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  • Mahogany Morris, 10th Grade High School Student

Educating a Girl is Like Educating the Whole Community

In June 2019, the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) led a delegation to Kilgoris and Nairobi, Kenya. The delegation included partners affiliated with the Alameda County EMERGE Reentry Program who were seeking to learn from the Kakenya Centre for Excellence about ways to shift a public narrative about the value of educating girls.

The Kakenya’s Centre for Excellence, described in Dr. Kakenya Ntayia’s TED Talk, is a private, residential primary and secondary school for girls. The school promotes the idea that education can open a door of numerous opportunities for girls. Her work--and the school--have helped to shift the narrative about the value of education and its role in protecting girls from harmful acts such as female genital mutilation and early marriage. Leadership from NBWJI, The Mentoring Center, and Girls Inc. of Alameda County took many valuable lessons from this trip--ones that can inform how, globally, educators can interact with girls and their needs.

People often treat countries in Africa as if they need saving, but this experience demonstrated that there is already knowledge in the culture, which can guide our practices with girls in the U.S. and globally.

This photo essay is meant to share with you some of our journey. To me, it shows not only that “girls have a say in their own bodies” but that when girls do take control of their education, their life outcomes positively shift and their communities expand. As one student said--and, as a student myself, I agree that-- “educating a girl is like educating the whole community.”

Mahogany Morris, 10th Grade

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