About GIG!

No girl should be denied an education...but in remote northern Kenya factors like early marriage and a lack of resources severely marginalizes girls.

 

In this region, a lack of opportunity is holding girls back from getting an education and going after their dreams. 

 

The Get It Girl! Initiative places girls from the vulnerable region of Turkana into private secondary boarding schools and universities. 

 

Join as we help set girls on their journey towards independence, success and leading the positive change they want to see in their communities.

Building the next generation of female leaders in northern Kenya

 

At the foundation of GIG! is the belief that micro changes can have macro impact. Educating one girl can result in exponential positive change for northern Kenya.

 

We don't just provide education - our commitment is long-term to solidify each student's lifelong success. 

 

Our commitment to students:
 

  • Quality education to ensure their success (private boarding school)

  • Completion of secondary school

  • Opportunity to complete university 

Investing in Northern Kenya
By: Emily Sheff, Founder of GIG!

When I started travelling to Africa in 2016, it wasn't long before I'd fallen in love with the continent. At the end of my year and half journey through 17 countries, it was this love for Africa, and gratitude for the experience it had given me, that led me to starting GIG! as a way to give back to the continent.

Nearing the end of my year and half journey, the universe gifted me with the unexpected opportunity to travel to the far reaches of northern Kenya with a Canadian who was funding the college education of a man named Damian Napulo (a member of GIG!'s team).

Read about my journey to Lake Turkana

 

The members of Damian's village welcomed us with an outpouring of joy and hospitality I couldn't have predicted. We spent  3 days in celebration with song and dance. Afterwards, I spent another week on the shores of Lake Turkana in the central town of Loiyangalani. I got to know the plight of the Turkana people, who live in an incredibly beautiful place but suffer under the weight of many challenges. 

Northern Kenyans experience extreme marginalization, especially when it comes to education (check out a UN paper on the subject)

Some of issues they struggle with include:
 

  • Lack of basic necessities such as food and water

  • Absence of education and health care

  • Regional violence due to territorial disputes 

  • With central government far away, the region lacks political resources 

  • Climate change causing draught in an already vulnerable agricultural landscape

Empowerment through Education 

Because of a lack of resources, and the expectation that girls should abide by the traditional family roles of the Turkana people, girls from this region very rarely attend school and almost never leave to attend higher levels of education.

 

During my visit, I asked to meet a girl who had made it through the local government school, and who had a dream of continuing her education. 

 

I was soon introduced to Sylvanna, who had been the top performing student in her school. She dreams of becoming a doctor and returning to live in Moite to help with issues such as malnutrition and infant mortality. Seeing as Moite has yet to secure a permanent resident doctor, because of the challenge of luring people to live in such a harsh climate and remote community, empowering girls like Sylvanna who want to return to northern Kenya could have a major positive impact for the region.

 

While in Turkana, Damian and I talked about how we might help improve the lives of women and girls from the region. Damian committed to help with on-the-ground coordination if I could find a way to fundraise. When I left Turkana and returned to Canada, I immediately pooled my friends and family's resources together and we supported Sylvanna's schooling in 2019.

 

At the end of 2019, I realized supporting girls to attend underfunded government schools that often close due to lack of resources, would never result in developing the capacity these students need to become true leaders in their community.

 

This is when I fundraised through the organization Women Helping Women. With WHW's generous donation we could afford to support a second student and place each girl in a private boarding school closer to an urban centre. 

 

We're currently in the early stages of the organization, with plans to fulfill a board committee and register for charity status in Canada. Visit the FAQ page or email us with questions if you want to know more about GIG! We'd love to hear from you! 

In solidarity,

E.S.

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Contact | Face of Africa Today Travel Photoblog | emily@emilysheff.com | Canada

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