SELF Supports Girls` Education in Kenya
             Posted on:09-02-2012 09:25:06

SELF Supports Girls’ Education in Kenya

Kisaruni means "land of peace." The community members named the school in response to new and growing cooperation between members from Maasai, Kisii, and Kipsigis communities. In continuing their education, young women will be encouraged to become role models and visionary leaders in their villages, empowering them to create positive change within their society. Because of the remoteness of the region and a commitment to sustainability, Free The Children partnered with SELF to bring solar power to the Kisaruni school and the new Baraka Health Center.

In all Free The Children primary schools in the region, completion of primary education has pushed back the age of female circumcision and marriage from 12 to 16 years old. Attending a secondary school would not only provide these girls with the necessary foundation to further their education, but it will also further delay their marriage and childbearing. Together these steps will help to lift their communities out of poverty. In response to this urgent need, in 2010 Free The Children built the Kisaruni Girls High School. Establishing this educational institution will increase the level of opportunity and education for Free The Children students. The school was built in a central location where it will be accessible to most of the communities that Free The Children is currently working with, and classes commenced in January 2011.

With support from Heidi Hopper, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, SELF partnered with local providers to bring solar electricity to Free The Childrens new Kisaruni Girls High School and Baraka Health Center near the village of Bomete. SELF’s team designed and oversaw the installation of a custom 8.4 kilowatt solar-diesel hybrid system. The array of solar panels provides electricity for lights in Kisaruni’s eight classrooms; and for 10 laptops, a color television, printer, VCR and radio cassette player. A diesel generator serves as a backup to ensure power is available on cloudy days.

In addition to the school, the Baraka Health Center is now benefiting from reliable electricity 24/7. The clinic serves as host to the community’s first ultrasound machine for prenatal care. Solar energy powers this device as well as a vaccine refrigerator, defibrillator, microscope, centrifuge, examination lights and computers. Proper diagnostic equipment helps the staff meet the medical needs of villagers from the surrounding area, and a well-stocked pharmacy ensures patients can be treated onsite. Parents are also receiving first class information on healthy child development in a thoughtful and caring environment.

GIKCP would like to express its sincere gratitude to the Solar Electric Light Fund for its kind permission to reproduce this case study.

For more information, please go to: http://www.self.org/Kenya.shtml

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