Only through education will women and girls have economic opportunity outside of marriage. Even since the introduction of free primary school in Kenya in 2003, enrollment rates among marginalized groups like the Maasai stay well below the national average. Currently, it’s estimated that less than half of Maasai girls will enroll in primary school. And of them, only approximately five percent will graduate and go on to secondary school. Less than one percent will complete secondary school. The steep drop-outs are attributed to poverty, early marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
And all of these barriers point towards the economic insecurity of the Maasai. Families make decisions for their daughters, the only decisions they traditionally can make, to protect their girls from the poverty that all Maasai people face. A fact that many organizations, the Kenyan Government included, blame on extreme gender discrimination. The enfranchisement of women and girls (over half the Maasai population) isn’t just a moral duty but an economic necessity. Women must be given an education so they have the opportunity to enter the workforce; and no longer be viewed as units but as agents in the economy. The future of the Maasai depends on it.
And the future of Maasai girls depends on all of us, who hold the belief that all girls have a right to their own destiny. To determine what is right for their bodies, their hearts, and their minds. To have independence and opportunity. To have an education.
Please, join us.