenses will be paid for 60 school drop-outs. 50 young women will be offered income generating courses. They will then be able to obtain microfinance to create their own businesses. By participating, they accept the responsibility of mentoring other women in their community.


Long-Term Impact

For 650 girls and women, the expected long term effects of completing their education, and learning trade and business skills, will be the ability to support themselves and become leaders in their communities. Crime, including prostitution, child marriage and abuse are expected to drop as are early teen pregnancies and premature deaths. The dynamic of girls' education and business skills for women will build both a sustainable community and social capital for the future.

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