Team Kenya involves entire communities in Western Kenya in gender equality, so that girls and women in rural Kenya can create their own bright futures. We work with local primary schools, and the whole community that surrounds them to tackle the barriers that prevent girls from accessing quality education. We do this by working towards our three key priorities:
- Girls Education – Girls gain access to and attain a good quality education and have relevant skills and knowledge to fully participate in economic social and cultural life.
- Economic Empowerment and Food Security – Families have improved food security and develop sustainable economic enterprises to support girls.
- Girls Equality and Safety – Girls and young women are equal and respected members of society who are safe at home, in school and in their community.
Team Kenya’s story began when teacher Valerie Wilson travelled to Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, Western Kenya as part of the British Council’s funded school links programme in 1999. She maintained strong links with the community and in 2008, Team Kenya was officially founded, working with local Kenyan people to educate girls, empower women and transform communities. In 2016, Team Kenya successfully applied to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, which has enabled us to appoint our first staff members who will contribute to the long-term growth and sustainability of the charity.
Why women and girls? In Homa Bay County, 63% of people live in extreme poverty and at least 1 in 4 people are infected with HIV – the highest rate in Kenya. Adolescent girls are most at risk due to lack of sexual health education, widespread sexual exploitation, gender based violence (GBV), harmful traditional practices, including polygamy, wife inheritance and child marriage. 57% of women & girls in the County have experienced physical violence and 31.6% sexual violence. Average life expectancy is 47.5 years against a Kenyan national average of 64 years. In Ndhiwa, 75.5% of children attend primary school but only 15.7% progress to secondary school, and very few of these are girls. Girls in Ndhiwa have fewer educational opportunities than boys due to deeply entrenched traditional attitudes towards girls leading to widespread and tolerated abuse of their rights.