Giving Compass' Take:

• Global Citizen highlights their 2019 Waislitz Choice Award winner, Qabale Duba, who addressing the issues faced by girls and women in countries like Kenya in a very inspirational and empowering way.

• How can other activists best motivate schoolgirls to achieve their dreams by offering mentorship and career guidance in schools?

Here's a case study on Kenya's community development foundation. 

As a young girl in Marsabit County in northern Kenya, Qabale Duba quickly learned about the hardships of being female in a culture where gender equality has not yet been achieved.

At age 12, she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), and just two years later, she was engaged to be married — against her will. But her passion for education made her determined to finish school.

From an early age, Duba became aware that educating boys was deemed more important than educating girls in Kenyan society. Still, her mother pushed for her to attend school, against her father’s wishes. Duba said that her father held a traditional mindset, believing that a woman’s role was solely to become a wife and a mother, to tend to the house and raise children.

“I was still voiceless, and my only weapon was working hard in school so that my dad would not have an excuse to take me away from school to be married,” she told Global Citizen.

Duba also experienced firsthand how the stigma around menstruation and lack of access to sanitary supplies can hinder girls' education.

When Duba got her period for the first time, she was unprepared and in a classroom full of her peers. She said she was overcome with shame and was unable to return to school for a week. And without pads or other types of period products and a basic knowledge of menstrual hygiene, Duba said that many girls in Kenya miss a week of school every month or put their bodies in danger.

Read the full article about empowering women and girls in Kenya by Gabrielle Deonath at Global Citizen.