Anne Wadsworth (EMPA ’09) Advancing Girls’ Education in Kenya

Anne Wadsworth’s summer trip to Kenya with the Kakenya Center for Excellence was an unforgettable experience and upon returning to the United States, Anne was named the Executive Director for the Center.

The Kakenya Center for Excellence is a primary boarding school located in the Trans Mara district of Kenya.  It is a very important landmark because in addition to being the first primary girls’ school in the region, it is focused on serving the most vulnerable and underprivileged girls in the region.  Education for girls in Maasai culture is not a priority and for those lucky enough to finish primary education, only a handful make it to secondary school as most are married off at a younger age.  Also in rural areas gender bias challenges the girls who already lack skills which are offered to students at elite private academies located in urban centers.

The academy was founded by Kakenya Ntaiya, a Maasai woman who—even after being engaged at the age 5 and being expected to marry at the age 13—overcame all the barriers and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in International Education here in the US.  Kakenya’s mission is to empower other girls like her through academic excellence, female empowerment, leadership, and community development.

Anne brings a wealth of knowledge from the education management industry which she intends to invest in achieving Kakenya’s mission.  She served as a Trustee for the Buffalo Seminary—an all-girls high school—working in programs, admissions, and communications.  She also worked for Enterprise Charter School where she developed supportive relationships with elected officials as well as community and business leaders for the startup charter school.

Anne tells us that, “The girls are amazing and they are deserving of every opportunity we can help create for them.  For me, I am doing what I love –  on the ground, creating authentic change while also working on the bigger picture of girls’ education globally.”

Learn more about the Kakenya Center at :http://www.kakenyasdream.org/academy.html

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