Akili Dada (Kenya)

For Akili Dada, underprivileged Kenyan girls are future leaders. The shy high school girl in the bright red school uniform: a future policy maker. The savvy girl with a few chickens: an entrepreneur. And when African girls are equipped as policy makers and entrepreneurs, African women will–finally–be the ones making the decisions that affect African women.

How do we know? The savvy girl with the chickens, for example, is Elyne–an Akili Dada scholar. She sold the birds, purchased saplings, built a bridge, and reclaimed a swampy area in her community. This is exactly the kind of innovation Akili Dada cultivates: Smart. Relevant. Led by girls.

Akili Dada, which translates as “Brain Sister,” is truly a leadership incubator, providing girls with scholarships and seed grants. Programs such as Young Change-Makers and Innovation in Leadership offer workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and opportunities for girls to create change in their communities. This year, with a grant from The MATCH Fund, Akili Dada will provide a number of scholarships to low-income Kenyan girls and will expand their social entrepreneur programming to rural areas and to young girls living with disabilities.