Sharon, pictured to the left, is a bright and dedicated 31-year old teacher who has chosen to work in Turkana County, one of Kenya’s most arid regions. It is plagued by perennial drought, famine, chronic poverty and high levels of illiteracy. Only 50% of primary school-aged children in Turkana County are enrolled in school, far below the Kenyan national average of 92%. Upon returning from CAI’s mentor training and East African Girls’ Leadership Summit last December, Sharon established a Girls Club at her school. The group applied CAI creative methods to a pressing local problem: girls’ education. With few economic options, parents often marry their girls off to reduce the number of mouths they have to feed. With increasingly prolonged dry seasons as a result of climate change, parents are more frequently turning to early marriage to ease their economic situation. As a result, few girls finish their high school education. Sharon and the Girls Club began using theater at village meetings with parents, chiefs and elders to shift mindsets and change attitudes about the importance of enrolling girls and allowing them to complete their high school education.
As a result of her creative efforts, more girls enrolled in her school rather than being married off, academic performance improved and cases of teenage pregnancy decreased by 83% since last year.
Because of her growing confidence as a leader, Sharon replicated CAI’s five-day leadership training for 95 girls and has registered a community-based organization that will enable her and other like-minded individuals to cultivate girls’ leadership and advocate for gender equality and girls’ education in Turkana County.
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