Giving Compass' Take:

• The author interviews Vivian Onano who is an African advocate and activist for girls' education in Kenya and discusses the specific issues she has worked on to empower women thus far. 

• How important are mentorships and partnerships when working on girls education issues? 

•  Read about the work of Camfed in some African countries and how the promotion of girls education is way out of child marriages.

Growing up in rural Kenya, Vivian Onano saw her cousins, aunts, and friends lose their futures to child marriage. In her community, many girls — shackled by poverty, underdevelopment, and held back by gender stereotypes — never received an education.

In 2008, Onano escaped the conditions that held many girls in her community back when she was chosen to attend the Starehe Girls' Centre, a boarding school for girls who are academically talented but from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, 10 years later, Onano is a women and girls’ advocate and youth activist working to create a better future for girls like herself across the African continent through education.

She spoke with Global Citizen about the importance of letting girls lead in Africa:

What are some specific initiatives you’ve worked on to promote girls’ education in Africa? 

I’ve been part of the “Poverty Is Sexist” campaign by ONE Campaign as one of their activists on the continent. So I’m calling on government leaders to invest in girls’ education, and also to address the challenges across different development issues.  With UN Women, I am a youth advisor — campaigning and lending my voice on issues of girls’ education across the continent.

What are some of the misconceptions about education in Africa? 

First of all, the thing is you cannot address Africa as a homogeneous state. So the challenges and the solutions that we need to provide in Kenya are different from the ones we need to provide in South Africa or Nigeria. Also, people should not assume that by offering scholarships you’ve addressed the whole holistic challenge of access to education.


Read the full article about girls education by Phineas Rueckert at Global Citizen