Background Information

Community Shakenisho Development Organization started in 2014 by a group of Christian Maasai women from Narok County in Kenya who saw the need to support the girl child especially the Maasai girl child. This need was instigated by observing the challenges the girl faces in order to access education, quality health, spiritual nurture and access to basic human rights. The organization commonly known by the locals as Shakenisho was registered by the social service on 2020 and is currently involved in transforming the mindsets of over 5000 people in Oloirouwa sub location in Narok South.

The word Shakenisho is a Maasai word meaning testimony. The Maasai girl and women face many challenges right before birth and in her whole lifetime. A girl can be booked for marriage even before she is born, considered as a commodity to be sold for marriage in exchange for cows, she is in most cases not enrolled in school and if enrolled, she is removed from school, taken through FGM and married off at a very tender age between 10 and 15 years. Those women who chose a different path by insisting not to drop out of school, refusing to go through FGM and other cultural rights are in most cases regarded as out casts and all other people warned not to follow their path. The Shakenisho women group members have experienced this first hand as 90% have gone through FGM and married off at a very tender age and therefore did not get formal education hence not legible for employment to earn a living. Most of them are housewives living below the poverty line with a possibility of exposing their children to the same vicious circle of poverty. After observing women from other tribes in Kenya in high-ranking positions, economically empowered and able to fight for their rights, they decided to come together and address the root causes of their state of affairs.

The root cause of this violations cannot be addressed without involving all community members both men and women, boys and girls. The Maasai community is largely patriarchal and men are the custodian of the community laws with women classified in the same category as children. Owing to FGM and early marriage, the rate of teenage pregnancies is high. This together with the other issues of education, health and human rights made the Shakenisho women to rise up to the occasion and stand out to be counted in giving the child a life worth living.

The increased population and reduced forest cover, has further affected the wellbeing of women and girls as they have to walk long distances in search of firewood. The nutrition of children is affected as they can not access wild fruits previously complementing their nutritional needs. Shakenisho women are involved in environmental conservation and programs related to nutrition of children.