Kenya Education Fund (KEF)Kenya
Kenya Education Fund (KEF), founded 2006, is a locally-led, non-governmental organization. We help children reach their full potential by providing full scholarships for high school and the first year of university and conducting yearly, week-long life skills workshops. By delivering Kenyan youth access to free quality education, KEF tackles one of the root causes of poverty, gender-based violence, and injustice. We support children who are poor and oppressed, many of whom are nomadic, successfully transitioning 98% of them from high school to gainful employment or university. KEF serves all people; regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
Currently in Kenya, over 3.5 million children are out of school due to drought, long distances to a school, and families who can’t afford the cost of education. Northern Kenya is majorly a pastoralist community and right now, parents are unable to pay school fees because they have lost their sources of livelihoods. School is Kenya is not free. Girls face a unique barrier; girls usually help with chores at home if the family can’t afford the cost of school fees and usually married off at a young age. In some cultures, when girls reach a certain age (9-11 years old), they may experience female genital mutilation (FGM or “cutting”) which at that point she is considered a woman and can be married. These very young women become very young mothers. Without help, she will struggle to provide opportunities for her children to have an education and a chance to break cycle of poverty. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, villages where education is embraced, FGM instances are low. Education gives people the knowledge and skills they need to stay healthy, get jobs and foster tolerance. There is also a delay in becoming mothers and wives as educated woman tend to have better health outcomes and better incomes.
At the Kenya Education Fund, we know the rates of childhood/forced marriage, early pregnancy, and infant mortality can be cut in half by girls being fully educated. We empower girls to be more confident about their bodies, health, and lives by providing Life Skills workshops (along with a paid education). We are not only changing girls lives but boys and their future children and the generations to come! A whole branch of their family tree can be transformed just by one young person being educated. Many older educated girls go on to advocate and help other girls acquire this important path of education. A path of freedom and options that give them a future and hope. World Bank research shows that each additional year of a quality education, with real learning, can increase average future income by 14% for girls and 11% for boys. We advocate for the total embrace of education for boys and girls to eliminate FGM, poverty, and misogyny.
The Kenya Education Fund is a U.S. 501(c)(3) organization and a Kenyan registered NGO with a mission to provide disadvantaged students in Kenya and their schools with support and educational resources for them to improve their communities and break the poverty cycle. We provide monies to pay for tuition, uniforms, books, sanitary items, and room/boarding. Recent data from UNICEF, indicates that prior to COVID only 53% of the Kenyan youth were in secondary/high school and only 38.8% graduated (UNESCO). 98% of the young people in KEF’s program successfully complete their high school/secondary exams and transition to higher education or gainful employment.
KEF works closely with foundations, private donors, and other partners like Girl Rising, Opportunity International, LitWorld, and Operation Blessing to increase enrollment, retention and learning outcomes for girls and boys in secondary education and the bridge to higher education. KEF has supported over 4,000 (current and alumni) Kenyan young people to advance their education. Our older alumni have joined meaningful employment and are now supporting themselves, their families, and communities. Alongside this, KEF provides gender sensitive life skills and hygiene education, including menstrual cycle hygiene.
KEF promotes education as a basic human right. We align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work, and Good Health and Well Being. We endorse Girls Education and Decolonizing Aid. To learn more about KEF, please visit www.KenyaEducationFund.org