Educational Institutions

Kakenya's Dream

Empowering Girls, Transforming Communities

aka Kakenya Center for Excellence

Arlington, VA


Kakenya's Dream serves the most vulnerable and underprivileged girls in Kenya.  By focusing on one girl at a time, one community at a time, we are laying the pathway for all girls in Africa to have the opportunities they need to thrive as individuals.  We believe this will happen through education, empowerment, and leadership, as we give girls the tools they need to reject harmful cultural traditions and pursue their dreams.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya

Main Address

4250 N Fairfax Drive Suite 600

Arlington, VA 22203 USA


girls, education, Africa, empowerment, female genital mutilation, child marriage, health, youth, Kenya, rural





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Maasai girls continue to face many challenges in Kenya, particularly in remote areas like Enoosaen where our programs operate. In our region, over 80% of girls undergo FGM when they reach puberty, after which they enter into an arranged marriage, ending their education before even completing primary school. Despite Kenyan laws that prohibit these practices and enforce the right of every child to basic education, only 17% of girls in our community attain a primary education and one in two girls are married before the age of 19. The challenges girls in the region face perpetuate cycles of poverty, low educational achievement, pervasiveness of HIV/AIDS, high teenage pregnancy rates and high rates of infant and maternal mortality.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Centers for Excellence

Health and Leadership Trainings

Network for Excellence

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Our programs are driven by three primary goals.
- Provide vital, life-changing education to marginalized girls at risk of harmful practices like FGM and early marriage;

- Empower rural youth to make the best choices for themselves with information about their health and rights;

-Create positive, lasting change by impacting the entire community.

We have seen significant changes in attitudes toward girls' education in Enoosaen and beyond since our school first opened its doors in 2009. As we continue to reach more and more young people, their families, and community members, we expect to see the following outcomes:

- Increased access to quality and affordable education for vulnerable girls in Transmara District through sustainable education models and girl-centered approaches.

- Increased knowledge among adolescents in Narok County about health and leadership-related skills, laws addressing the rights of children, how and where to report GBV, and the harmful practices of FGM and early marriage.

- Decreased incidences of FGM, early marriage, school dropout, and early pregnancies among primary-aged girls in Narok County.

- Sustained programs for student leadership and academic excellence that maintain creativity, cultivate self-worth, and prepare students for active participation in the global market place.

- A new generation of young people who promote gender equality and education for all, including young women who will become changemakers and leaders in their communities.

Data from around the globe clearly indicates that investing in girls' education and empowerment is key to ending the harmful cycles that limit their potential, creating profound positive outcomes that affect not only the girl herself, but her family and community, as well. In communities entrenched in traditions that harm women and girls, more than academic opportunity is necessary to equip girls to overcome the challenges they face in attending and succeeding in school. These girls also need training in life skills, including sexual and reproductive health, leadership qualities, and an understanding of their legal rights. Additionally, it is crucial to involve boys in efforts to promote positive social change. By teaching boys about the struggles girls face as well as their own bodies and rights, we are providing them with information they need to be allies and advocates for their female classmates and family members. We offer a comprehensive approach to addressing girls' education and empowerment through three interconnected programs:

Centers for Excellence Boarding School Program: The Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) primary boarding school currently serves 194 girls in grades 4-8 in a safe, supportive environment. The program takes a holistic approach to educating marginalized, vulnerable girls, incorporating health and leadership elements into the classroom curriculum. We are in the process of constructing a second all-girls boarding school which will serve grades K-12 and allow us to triple our enrollment.

Health and Leadership Training Program: This program was developed in 2011 as a way to reach youth across the community with critical information as they approach and navigate through adolescence. Our Health and Leadership Trainings teach adolescent girls and boys outside of our boarding school, providing training and resources on reproductive health and rights as well as the harmful effects of FGM and early marriage. We train thousands of youth annually at schools across the region.

Network for Excellence Program: Our Network for Excellence program allows us to support girls who have graduated from our boarding school as they continue to high school and beyond. The girls receive mentorship, tutoring, financial support, and a variety of essential resources to help them thrive in their new environment. Currently, we serve 164 girls through this program. We are especially excited to, for the first time, expand the network to university students in 2018 as the first cohort of Kakenya's Dream girls finished high school in 2017.

We are uniquely capable of achieving our goals because our culturally relevant, holistic program is tailored to the rural, Maasai community we serve. Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya built our programs with the support of her community, giving ownership to community leaders, parents, and young people. Because of this, the success of our programs and our students is the success of the community. Through our work with the community and building genuine support for girls' education we are able to end female genital mutilation and FGM.

In addition to working hand in hand with our community to build sustainable, relevant program, our programs are holistic: we support the whole child, instead of just providing scholarships. By giving our students a safe, nurturing environment in which to learn, live, and thrive, we are fostering educational achievement, physical and mental health and safety, personal growth and more.

We track the progress of our Boarding School students and our Network for Excellence girls through academic measures such as exam scores and trends in performance over time. We gather data on our Health and Leadership Training program through entrance and exit surveys. The surveys include demographic information, such as family size, parent education level, etc., questions about beliefs and attitudes around FGM and early marriage, girls' education, and more.

We are trying to answer the question of how to quantify and measure youth empowerment in the context of the communities where we work. We reach thousands of students each year across a large, rural, remote area with limited infrastructure and sometimes impassable roads. We have a wide collection of anecdotal evidence of our programs' profoundly positive impact in schools, homes, and communities, which informs our program development. In 2018, we are focusing on creating a mechanism to gather quantitative data on youth empowerment, social attitudes towards harmful practices like FGM, and beliefs about the value of girls' education in a systematic way.

Our Results: Our programs are designed to empower girls to reach their full potential by giving them the support, resources, and care they need to thrive in school. Our accomplishments to date include:

- All of our students are on track to progress to the next grade level in January 2018, which means 319 girls will stay in school next year as a result of our programs.

- 100% of students at our school are free from FGM and child marriage compared to half of girls in the surrounding region who are still married as children and over 75% of Maasai girls who undergo FGM.

- Our students are performing among the top in the district, consistently achieving the highest average scores on benchmarking exams.

- We have trained over 8,000 youth at 50 schools across the region on sexual and reproductive health, child rights, and life skills through our Health and Leadership Training Program.

External Reviews



Kakenya's Dream

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity