The Malkia Initiative
Malkia is a Swahili word for Queen. The Malkia initiative was founded on the principle that all women/girls were created for excellence and aim to build self-esteem and confidence in our nation’s young women by helping them realize that they are all queens.
The Maasai are a highly patriarchal community; girls and women do not have a place or a voice and have no right to education. With advocacy, some girls get the opportunity to go to school but are faced with a myriad of challenges including but not limited to harmful cultural practices including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Cultural interference, lack of mentorship, poverty hence girls lack basic needs such as stationery and sanitary towels, leading the girls to drop out of school. Due to this plight, The Malkia Initiative was born in 2015 based in the heart of Kajiado County,
WHO WE ARE
The Malkia Initiative (THE M.I) is a nonprofit, youth and women-led community-based organization. That works under 3 key Pillars
- Education and Women Empowerment
- Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management
- Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (including FGM)
What We Do
- We create safe spaces for adolescent girls and women to achieve the highest attainable quality of education and sexual reproductive health and rights information and services
- Promote meaningful, efficient, and effective ways of adolescent and youth involvement in the designing, planning, and implementation of Health programs through advocacy.
- We influence policy and practices by participating in National, regional, and international global advocacy
- We address key girls and women issues of menstrual health and innovate sustainable solutions to influence social change
Our Core Values
In Maasai land girl child education is not prioritized, in this community, a girl has little use except as a conduit to bring bride wealth to their families. No girl should be forced to live in such a powerless state but through education, be empowered to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.
The Malkia Mentorship Project
We identified a gnawing gap in mentorship among girls in rescue centers’. The mentorship program mentors young girls who have escaped or survived Female genital Mutilation and are in a rescue Centre in Kajiado, Kenya. We build a safe, strong female community around the girls, to help increase their self-confidence, build strong leadership skills, and also encourage the need for quality education and introducing them to high schools and careers.
We train committed university student to act as mentors to the young girls and utilize our curriculum that make the develop leadership skills, they are also mentored by professional women who in turn guide them towards their career paths they are working towards as they lead by example. Our multi-generational group mentoring builds a community of strength around every girl.
Bead For Her
Women play a fundamental role in their daughters’ lives. Bead for Her is the latest addition to our project, this project.
We involve women to create sustainability and promote ownership on the provision of sanitary products. Beading is an income-generating activity for the Maasai community.
We empower the womens’ economic activity by providing them with new skills to make their crafts fetch more money in the marketplace we engage them on topics such as financial literacy and provide market opportunities for them, they in return give a percentage of their income to the menstrual hygiene Program to keep girls in class.
KUZA involves in-school mentorship and removing cultural and economic barriers to the attendance, retention, transition, and thriving of school-going children in schools. Malkia has made great strides in reducing significantly the number of early marriages, FGM, poor MHM; efforts that have increased children’s attendance in schools.
Impact does not happen in isolation; it requires collective action. In this initiative, we are joining the dots by including the holistic school environment being students, BOMs, teachers, parents, and the youth to improve basic education within Kajiado County. Malkia will partner with the County Departments of Children, Health and Education, the school BOM and PTA, and numerous other partners in Malkia’s vast networks to ensure that students' learning outcomes increase by improving their numeracy and reading skills as well as strengthen school governance systems.
With the ongoing Malkia projects, we shall cascade impact at the 5 schools mapped out from wards across Kajiado Central, to address bottlenecks that still exist with respect to the full realization of quality and accessible education, affordability of learning, provision of learning materials, and strong school systems that enshrine sustainability.
Young people and adolescents just like adults require motivation to make healthy decisions about their reproductive health. However, Kajiado County is at 20% for teenage pregnancies according to the DHIS 2014; this is despite the increased availability of modern contraceptive methods. Our day to day programs support young people to develop skills and talents that lead to better educational and career opportunities and when combined with reproductive health information and services, these programs motivate adolescents to postpone sexual activity or practice safer sexual behavior by helping them understand the long-term impact of their decisions and the importance of planning their futures. However, the out-of-school adolescents and youth in the Rural Kajiado do not have access to knowledge and services due to stigma and lack of Youth-friendly services in Health Facilities. This leads us to introduce Comprehensive sexuality Education into our in-school programming and Meaningful youth participation for Youths out of school all this under our program
I am Malkia
I am Malkia (with/ without the cut) is a campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that targets girls in Kajiado County whose prevalence is 78%. Girls as young as 9 years are forced to undergo the torturous cut to mark a transition into womanhood, this leads to high numbers of teenage pregnancies and girls getting forced into child marriage.
I am Malkia is created from the notion that all girls were created for excellence and do not have to undergo the cut (FGM) to attain any status more so become women. The project aims to build self-esteem and confidence in our county’s young women by helping them realize that they are all queens with or without the cut. The young girls will be empowered and lifted; they need positive outlets for self-expression and growth, which is exactly what we hope to do with this campaign and our other activities.
Nahesabika (I count) Project
The Nahesabika project targets in-school adolescents and out-of-school youth aged 18-24 years. The project design uses Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) as a tool to ensure that adolescents and young people have the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about abstaining, using contraception, preventing unintended pregnancies, and protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The knowledge gained helps the young people to hold the county government officials accountable and engage the policymakers to make sure that they are counted and stand counted. Nahesabika, therefore seeks to see a decrease and changes in rates of unintended pregnancy and hospital admission due to complications of unsafe abortions among young people. The program’s goal is therefore to contribute and advocate for improved access and increased awareness of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights among the marginalized adolescents and youth and girls in and out of school in Kajiado
Menstruation is a natural and essential part of the reproductive cycle. However, it remains a taboo topic in most parts of the world and it’s rarely talked about. These taboos affect the way women and girls participate and live during menstruation. In addition, poverty in the communities, lead to limited access to hygienic products (sanitary towels), water, and soap making it difficult for them to manage hygiene during menstruation, lack of proper sanitation such as places to wash and proper disposal is a challenge. Lack of menstrual education is another big problem; lack of awareness before menarche contributes to the challenges faced by the girls. Lack of proper attention to Menstrual Hygiene Management has seen the girl child particularly being affected by Education, health and their productivity and even in cases their safety. Lack of research creates a gap in good menstrual hygiene management especially in areas like Kajiado and other pastoralists’ communities that have tough cultures.
Keep Girls In Class
In the Malkia Initiative theory of change, we believe that provision of sanitary products to the girls will increase the use of sanitary towels and consequently increase school attendance and school participation leading to an increase in school retention and completion rate. We also believe that teaching menstrual and reproductive health education will lead to increased knowledge on menstrual hygiene, improved self-efficacy, and self-esteem and will also improve their attitudes and norms toward menstruation. This will then lead to improved Sexual reproductive health reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and delay the time of first sex, this will again lead to school retention and completion. In the last 4 years, we have reached over 15,000 girls with Menstrual Hygiene education, trained over 100 teachers as MHM trainers of trainees, and work actively in 33 schools. We also serve 500 needy girls with sanitary towels annually.
Join the tribe. Hesabika!
Now that you know a bit about us, we invite you to join us as we turn our vision into a reality. You can:
- Become a volunteer.
- Partner with us.
- Make in-kind donations.
- Make monetary donations.