Sauti ya Dada
The Challenge: Adolescent girls face many barriers to staying in school, including poverty, climate change, gender inequality, sexual violence, teen-pregnancy, and child marriage, making them less likely to finish their schooling. While the impact of girls’ education is significant for the girl, her family, the environment, and countries, there are limited supports to girls that help them navigate the barriers and stay in school.
Our Model: An educated girl has the power to transform her community and shift inequitable practices that prevent her from accessing her human rights.To equip girls to stay in school we build their leadership, climate justice knowledge, and advocacy skills by:
Mentor Training & Support: Developing mentorship skills among women leaders and teachers who provide 1 on 1 support to girls in their Sauti ya Dada circles that operate throughout the year, including school breaks, to connect girls, provide a safe space for them to discuss their challenges and build leadership and advocacy skills to address those challenges.
Sauti ya Dada Clubs: Convening Sauti ya Dada circles every two weeks to guide the girls through a curriculum designed with input from girls to develop leadership skills; sexual and reproductive health and rights knowledge; climate justice knowledge; and advocacy skills.
SMS Education: Sending weekly text messages from Creative Action Institute’s character, Aunty Nala, that motivates girls to stay focused on their education, provides SRHR information, and inspires them with information about female leaders
Podcasts: Creating opportunities for girls to apply their leadership and advocacy skills to inspire and educate others by developing podcasts where they are able to explore issues that matter to them by sharing stories and interviewing other girls, mentors, and local leaders.
Advocacy: Creating opportunities for girls to apply their leadership and advocacy skills to inspire and educate others through our Sauti ya Dada podcast.
Convening: Creating a space for girls in SYD to deepen advocacy skills, learn about climate justice, plan for a Creative Advocacy Practicum (CAP) and engage in peer exchange at the East African Girls’ Leadership Summit (EAGLS). This is also an opportunity for SYD recent graduates to showcase their completed CAPs, inspire girls still in the program, and gain additional leadership skills.
Resourcing: Providing financial resources, project design support, and artist accompaniment to activate leadership and advocacy skills in a Creative Advocacy Practicum (CAP), a project designed and led by girls to engage their communities in issues they have identified as critical.
98% of girls in SYD stay enrolled in school. The out of school rate for girls in Sauti ya Dada is less than 2%, which is significantly lower than the out of school rates for girls in upper secondary in the countries where we work: 24% in Kenya, 75% in Uganda, 41% in Rwanda, and 88% in Tanzania.
99% of girls in SYD do not become pregnant. Teen pregnancy is common in East Africa and an obstacle to girls finishing high school. SYD participants are less likely to become pregnant due to increased understanding of key sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) topics as well as safe peers networks and trusted adults that provide support.
All SYD participants gain increased agency. Agency is measured in-terms of participating girls being able to exercise their voice, self-determination, and leadership skills. Participants report significant changes in all areas. For example, within a year of being in the program, 84% of participants reported understanding who they are as leaders; 86% have key leadership skills such as collaboration, creative problem solving, public speaking, and know how to set goals; and 80% feel confident that they can speak up if they need help or see that someone is being hurt.
95% of SYD participants know what climate change is and what causes it. Climate change is an increasingly significant barrier to girls' education, so girls learn about it and their role in climate just solutions in their SYD clubs as well as at EAGLS.
Interested in being part of the next Sauti ya Dada cohort?
Reach out to Doris Kamathi at
The Mentor Fellows:
Our Mentor Fellows are chosen from women who have completed our leadership training programs. They work closely with girl leaders in the Sauti ya Dada clubs to support them in understanding their human rights, particularly their right to sexual reproductive health and the right to be free from gender-based violence; provide referrals to local health and safety resources; distribute monthly sanitary pads; and produce educational radio dramas and podcasts for the Sauti ya Dada clubs.
Meet the Sauti Ya Dada Mentor Fellows and learn their inspiring stories:
Brenda Akankwasa is a trainer at the Inclusive Creative Arts Advocacy program at TRIUMPH Mental Health Support, Uganda. Down-to-earth, reliable, and creative, Brenda has held multiple volunteer positions throughout her career. She is driven by compassion and the desire to see positive social change in the lives of adolescent girls with psychosocial disabilities. She has previously taught girls how to use art as a tool for social change through a project that focused on sexual reproductive health services for adolescent girls with psychosocial disabilities 2020.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies from Uganda Christian University.
Ruth Kamatari works as a Social Work Manager at KOMERA, Rwanda. “Komera” means to be courageous; Ruth is passionate about instilling courage in young girls. In her work, she helps develop self-confident young women through education, community development, and reproductive health education.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human resource management and is currently working towards her master’s in social work.
Nadia Sarah Baringwa
Nadia Sarah Baringwa is a South Sudanese woman who works with girls and women’s empowerment. She is currently a Programs Manager working with Crown The Woman-South Sudan (CREW) in Juba.
Nadia is a feminist, human rights defender, and mentor who went to Makerere Business Institute where she pursued her certificate in Information Communication Technology and an underway diploma in Development Studies.
She believes that mentorship of girls is vital, especially during the turmoil of the COVID-19 Pandemic, since schools are closed and the girls are idle. This process will help guide, motivate and monitor the girls whenever they need support to face challenges that may arise and avoid dropouts when schools resume.
Chonge Tukwa works with GLAM, an organization that supports girl’s education in Northern Tanzania. She began her journey at GLAMI first as a student. After joining one of the girl’s programs led by GLAMI in 2012, she saw the power and strength of girls her age. GLAMI gave her the tools to become a lawyer and now wants to use her education to help other girls realize their potential. She hopes to be a strong role model for the Sauti ya Dada girls by using her empathy and the skills she derived from GLAMI.
Chonge received her bachelor’s degree in law.
Brenda Akankwasa is a trainer at the Inclusive Creative Arts Advocacy program at TRIUMPH Mental Health Support, Uganda. Down-to-earth, reliable, and creative, Brenda has held multiple volunteer positions throughout her career. She is driven by compassion and the desire to see positive social change in the lives of adolescent girls with psychosocial disabilities. She has previously taught girls how to use art as a tool for social change through a project that focused on sexual reproductive health services for adolescent girls with psychosocial disabilities.
Pauline Rysisye works as a coordinator for the Education for Life Program at SEGA. She has worked at SEGA for over ten years in various capacities, including as a counselor and student advisor. She is passionate about girls’ education and it is her mission to ensure that girls understand their rights, find their voice, and learn how to stand up for themselves.
Pauline has a bachelor’s degree in counseling and psychology.
Rose Namburiu currently is a Program Assistant Officer at Concern for Girl Child. She has led efforts at her organization aimed at transforming the lives of girls. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw an opportunity to teach her girls how to generate income for their families as they face economic hardship. Rose is passionate about uplifting girls and ensuring that they have a space where they feel valued and cared for.
Neema Icyishatse is a facilitator, consultant, and Child Protection & Participation Officer at Children’s Voice Today and Club Rafiki Youth Friendly Center, Rwanda. She has spent her career focused on creating safe spaces for young girls and women by focusing on equitable treatment of girls in education. She works to amplify girl’s voices and combat gender stereotypes in her community.
She is a feminist and strives to make girls’ empowerment the center of her work.
Sharon Murumba believes education is everything: education is a way of life for every woman and girl for whatever they want to do, and no one can take education from you. This belief laid a foundation for her work in helping girls from pastoral areas get formal education. In 2017 Sharon founded Girls Castle, which fights for girls’ education, the economic empowerment of women in the pastoral community, mentorship of young women, social and economic justice for women, and access to sexual and reproductive health services.
She is a powerful teacher and mentor to the girls she works with.
Pauline is a community development and project management specialist with over 15 years of experience e working with girls on the application of community development and peacebuilding issues as related to gender equality. She works to engage more influential decision-makers and grassroots leaders fin holistic change practices to create equal access to education for girls and boys.
She lives by the quote “ Education is the Equalizer,” and instills this mantra in her daily work.
Benithe Isingizwe is a dedicated youth activist and social entrepreneur. She is a National Youth Council Coordinator in Karongi District, Rwanda and the founder of the Youth Social Enterprise Their Voice Initiative, working to prevent teen pregnancy and poverty. She is passionate about gender equality and promoting entrepreneurship for women and youth.
Benithe has a degree in information technology and was recognized as Youth champion at Rise Up, a Youth Champion at AEGIS TRUST Rwanda, and a Woman Innovator at DOT Rwanda.
Nadia Isimbi Umugwaneza
Nadia Isimbi Umugwaneza is an Administrative Assistant at Isooko Community Development and a founder of Bwiza Girls Initiative. Her previous roles have included being a Contemporary Dance Teacher and Team Leader at Mindleaps.
She has empowered hundreds of young girls in her community by equipping them with the skills and knowledge to make change. Apart from her work, Nadia loves to exercise, read and spend time with her family and friends.
Petronila is the co-founder and Programs Manager of CADWOKI, a women-led community organization which promotes women and girls' health and economic development in Siaya County. Petronila has a Master’s Degree in social science and over 15 years of experience working with various development agencies providing leadership coordination and management. She's led the charge in capacity building around reproductive health rights in her community amongst youth, and promoted girl-led advocacy and behavioral change.
Kellen Msseemmaa is the Founder and CEO of Empowered Girls in Tanzania, a Professor of Economics, and mentor at heart.
She is passionate about inspiring and empowering girls to dream big and live life to the fullest. She envisions a world where girls know their worth and have the agency to take control of their lives.
Enid Mugume is a Ugandan resident who has held positions as a teacher, an assistant registrar during party elections, and a Publishing Secretary at the United Youth Organization. She enjoys working with others and is a self-motivated individual.
When she is not mentoring young girls, she can be found singing, reading, watching movies, or enjoying the outdoors.
Dr. Estahappy Mariki
Dr. Estahappy is the Executive Director of the Girl’s Foundation of Tanzania. She has more than 20 years of experience in raising young girls’ self esteem and self awareness as a mentor, counseler, coach, and activist. She is ignited by working to resolve adolescent challenges and sharing knowledge on sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) to youth and young women.
Dr. Estahappy is excited to partner with Creative Action Institute to mentor 30 girls at Kiranyi secondary school in Arusha with the Sauti ya Dada program.
Moraa Beryl received her bachelor’s degree in Medical Biotechnology and Information Technology from Maseno University, Kenya. She is an ardent advocate of girls’ and womens' rights. Her experience and belief in the ability of women and girls to radically transform society led her to start a program called She Deserves to Soar (SDS), and dedicate her career to mentoring and empowering adolescent girls to demand their rights, gain control of their bodies, and further their education.
Working in tandem with the Mentor Fellows is our cohort of Sauti ya Dada Teachers. Meet the women who want to shape the institute of education and ensure that girls have a safe space to convene, no matter whether school is in session.
Magreth Emmanuel is a mathematics and Information and Computer Studies (ICS) teacher at the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School. At SEGA, Margreth also runs a computer coding club, in which she exposes students to different careers in ICS to help grow their professional skills. Her motto, “Everyone is talented; Everyone is useful,” guides her as she coaches children in STEM. She is passionate about learning and intellectual growth.
Margareth holds a bachelor’s degree in education and informatics from the Sokoine University of Agriculture.
Annette Mercy Agango
Annette Mercy Agango is a teacher with over seven years of experience. Currently, she teaches at the Ruma Secondary School. In addition to teaching, she also works as a school counselor where she has worked with girls that have faced a myriad of issues, including parental relationship issues, academic achievement struggles, and low self-esteem. Through a variety of methods, Annette ensures that her students grow their confidence to reach their academic goals. She is a great listener and brings a wealth of experience in dealing with teenage issues. Her mantra is “success for the girl child.”
She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Kenyatta University.
Claudine is a French and Kinyarwanda teacher at the Groupe Scolaire Sainte Familie in Rwanda. She has ample experience teaching and is a proud mother of four children. Claudine has a strong knowledge of education and is passionate about inspiring her girl students to break barriers. She counsels her students on making good decisions that will best prepare them for their future and is excellent at problem management.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rwanda
Seles Ambogo Ligands
Seles Ambogo Ligands is a physics and mathematics teacher at the Milimatatu Girls Secondary school. She has spent her career helping girls pursue careers in science. She is passionate about girl’s education and ensures that her students are set up for success by building skills in the sciences.
She received her bachelor’s degree in science education from the University of Eldoret.
Judith W. Mmari
Judith W. Mmari works as a teacher at Einoti Secondary school in the Arusha Region in Northern Tanzania. Judith works with GLAMI, an NGO that supports improving girl’s education across the country. GLAMI strives to ensure that girls stay in school by researching the specific challenges that girls face that hinder their ability to finish school. Through the Sauti ya Dada program, Judith looks forward to having a chance to support even more girls and use her experience to instill confidence and empowerment in them.
Joselyne is a dedicated teacher with over eighteen years of experience. For the past five years, she has worked as a mentor and career advisor at FAWE’s school in Ghana. She is passionate about girls education. When not working with her students, you can find Joselyne riding her bike or tuning in to one of her favorite movies.
Joselyne has a bachelor's degree in education and economics from the Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Education of Kibungo.
Rose Nakalanzi currently is a teacher and Director of Studies at the Kalinabri Secondary School in Ntinda. While the school is co-ed, the Kalinabiri Secondary School specializes in adolescent girls’ education. In her role as the Director of Studies, Rose has directly worked with vulnerable girls and provides them counseling services and guidance. Rose is driven to improve girls’ education; through her open and approachable disposition, she makes her students feel comfortable. She is a confident teacher and her greatest joy is watching girls succeed in school.
Olivia Acupo was born and raised in Eastern Uganda. Currently, she teaches English and Literature at PNM Girls' School. It was in this role that she first witnessed the plight of a girl child. Through her schools' partnership with TRIUMPH Mental Health Support and Recovery program, she has gained the skills required to support and nurture girls to succeed against the odds. She is deeply passionate about educating girls and giving them the tools to thrive no matter the circumstances. She is a dedicated educator and mentor.
She holds a bachelors degree in English and literature from Kyambogo University
Mary Juan Elia
Mary Juan Elia is a South Sudanese woman who works with girls. She is currently a teacher at the Juba Day Secondary School. While working with Juba Day and Crown The Woman from 2017 up to date, she spearheaded programs on Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response, Mentorship, and Counselling. Her passion for education is driven by the urge to break negative cultural norms that put girls at risk. She believes that mentorship of the girls is important because it prepares them to stand up for themselves and oppose decisions imposed on them. Juan is a human rights defender and attended Juba University where she pursued her diploma in information community studies and rural development.