Articles by: morpheus

Washington Post Article on FGM and Early Marriage in Kenya

Click on the link below to read a recent Washington Post article discussing the effects of FGM and early marriage on young Kenyan women:

MGEF Student, Gloria, Completes Medical Rotations in U.S.

Gloria Kotente Mumeita
For the past eight weeks, MGEF medical student, Gloria Kotente Mumeita has worked alongside renowned doctors at Suburban Hospital (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins) to fulifill some of her remaining university credits. It has been a joy to have Gloria in the United States, and we applaud her bravery and conviction as she returns to Kenya with a wealth of knowledge and experience under her belt. Like so many of MGEF’s post-secondary students, Gloria is a role model to younger Maasai girls and “a local hero” back home.

You can read all about Gloria’s time at Suburban in this month’s issue of Dome, a publication for the Johns Hopkins Medicine Family, available online. We thank Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins, and the many, many doctors and staff who supported and mentored Gloria over the course of two months. With their help, Gloria is all the more prepared to graduate with her medical degree in 2016.

Photo (below): at a dinner at the home of Dr. Tracey Pyles, Gloria and the MGEF Board thanked her Physician Mentors for making her medical rotations in Radiology, ENT, and General/Trauma Surgery possible.


New Opportunities for U.S.-Kenyan Collaboration to End Violence Against Women

United States foreign policy took a leap forward on May 8th when five Senators introduced the International Violence Against Women Act. This new bipartisan bill is designed to make the protection of rights of women and girls worldwide a key priority to U.S. diplomats. Presentation of this bill comes at the heels of the recent kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls and the subsequent global reaction. In recent years, reports of violent acts around the world have pushed the international community to speak out on behalf of women’s rights.

Included in the International Violence Against Women Act are various statistics that demonstrate the prevalence of domestic violence worldwide. One figure from the UN Development Fund for Women states that 1 out of every 3 women will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner during her lifetime. The Act proposes that the U.S. will address issues concerning women’s rights in countries receiving foreign aid. This act applies directly to Kenya due to the fact that in 2012, USAID reports that Kenya received $412.2 million in assistance from the U.S. government. In the event that this bill passes, the U.S. will be required to promote gender equality in Kenya by creating and supporting programs that recognize and prevent gender violence. It is important to note that the act states that men and boys must also be motivated to help to reduce gender-based violence.

Kenya will also begin debates on the new Protection Against Domestic Violence Bill this upcoming week in Parliament. The focus of this bill is protecting women and other victims of domestic violence, including children and other dependents. One of the key points of the bill is a broadening of the term “domestic violence” to include more than just physical violence. If this bill becomes law, the definition of domestic violence would then include instances of child marriage, female genital mutilation, and sexual and emotional abuse. The purpose of the law is to emphasize the familial unit and its importance in reducing violence throughout broader Kenyan society.

These two potential laws represent an important step forward for women’s rights worldwide. The timing of these two bills creates an opportunity for leaders from the United States and Kenya to work together to encourage the advancement of women and their role in Kenyan society. We at MGEF are optimistic about the steps being taken to combat violence against women at the governmental level. MGEF also works to educate the Maasai population in Kenya on the rights of women and children through our Community Education Workshops for girls, boys, men and women.

Want more information about what MGEF has done to educate the community on issues of domestic violence? Send any questions or ideas to [email protected]!

Looking for more info on this topic? Check out these relevant articles:

Repeated Instances of Anti-Woman Violence Fuel Global Outcry and demands for Action

New Bill Targets Domestic Violence

Young Maasai Women: An Opportunity to Invest in the Future

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The world today has seen a blossoming of youth populations – the largest in human history, in fact! The world now has over 1.8 billion young people, approximately a quarter of the entire human population. These youth populations are extraordinary sources of untapped human capacity, individuals capable of changing the world.

With last week’s release of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, we can see in greater detail what the youth of today, and the future of tomorrow, look like around the globe. Here at MGEF, we see great potential in each Maasai girl to carve her own path and to create a brighter tomorrow for herself and her entire community.

The Index (take a look here!) has shed valuable insight on the status of youth around the world comparing 30 countries across 6 areas including economic opportunity, education, and safety and security. With Kenya standing as the fourth lowest country on the index for overall youth wellbeing, MGEF is strengthened in its commitment and resolve to improve the literacy, health, and economic well-being of the Maasai people through the empowerment of its girls and women. Investing in Maasai women is an investment in the Maasai community as a whole for generations to come.

Though the Youth Index is the first of its kind and is somewhat limited in its range of countries, it emphasizes the importance of taking a multi-faceted approach when working to improve the lives of young people. In Kajiado County, Kenya, the Maasai Girls Education Fund works with such an approach: improving economic opportunities for young female Maasai through educational scholarships, and Community Education Programs which teach all members of the Maasai community about health and gender topics (FGM, early marriage, teen pregnancy, HIV, the importance of female education).

Emmanuel Jimenez of the World Bank put the issue plainly: youth programs cannot be seen as a niche issue, but rather the life-source and fiber of economic well-being in a society.

Want to learn more about MGEF’s grassroots approach for improving youth wellbeing in the Maasai community in Kenya? Become part of the solution by sending your ideas and questions to [email protected] or by making a contribution!

Pizza with a Purpose

We are pleased to partner up with the delicious business, Naked Pizza, for two weeks of pizza-themed fundraising in the Washington, DC area!

From March 16th-29th, use the code “MGEF” when ordering from Naked Pizza and 20% of the proceeds will benefit our girls education programs in Kenya. Combining our passion for women’s equality with our love of pizza…what could be better? Go to to place an order.

Bon appetit!


Five Things That Happen When You Educate a Girl

Today is International Women’s Day, a day for celebrating the accomplishments and empowerment of women and a reminder to continuously strive for women’s equality, safety, and success. At MGEF, we recognize the role that education plays in allowing girls to achieve their dreams and in contributing to the well-being of their families and communities.

Here are just five of the countless wonderful things that happen when you educate a girl:

  1. An educated girl will have knowledge of her individual rights and freedom of choice, and will exercise them. For many Maasai girls, an education is the key to escaping the oppressive practices of forced early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). As a result, an educated woman is less likely to inflict these practices upon her own children.
  2. An educated girl is more likely to become involved in the workforce and in turn, bring economic stability to her family and community. Studies have shown that women invest around 90% of their income into their families and communities thus reducing poverty and improving health, safety, and education for everyone.
  3. An educated girl knows the risks of unprotected, casual sex and will therefore help to combat the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. She will be better equipped to handle pregnancy and the health complications associated with bearing a child. This, in turn, will significantly improve maternal and infant health, allowing for healthier future generations.
  4. An educated girl will be more apt to voice her opinions, be involved in political and economic affairs, and empower other women to participate. Women’s involvement in politics and the economy will bring more democratic processes to areas which desperately need political change.
  5. An educated girl has the opportunity to dream big and to eventually realize the dreams she once thought would be impossible to achieve. Education catapults girls into a brighter future, creating an empowered woman capable of changing her own life, her community, and the world.
Every year, we ask the MGEF girls to share their hopes and dreams with us. Medicine, non-profit management, and engineering are just a few of the many chosen career paths.
Teacher Mareso Malaika Mareso aspires to teach!
Melita Journalism Sintama strives to be a journalist!
Lawyer Silvia Sian Seteyio Silvia dreams of becoming a lawyer!
educational officer Veronicah Veronicah hopes to be an educational officer!


Today, we celebrate our girls and all the influential women in their lives, for overcoming the obstacles and pushing forward regardless of their circumstances. In the words of Oscar-winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, a true Kenyan role model for girls everywhere, “No matter where you come from, your dreams are valid.” We hope all young girls remember these powerful words and believe them.

Keep dreaming and striving to achieve your goals!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Meet MGEF’s Marketing & Programs Coordinator!

We are thrilled to introduce the newest member of our team, Morghan Wolf, Marketing & Programs Coordinator! With a background in community development, Morghan is in charge of monitoring, supporting, and evaluating all MGEF programs in Kenya, as well as developing fundraising and marketing strategies to grow the organization as a whole. Morghan has already blown us away with her flexibility, initiative, and positivity. But, don’t take our word for it! Read Morghan’s special message to you, the valued members of our community, and learn how Morghan’s experiences led her to MGEF (below).


Morghan with schoolchildren in Kenya (2009)

Hello friends, followers, and supporters of MGEF! I was recently hired as MGEF’s Marketing & Programs Coordinator, and I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new journey. In 2008, I took a life-changing trip to Kenya to help build schools and lead educational seminars for children. Since then, my passion for Kenya and the Maasai community has grown exponentially. I knew I would eventually return to Kenya and dreamed of starting a career in international development. I did, in fact, return to Kenya in 2009 to continue the work I had done the previous year. With these two trips under my belt and my goals of working in international development solidified, I directed my focus toward my schooling. I completed my Urban Planning and Public Policy program in 2010, and I graduated this past May as a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Health and Urban Development. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this team, and I’m really looking forward to delving into all the great work MGEF does!

2013 Annual Letter


Barbara Lee Shaw, Obituary in the Nation

The Nation, a widely read newspaper in Kenya, printed the following obituary on Saturday, December 7th, 2013, coinciding with the annual MGEF Student Reception and a similar obituary printed in the Washington Post. To ease your reading, please consider downloading the PDF file at the bottom of this post.

bshaw nation final with date

Barbara Lee Shaw, Obituary in the Washington Post

Barbara WashPo-page-001
Barbara WashPo-page-002

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