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Rebuilding young women’s lives in rural Kenya

Why we are working with Tewa Training Centre to ensure young women in rural Kenya have the skills to thrive in a post-COVID world.

Young women during cookery class at Tewa Training Centre, Kenya

For young women living in rural Kenya, vocational education and skills training is the surest way into work and out of poverty. However, in March 2020, the Kenyan government closed schools in response to COVID-19.

The social and economic impact of school closures is particularly severe for marginalised women and girls. It is exacerbating the disparities within the education and social system. This is especially the case for women and girls living in poor, rural communities such as Kilifi County.

COVID-19 will have long-term impact on young women in rural Kenya

Since school closures, the Kenyan government has been encouraging learners to continue their education online. But for many young women and girls in rural communities, access to online learning is difficult or impossible.

Many young women are living with poor or no internet connection and might not have access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Without access to online learning, their education has ended. The pandemic’s economic impact also means that many young women have to choose between food and the education that promises to lift them out of poverty.

With the whole country in lockdown and Kenya’s main industries coming to a halt, thousands of families are having to rely on savings to survive. This means that without support, many young women won’t be able to continue their education after the pandemic.

Phensera, a student at Tewa, worries that she will not be able to finish her vocational training course when schools reopen. “The Coronavirus has affected me and my family. My mother, with the help of relatives, is trying to survive and feed us, but we don’t have money for anything else now. I hope to finish this year at Tewa”, she says.

How can we ensure that young women in rural Kenya will thrive after COVID-19?

Our local partner Tewa Training Centre, a hospitality school in Kilifi, has years of experience empowering marginalised girls and young women through transformative vocational training opportunities and mentoring. As Tewa invests in young women’s soft skills as much as hard skills, Tewa students are in a strong position once the economy picks up again.

However, this isn’t enough, and Tewa is committed to building greater resilience in their students so that they can weather future challenges. Tewa is integrating entrepreneurial segments in their vocational training and skills training programme. This helps to ensure the women they support are resilient to market changes and have the skills required to build their own industries.

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WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation

We are dedicated to empowering women and girls through quality education and access to good work.

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