Engaged at age 5, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya experienced female genital mutilation as a young teenager in preparation for early marriage. Her life was set to follow the traditional Maasai path of ending school to become a wife and mother, but Kakenya had a different dream. She negotiated with her father to return to school after undergoing FGM. When she was accepted to college in the United States, she promised her rural Kenyan community that she would use her education to help the village in exchange for their support. Kakenya went on to earn her PhD in education from the University of Pittsburgh and returned to her community to fulfill her promise.
Kakenya founded Kakenya’s Dream, an international nonprofit organization, to educate girls, end harmful traditional practices including FGM and child marriage, and uplift her community. In 2009, the Kakenya Center for Excellence boarding school opened doors, serving 30 students. Today, Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya reaches thousands of young girls and community members each year through three holistic and girl-centered programs she pioneered at Kakenya’s Dream.
Kakenya was featured in Melinda Gates’ first book, The Moment of Lift, and is a proud CNN Hero Finalist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She was honored to receive the Feminist Majority Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation in 2013 and the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award in 2008. Kakenya was also recognized by Women in the World as a “Woman of Impact,” named one of Newsweek Magazine’s “150 Women Who Shake the World” in 2011, and counted among the Women Deliver 100: The Most Inspiring People Delivering for Girls and Women.
Join us to hear more about her journey and the amazing work she and her organization are doing to change the world one young woman at a time.
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Meeting ID: 960 2761 2532 P