Kakenya's Dream

Empowering Girls, Transforming Communities

aka Kakenya Center for Excellence   |   Arlington, VA   |


Through education, community engagement, and advocacy, Kakenya’s Dream transforms the lives of vulnerable girls across rural Kenya, and in the process, transforms the communities in which they live. Our work demonstrates the positive social and economic impact that empowered girls and women can have on their communities. Our programs are designed to help girls realize their full potential while engaging boys and men who will play critical roles in their long-term success. We believe in the transformational power of holistic education to positively impact the livers of girls and the communities in which they live.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya

Main address

4250 N Fairfax Drive Suite 600

Arlington, VA 22203 USA

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NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Centers for Excellence

Our all-girls boarding schools provide life-changing education to vulnerable girls in rural Kenya. In addition to providing a world-class education, we know raising an empowered child requires a multifaceted approach. Our holistic and girl-centered approach ensures each and every girl’s full and unique needs are met so that she can achieve her full potential.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Women and girls

Our Health and Leadership Trainings program gives vulnerable boys and girls in our region access to vital health and safety information and life skills. At our week and weeklong camps, we partner with skilled facilitators to lead fun and engaging sessions on a variety of topics, including female genital mutilation, gender inequality, public speaking, self-defense, and menstruation. Since 2011, we have reached more than 8,000 young boys and girls through these trainings.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

We created the Network for Excellence to support our Center for Excellence alumnae as they make the critical transition to secondary school, a time when many girls in our community are forced to leave school, and university. Through the Network’s holistic programming, we provide essential financial and academic support and equip our girls with the skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond. Our first class of alumnae is beginning university in 2018, an exciting new step for the program.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children who have the skills necessary to maintain personal health

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Adolescent girls, Adolescent boys

Related Program

Health and Leadership Trainings

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Our health and leadership trainings were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next two years, however, we anticipate introducing our trainings to 35 additional schools.

Number of students at or above a 90% attendance rate

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Centers for Excellence

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In contrast to barely 20% of girls in our region that complete primary school, we have a100% transition rate from primary to high school at our boarding schools.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

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 and high schools currently serves over 300 girls in grades 4-10 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 completing construction of our second all-girls boarding school, which will serve grades 7-12 when finished.

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 over 200 girls through this program. In 2017, our first cohort of girls finished high school, and they began university programs in Kenya and abroad in 2018. They began graduating in 2020, a major feat given that barely 2% of girls in our county complete tertiary education.

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.

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:

- 541 girls have been enrolled in our schools since 2009, receiving holistic support and high quality education in a safe, nurturing environment. We have maintained a 100% transition rate from primary to secondary and above 92% from secondary to tertiary.

- 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 80% 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 19,000 youth at over 100 schools across the region on sexual and reproductive health, child rights, and life skills through our Health and Leadership Training Program.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Our beneficiaries are rural Kenyan girls and their families in predominantly Maasai communities. In the areas we serve, harmful practices like female genital mutilation (FGM), arranged child marriage, and teenage pregancy are prevalent. Nearly 80% of the women aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM and one in two girls are married before the age of 19. The county we work in has a teen pregnancy rate of 40%, which is twice as high as the national average of 18%. Additionally, girls’ education is not a priority for family or community investment and social norms perpetuate and accept low educational achievement. Only 17% of girls in our community complete primary education, less than 10% enroll in secondary school, and 2% transition to university.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    When the pandemic closed down all the schools throughout Kenya, the communities we serve saw an increasing number of teen pregnancies arise. To address this, we organized a series of focus groups with community stakeholders, including government officials, religious leaders, and parents. Based on the feedback we received, we launched the Linda Dada (which means “Protect a Sister” in Swahili) Campaign to conduct community training sessions and to partner with local radio and TV outlets to host community health advocacy programs. Topics for both mediums included prevention on teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, family planning, and healthy relationships. As a result of our outreach efforts, over 1,000 beneficiaries were reached directly with 325,000 indirect beneficiaries.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve


Kakenya's Dream

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Kakenya's Dream

Board of directors
as of 05/15/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Pamela Reeves

Reeves Advisory

Term: 2023 - 2024

Kathy Bonk

Communications Consortium Media Center

Sarah Craven

The United Nations Population Fund, Washington, DC

Marlene Johnson

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Betty Hudson

National Geographic Society

Pamela Ress Reeves

Reeves Advisory

Michael O'Kane

Business Consultant

Dr. Anne-Marea Griffin


Leslie J. Calman

Engineering World Health

Kathy Hall

Equality for Women and Girls Program, Summit Foundation

Jeanie Milbauer


Tara Bunch

American Kidney Fund

Amy Blackwood

Save the Children

Diane Crockett

Summit Foundation

Folake Fabunmni-Vining


Anisa Tootla

American Health Information Management Association Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/1/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/14/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.