SheLeads Kakuma is a 6-month intensive empowerment, advocacy, mentorship, and college-preparatory program for young girls and women in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
The program was founded in November 2021 by Nhial Deng, a 22-year old South Sudanese refugee, writer, and community activist. Nhial spent 11 years in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing an armed attack on his village in Ethiopia in 2010. During his time in Kakuma, Nhial experienced first-hand the barriers faced by young girls and women which motivated him to advocate for gender equity in the camp and globally.
Today, Nhial is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Digital Communications at Huron University in Canada.
The pilot program which will run between December 2021 – June 2022 is funded by the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Nhial Deng is a Women Deliver Young Leader (Class of 2020).
Kakuma Refugee Camp
Kakuma is located in the North-western region of Kenya. The camp was established in 1992 following the arrival of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”. Today, the camp is home to more than 200,000 refugees mostly women and children. In the camp, young girls and women face barriers in participating in educational and leadership opportunities as a result of cultural norms, social pressures, SRHR, and lack of mentorship. This project aims to empower young girls and women as social change leaders and gender equity advocates in their communities as well as connect them with opportunities that will help them achieve their full potential.
The 1-week in-person workshop will take place in Kakuma during the last week of December 2021 and will boost the participants’ self-confidence, reignite their hopes, equip them with skills and knowledge that will empower them as leaders, and build their profiles; making them competitive for scholarship and other opportunities. The workshop will cover self-knowledge, critical thinking, mental health, SRHR, gender equity, interviewing skills, digital literacy, storytelling, writing, advocacy, problem-solving, public speaking, college application process, design thinking, and project management and implementation. During the workshop, former female refugees and other experts will tune in virtually to share their stories/experiences/knowledge with the participants.
Gender Equity Summit
The summit will bring together young girls and women in the camp, camp authorities, humanitarian organizations, women’s groups, community leaders, youth leaders, and other stakeholders. It will be a forum to discuss challenges facing young girls and women and reimagine better communities where the girl child can thrive.
The workshop will set the tone for a number of advocacy activities which will be organized in the camp between January – June 2022 by young girls and women participating in the program.
During the summit, we will present a policy document created by the participants during the workshop. The paper will highlight challenges facing women and girls in the camp and potential solutions.
The SheLeads Kakuma 2022 Summit will take place on the 3rd of January 2022 in Kakuma.
The mentorship program which is built on values such as friendship, empathy, humility, kindness, listening, respect, and acceptance will run virtually between January – June 2022. The students in Kakuma will be connected with female students enrolled in a college/university in North America or Europe or recent graduates who share the same passions and interests like them. The mentors will provide coaching on leadership, social change, storytelling, writing, public speaking, advocacy, digital literacy, college application, and project management and implementation over a period of six months following a personalized roadmap tailored to the needs and aspirations of the mentees.
Become A Mentor
If you are a female student enrolled in a college/university in North America/Europe or a recent graduate passionate about leadership, advocacy, and gender equity; you can apply to be a mentor for a young girl in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya who share the same passions and aspirations like you. Become a mentor, today!