Power of Education Africa is a Canadian Charitable Foundation which assists girls in impoverished areas of Kenya to gain access to secondary school and higher education.
The Foundation is a Canadian Registered Charity and a Kenyan NGO (non-governmental organization). Our primary purpose is to help impoverished girls in one of the poorest areas of East Africa, Nyanza Province, Kenya, to obtain a secondary, and sometimes a post-secondary, education and to rise up out of the undermining effects of poverty, gender inequality, cultural oppression and HIV/AIDS.
Where We Work
We work in Nyanza Province, Kenya, where there is a high death rate from HIV/AIDS and girls are the most vulnerable members of society. We are currently focusing on the districts of Mfangano Island, Mbita, and Migori County where the incidents of poverty and HIV/AIDS are very high and entwined.
The 2010 Kenyan constitution has provisions to improve the rights of girls and women. Uneducated girls and women, especially in rural areas, will not even know about these rights. Without education, cultural practices will prevail, and oppression and discrimination will continue.
Nyanza Province has a high rate of HIV/AIDS, with around 20% of the population being infected. As desperate, uneducated girls are more likely to have sex at an early age, marry younger, and be at higher risk for infection, outside intervention can be crucial to their future.
Our Foundation’s presence in the lives of these girls aims to break the cycle of poverty and desperation. When girls enter Secondary school for four years, they remove themselves from harm’s way. They receive an education and good nutrition. They develop more life resources and have brighter prospects for the future.
How We Work
These, our organization’s mottos, are commonly used in Kenya to mean: “We understand each other”; “We are of one mind and heart.” It also means “We are with you.” “We are side by side.”
Each year, in January and February, members of POEA travel to Nyanza Province. We reside in the village with the local Luo community. It is our joy to share the life of the Luo people. There is no running water, no electricity. The roads are poor. Yet we are working side by side. There is opportunity to eat together, to talk together, to laugh together, to listen to each other’s concerns and hopes. By working – and living – closely together with the Luo people, we Canadians are learning directly about the Luo way of life, values, hopes and dreams, and our Luo partners learn more about us. Increasing mutual understanding helps us to melt cultural barriers and be in a much better position to make wise choices. Together, with the local community, we identify impoverished girls who deserve a chance to go to Secondary school.
Mutual Understanding Helps to Melt Cultural Barriers.
It is also in the context of village life that we hear about the poverty of an orphaned girl who needs a chance to go to school. And it is in the village church or market that we meet caregiver grandmothers who are trying to send young grandchildren to Primary school, but do not have the money for their uniforms without our help.
Our local Kenyan advisors and helpers pave the way in advance of our visit. They inform school administrators, social workers, clergy, tribal chiefs and members of the local community that our Canadian representatives will interview impoverished, capable girls who have finished Primary school and are hoping to attend Secondary school. Together, with our Luo advisors and helpers, we conduct interviews with the girls and their guardians who may speak only Luo. After the interview, we verify the legitimacy of the applications. We confer with our local helpers and select those girls who we believe have the greatest need and the potential for success at school.