By Cynthia Muhonja

Alumnae, Cynthia takes us through her journey with Akili Dada, from when got a scholarship, to founding a mentorship program in her community, Life Lifters, to studying at Ashesi University and being accepted into the Melton Fellowship

Gender equality has been a topic of discussion for a very long time now. There are so many organizations that have come up to really dive deeper into the issues of creating a more gender balanced society and one of this organisation, Akili Dada.

I speak this from a beneficiary side not to decorate the organization but to truly say what it does and how it has made my life better. Akili Dada came into my life at a very crucial moment. I was at the verge of losing my education and if at all someone came and told me at that point that I will be typing this text while seated in a lecture hall in one of the best universities and the only liberal arts college in Africa, away from my country I would really laugh at them or even insult them. Think of a visible hand that holds, hopes, loves, provides and encourages and this is exactly what Akili dada organisation does.

Akili dada has helped me grow as an individual and all the successes that I have gotten so far I really attribute to them.  I come from a small village on the western side of Kenya at a place called Kamimei and when I was taken in by Akili Dada one thing that this organisation taught me is leadership. They taught me not the kind of leadership where you command others to act but the kind where you go down to people’s level and act together. Truly it is this that encouraged me to act and at the age of 19 I launched my project Life Lifters which was and is still instrumental in empowering other girls to value education.  Through my organisation I was able to reach out to 137 girls whom I encouraged to focus on their education.

I started campaigns concerning gender inequality even before I joined university and this has not stopped even at the level that I am now. At Ashesi University I have learnt a lot about what happens in other African countries and how different genders are treated from many other countries and the truth is that we still have a lot to do. Talking about this issues is important but the most and most viable solution is putting in place mechanisms that help women grow and develop. Some mechanisms have already been put in place like Akili dada which taught me to stand in for a course. A course that will support gender equality and that is how I got to be a fellow of a global organisation called Melton Foundation. Through this organisation I get a chance to interact with people from very diverse backgrounds and countries and together we have great discussions about global issues. We have a chance to travel around the world and meet new people a chance I wouldn’t have gotten if Wanjiru Rutenburg did not take that courageous step of giving me education.

The stories in the video are a true proof of what Akili Dada has done to the lives of my beautiful sisters. In order to create a better tomorrow a place where all genders will have the same capability to compete for the scarce resources in the society its clever to invest in that dream today so that it can be a reality tomorrow. Talking about some of these is issues is important but one thing I think is that putting in a mechanism that solves these issues is more important. If issues of inequality ,early marriage, deficiency of women leadersand many other issues concerning women irritate so much that you want to do something about then Akili Dada is the right place for you.

Currently Akili Dada needs more funds to support more girls.  Let’s help Akili Dada help more girls like my sisters andI who will tell their story to inspire more people.