The Care2 Trailblazers blogging team has been closely following this year’s Echoing Green awards. Although not a finalist, we are big fans of Akili Dada and founder Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, a professor at the University of San Francisco who splits her time between San Francisco, California and Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg moved from Nairobi, Kenya to Denver, Colorado at the age of fourteen. She founded Akili Dada in 2005 to pave the road for other young Kenyan women with the belief that “leadership is not accidental but rather it must be nurtured with intention and purpose.”
Akili Dada, a women-led organization, believes that Africa’s next generation of leaders should include women from diverse economic backgrounds. Currently, very few Kenyan women hold top management positions in the country’s public and private sectors. Access to education is an important factor. However, while public school is free and therefore accessible to many girls, secondary school fees makes it out of reach for most Kenyan families. As a result, brilliant young women drop out of school, and enter early marriages and the low-wage work force.
Akili Dada addresses these inequalities and empowers exceptional young Kenyan women by providing them with secondary school scholarships, leadership training, and mentors – some of whom are Akili Dada alumni. This year alone, Akili Dada is supporting forty young women. Akili Dada’s reach extends even beyond the secondary school years. An impressive one hundred percent of Akili Dada Scholars have received full scholarships to universities around the world!
Akili Dada Scholars and alumni are a part of a growing network of Kenyan women scholars. To support their work visit the Akili Dada website.
photo credit: from Flickr via jschinker