Lack of education
Lack of education is one of the major causes of poverty. This affects girls and women more than boys and men.
A study that was published in 2013 shows, that especially single mothers in Africa find themselves in a hopeless situation due to lack of education and general knowledge, which often makes them dependent on their parents, other relatives, or others in their community, for their own subsistence and that of their children. The study also shows that this applies to a greater extent to women in Kenya than elsewhere in Africa. This has devastating effects for these women, themselves, for their children and for their community at large.
Education is crucial to development, growth and poverty reduction. According to the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), education is the surest way to lift people out of poverty. However, education costs money, which is precisely what poor people don't have. Thus, the vicious circle is complete.
To contribute to a solution, we have started the project Watu Wangu Academy. This project aims to give over 700 single mothers in the rural area of Kitui West Sub-County in Kenya over a period of 3 years practical vocational courses, as well as information and guidance in economic, legal and social fields, to enable them to become economically independent and socially resilient. This will empower them to build a decent life for themselves and their families, and will have a positive effect on their communities.
Watu Wangu Academy
The basis of the program are three practical courses:
- fashion & tailoring
- beauty care
- Hospitality Services and Catering
The courses will train twenty students per field of study in the basic knowledge and skills in these fields, on five days per week for three months.
After completion of the courses, they will be able to perform all common work in these areas. This will enable them to find a job or start their own business.
Information & Guidance
The women it concerns often don't only lack professional knowledge and skills; many of them are also dealing with a variety of social, legal and emotional issues. For this reason we have compiled an additional program, offering information and guidance in a variety of areas. Think of such things as legal, commercial and administrative knowledge and skills; computer knowledge and skills; setting up a business plan and applying for a micro credit; job application; legal aid for the application of identity papers, birth certificates and child support; social support; and family planning, sexual education and HIV-prevention.
In the spring of 2019 we started with the first group of women in the studies Fashion & Tailoring and Beauty Care. On the 31st of May of that year we had the honour to issue the certificates to those ladies who have completed the courses with sufficient result.
During this first project we have learnt much. We noticed, for example, that lack of child care facilities was a stumbling block for some women. Also the necessity to provide food for their families caused absenteism when individual women had the opportunity to make some money in day labour. And finally there was a number of women who had to come from far, which caused some issues.
With what we have learnt through this first group, we can set up the next projects of this program better, enabling more women to participate. We will be offering child care, meals and boarding.
Immediately after completion of the first group, over 150 women have enrolled for a next group. Therefore, we want to start as soon as possible with the next projects of this program.
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Foundation Watu Wangu has been recognised by the Dutch tax authorities as a Public Benefit Organisation. This means that taxpayers for the Dutch tax may deduct their donations from their taxable income.